I’ve always loved writing and over the last 20 years, my life just became so busy! Who has time to write while completing an education, developing a career, growing a family? So many important things take place at the same time at the prime of one’s life that other things end up on the back burner. With the transition of my career to my new Home Birth practice, I figure why not go back and reclaim the interests I once pursued. This is the time in my life I want to leave the non-stop rat race, step back, and enjoy my family, the passion I have in being a midwife, and the day to day process of life.
How did I get to this point?
When I was 12 years old I was given a trilogy of three books about a British girl who was training to be a midwife. I had never heard of a midwife but I was hooked. I must have read those books numerous times, so fascinated was I.
Completing high school, I decided to go the pre-med track, always with Obstetrics as my eventual goal. As an undergrad on the pre-med track at Boston University, courses were tough and competitive. I found a volunteer position in a medical gynecology office. Watching the doctor interact with his patients, however, turned me off of the medical model of care. There was just never enough time or focus on the patient’s concerns. There were many people involved in the woman’s care before she actually even got a few precious minutes to spend with her doctor. It was a cold, sterile, fast moving environment. Besides, the path to becoming a doctor was filled with intense, hard courses, and many years of education. Hardly the dream path for someone hoping for a family and a home life in the near future.
I decided to expand my horizons and started exploring the nursing field. What I enjoyed about nursing over medicine was the increased opportunities for direct patient contact and the more holistic approach. While doctors focused on pathology and treating diseases, the nursing approach focused on the patient.
After completing prerequisites for nursing school in Boston, I transferred to Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing. Through our Maternal Child course, the school offered a Birth Companions program which I became very active in. It provided doula training through DONA (Doulas of North America) to student nurses and free doula services to women in Baltimore. I loved that experience. It was amazing to get to know a family, support them through the birth process, and watch them develop into a family. I knew I was on the right track.
Following graduation from Johns Hopkins with my BSN (Bachelors in Nursing), I found a job as a Labor and Delivery nurse at Holy Cross Hospital in Silver Spring, MD. While most new nursing grads start out on a general medical-surgical unit, I knew I only wanted to take care of birthing women. As Labor & Delivery jobs were hard to find for new grads, I was willing to commute from my home in Baltimore to my job in Silver Spring, about 45 minutes away. Holy Cross had an extremely high volume Labor and Delivery unit, one of the busiest in the state. It was in my first few months on the job that I caught my first baby as the doctor missed the birth!
After two years working at Holy Cross, I found a job as a nurse on Labor and Delivery at Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore. Mercy’s unit was also a busy, high risk one which served many from the inner city population. At both Holy Cross and Mercy I also taught childbirth classes and helped redevelop the curriculum at Mercy.
As obstetrics was always my passion and dream, the next obvious step was Midwifery. I began the Masters program at the University of Maryland in Baltimore while working as a nurse. While the program is two years, I chose to complete it in four years as I worked as a nurse while in school and got more experience. The Nurse-Midwifery track was through the Masters of Nursing program and included didactic instruction as well as clinical requirements.
Upon completion of my MSN (Masters of Science in Nursing), I began looking for a job which would best fit my philosophy of hands-on patient care and a relaxed environment so I would get to know my patients. Many medical offices require an intense patient load in order to cover costs. Spending 5 minutes with a patient is hardly long enough to answer pressing questions of a family journeying into the birth world, let alone get to know the woman and her partner.
I was very fortunate to begin my midwifery career with Kathleen Slone, CNM and Associates. Kathy feels it’s extremely important to spend sufficient time with patients and develop a trusting relationship as well as provide education throughout the pregnancy and life cycle. The open, patient-centered, warm atmosphere, as well as the strong connection to creating a holistic, natural approach towards pregnancy and birth fit well with the midwife I was hoping to become.
In the eight years I worked with Kathy Slone’s practice, I developed incredible skills and knowledge and honed my feelings of where I belong in the birth world. While I love being able to provide care to families desiring a hospital birth, I have found that there are insufficient resources for families who prefer to have a safe, fulfilling birth experience in their own home. Hospitals offer their own risks and complications to both the labor process as well as the emotional well-being and satisfaction of the woman and her support team. While doctors and hospitals are more than appropriate and necessary in certain circumstances, birth is a natural, normal process that can be hindered when taking a woman out of her environment and comfort zone. There aren’t enough options for women in this area, and I want to change that.