Attending Births

In my current clinical rotation, I have had the privilege to attend 3 births and we have another several coming up very soon. I’ve learned quite a good deal, some of it very practical and some a bit more irreverent:

  • Could there be a better profession than midwifery? Midwives come into your house in the middle of the night, sometimes without knocking. They eat your food and rearrange your furniture to their liking. If you’re really lucky, they might even order you around (no, it’s not time to get into the birth tub yet, why don’t you keep walking?)
  • Corduroy pants sound 10 times louder at 3 am than they do in the middle of the day.
  • While we’re on the note of clothing, bring extra clothing! Who knows what you’re going to get on your clothes – blood, amniotic fluid, birth tub water, feces, vomit, gel for the doppler. Now, I haven’t had all of that on my clothes, but I know I will at some point in my midwifery career and it’s good to be prepared! My teachers say that you can guarantee a transfer to the hospital when you show up to a birth wearing your pajamas your or Mickey Mouth t-shirt with no change of clothes. Or your nice clothes that have gotten soiled during the labor.
  • I need to learn how to go to bed at 7 pm each night so that when I get called at 12:30 am or 2 am or 4 am, I will still have gotten a good night’s sleep no matter what time I’m called!
  • I also need to develop the skill of falling asleep anywhere and at any time. I’m working hard on this, but I’ve still got a ways to go.
  • I need to figure out what food feels good in my tummy at 4 am after I’ve been up for 3 hours already.
  • I am in awe of every single aspect of labor, birth, and the postpartum period. The more I see, the more I want to know. The more I know, the more I want to see. It’s incredible to actually experience, observe, and help out with things we’ve learned about all year long.
  • I have had the great privilege of watching some of our clients’ older children hit developmental milestones – especially when it comes to learning language and speaking longer and longer sentences.
  • Do you need someone to go into labor? Invite guests from out of town!

Needless to say, I can’t wait to keep learning more. Bring on the births!

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3 responses to “Attending Births

  1. While I’ve never been up at 4am because of a birthing woman, I have pulled many late- or all-nighters in 9 years of higher education. The best foods for the middle of the night sick-to-your-stomach feeling are starchy things; I usually go for pretzels or animal crackers. Stay away from pop if you can (if you don’t need the caffeine) because the high acid just makes things worse.

    Also, according to Murphy’s Law, going to bed at 7pm guarantees you will get a spate of women calling you at 9-10pm. You can’t escape it.

    • You are totally and completely right about Murphy’s Law, Laura. Although I’d love to see if I could single-handedly shift labor and birth patterns by going to bed early.

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