Midwifery student, reflections on Yr One

It’s not been a year yet, but close, so I’m going to start reflections on this process.

I don’t like being a new midwifery student. It’s constantly being incompetent. It’s uncomfortable relationships sometimes.

However, I am very glad that I persevered during this year. It’s nice to see that I have grown and become so much more competent than I was at the beginning. And I’m in the process of getting into harder skills now.

So the early skills were vital signs—learning to count blood pressure–and realizing that there are several different qualities of sounds to be heard, and which ones to count. . . And hearing the baby’s breathing. And being able to count a fast newborn heartbeat for a full minute.

I’ve learned tricks that help me along. Like when I count the newborn heartbeats, I count to 60, then start over. So I usually have 3 numbers at the end of one minute– 60 + 60 + the third number. 60+60 gets me to 120 easily, then I add on what’s over that. As I watch my second-hand on the clock, I know that if in the first 30 seconds I’ve counted less than 60 or more than 80, then my end count will be outside of the norm. And I adjust accordingly. Is the baby in a deep sleep and that’s why the number is too low? Is the baby crying and upset and that’s why the number is too high? Or is the baby truly sick and is that confirmed by other signs? (We’ve transported several for infections.)

Things like that. Palpation, using a Doppler, sometimes a fetoscope. reading lab results, prenatal education, discomforts of pregnancy, monitoring labor, charting (aaaalllll the charting they do here!), filling out birth certificates, recognizing signs of needing to transport, and the transport process. It’s nice being a in a setting where midwives are an integral part of the medical community.

Skills that are higher level, that I’m working on now are vaginal exams (still struggling with this) and the movements to help the baby out (that they do particularly in this clinic and in supine birth in the hospital) and Active Management steps. The Expanded Newborn Screening is also a challenge.

I took CPR and soon we’ll be getting our NRP (neonatal resuscitation) certification. We’ve learned to insert IV, and I’ve successfully inserted IVs on 2 patients with assistance. I’m also looking forward to starting suturing in a few months. Seen things like hemorrhage and shoulder dystocia.

During this time period, I’ve been the assistant under supervision at 33 births, 11 of those where I was the one catching.

42 postpartum exams as an assistant under supervision, 126 prenatal appointments, 11 initial prenatal appointments.

I will be honest, that I’ve realized how committed I am to homebirth through working at a clinic. This clinic is good in that it fits exactly what women want and need in this cultural context and they are kind and helpful and have a good transport situation. We also regularly pray with our patients if they desire that.

It’s been quite a year.

Coming out of this war in Ukraine has been a double struggle. I’ve found the midwifery and birth work to be a good distraction from that heartbreak. Emotionally, mentally and physically I’ve not been myself, and I’ve been trying to be kind and patient with myself and others. I’ve never been through such a devastating situation and those around me haven’t either, so none of us really know what to expect or what this is like.

It’s been a horrible year, a year I’ve disliked intensely, been intensely homesick and heartbroken. But with God’s help, I’m enduring the suffering, and I am gradually re-emerging out of the darkness. I’m learning to integrate the devastation of my past and present life and the future expectations that I had into this current life. God gradually gives small hopes for the future and I trust him when it is a future that only God sees. I feel like we will not be fully healed until we can return to Ukraine and the war is won in a good way. But God also gave me the promise that he restores my soul. When I feel it is smashed and mutilated beyond help, he is the only one capable of restoring my soul, and he will do it, is doing it.

2 thoughts on “Midwifery student, reflections on Yr One

  1. Hi, I found your blog while looking for Ukrainian translations of “Divine Conspiracy”.

    It sounds like you’ve had it pretty tough. Hang in there, may God have mercy on all of us.


    • Thank you so much, Josh. And I’ve found maybe one of Dallas Willard’s book in russian, not sure about ukrainian–Hearing God, I think?

      He’s one of my favorite theologians and really influenced my life a lot.

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