Call the Midwife Reminds Us That Midwifery Is a Calling

Posted by Andrea Altomaro on
Neal Street Productions

Last week while watching Call the Midwife, I thought about how the characters have become like old friends. It’s been wonderful over the last two seasons to watch them grow and change. This feeling is reminiscent of how I feel when I read a really great book and think of the characters. It’s a great reminder to myself that I still need to read the book by Jennifer Worth that the series was created after!

The last few episodes have really made me reflect on my new career as a midwife. Being a midwife was something that I dreamed about since learning about it during nursing school. It was always one of those things that I never thought I’d actually do, or maybe I’d do it “one day” when I was older. A series of events while I was an ER nurse led me on the path to midwifery, and I am so grateful every day that I didn’t wait any longer! Midwifery is truly a calling and something that I feel so passionate about. I think I have the coolest job in the world, and it absolutely never gets old feeling someone’s tummy and having the baby kick, hearing a nice strong heartbeat or watching that baby emerge into the world for the first time. This isn’t to say that midwifery is always happy and wonderful, but it usually is. I still get nervous, I still hope that I’m making the right decisions, and sometimes I think about my patients and their families long after their birth experience and hope and pray that they had the positive birth they had envisioned. Even with the uncertainties, the stress and the lack of sleep, I love this life, and I wouldn’t change a thing.

One thing that always strikes me about the show is how well Dr. Turner works with the midwives. He is supportive, calm, knows when to stand back and trust the midwife, but is always available for reassurance and help when needed. I remember when Chummy first started, and she was nervous and a little clumsy, but so wonderful with the patients. Dr. Turner made a point to tell Chummy what a great job she did comforting a patient. That reminds me so much of one of the doctors I worked with. I had a crazy weekend on call, and it was my first weekend ever on “solo” call. The doctor on call for our practice would still attend any births that I did that weekend since I’m new. Of course, on that very first weekend, I happened to experience two malpresentations (when the baby is not coming out with the top of the head first) in the same night! One baby made a surprising breech entrance into the world (although instead of bum first, he came knee first!) and wouldn’t that just be the icing on the cake of that weekend that when I checked the next patient, instead of feeling a nice, smooth, round, top-of-the-head, I felt a little nose, then a mouth… Yes, some babies are born with a face presentation! Of course, while I think of those moms and their families often, I also think of the steady, unwavering support I received from my consulting physician that night. He was calm, focused, skilled, kind, and he is simply a wonderful doctor. And since I’m recognizing the wonderful crew working that night, I have to say that I was so glad to have two wonderful nurses working that day and night with me, too. Supportive, knowledgeable, caring staff makes all the difference in everyone’s experiences!

I am anxiously awaiting the season finale of Call this Midwife this weekend. As a midwife myself who does not have any children yet, I think of Chummy and how it must feel to be the one who should have all the answers, but experiencing something for the first time yourself is completely different! I find myself hoping and wishing that everything turns out well for Chummy, Peter and their baby. If there is one thing I’m sure of, though, it’s that we can expect another wonderful episode, and one that will keep us wanting more in Season 3!

 


Andrea Stadnicar (MS, RN, CNM) is a nurse-midwife who graduated in 2012 from the University of Michigan Nurse Midwifery program. Before becoming a midwife, she worked as a nurse in the emergency department and also in labor and delivery. Andrea currently works as a full-scope midwife with the Providence Nurse Midwives part-time.
Read More About Andrea |  Read All Posts by Andrea

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About the Modern Day Midwives

PBS and Detroit Public Television have partnered with experienced midwives to discuss their role in modern obstetrics and how things have changed in relation to Call the Midwife, which takes place in the 1950s and 1960s. Learn More