BellyTales.com

Well, hello again. Yeah, it’s been awhile. I’ve been very busy this summer, and I really needed to take a break after graduating and passing my boards and getting engaged and basically having my entire life turned upside down in the space of a few weeks. Just some space and time for things to sink in a little bit, and to relax for awhile. I spent the summer working as a nurse at my per diem nursing job and job hunting for a job as a midwife, reading novels and going for long runs (I ran the Nike NYC Half Marathon in August, the longest I’ve ever run before in my life, in 2 hours and 15 minutes, which I think is a very respectable time). I can’t quite believe that the summer is over already. It passed in a blur, but now that it’s fall, it definitely feels like it’s time to get back to work again. This is the first fall in years now that I haven’t been in school. I can’t even begin to tell you how strange that feels.

I am pleased to announce that I do indeed have a job. It’s at the hospital in Brooklyn where I did my intrapartum clinical rotation as a student, and was definitely my first choice. I had a fantastic time there as a student, and I’m really excited to begin to work there as a midwife. The staff is lovely, the midwifery director is a real leader who’s not afraid to stand up for her midwives, there seems to be a large amount of respect and comraderie between the doctors and midwives (although I’m sure there is the usual amount of tension and politics, as there is everywhere), and the practice itself is strong and growing, and very unique. Unlike many of the other hospitals in New York City which employ midwives, this hospital doesn’t have any medical residents, and it doesn’t have any private clients coming in with their attending doctors. All of the women who deliver there are seen by the staff midwives and doctors in the clinic, and are delivered by those same midwives and doctors at the hospital. Because it’s a very busy hospital, and because there are no residents, I’ll be getting an incredible amount of experience, and seeing and managing all kinds of things I probably wouldn’t be exposed to in other hospitals where there are residents. Another great feature of this hospital is the fact that there are always two midwives working during every labor and delivery shift, so I’ll never be working alone and there will always be another experienced midwife on the floor to use as a resource. As a new midwife, this means that I’ll get to learn from other midwives, instead of just from other doctors, and I’ll always have someone on the floor who shares my midwifery philosophy and viewpoint, which will probably make it a lot easier to resist pressure from others (i.e. doctors) to start pitocin, or break a woman’s membranes for no good reason etc. etc. And did I mention how fabulous the women themselves are? They’re an incredibly vibrant and lovely population: Hispanic and Polish women mostly, with Haitian, West Indian, African American, Indian and Bengladeshi women as well—you know, just your typical New York melting pot.

Sounds great, right? Well, I wish I could tell you more about how it’s going, but by far the biggest drawback so far has been the fact that my job hasn’t started yet. I was supposed to start in early September, but it’s late September now, and I still don’t have a start date. The problem apparently stems from that fact that this Brooklyn hospital has recently switched over to being a subsidiary (or some similar reciprocal arrangement like that) of a larger Manhattan hospital, and that this means that many of the Brooklyn hospital employees are now being paid by the Manhattan hospital…and let’s just say that it’s become clear that all the bumps in this transition have not yet been worked out. Since the switch happened on August 1st, I am actually one of the first new hires since then, and while I am apparently approved and credentialed at the Brooklyn hospital, I can’t start yet because I have not fully satisfied all of the requirements for approval at the Manhattan hospital. Which needs to be done, since ultimatley my paycheck will be paid by the Manhattan hospital, even though I’ll be working in Brooklyn. Last I heard, I may still need to interview with HR and/or the Nursing Department at the Manhattan hospital, but they’re still trying to figure out if this step is necessary or not. I must admit, this has gotten incredibly frustrating over the last few weeks. I keep waiting to be told where to go or who to call to set up an interview (which I am more than happy to do, if that’s what it’ll take for me to get a start date), but no one can tell me who I need to get in touch with, or what the procedure is for getting my application rubber-stamped. It seems to me like somehow I got caught in the middle of a political power struggle between these two hospitals. The Brooklyn hospital probably wants the freedom to hire whomever they want and start them when they want, and the Manhattan hospital wants the new hires of the Brooklyn hospital to follow their protocols and jump through their hoops instead, and it just seems like an awful lot of red tape that needs to be processed. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that hopefully after a month of being aware of this problem, and after nearly a month of people in the higher echelons of both hospital administrations working to sort this out (I actually had a phone call with the Executive VP of the Brooklyn Hospital last week), hopefully, hopefully some kind of compromise or approval process or something can be worked out soon, so that this eager new midwife (yours truly) can actually start her most excellent new job. Please keep your fingers crossed. I already double-checked: Mercury is NOT in retrograde, although all of these communication snafus would certainly suggest otherwise.

Which brings me to BellyTales.com. Since I’m no longer a student, it seemed silly to continue to maintain this site as studentmidwife.org. I switched it over to BellyTales.com (or, more precisely, my beloved boy with his mad computer skills did). All of my old posts are still there, nothing has changed, but now I intend to chronicle my adventures as a new midwife, instead of as a student. At least, I intend to chronicle my adventures, just as soon as my job starts. And now that I have internet again after a nearly two-month dry-spell (the story of how we finally got cable internet from Time Warner after 5 prior installation attempts is a saga which will thankfully go unsung at this moment), I will hopefully be online and posting again a lot more often. So huzzah. Life in the blogosphere begins again.

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4 Comments

  1. The Midwife
    Posted September 27, 2007 at 3:43 pm | Permalink

    Hmmm….I just changed my profile name from The Student to The Midwife, but that still feels very strange and premature to me at this point. I don’t quite feel like a midwife yet, even though officially I am, on paper. Right now, it still feels a bit like I’m a fraud. I’m not confident enough yet to say “I’m a midwife” and look someone unflinchingly in the eye while saying it. So, I apologize if my new profile name sounds a little pompous. Maybe I should just stick to The Student for the rest of my life, since I’m always going to be learning, forever? That certainly sounds a lot more humble, and much less like I’m an expert on anything, because I assure you, at this point in my career, I’m not. Eeek.

  2. k
    Posted September 27, 2007 at 4:12 pm | Permalink

    She lives.

    Ahhhhhh the addiction will be satiated again soon….
    oh sorry, did that sound selfish?
    You are a midwife.
    End of conversation….
    LUCKY!

  3. Posted September 27, 2007 at 5:22 pm | Permalink

    Welcome back!
    Good luck on your new job, I hope you’ll start soon.
    How many women will you be taking care of simultaneously?

  4. The Midwife
    Posted September 27, 2007 at 5:30 pm | Permalink

    Ah, yes, that is another small drawback to this job: when I’m on labor and delivery, I’ll be delivering whoever is on the floor in labor that day, so I could be taking care of only one or two women, or several, depending on how busy the floor is. This also means that unfortunately, while I may have taken care of a woman for all of her prenatal care, I’m not her private midwife, and there’s no gaurantee I’ll be the one to catch her baby. Whatever midwife is on the floor when she’s giving birth will be the one to catch her baby. It’s set up a bit more like the British and Australian models of midwifery care, if I understand those models correctly. Unfortunately, it’s not quite the one-on-one care that you really long to give as a midwife. Even so, while working in a hospital has never been my ultimate dream, I do think this is a really good first job for a new midwife, and I will learn a lot and really become comfortable with my skills, which means that eventually, ultimately, I will be able to offer those skills to other women in a private midwifery or homebirth practice (which is, indeed, the ultimate dream, but not for several more years).

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