Written by Katie Temes ‘17
It’s finally springtime in Connecticut. Buds are appearing on trees, bulbs are sprouting their perennial flowers, and babies all over New Haven are being born. This year, I spent my spring break here in New Haven, joining YSN’s faculty practice midwives at the Vidone Birth Center at St. Raphael’s Hospital in New Haven. The “Vidone,” as we call it, became the training grounds for YSN nurse-midwives about two years ago. It’s a beautiful labor and delivery floor, where natural childbirth is encouraged through the availability of a tub room and nitrous oxide hook-ups in all rooms, so that women can elect non-pharmacological and short-acting pain relief in labor.
As students, we are encouraged to “labor-sit” – meaning that we are present and in the room with a woman for much of her labor, not only during the delivery of the baby. Catching a baby is a kind of magic: a head of thick hair crows slowly but surely, and finally there is the release of the smallest little body, perfectly formed in every way. But watching a woman labor naturally is just as miraculous. The rhythm of labor takes over and soon everyone in the room is following the mother’s unique labor pattern, attuned to her contractions, aware of what is soothing, offering what is comforting. Labor and birth is different every time, always a whirlwind of emotions and anticipation. Labor teaches the student not only to appreciate its slow and progressive journey, but also its individuality. To learn at this point in my education that labor is about patience, acceptance and welcoming the surprise and beauty of the unexpected – is to also learn the greatest lessons about education, about the journey to midwifery, and the journey of a new career.