Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, "This is the way; walk in it." - Isaiah 30:21

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Here Already

We studied bones last week. The professor discussed the difference between a female pelvis and a male one. He demonstrated the way that a female pelvis is equipped for childbirth, and explained that if it is too narrow, the woman will require a cesarean.

It wasn't anything highly controversial, and there was little detail involved. No big deal. The childbirth educator in me would have preferred a discussion of cardinal movements, perhaps a demonstration of the coccyx swiveling back as the baby descends. I would have liked a reiteration that CPD is rare, and there are positions and practices that help the pelvis open. But this is A&P I, and I know that was a bit much to expect.

When I've taught birth classes, and when I've blogged previously, I have often emphasized to parents planning a physiologically normal birth that “midwife” or “nurse-midwife” does not translate “natural-birth friendly.” Nurse-midwives, I've said, go through their share of medical indoctrination. Some of them enter the profession medically-minded, some of them acquire it gradually, some of them hold onto their core belief in pregnancy and birth as normal, healthy processes that typically require minimal to no intervention.

Now I'm entering the profession, or at least, preparing to. And I realize just how difficult it may be, on a given day, to remember what normal and natural look like. Already, in my prerequisite classes, we're spending a significant chunk of time on what can go wrong. Because as medical providers we need to know what can go wrong, and what that would look like. But I can easily see how we could lose perspective on the frequency with which things go “right.”
This blog is my attempt to keep perspective. I'd like to share with other birth and alternative care professionals what CNM training looks like from the inside. Even more than that, I'd like my fellow birth-lovers to help keep me focused on my end goal – supporting and assisting normal, healthy birth and parenting – without getting caught up in a flawed medical model. (More on that subject another day.)

Full disclosure: The first time I went to college, it was to be a writer. That never happened, because I took a detour into social work, then alternative medicine and birthy stuff. I see them all coming together again many years down the road. (Yes, I envision brilliant, ground-breaking, socially conscious, deeply philosophical pregnancy and birth guidebooks with “Jenny Everett King, CNM, CCCE” printed on the cover.) So this blog is also an attempt to satisfy the writing urge, and keep things from getting rusty while I'm giving IV's and taking mostly multiple-choice exams.

Two months in, with maybe five years to go, and so far it's a meandering, fascinating, sometimes frustrating journey. We'll have a lot to talk about. 


  1. Glad you're here and look forward to your journey.

    A couple of technical notes... your post writing is really small. It'd be helpful if you could make it larger.

    The Link colors are also hard to see on the pages. If you could darken them, that would help, too.

    Otherwise, I love the layout!

    Feel free to delete this. ;)

    I'll be reading!

  2. Yay! I love this, ill be following!

  3. Hey Jenny- you aren't alone on this! I'm starting my CNM program in the fall- first as an accelerated 2nd degree BSN followed by an intensive 3 year CNM program. It was so nice to see that someone else shared my thoughts in A&P 1 when the pelvis was discussed!

    You have been added to my google reader :)

  4. Navelgazing Midwife: I've followed your blog for awhile, so I'm flattered (albeit somewhat intimidated) that you're reading mine! Thanks for the suggestions.
    Vanessa: I'm doing something similar, a two-year ASN then an MSN program. It will be fun to compare notes. Are you doing your clinicals in Pittsburgh? My first experience with midwifery was my daughter's birth at Magee-Women's Hospital in Oakland.

  5. Saw the link from NGM, excited to be reading it! I am a nursing student at the moment, and will continue on to get my CNM degree in time, while working as a birth doula and full time mom :) Looking forward to reading about your experiences!