Breathe Easy, You've Found Me ((HUGS))

People will wonder why this blog is needed, why minority midwifery student? It's very simple actually; I was looking for this blog...but I couldn't find I created it. We all have unique experiences, and every experience, every story, can help someone else. I am a black girl from the hood at an ivy league professional school. That, alone, is reason enough to write. Somebody was looking for this blog. Someone wanted proof that what I'm doing can be done - even when you come from where we come from.

To that person especially, WELCOME.

Monday, March 31, 2008

Ramblings, Part 1: Of course...

I'm coming back, DrJen, lol.

I'm a little on the edge right now. Poked my toe in the water, but jumped back.

I'm going through.

Thinking. Thinking critically. Trying not to make rash decisions. This is when I should be blogging most, but this is when there's the least amount of time to do so. I also have a hard time writing coherently when my mind's on fire. But then other times it helps to just purge it out onto the page. I don't know which one this will be ultimately, but I can at least manage a list:
  • I'm in the process of going through IRB for my thesis, which is a headache, to say the least.
  • My school schedule is overwhelming me...the two days of clinical + one or two days of call + two days of class + my little part time job are starting to feel very heavy. I will not be working at the library after the end of this semester. People often think my exhaustion has to do with trying to write a thesis on top of everything else...but actually my thesis is the one thing that is giving me much joy at the moment. It is the only thing that I actually want to do when I sit down to work on it. And with the phenomenon I'm looking at being racial fatigue and the critical framework being that of black feminist thought...I'm sure it's obvious to my loyal readers why this is the most enjoyable part of my education at the moment...I mean, I was introduced to standpoint theory and the cultural contract paradigm over the last two weeks and had to stop and thank the universe for giving me something, anything, to get out of bed for. ;o)
  • I am trying to get my stuff together for the NCLEX, which is not only a pain the financial, organizational ass, but also a pain in the brain because I think it's silly that I need to be licensed as a RN to be a midwife in the first place, but that's another blog (and I'm sure someone has already tackled it) and at this point I just 1)find the money and 2)follow the directions...and then at some point I need to 3)find time to study for it.
  • I am petitioning for summer funding...for work and also the ACNM conference which, I think, is absolutely ridiculously priced...why would you choose a hotel that has a group rate of $200 per night as the cheapest room option? Especially for a conference that's nearly a week long? And why would your reistration fee be almost $400 for students? But I need to go because that's where I'm planning to interview at least 2 students for my thesis.
  • Speaking of funding and writing checks...I filled out my FAFSA and got the shock of a lifetime when my EFC came back nearly 6 grand for the 2008-2009 school year. I gasped, but I didn't cry. I printed it, put it away, and will deal with it later.
  • I'm failing a class. Actually, half the class is probably failing the class. PHARM. I study more for the weekly quizzes in this class than I do for midterms and finals in my midwifery courses...and still I'm failing. Stressin me out. And I've lost like 30ish dreads, I was trying to count last night...I might have to chop it. Whatever, been there, done that a few times before.
  • Lastly, the more I'm learning, the more I'm hating midwifery. There. I said it. It's not just school...this always happens with me in school because I don't now, nor have I ever, really cared for school. Even when I was a little girl I hated school. I'm good at it most times, and I love learning, especially through reading and writing, but classes...multiple-choice exams...people interaction...memorization...I hate it. But's midwifery. They way I'm learning it...all complications, no trust in birth whatsoever. So much primary care. Hypertension + meds. Diabetes + meds. High cholesterol + meds. Anemias and blood diseases + meds. Genetics, genetics, genetics. Ugh. Seriously, if I had known...I might not have done it, and that's the first time I've said that I think. If I had known that all I'd study were complications, that I wouldn't know the women I was delivering, that there'd be very little continuity of care (start at the purple), I might have just skipped it. Everything is a risk. We're just waiting for something bad to happen. I know more about pre-ecclampsia than I do a 'normal' labor curve. And lastly on this topic...I had interesting conversation with someone about this whole clinical practice vs research careers in nursing and midwifery thing. This someone has done both, and is now conducting research and teaching. I was saying how frustrating it is that people are not 'allowed' to just say, "ya know, I really do want to just be a nurse researcher/scientist." It is taboo to say or do this without 'putting in time' in the field. People say you must work in the field to be able to talk about the field...that nurses, midwives, are always first and foremost clinicians. Well, while I certainly think that clinical practice is the backbone of nursing and midwifery and obviously very helpful, and a clinical population is necessary for clinical research, I do not think there's a certain amount of clinical practice experience necessary to be a good researcher...that is to say that I believe there is also honor in conducting (and building a career in) NON-clinically based nursing and midwifery research...what about our historians? Our stastititians? Our theorists? Instead, there is an unspoken expectation that most of a nurse/midwife's research will be clinically based and then she (or he) will periodically, whenever time permits, research those 'other' things. I am noticing that I happen to be more interested in those "other things." Another professor, whom I respect because she does all three (clinical, research and teaching - quite well, too) reminded me one day when she sat down as I was eating my lunch, that really, you need a clinical practice if you're doing clinical research because that's the easiest way to access subjects. It makes sense, no argument from me there. I think the vast majority of people go into these professions with the plan to practice clinically. So did I, among other things. But I also think there needs to be room for acceptance of those who have a different plan, and that room requires respect for people's knowledge of self...which I'm finding lacking in this place right now. Some of us will go into law, or policy, or administration, or education, or something else entirely. But we are all still midwives...right? Why should students be afraid to say that they don't think they will practice clinically? I have met students who are afraid to say it. And after meeting with that person above, who actually counseled me that if I ever felt disenchanted with the clinical practice of midwifery to NEVER, EVER tell my midwifery faculty that (she was also the person who said to never tell your teachers/preceptors that you never want to work as a bedside RN...she was right about that - there are consequences), I understand why they're scared. That's ridiculous...where's that circle of safety, now? Where's the trust? Where's the room for intellectual stimulation outside of the pathophysiology of labor and birth? Where's the space for critical thinking about not only one's assessment and plan for the management of the patient, but also the assessment and plan for one's career and life goals...for one's self preservation and growth? How is it that a faculty of midwives can not see when student midwives need midwiving? I believe they feel obligated to 'toughen us up' for the profession we are joining and the climate in which that profession finds itself. But there is more to raising a midwife than tough love. I'm fading. And if I'm fading, with my history of perseverance, then I know others are, too.
I'm back.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Virtual Postcard

Having such a great time!

Be back with a full report!


Monday, March 3, 2008

Into Open Arms

Reflecting on the day I was born makes me think of my mother.

At 4:32 she risked death (have I beat you over the head enough with the maternal mortality stats for black women?), insanity, and her identity to give me a chance.

I got a card in the mail from my daddy. That is his way, I love it.

He still sends me Valentine cards, too, no matter where or how old I am.

It's such a contrast to the man who doesn't do much of any of it, which is also fine by me. The man is practical which I love.

I have a midterm today.

And a pharm quiz.

I'll be at school from 8ish to 6ish....deep breaths...

Ugh. I just wanna go somewhere and write.

I'm so sick of school.

I'm on auto piolot now.

Usually I make my birthday its own holiday but we happened to have midterms, so that was out.

That's ok, there's always 4 days. Yeah. 4. OMG.

I was saying to someone last week that I was ready to have kids not because my clock is ticking, but because I have this odd feeling of my body settling in on itself. Getting comfortable.Bones setting into their final place...fat shifting into it's final place.

"I feel old," I said.

But it wasn't upsetting. It was relief. But still odd.

I was born today, 28 years ago.

On purpose.

To people who wanted me, were waiting on me.

And for a very long time, there was only me.

It has made a difference in my life.

I think of Brittany and I am happy. And sad. And grateful.

I woke up today.

My middle name is Joy.

Today, more than ever, that means something.