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Counting “Catches”

Feb 12th, 2011 Training

If you are planning to license or certify as a midwife, you will need to have “caught” a certain number of babies to qualify. I’ve seen this be a frustration to many of my friends, and now it is a frustration I have the privilege to share.

In my program, I will need to catch 40 babies to graduate.  The labor management doesn’t count, only the catches.  So if I spend all day with a client and have to leave for class and miss the actual birth, that doesn’t count.  But if I walk in with thirty minutes of pushing left and catch that counts.

Overall I think I am OK with this.  You need to count somehow, and counting catches gives you a number to reference by. I am sure the powers that be understand that to have caught 40 babies, I will have participated in 50-60 labors because things happen, especially when you are a student. Women transfer, a small percentage end up with surgical births. I can only be on call for so many hours at a time before I need to study and be in class. This is reality.

Being OK with it doesn’t mean it isn’t frustrating that I have to produce a certain number of catches.  My preceptor is four hours from me, so I can only participate in births when I am at the birth center. The last two visits to my preceptor she had births the day before and the day after, but not when I was there. This week she had four births on the days I would have been there – but because of my schedule I could not be there this week. All these potential “catches” for my count are gone.

Because I am so far away, I also have the frustration that when I am on call, I am not able to be with my family even if there are no births. So this means I must plan to be away from my husband and kids for a few days a week in the hope that I will get a “catch.”  There are ways to avoid this, but they mean changing to a preceptor who catches in a hospital routinely. I’m not ready to make that compromise yet, but I am open to it as adjunct to my main training – additional skills to have in my bag of tricks for when/if I need to transfer.

I think it may be a very long year.

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Jennifer Vanderlaan CNM MPH is the author of the BirthingNaturally.net website. She has been working with expectant families since 2000, training doulas, childbirth educators, and midwives. She has worked with midwives in Central America and Sub-Saharan Africa. Her interest in public health grew in 2010, and she is now a PhD student learning to become a producer of knowledge.

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