Saturday, February 26, 2011


... now I'm just getting pissed.

When my 2 yr old is looking at me, telling me "I don't want you to be sad!" and running out of the room because she's upset that I'm upset... and I'm sitting here (again) blubbering like an idiot, with no one to talk to... I just get mad.

The Midwife just emailed me back. I fully accept that part of this whole thing is my issue; I am not a perfect person, and certainly not a perfect student. But. But. I feel like I have been trying very, very hard to reach out and figure out what she wants from me, to make this clinical experience work. When we were early in the experience, "daily evals" were necessary; I begged her for constructive criticism, and rarely got anything from her that I could work on besides "you're learning, you're doing fine." She told me often that if I needed to change my schedule because of work or family obligations, it was "fine", just to let her know - which I did, if it happened.

I don't know when any of this changed.

The Midwife has "worked with many students in the past and something just does not feel right". Ouch. Does it matter that I have worked with many, many instructors and preceptors in the past? I have never been told that I was "not right" before... no one has ever "fired" me as a student or preceptee.

First impressions are important... the Midwife, in her reply, seems to be saying that something has been "off" all along, and its noticeable not just to her, but the entire staff. She doesn't feel she's unapproachable or distant... so it must be me.

Well, doesn't this all suck.

My own dystocia...

Dys *to * cia : noun

DYSTOCIA: slow or difficult labor or delivery. (From Greek dystokia)

I'm stuck. Like a wayward fetus or a uterus that doesn't quite have it going on yet --- something just ain't right. At times, I feel like I get in my groove and things start moving along; my rhythm is a-rockin'. And then... something happens to knock me right back down.

This makes me wonder, right from the start, how far back I'm going to have to go to "fix" things. Midwifery is supposed to - and I love this - "high touch, low tech". Me, on the other hand... I'm more of a "high tech, low touch" kind of girl... I've never been a hugger, and I'd much rather text or email than talk directly to someone. (Is it just me, or is it a generational thing?) With all of this stuff--- I can't think of a better term for it --- going on with the Midwife in the past couple of weeks, so many friends have been in touch, saying "Call me", "give me a call", "let's talk!", etc, etc... And it sounds sooo good, and promising... but I can't. I just can't. Instead, I send out a pathetic little email or text, promising to call later, or assuring them that everything is "better" now, or that it's figured out...

(If you are one of those who's been in touch --- I love you, you're awesome... please, please don't take it personally. It's definitely one of my flaws, and - like so many other things I have going on - I don't know how to fix it. Keep reading for more on this...)

The Midwife is picking up on this, at least somewhat. "I don't know how to communicate with you." She says. "I don't know if you're coming or going; you have to tell me." My RCC may have noticed; we have only talked on the phone once or twice, very, very briefly. As much as that one phone call reassured me (she called me after catching on from one of my self-evals that I needed to talk) - I still can't bring myself to call her. I know that I need to be the one reaching out, and yet... I can't. It's difficult to explain.

I know that it is holding up my labor, though; after all I have gone through this far, it is stalling my progress.

This week was, again, tumultuous. The Midwife and I just are not in sync. I can't figure out what she wants from me; we are both getting frustrated. I am trying, so hard, to be there early and to try to do what she expects from me, before she asks or prompts me - but instead, I do the "wrong" thing. My self-confidence is crumbling, and my exhaustion and sense of being overwhelmed is growing by the day. As with Murphy's (or is it Murray's?) Law, the three births that we had this week were all "abnormal" - a shoulder dystocia, a cord that abruptly broke from the placenta (which subsequently required a manual removal), and a postpartum hemorrhage following an OP babe. How much of these outcomes had to do with my management (Too much traction on the cord? Did I let the placenta sit a moment too long at the introitus, letting clots build in the lower segment?), and how much was sheer dumb coincidence, is of course impossible to say. (I know the traction was, if anything, light... and the placenta was *just* at the introitus... but I also believe in the whole positive/negative vibes kind of stuff --- and I have not been riding a positive wave lately, believe me!).

So this is where we are at. As we were leaving yesterday - literally, over the course of about five minutes - the Midwife just barely started to talk to me. She asked if I had any questions, and then said she would "email me" again; then started to sigh a bit. It was good, to the point that at least we had some honest, face-to-face communication. It was not so good, of course, for the reasons above; face-to-face communication is not my strong suit. Between the exhaustion, the migraine that was kicking in, and just everything finally catching up - I started tearing up and was soon blubbering like an idiot --- very embarrassing but, on the other hand, I think a very honest reaction. It, unfortunately, made it hard to communicate any of my thoughts/concerns back to the Midwife, and ultimately made it a very one-sided (short) discussion.

Her concerns (think of them as a bit of Pitocin, if you will - hopefully, they will stimulate me to get moving and back on track): I need to keep her updated with what I'm doing, and I need to be more prompt. (I know these things... somehow, the one-hour commute has gotten worse and worse; staying somewhere during the week and only doing clinicals - and then driving home for the weekend - is starting to sound much, much better... As I described in a response email to the Midwife, my children are like sweet little eels, and they hang on me literally as I'm walking out the door most mornings.) I don't seem interested, and I just seem tired. (I don't even know where to go with this. I am exhausted, and I'm overwhelmed. This ain't gonna change, any time soon...) I'm going backwards. (Again, I feel like I'm going backwards in some areas...?!?!)

So, here we are. I've emailed her back; I need to be in touch with my RCC, but at this moment in time, I just can't bring myself to do it. The Mini-est and I are just vegging for now (I'm thinking a late lunch - delivery?), and that's how I want to keep it for a few hours anyway. I've se
nt out a couple "feelers" to try to find another clinical site for another perspective. I've also sent out a couple of resumes for CNM openings around the state - although I'm not especially hopeful about them (my being "ready" by June came up in the brief conversation the Midwife & I had as well...), it did give me something to do - and managed to shower and get myself and the Mini dressed.

I'll keep you posted. One way or the other, things do keep moving forward... I don't think there's an option of a cesarean in this situation (although, maybe being "taken out" of this site and heading to
a different one could being symbolically viewed that way.... I'm not even going to go there...) If you are the kind of person that does anything like this, I could use some kind of confidence/stress-busting/calming vibes... I know that this is the kind of thing that I make ten times worse myself, and I need to knock that crap off and get back on track.

Speaking of, I need to bring the Bears back out...

Monday, February 21, 2011

Snow Day

A snow day is EXACTLY what I needed today. Fate, or karma, or G*d, or my daughter's school district (seriously - the 2011 calendar they sent home in December had today listed as a snow day'...?! Wooooooah. Crazy, man, crazy... ), or Ma Nature, or all of the above, agreed; my driveway is covered in drifts of snow ranging from 2-3 feet deep. Since the Warm One conveniently blew a belt on the snowblower this morning trying to dig us out, I couldn't leave the house if I tried.


Such good memories of being a kid, sitting by the radio in jammies and waiting in suspense - sleep still crusting up our eyes - as the DJ's worked their way down the list of schools that were called off on account of the weather. My teachers (and maybe my mom or grandma) will take all the credit for teaching me to read, but I will swear to this --- I learned alphabetical order by hearing the names of neighboring school districts on the radio: "Abbotsford... Bonduel... Bowler... Clintonville... Coloma... Edgar..." Believe you me, when you are a kid and the glimmer of hope for a snow day is there, you learn really quickly how the name of your school fits in with the long list of other districts. And you will listen religiously to that same listing, over and over. And over. And over. (Because eventually, even as the bus is pulling into the school's parking lot, the school may just catch on that the roads are impassable. They might.)

A two-hour delay was acceptable... but a cancellation was golden. The whole day off, for... what? Some days, we kids would just lounge around and watch cartoons (or soap operas and court shows... hey, we were rural and relatively poor - no cable on the farm!). Or, maybe we'd suit up and head outside for as much of the blustery snow as we could handle... because realistically, most of the time by the time the schools were called off, the weather ended up being perfect for snowball fights, sledding, and snow angels. Eventually, we hit the Nintendo stage; then there was books, toys, chores, and all of that fun stuff, too... the important thing was simply that it was an unexpected free day. (Why I never chose to just sleep ALL DAY I don't know. What kind of child was I?! Dear heavens.)



I really, really did need a "snow day" today. Last night, when the bigger Mini-Me saw all the snow coming down, she asked me if I had to go to work (i.e. clinicals) today; I mumbled something about that I would probably have to, but it might depend on the weather. She then proceeded to remind me that she was having a snow day, and that she hoped I would, too. (Awwww!) And how she wanted to have three days in a row with me home... and to have "Dad" home, too... (he works a 'weekend' program, so it's rare that all four of us are home for a full day together). That planted a teeny seed in my head, which blossomed overnight - watered by the inches and inches of snow outside - into the pretty firm idea that a day of R&R would really be good for my mental health. I had pretty much decided, then, that I would just stay home and work on homework instead of driving the hour to clinicals (for a short 3-hr stretch of office, anyway), when the morning's news of nasty roads and crazy drifts and winds starting rolling in. Then, of course, the snowblower sealed the deal.

(Well, actually, what sealed the deal was the email response from the Midwife to my email from this weekend... which, of course, brought me down for a while. Whether they were tears of frustration, relief, anger, fear, or something else - I'm not sure. At one point during her email response, she noted something to the effect of "I'm just having a hard time communicating with you" -- and I think this is the crux of our difficulty. Whereas the Warm One and I have two very distinct personalities and they mesh well together, or some of my close friends and I are complete, complementary opposites --- this does not work so smoothly for the Midwife and I. There is no existing history, no extensive trust, no equal sense of giving... or at least this is how it seems to feel. I'm sure for the Midwife, it seems as though there is so much more at stake: these are her patients, this is her practice, and her reputation and her income. And I certainly do have my own large faults at the heart of this matter. Anyway, this post wasn't meant to revolve around the email... I don't think. I'm wandering... maybe another post later, or tomorrow, or something... )

So, all of these things in the end convinced me to stay home, jammies on, and french toast a la Warm One served up. Now, it's the Heffalump movie and job-searching online ( <--- read: avoiding the Birth Center paper).

And, did I mention that I am doing a phone-screen for a CNM position, right down the road, within the next couple of days? (Which may or may not be related to the fact that I called that facility to inquire about possibly doing some clinical hours with the midwives there - who I didn't know even existed - in the upcoming months, for a change of perspective...) ...

When snow falls, nature listens. ~Antoinette van Kleeff