I’ve had my thesis approved!  This means I can begin working on it.  So what amazing topic did I decide to pursue?  Actually its quite simple, and I’m a bit ashamed of our health care system that it has never been looked at before. I’m doing a population based cross-sectional study to compare patient to provider ratios to see if there are differences in outcomes at either end of the scale.  I’ll take existing public health data on the numbers of physicians per county, and cross that with the vital statistics data for birth by county.  I did a similar project during my BSN up in NewRead More →

This semester each student midwife will be creating their own 45 minute workshop on the topic of their choice.  There are two schools of thought on this.  One is to choose the topic you feel the most confident in, so you can create a fantastic workshop.  The other is to choose the topic you feel the least confident in and become an expert.  I went with the later and decided to do my workshop on menopause. Let me first state that I am not covering hormone replacement therapy.  A colleague has taken that large portion to create a workshop.  We are scheduled to present together on oneRead More →

There are two other students who started the dual degree program with me last year.  One is also an FNM student, but she is starting her clinical courses this semester (1 year behind me). The other is women’s health, so she completed her clinical courses over the summer. Honestly, balancing the two programs is starting to be difficult. The first issue is scheduling conflicts.  All three of us are double booked for at least one time slot, which means we will need to record one class or get the information from a fellow student.  This is partly because the nursing school and the public healthRead More →

School starts tomorrow.  I’m really looking forward to this semester.  Not only do I get to take a lactation course and an issues in women’s health, I am also taking some fabulous classes over at the school of public health.  I start my epidemiology training this semester, am taking a course on access to healthcare and I was able to squeeze in an international reproductive and sexuality issues class. That last class is the one I am most excited about.  I will be assigned a country, and as we move through the semester learning how to find the data we need to compile the numbers forRead More →

I’m exhausted, but wanted to get this written before the feeling subsides. Being on-call for births can be stressful. I need to be able to balance my time between births and studying, and I never feel ready to do births – at least not yet – especially at the birth center where it’s just me and a nurse.  And honestly, sometimes I hope there are no labors so I can get some sleep or study. But tonight I had a labor – and of course there were things that happened that I was not ready to handle on my own. But that is to beRead More →

I’ve made a decision that I need to have a real working knowledge of treating women with HIV. How I could pretend it doesn’t matter to my learning for so long amazes me. Perhaps I should have done more thinking about the experiences I really need to work in developing countries, in areas where the health status is very different from what I see here in the US. Unfortunately, I let myself believe that training at the birth center was enough because I wouldn’t be in areas where there were many medical options anyway. But to think that way minimizes women’s health.  Do I really believe the high ratesRead More →

Midwives are protectors of the perineum, even as students.  I have to admit, the few times I’ve found tearing I’ve cringed. It means I didn’t keep a mother intact, and my goal is to keep the mother intact. Which means I don’t have much experience with suturing – but I still need to learn the skill. But it turns out learning to suture is more than learning about how to hold the needle.  It means I need to be able to identify what tissue needs repair, and what the best way to handle that repair would be.  With the limited experience I get, I needRead More →

My midwifery program has a strong social justice bent. Because of this, service-learning is built into the curriculum in many ways.  This summer I am working with migrant farm workers through a farm worker health clinic. We do general well-child checks with the children at a summer school program during the day an in the evenings we travel to “camps” to provide care for the men (and the occasional woman). Yes, this is an exhausting experience. And yes, it is hard to be prepared for a midterm immediately when we return. But what I am learning is priceless. You see, I have only a basicRead More →

I am not the first wife and mother to struggle through the demands of midwifery training. I am not the first wife and mother to spend a few days each week hours from my family hoping someone goes into labor.  I am not the first wife and mother to groan when a labor finally begins just as I need to head back home. The midwives I am learning from know this experience intimately – they both went though it themselves. Their children and husbands had to learn to operate without them from the beginning. If at any point the family could not handle the training, theyRead More →

I am proud to be a supporter of natural childbirth.  I am thankful for the opportunities I have had to assist families as they made decisions about birth and parenting as both a childbirth educator and a doula.  But I’m starting to realize something that bothers me. The advice that I used to give as a doula and childbirth educator was not always helpful or even correct. Ouch!  For someone who adores research as much as I do, that is difficult to say. But I’m realizing how unfortunately true that statement is. Why do I say that?  Because I had limited understanding of the real problems inRead More →