Thursday, October 13, 2011
Why I want to be A Midwife
“Having a highly trained obstetrical surgeon attend a normal birth is
analogous to having a pediatric surgeon babysit a healthy 2-year-old.”
Marsden Wagner MD
“Midwives see birth as a miracle and only mess with it if there’s a
problem; doctors see birth as a problem and if they don’t mess with
it, it’s a miracle!” Barbara Harper in Gentle Birth Choices
When I think of childbirth, I don't think of it as an emergency, or a
sickness, or something that needs to be managed or controlled.
Women have been having babies since the dawn of time. It wasn't until
the late 1800's that Doctors started to get involved. The Cesarean
rate in the United States is sitting at 32% as of 2011. In my
opinion, this is due to the increasing number of unnecessary
interventions inside of Hospital Delivery rooms. How do we get away
from such a high Cesarean rate and unnecessary interventions? Doulas,
Homebirths, and Midwives.
My son was born at home with his cord wrapped around his shoulder and
chest into the hands of my skilled Midwife, Ellie with her amazing
Apprentice, Shawna looking on. Ellie swiftly and skillfully unwrapped
his cord and handed him to me. He came so quickly that he forgot to
breathe. Ellie grabbed her oxygen tank and mask and administered it to
Emery. He pinked up immediately and Daddy cut his cord. All of this
happened in a matter of seconds, and I honestly didn't think anything
I'm currently 22 weeks pregnant with our second child. This child will be
born at home as well. I have a different Midwife because we live in a
different state, and this time I planning on a Water birth. I'm not
one bit concerned. It's like breathing to me. It's birth. I trust my
body. I trust my midwife. My Labor is not an emergency or a medical condition
that needs to be managed or controlled.
How did I get to this point?
I have older sisters and I have friends and they have babies. I've
been witness to many Hospital births, and nearly every single one has
left me feeling unsettled. Not because anything went wrong, but
because in nearly every single one, there seemed to be a sense of
Unnecessary interventions happened. The moms
didn't want to trust their bodies, and if they did, they were led to
believe that... "it would be better if..." or "Intervention x-y-z-
will make this easier for you"
In 2002 I began babysitting for a woman who had a 4 year old boy, a 2
year old girl and another baby on the way. All who had been, or were to
be, born at home.
This family was so foreign to me.
They lived simply.
They were happy.
I looked at pictures of both of the births.
Candice was smiling in all the pictures, she looked ecstatic, she was
eating and drinking, walking around and getting massaged.
They were at home!
No monitors, no IVs, no doctors, no nurses.
Just them, a Midwife (or two) and a comfy bed.
To follow up, a luxurious looking bath with mom and baby together, right there, nursing.
Candice let me borrow her copy of "Spiritual Midwifery" by Ina May
Gaskin, and my whole world was turned upside down.
Women still did this? They birthed at home? Without doctors and nurses
and IVs and Monitors, and WOW!
Suddenly my mind was asking all sorts of questions that I didn't have
the answers to.
What if I could spread the word that childbirth is a natural body process?
What if I could be a part of this magic called Labor?
What if I could be a Midwife?
Whoa! Hey, I could be a Midwife!
From that moment on, my whole life changed, literally.
Candice asked me if I thought I would have my babies at home.
I smiled at her and said, "I hope so."
I started taking Infant Massage classes so I could be involved with
these families somehow.
I began looking for ways to become a midwife, or be close to midwives
and try to figure them out. How do they work? What do they think, how
do they act?
I started massaging a lay midwife (unlicensed) who would wash my
Massage linens in return. She had me put together a "Benefits of
Infant Massage" for her clients prenatal classes, then she told me
about a school
called ARMSS (Arkansas Midwives School and Services) I began saving up
money to enroll, then the school closed and I put the whole Idea on
the back burner.
While working at Ozark Natural Foods, I met a midwife. she shopped
there, and had the cutest little boy.
I got brave one day and asked her if I could apprentice under her, or
if she knew of any midwives that were taking on apprentices.
She suggested I become a Doula, and then we'd go from there.
A Doula? I wasn't interested in emotional support. PSHAW! I wanted to
get my hands dirty, per se.
I began looking elsewhere to start my education.
My answer was to move out of state. I had some college under my belt
and I found a College of Midwifery in Portland, OR that offered a
Bachelor of Science in Midwifery.
My brand new doting husband was willing to help me follow my dreams so
off we went. Away from every friend and family, all the way across
the country, just so I could enroll and take a chance on my dreams.
Three days after our arrival in Portland, I found out we were
expecting a bundle of joy all our own. I didn't let that stop me!
I went ahead an applied to the school. I was accepted but after
talking to all the instructors, and my Midwife (who was also an
instructor there at the time) I decided that it would be really
difficult to be a full time mom to a newborn without a support system
and I opted to sit it out and wait for the next enrollment period.
While waiting for the next round of enrollment I became a Doula.
The second enrollment period, I was put on the waiting list, but we
couldn't wait anymore.
We moved to Texas to pursue my husbands dreams of becoming a chef.
He's a Chef now, and I work in a Grocery store offering advice and
suggesting supplements and herbs to folks looking for alternatives to
Over-the-counter meds and prescriptions. Its a great job, but I also
get all kinds of questions from pregnant mama friends wanting advice
on how to handle common pregnancy complaints and what not. I have way
more fun talking to them and educating them about home birth, natural
child birth, attachment parenting, and breastfeeding.
I'm not able to quit my day job and go to school, or exercise my Doula
skills full time because of our financial situation right now.
I live and breathe Midwifery, and all things Childbirth and pregnancy
related. I am a self proclaimed "Birth Junkie".
I have tried several different times to find my path to Midwifery
certification, and it hasn't ever worked out.
I believe I've found a solution though.
We currently live in Texas. In my never ending search for Midwifery
education, I stumbled across this school,
Here's a Blurb from their website describing how the program works,
The Association of Texas Midwives philosophy is that midwives should
be trained by other midwives, be that training in a school or through
apprenticeship. ATM has been involved with the education of aspiring
midwives for over 30 years. The development of a curriculum to better
help the student integrate academic learning with the clinical
training received with an experienced midwife-teacher (preceptor) has
evolved and grown as the needs of both midwifery students and
consumers of midwifery care has evolved and grown. This culminated
with the ATM Midwifery Training Program (ATMMTP) being designated as
an approved midwifery education program by the Texas Midwifery Board
in 1999. ATMMTP graduates are eligible to take the North American
Registry of Midwives (NARM) exam as a Texas agency candidate, and upon
successful completion, to obtain the Texas midwifery license, and then
the NARM Certified Professional Midwife (CPM) credential.
"The ATMMTP is an eight-part comprehensive midwifery education program
whose curriculum is based on the Midwives Alliance of North America's
standards for practice and "Core Competencies for Basic Midwifery
Practice", and fully incorporates and exceeds all NARM educational
requirements. These requirements are met through a variety of methods,
including home and internet based coursework, required reading, and
research and community projects. Each of the 8 parts, or modules, ends
with classroom time in the form of 2 or 3 day mandatory workshops
where review, application, integration, and testing occur. The
Program's expected completion period is approximately 2 1/2 - 3 1/2
years, including the required clinical training."
The Clinical Training is an actual Apprenticeship with a Midwife in my
Community, and takes place in conjunction with the coursework if I so
Now, here's the kicker.
The Program tuition is $7000.00, or $875.00 per module.
We don't have that kind of money just laying around.
If I was able to make this happen finally, my 9+ year quest will have
come to an end, and my destiny will have become a reality and the rest
of my life, as a Midwife can begin.
Thanks for taking the time to read my ramblings. I hope you enjoyed
it as much as I enjoyed sharing it with you!