National Midwifery Week 2015!
Editor’s Note: The opinions expressed in this blog post are solely those of the author.
This week marks National Midwifery Week, which is a time where midwives are celebrated and recognized for the care they deliver every day. The American College of Nurse Midwives is using National Midwifery Week 2015 to spread the word about midwives using the Our Moment of Truth campaign and hashtagging #MidwivesMakeADifference on social media. We want to share with the world our excellent outcomes, to highlight that midwifery care is evidence-based and it works. For instance, my practice, the Henry Ford West Bloomfield Midwives had a primary cesarean section rate of 9% and an overall cesarean section rate of 12.5% in 2014. The national average is 32.7%, although the World Health Organization believes that rate should be no more than 10-15%. I feel like midwifery care is this amazing little secret, but that’s the thing—it’s not a secret! I want to shout it from the rooftops. Here we are! We are doing this!
I am using this National Midwifery Week to reflect on what it means to me to be a midwife. This has been a hectic year for me, and last October, I crossed over from being the midwife attending births and catching babies to being a mother for the first time. I didn’t exactly have the groovy, unmedicated delivery I hoped for; in fact, there was a lot more complaining and yelling on my part than I’d like to remember! However, I had my midwives who supported me in my choices, made suggestions when I was not sure what to do next, and helped me have a wonderful birth experience despite a long and exhausting labor. I remember my midwife, Lorie, asking me while I was pushing if I had some music I wanted to put on. I never got around to starting my “birth play list” that I spent hours poring over prenatally, but for some reason, that one moment stands out in my memory. She was doing what she could to help me have that dark, quiet, peaceful birthing time I had wanted so badly. That small gesture stands out because Lorie knew that while of course, our most important goal is a healthy mom and baby, the birth experience does matter. She and my other midwifery partners had listened to what I wanted prenatally, and even though everything did not go according to my “plan” (hahaha--wasn’t that a great lesson as to how my first year of parenthood would be, too?), she still wanted to give me as much of that experience as she could. And that is what I take with me to every birth I have attended since my own. Not everything is going to go the way we have planned, envisioned, hoped, and dreamed. However, there is that personal connection we can make with our clients and their families that can make all the difference in the world.
Being a midwife is:
- talking a young woman through her first pelvic exam
- helping a woman find the birth control that works the best for her
- supporting a woman through her desire for a natural, unmedicated birth
- holding a mother’s hand while she gets an epidural after a long, hard labor
- being with a mother during her cesarean section, and helping her get her new baby skin-to-skin in the operating room right after delivery
- sitting with a mother and her family after they have lost a baby
And so much more. Being a midwife is not always easy, but I wouldn’t trade it for the world. This week, and every other week, I am proud to be a Certified Nurse Midwife. Happy National Midwifery Week!
Andrea Altomaro (MS, RN, CNM) has been nurse-midwife for the past three years and is currently working for the Henry Ford Health System. Before becoming a midwife, she worked as a nurse in the emergency department and also in labor and delivery.
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