Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Be --- Aggressive... Be, Aggressive...

(First and foremost, "aggressive" is probably the last word anyone would think to use to describe me. And personally, when I think of midwifery, it's one of the words that seems the least appealing... who wants an aggressive midwife?!)

But. I'm 1/3rd of the way through my clinical hours, and halfway through the births required for my program (woot, woot!). I'm thrilled about that, but still don't feel like I'm "there" if that makes sense. I still feel like a beginner. A pussyfoot. A lightweight. Dumber than a box of rocks. A little slow. Wet behind the ears. Scared. Mumbly, fumbly, and bumbly.

I can't be sure, but I think I lack confidence. A lot of it.

See, I've always just figured I was quiet, reserved; calm, cool, and relaxed. (And, to be fair - I think this is mostly still true; ".....they call me mellllllow-yelllllow....") On the other hand, my preceptor (we'll call her simply "the Midwife") is full of energy, and has been doing this a loooong time. She's got tons of experience under her belt - as an OB nurse (forever), then as a nurse practitioner, and as a CNM for the past decade. She's understanding - but she's driven. She can easily see 16-20 patients a day, plus manage a labor and have a surgery in the morning before her office hours. Knowledge and good judgment spilleth over her cup, if you get my drift; the woman is wonderful at what she does, and her clients love her. She is a wonderful teacher, but I think it's been tricky for us to work out the dynamics of our partnership; the first couple of months have been awkward and have left me feeling somewhat anxious... I'm two-left-feet-and-balding Barney, who was paired with the gorgeous and talented Ginger-Rogers-esque at the local singles dance class. I so want to learn everything from the Midwife (and to possibly build a lasting relationship, or at least a quality reference), but feel as though I just keep fumbling around at her feet.

I need to remind myself to speak up, breathe deeply, and trust in myself. No more light taps on doors - the Midwife tells me, "knock like you mean it!". No more mumbly little explanations - I need to enunciate, and project, when I speak.

(I don't think these are necessarily "aggressive" things, but rather "assertive". Unfortunately, there is no catchy "Be. Assertive. Be-e-e assertive..." cheerleading cheer, so --- aggressive is what will have to work in my little head, from my little midwife-on-my-shoulder cheerleader)

My RCC - regional clinical coordinator - is coming to visit my site in a few weeks. I just learned this today, from the Midwife. I am petrified, for the above reasons. (See also "Scared to Death"). What are the odds that there will be an impassable avalanche that day, or every single patient will cancel? Dang. A girl can hope (and will keep hoping).

This post, I'm afraid, isn't very exciting or enlightening. I'm sorry for anyone who just started reading --- what a way to join! I promise, there may be better things buried beneath... or to come.

Things To Remember: (Not-quite-pearls)
~ the bag of waters really won't break when it's just touched with an amnihook (usually)...
those buggars are tough!
~ the Midwife LOVES her some goo (so I am starting to love me some too)
~ bulb syringes get very slippery when you have gloves covered in goo
~ bulb syringes bounce (and are no longer clean)
~ Pull those legs back and try to give that cervix a little gentle help...
~ Sit on the bed for delivery - not on my foot...
~ Lower the seat of my stool before starting a spec exam
~ Keep the feet off the footrest (I guess it's *not* for me!)
~ A vagina/perineum is a lot trickier to sew up than, say, a block of foam or a cow-tongue
~ I'm learning


  1. everything you are feeling is 100% normal and it would be weird/concerning if you felt otherwise. I know, not much help, but it is true.
    P.S. Is your school by chance Frontier? I recognized the term RCC as it is my alma mater (sp?)....

  2. you've got me Aubre! :)

    (and it *does* help -- thank you)

  3. The site visit is NOTHING to worry about!!!!!!!!! Aggie is relaxed and laid back, much like you. As long as you have that "assertive midwife voice" in emergencies when you need it, you will be fine. Finally, I had this confidence trouble with one of my preceptors, and I am gradually building it. I have noticed when I have more confidence with her, she has much more confidence in me.

  4. I am so nervous to begin clinical. But I guess it's kind of like singing in front of a crowd - either I can get up there, project my voice and show them what I've got - or I can make a complete idiot out of myself..ugh ugh let's hope it's the first choice....easier said than done, though, I'm sure!! You'll get there, Mandi - I have faith in you..We'll ALL eventually get there!!!