Midwives of the Revolution

Explorations, analysis, and reflections on women's health, midwifery, and politics from a feminist, marxist lens

A Day in the Life of a Pregnant Midwife

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A note to publish later… 

 Fridays are my on-call day. No scheduled clinic, just a day to take care of life, and catch up on some professional things, and, like all days, be ready to rush into the hospital if a patient is in labor.

Today, I woke up anxious from an bit of a nightmare I had the night before about completing an online course, deadline today, for renewing my Neonatal Resuscitation Program (NRP) certification. I prefer baby and nursing (breastfeeding, not my profession) dreams.

I had nothing else on the docket, and hadn’t even scheduled much else for the weekend, socially or politically, just worried about completing it.

NRP, unlike some other emergency resuscitation programs like Basic Life Support (BLS/CPR) or Advanced Cardiac Life Support, is almost always taught these days on a self-directed online course. 

For someone like myself, who has never been a labor and delivery room nurse, it’s a bit difficult learning the skills entirely from a book and DVD-ROM on my computer. It would be nice to put my hands on the “manikins” or instruments used for the program, before sitting for the “mega-code” portion of the certification. 

But no matter.

I spent the day alternating between my kitchen table, where I got teary-eyed looking at the simulated resuscitation videos (and completely overwhelmed by the premie section), and the living room, where I was playing music from my 2000’s record collection on the turntable with the new cartridge. In between Blackheart Procession and ventilating the baby’s lungs; the penultimate Sleater-Kinney album and intubation, I sipped my coffee and found that NRP wasn’t so hard after all. I was done by 5, certificate on PDF, ready to prove myself to the hospital NRP instructor.  

Then: baking inspiration! While my partner was on campus working on his dissertation and then heading for a social gathering, I munched on Dorie Greenspan’s oat-peanut chocolate crunchies and caught up on the third season of Call the Midwife, which I seem to have saved for just this moment. 

 If you are a pregnant midwife, I dare you to watch that show without weeping. It’s hard enough to do as a non-pregnant midwife. 

 I had planned to go to a political organizing meeting, but it was canceled. So I declined an invitation to a late-night jazz show — strict ten o’clock bedtime for me these days — and hunkered down for more nuns and secular nurses helping ladies and babies in post-war East End.

Just another day in the life of this expectant midwife. (Baby due late August 2015.)

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Author: withwomentrustwomen

I'm a marxist who is also a feminist who is also an activist who is also a nurse-midwife. Midwifery is about being *with woman,* -- it is about being present for transitions in a woman's life. Some of those transitions may be "violent" or forceful, like childbirth. The fetus is negated by the neonate, who can only be brought about by the force of childbirth. The midwife facilitates that transition, as force (or social struggle) facilitates the transition from one form of social relations to another. Scolding the philosopher Duhring, Frederick Engles defends the social force required to fundamentally transform society: "Force, plays yet another role in history, a revolutionary role; that, in the words of Marx, it is the midwife of every old society pregnant with a new one, that it is the instrument with the aid of which social movement forces its way through and shatters the dead, fossilised political forms." (Anti-Duhring, found here: http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1877/anti-duhring/ch16.htm#087)

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