Friend and I have worked together for years... I was a new nurse, and she was the "seasoned" nurse (albeit, still a newer nurse --- but, she had a few years on me, so it all worked out!). She had a little guy who was a year or so older than my oldest Mini, and it seemed as we always had some common interests. Over the years - and many snacks, deliveries, and desserts - I like to think we've become pretty good friends.
(I'll interrupt myself here to say that I don't really have many close friends... or maybe I do. I don't know... what is a 'friend', really?? I think in the past year or two, this has changed a lot... I don't know. Anyway, where were we?!)
So, moving on. Friend and I are both moving towards the common goal of midwifery, but via different paths. While I am pursuing a degree in nurse-midwifery (CNM), Friend is going a slightly different route to earn a Certified Professional Midwife license. Basically - from my understanding (and I would love to be further educated, so please let me know if I have this wrong!) - Friend is learning from "the best", a very well-known and well-respected CPM or "lay" midwife in the area. This midwife has been doing births in our area for the past 30 years, and has welcomed hundreds (if not more) of healthy, beautiful lives into this world in the warmth and love of their own homes. She is active in the midwifery community and - I can only imagine - a wonderful source of perspective and learning for Friend. So while my education is coming from a variety of sources, primarily distance-based (online) until my clinical rotation finally started a few months ago... Friend has been immersed in midwifery since deciding to take the leap into apprenticeship.
There's pro's and con's, certainly, to each method. She's been able to attend births as a midwife - and get her hands (and her brain) - on those delicious, slippery babes from the beginning; I have had to wait until getting successfully past all of the theory behind the birthing. I've had a large community of support from fellow classmates and those who've come before me via my school's online forums; Friend has been cocooned in the intimate circle of the two CPMs that she has been apprenticing with. Friend's coursework is self-paced, whereas my program has traditional terms - with equally traditional (and stressful) deadlines, midterms, and headaches.
Our paths will also determine our future course (as is so often true). As a certified nurse-midwife, I will be - in theory - eligible to deliver clients in a hospital, birth center, or home setting; in my state, though, over 90% of CNMs attend patients in the hospital setting. Friend, however, will be limited to seeing clients in out-of-hospital settings (at least in our state).
This is where my mind starts to wander... I don't know that I am courageous enough to catch out-of-hospital births (that's a topic for another day) - but I like to think that someday I may be. When my mind wanders, though, I think about a modest clinic site offering prenatal and well-woman care, just outside of 'town' (our small town is around pop. 8500); a few exam rooms, a space for education, perhaps room to have a lovely display to sell some "nice" stuff that the kind of mamas that might seek out a midwife may be interested in - cloth diapers, breastfeeding supplies, etc. We could offer childbirth classes, breastfeeding support groups, and - possibly? - one or two birth suites adjacent to the main space; while (in my wandering self) I imagine most women opting for hospital births, Friend would also be available to attend home births, and the birth suites would be available for a birth center birth.
I don't know the logistics of any of this. I have no clue on the feasibility of it. In all honesty, it really is just a mind-fantasy, but such a sweet one. I don't know if Friend would seriously consider "joining the fun" - in the past, we have joked about starting such a venture... but how much was seriousness, and how much was jest is hard to say.
If nothing else... this all gives me a nice bit of something to start with for a lovely, 60-odd page paper that I need to write (and have yet to even start thinking about, by the way) this term, so that I can graduate this spring. Happy trails, on that happy note!