Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Tools of My Trade #10

The Birth Stool
We actually have several birth stools at our center, this one just happens to be my favorite.  It is pretty low to the ground, so really helps to approximate a squat position.  There are handles on the underside so a woman can really get into the work.  It is hand crafted and made of a beautiful warm wood.  Underneath it we place a small mattress pad, some towels and a round mirror.  Depending on the light in the room (some mama's prefer it dimly lit and others want it a bit brighter), we may use a little flashlight as well.  The stool can be placed almost the bathroom, in the hallway, most often we are in one of the birth rooms.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Tools of My Trade #9

The Coffee and Tea Station
Once upon a time, in a horrible turn of events, the fancy coffee maker was like defcon 5 at the center.  Thankfully, we had a french press to save the day!  What can I say, the coffee is midwives, nurses, staff and family members as well.  We all know that birth happens around the clock and sometimes we need a little extra help to stay in the groove.  Of course, we also drink a lot of water and eat healthy well balanced meals ;)

Tools of My Trade #8

Blood Work and Blood Pressure
The stories the body tell and share.  I absolutely believe in "high touch/low tech" care and am blessed to work in a setting that, for the most part, accomplishes that goal.  That being said, there are some crucial pieces of information and care that come from these tools.  With these tubes, needles, cotton balls, cuffs and stethoscope we can get valuable insight into a piece of the whole and have a more complete, holistic picture.

Tools of My Trade #7

Teaching Tools and Nursing Pillows
As a midwife, one of my passions is client education.  In the Midwifery Model of Care, women are considered equal partners in their care, capable of making truly informed decisions about their care and choices.  I truly value and cherish the time I get to spend with women and their families in discussions; educating and empowering them, and in turn learning from them as well.  However, some of the most ardent "students" are the big brothers and big sisters....many a visit has involved a Mama using the nursing pillow to breastfeed her new babe, while the big sibling eagerly watches how the new babe negotiated the twists and turns of the pelvis.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Tools of My Trade #6

Oh, the Hose!
I definitely have a love hate relationship with this hose!  I absolutely love our birth pools, they are amazing for women in labor, and fantastic for birth.  I do not, however, enjoy the management of the hose.  Our pools are stand alone, with no internal plumbing.  This is good for the prevention of bacterial growth and the ability to clean them properly between each woman.  It is not good for those of us that have to drain and then re-fill the pools.  This particular hose is the "dirty" hose and is used to drain the water out, so it is connected to a lovely sump pump.  Now, don't be fooled by the mild look of the hose and pump.  The sump pump can be temperamental and moody, the hose itself loves to get tangled in your feet and legs, all in all it is a tricky business....especially at 0200 in the morning!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012


There are moments; moments that envelope, define and articulate this work.....

Discovering the first "clip-clop, clip-clop" of a tiny heartbeat.
Words shared to build a relationship.
The glorious, squishy rolling of a babe in the womb.
The reach of a hand, looking for comfort.
Ripples made from the breathing of a woman in the water of the birth pool.
Tears of hard work and joy glistening in the eye lashes.
The soft, fresh curve of a baby's ear.
The look of awe in the faces of new parents as they embrace thier baby.
Wide, surprised eyes as a woman feels the first latch of her baby.
Laughter shared over the happiness and discovery of the new "normal". 
Being witness to the growing confidence in new parents....

Listening to, and supporting a woman through postpartum depression.
Being present and available through the struggles of loss.
Discussions about difficult findings.

All of these moments and many, many more are the vocabulary of midwifery.....

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Tools of My Trade #5

A Baby Scale
Here we have a few things...all important to my trade.  A baby scale, a baby hat, our pretty personal birth certificate, a baby stethoscope and thermometer.  You can also see our "NST machine" the electronic fetal monitor...that we never use in labor, only during pregnancy and infrequently at that.  Some nice lotion for our hands, since we wash, wash, wash them all the time.  The last baby that I caught, weighed in at 8#13oz of deliciousness!