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.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


I get to go to clinical today. Woo friggin Hoo. It is supposed to be my last day of prenatal/gyn clinical, and I so truly hope this is the case. (She has the option of having my come another day in a few weeks in December) I could really use any extra days in December to take call for labor patients.

In other news:

I got an SOS email from an underclassmen... I reposted two posts from December of '07 for her. (over in the archives) She thinks she's going crazy. I remember that feeling quite well. I don't feel that way as often as I used to, but sometimes, when things get crazy, that sense of "I must have been crazy to think I could do this" creeps in. As this semester narrows down, I feel it more often because I am in my last ever midwifery classes and I of course don't think I know anything. But I want her to know that she isn't crazy. She isn't losing her mind.

She's just in midwifery school.

And it aint no ways easy.

Monday, November 17, 2008

I Want to a Start a Petition...

that says NO MORE STUDENTS until you can comfortably educate the ones you have... NO MORE STUDENTS until you have clinical placements for them all. NO MORE STUDENTS if that means any less clinical experience... NO MORE STUDENTS without first really investing (and I don't mean just money) in new midwifery faculty. NO MORE STUDENTS UNTIL MIDWIFERY EDUCATION PROGRAMS CAN SUPPORT THEM FULLY.

The following is an excerpt from the current (until last week!) president of the ACNM who just resigned and sent the members a long email about her departure, and what lay ahead.

The ACNM strategic plan calls for midwives to be attending 20% of the women giving birth by the year 2020. I estimate that we will need 14,000 practicing midwives by then. Without a plan for producing these care givers, we are “sounding brass and tinkling cymbals”. Last week I spoke with the educators and the service directors as they met in Washington about this need. I asked them to think out of the box about developing a plan for doing this. Each and every one of us needs to think about how we can do it right now. Brainstorm ideas and communicate them to headquarters through your Chapter Chairs and Regional Representatives. Believe that all things are possible. When you talk with nurses, accentuate the positive and eliminate the negative about a career in midwifery. I know that every one of you would not have changed your choice to become a midwife. Use the Cochrane Review recently put up on the ACNM website and the cost-benefit study of midwifery education that will soon be released by ACNM. If 40 programs just admitted 25 students each we would have the potential for graduating 1000 students annually. We need to do this NOW. If nurses do not step up to the plate we need to look more at direct entry. There are young people wanting to be midwives and we need to open the opportunities for their education. Every practicing midwife needs to be involved in nursing education for nurses to understand the need and the career opportunities open to them in midwifery. This window of opportunity will not be open long.



I agree that we should support direct entry programs, but not because nursing "isn't ready." We should support them because they are equally effective sister midwives, period. Honestly, I don't even know how it is possible to have this conversation, this email, a strategic plan, about educating more midwives that does not first seriously address our faculty shortage and inadequate clinical space for students. Maybe this isn't a problem in every state, but from my understanding several schools are facing the same issues.

There are 16 people in my cohort and we're struggling... 25? 25?!?

No thank you madam president, no thank you.

Now... loan repayment to encourage me to become an underpaid, overworked midwifery faculty so that we might one day be able to accept 25 students per program?

Yes please.

As soon as possible, thank you.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Pity Party

I am tired, overwhelmed and sick.

I have two presentations to give this week, one on ethics and the other on some topic in black midwifery. My ethics presentation is done. I'm working on my black midwifery project now.

All I want to do is crawl into bed and go to sleep.

I have clinic tomorrow and it's supposed to be my next-to-last day, but there is a potential extra day built in if she wants me to take it.

I also have what feels like a mountain of random paperwork to do over the next few days that I am dreading.

Our car broke down on my way to the grocery store to remedy my empty refrigerator... just in time for the last 6 weeks of school, after which we were dumping it in the nearest junk yard.

Countdown to 5PM, end of semester:
37 days
909 hours
54589 minutes
3275355 seconds

Not soon enough.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Every Time I See Them Together heart swells and I unintentionally gasp... there are black people... loving each other... on national television.

...I think about this journey that me and the man are on... about the stuff we've seen... we've done... we've experienced... together.

...I am sure that there is no safer place for him to rest his head, his heart, his hopes.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

November 4, 2008

I have to write this before I go to sleep. We woke up and I put on my Obama tshirt that I got from a skateboard shop. It was a beautiful morning for November. The sun was shining and it was warm outside. We voted by absentee ballot mailed overnight express to Omaha on Saturday, November 1st. We headed to the mall to find T an Obama shirt to wear tonight. We went to the summit of East Rock to take in the view. Then we came home. We stayed home for a few hours, eating nachos and drinking homemade mixed drinks. We played around with this map on CNN where you guess which states each candidate is going to win. We kept saying, "he's going to win... he's going to kill it, there's no way McCain will be able to do it." We watched each state... we saw him win Pennsylvania. We saw him win Ohio. We saw him win Virginia. We saw him win Florida. We saw his electoral votes rise and rise and rise. But we weren't sold. See, we would not, could not, allow ourselves to believe it until it was really over. We kept saying "how will they cheat us out of it? What are they going to do? They are not going to let this happen." But then we said, "this is happening and we gotta get out of here, out of the house."

We had to leave, had to get to our people. I talked to my daddy, and then on the bus on our way downtown, I talked to my mama. We went to a party at Hula Hank's that was sponsored by Hot 97.3 and the NAACP. They payed no attention to the fire hazard policy. They let black people in the doors until we spilled out the doors. We stepped on each other, over eachother, and around eachother, no problems, no worries, all love. It was the first time we had seen so many black people in one place, in one spot, on campus. It was beautiful. We got drinks. I screamed so much I almost lost my voice. Over and over again the dj kept saying "we have a black president, we have a black president" like he couldn't believe it, I couldn't... can't... believe it. He kept reminding us that this "is it" and that we are family and if there ever was a day when we needed to love each other it was today. Today we made history happen. We voted in droves. We waited in lines that wrapped around buildings- some people for hours. Hours. They played hip hop all night...2PAC, Nas, everything. And not just between punk and rock and techno. Black fists in the air to Marvin Gaye's "Wake Up," perfect, wonderful black people's music playing nonstop... then McCain came on the screen and the dj said "I think this is it ya'll, he's giving up!" They stopped all the music and we listened. We could not believe what we were seeing on the big screens in the bar. He gave up, graciously, saying "CLEARLY the people have spoken." YES WE HAVE. YES WE DID. Then he... Barack Obama... our president... OUR FUCKING PRESIDENT... came on the screen...and we went crazy. My God. Black people hugging eachother, being nice to eachother, loving eachother. I was and am so fucking happy to have seen this in my lifetime. We listened to him speak about the century of history the 107yr old woman voter saw in her lifetime, and were moved. The moment he acknowledged his wife... that was it for me. That was the moment. I don't know why that was the moment. I don't know why that meant more to me than anything else. All I know is when I heard him say it, and then when she and Sasha and Malia eventually came out I was so intensely, insanely, overwhelmingly happy and proud. I couldn't even cry, it was like a state of emotional overload... then he kissed her. OMG. My heart melted. I turned and kissed T. All was right with my world right then. I felt like there was nothing, NOTHING, that could get in the way of what we're trying to do. If they could make it up there on that stage, we can surely do whatever it is that we dream of. Together, who can stop us? After seeing that, I kept thinking who dare stop us? Bring it on.

Helen texted me to say there's going to be hair grease in the white house now. I giggled and stomped my feet. Grease! In the White House! We texted back and forth for about 10 texts each. I can't call my grandma because it's too late.

On November 4, 2008, we elected the first black president of the United States of America. I was there. I am here. I voted for this man. On November 4, 2008 I celebrated the most important moment in history while on the campus of Yale University where I am a student. I am a student at Yale University... I voted for Barack Obama... I saw him win. For my ancestors, who never had the chance... for myself because I wasn't supposed to have the chance either... I voted. And my vote counted. And T's vote counted. Our vote counted. And it wasn't even close. We fucking blew it out of the water and then, from New Haven to Kenya, we partied in the streets.

God willing, this is what I shall tell my children.

Overheard As I Walked into Walmart

"Oh! There's your midwife!"

It didn't register at first...

Eventually my eyes focused on the couple standing in front of me and I recognized a woman I did a prenatal visit for, and who I triaged a couple weeks ago. She ended up delivering two days later. Her partner was excited to tell me that she waited until the very end to come in and she "didn't even get an epidural." She was so proud of her, and so was I.

I am still smiling (and shocked) that tonight, for the first time in public, somebody called me "their midwife." I don't know if that's weird, but I didn't really expect to have this experience. It makes me wonder how much better it will be when I have continuity with patients in a community that I call my own...

Tonight, without even having caught her baby, someone considers me her midwife.

I feel good.

Monday, November 3, 2008

A Productive Monday

I have a lot to do today (as I do every day)... It's a good day to provide a list of tasks that exemplify what midwifery school is like...

  • Renew my CPR certification (past due, got a "turn it in NOW" email!)
  • Put the finishing touches on a paper for class about health care policy and leadership (due now)
  • Turn in a mock letter to the editor (due this week)
  • Start my midwifery professional issues presentation (due next week)
  • Start my midwifery ethics project (also due next week)
  • Email the new participants of my study to schedule interviews (a week behind because I dropped everything to study for midterms)
  • Complete an eval for my last clinical session and email it to the preceptor
  • Turn in a copy of my exam to prove I competed the required online fetal heart tracing review course
It seems like it never ends, but I swear the end is in sight. There are only 7 weeks left in the semester, and that includes the week I'm taking off for Thanksgiving!

I'm almost there.

I'm almost there.

I'm almost there.

Sometimes you just gotta encourage yourself. (link)

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Voting, Hip Hop, & Partying (Surface Only)

I am Panera, writing a paper. Trying to, anyway. This is a distraction. Hopefully when I finish this, I can get back to my paper... I'm just not in the mood to write about nursing leadership.

I mailed our absentee ballots by overnight express mail this morning. They'll get there Monday, one day before they're due. It was so cool to review politics with the man. Looking up every candidate, reviewing their histories, where they live, and what they're claiming to be passionate about. Calling people who work with these people and asking them what they think (things like who's going to lead the power companies and community colleges, etc) I don't talk politics on this blog. Basically because I'm not all that interested.
I understand the smoke and mirrors of this so called democracy that has really been running like a dictatorship. But I vote anyway, especially this year. Because you gotta have hope. Like love, there is nothing left without it. After you find truth, and are all but mentally squashed by the negativity of what’s really happening in our world, you must find hope. Otherwise, you just close the shades, stay in the house, and die a long miserable life in the dark… in truth… in pain. Nah, I chose Hope. Between the two, what the hell do I have to lose? Rhetorical.
We’re debating whether we’re going to a brown folks party on campus on Tuesday. It would be so, so nice to go to a party where we aren’t one of a few in the place… so, so nice to hear hip hop on full blast, all night, instead of sprinkled between techno (which I hate) and rock (which I tolerate) and pop (which is ok). The hip hop they play between those songs is always the radio kind. Right now, I’m loving some radio hip hop, too, specifically the new T.I. album (yes I mean I love it, as I did another of his albums... you'd have to understand how confident it makes me feel to hear rap music- how invincible... "no one has a swagger like mine"and I'm gonna "live my life" wait a minute, you know what... I'm going to compile some lyrics that have been getting me through my last weeks here... yes I know, rap is so bad, please don't lecture me about sexism, I get it... we have a love-hate relationship) But Tuesday there’s a greater chance that I might actually get to hear some Blackstar, or Outkast or something. These are popular hip hop artists, too, but they don’t make the radio very often. So, we’d love to experience that before leaving this place, but there’s also some racist crap going on in the city involving another university around the road and of course our university has it’s own history of issues. So we’re thinking… do we really wanna deal with all this on Tuesday, or do we want to stay in and watch it unfold on TV? (The party has the potential to be easily targeted because it’s being thrown by the NAACP at a popular club downtown, on campus) I’m in the mood to party, but I currently have such a low tolerance for any drama.