I Started My Midwifery Career Pregnant
I literally accepted a position at Midwives of New Jersey and conceived at the same time. I was overwhelmed, yet excited about stepping out into two brand new worlds. Being a pregnant new Midwife was challenging. I was studying for my Midwifery certification exam following long workdays in the office all while suffering from first trimester exhaustion! At work, I had to put aside my own pregnancy excitement to focus on my clients’ needs and questions. Don’t think that I got any special treatment from my Midwives…pregnancy is an everyday occurrence in our world.
My First Trimester
I must admit, hate me if you need to, my first trimester complaints were nothing in comparison to some. I found that I slept well (which I now know is one of my superpowers), and that I had a decent amount of energy in the morning. My notable symptoms of fatigue and nausea crept up as the day progressed. To combat my nausea, especially during my afternoon or evening client appointments, I kept peppermint (mints, gum, or tea) on hand and always had a snack available.
My fatigue was a bit more difficult to ward off. I knew a cup or 2 of coffee in pregnancy was acceptable, but to my surprise, I never liked the taste of coffee in pregnancy. In my busy non-pregnancy life, I find myself drinking 1-3 cups per day, but being turned off to the taste of coffee in pregnancy was so weird! So… I went to bed early and didn’t try much else. I could have tried a B complex vitamin (for more energy and less nausea), or an herbal liquid iron supplement called Floradix.
These are the Supplements I Took With All 3 of My Pregnancies:
My Pregnancy Diet & Go-To Snacks
Thinking about it now, I never was really counseled about anything in my pregnancies, not my diet, my testing, my classes, or my birth. Obviously, I already knew a lot of it. But I knew the Midwives were watching me. My diet and weight gain were under scrutiny and it kept me on the straight and narrow! My morning plan was to eat a breakfast high in protein (eggs are a perfect pregnancy food) and have my vitamins ready to take with a large bottle of water (considering I felt more nauseous as the day progressed).
I recommend that pregnant women take their vitamins at the best time of day for them. I took mine in the morning, but other women may do better taking them right before they go to bed. Sometimes women cannot take their vitamins at all in the beginning of their pregnancy because the vitamins increase their nausea too much. In that case, I suggest that they just take folate during that time. My commute to the Hackettstown office was close to an hour, so I made sure to pack myself a ton of protein dense snacks that I could eat in the car. My go-to list included: pre-sliced apples with cheese or peanut better, mixed nuts, protein bars, and/or hard-boiled eggs. A full tummy made everything better, my fatigue, my nausea, and my long commute!
Hearing the Heartbeat for the First Time
When I was approximately 9 weeks pregnant, we tried to listen for my baby’s heartbeat with a doppler in our office. We did hear it, but I was still nervous and not exactly sure of my dating (since I conceived during a very busy, stressful time), so we ordered an ultrasound. There he was on the screen! My little Blobby (one of my friends named him that and it kind of stuck). Things were going to be ok!
How I Came to Understand the Process of Normal, Physiologic Birth
My Pregnancy Moved Right Along. Days were spent in the office, educating women about appropriate prenatal self-care, and nights were spent studying for my midwifery licensing exam. Throughout this consistent day and night routine, I gave as much attention as I could to my growing little one, but other babies coming “earthside” did make the time waiting for my own baby pass by very quickly.
There is a pretty long time after applying for hospital privileges before they are awarded, so I started my career as a Nurse-Midwife catching babies outside of the hospital. I now know what a gift that was for me both as a Midwife and as a mother. Without hospital delivery privileges, home birth is where I stretched my wings and cemented my new midwifery skills. I became an independent midwife in the most undisturbed environment possible for the laboring women AND the Midwives. This is when and where I began to fully understand the process and progression of normal physiologic labor. I am not sure any woman was better prepared for normal birth than I was, thanks to my simultaneous entry into Motherhood and Midwifery. Mamma Midwife here I come!