Making of a Midwife

There are still moments when I stare at my name badge, the sign outside the clinic door, my name on a chart, and think, “I’m a CNM, me.”

I started this post and sidelined it. I sidelined it because I thought it should begin with “why?” Why did I become a midwife?

I was told once that I should have an elevator speech ready that answered the question, “Why did you become a midwife?” My story just can’t be answered on an elevator. But this is the “Making of a Midwife,” not “Why?” So I will save that for later.

I was listening to a podcast recently, and the guest said something profound, “Oprah spoke to me, and it was like God was speaking right through her.” This was just what happened to me! Okay, in his case, Oprah was actually speaking to him, like in person, to him. I was just watching the Oprah show one day, and she said something. I don’t even remember exactly what it was. It was like God spoke right to me through her. I googled (was there google then?) “midwife” and traveled down an internet rabbit hole of all the things that meant. I settled on the plan to become a Certified Nurse Midwife.

I was 24. I had three kids under five. I had zero college credits. I did not live anywhere near a University. Our total taxable income for the previous year was four digits. I enrolled in community college to start the classes I would need to get into nursing school. Matt worked days on Mt Bachelor operating lifts, and I left the moment he got home to drive to class. Not so much offered online in those days.

I spent five years getting an Associates’s Degree in Nursing. There was a fourth baby in the middle of it.

Eight years and two more babies later, I started the coursework to get my Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing. I told people it would take me five years to become a CNM, it took me seven before I graduated and another year to get a job.

That’s a skeleton of the hours of studying. Grinding to get good grades. Wearing white pants. Learning labor nursing and newborn care and lactation at a community hospital. Taking religion classes that busted my worldview. Moving to Colorado for better clinical options and big city nursing skills. Commuting 103 miles each way to get clinical experience. Working two full-time jobs – and not getting paid for one of them. Sobbing my soul out when I couldn’t get enough births to graduate. Flying to Rhode Island and living with my clinical coordinator to eek out what I could to meet graduation requirements.

I may have researched transferring to a degree with an education or leadership focus in nursing more than a few times.

As I am writing this, I have attended the births of 125 babies (counting my grandbaby Athena) since starting this job. I write prescriptions for birth control, put in IUDs, give women bad news, measure bellies, advise perimenopausal women, and I love it.
I’m a CNM