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.