A Day in the Life of a Portland Midwife
As a Portland midwife, we often get asked by our clients, or by the people in our lives, what our days are actually like. People often assume that our days are filled with intensity, intimate human experiences, unpredictability, and some days, just a little bit of sleep deprivation. We’re here to tell you that it’s true, as a Portland midwife, life is never dull.
At Hearth and Home Midwifery we keep a pretty full schedule, taking four estimated due dates a month, and we wouldn’t have it any other way! Our work is sometimes scheduled, sometimes spontaneous, and never short of awe at the human spirit and the power of the human body. We offer our hearts, a lot of brain power, our wisdom and skill to the science and oftentimes art that is homebirth midwifery. Here’s a little sneak peak into a day in the life of a Portland midwife:
I’m woken up to the pager going off from a client thinking that their water might have broken. I triage the call and make recommendations, talk about when to call back, and ensure that the client is safe and comfortable with the plan.
I am the primary midwife for the practice this week so I enter into the morning by loading up my car with the birth supplies we might need to attend a birth. We always have our birth supplies at the ready in anticipation of providing care to a client at any point.
At the clinic, 8:00am:
Both of us midwives check our email inbox and schedule prospective midwifery clients for their free consultations. We also respond to any emails from our current clients. We then take the time to review any labs or ultrasound reports that have arrived in our inbox from the previous clinic day. We strive to be thorough when sharing labs and ultrasound results with our clients so that each person we provide care to has a deep understanding of their own health, their body, and why we’re making any recommendations specific to them.
Leaving the clinic, 9:00am:
We’re headed out to teach a private childbirth education class to a couple nearing their estimated due date. When we teach childbirth education to our Portland clients, we come as a team, and teach a class that is tailored to them and their family. We come to our clients in their own homes and, honestly, have a lot of fun! It’s another great way for us to build relationships with our clients as they’re getting closer to having their baby, and it’s something we really enjoy doing. When we spend the time to connect with each of our clients over the course of their care, we have a deep understanding of what‘s special about each family, what their sense of humor is like, and how we can best show up for everyone who chooses us to be their midwives.
Headed back to the clinic, 12:00pm:
We’re heading into clinic to attend prenatal appointments for the day and we receive a phone call from one of our postpartum Portland midwifery clients. Since I’m driving, my midwifery partner provides postpartum care and gives advice over the phone regarding a breastfeeding issue. We provide 24/7 on-call support to each of our Portland midwife clients from the time of hire up through 6 weeks postpartum. We can always be reached on our pager, no matter what we’re doing.
At the clinic, 12:30pm:
Once we arrive at our Portland midwifery clinic we have a client waiting for us for our first prenatal appointment of the day. We provide prenatal care to a few of our pregnant clients and spend an hour in each appointment so that we can have enough time to provide informed choice during visits, offer the space to learn about each person, and to thoroughly assess the well-being of each pregnant client and their baby during our appointments. Each of our clients is invited to share whatever they’d like to with us during our time together. We believe in caring for the entire individual, and we know that social and emotional well-being are an important part of holistic midwifery care. Not only do we care about maternal vital signs, the growth of the baby, if there’s any swelling, what someone’s aches and pains are, and how much the baby is moving; we also want to know about how your other child is integrating your pregnancy, how happy or unhappy you’ve been feeling in your daily life, and how we can help you to thrive throughout your own unique pregnancy, parenting, and wellness journey.
Taking a walk, 3:30pm:
We take a break from client appointments so that we can eat, take a walk, and grab a coffee, of course!
At the clinic, 4:00pm:
We do a risk assessment as a midwife team for each of our clients. We use this time to consult with other providers as we need to in order to ensure best practices and to optimize client care. As a Portland midwife, we have access to a lush community of healthcare and maternity providers to consult with! Our midwifery community is strong, we value our relationships with hospital based providers, and we believe in having relationships with many professionals who offer different health care modalities to pregnant and birthing people.
After reviewing each current client’s chart, we take a break! We leave the clinic, go home, and spend some time refueling and relaxing so that we can be rejuvenated and prepared for the possibility of attending a birth that night. As a Portland midwife team, we highly value our own self care, health, and well being, so that we can be fully present with each of our clients when it’s their turn to be cared for. In order to honor our own well-being we end our clinic work hours for the day, put our cell phones on silent to all phone calls except for the pager line, spend time with our loved ones, and fill the remainder of our day with the other things that bring us personal joy.
End of the day, 9:30pm:
Finally, us Portland midwives head to sleep early, as we never know when we’ll be called away from our bed in the middle of the night, or early the next morning, in order to help the next client’s welcome their newest family member.
Typical clinic days look much different than birth days. When we are called to a birth we pause everything else and prioritize the person in labor. Sometimes, this means we have to reschedule our days at a moments notice. As a Portland midwife team, we’re able to divide and conquer when we need to, but our work-lifestyle almost always allows for us to both be fully present with a laboring client as the rest of the world fades into the background and just waits. While the daily life of a Portland midwife can be a bit wild and unpredictable, there’s nothing like the presence that a birth demands of us to remind us that being connected to our clients, and openhearted to the honest human experience, means everything.