Volume 5 Issue 5

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Page 6 | Abby's Magazine - I have many professional titles and roles: physician, midwife, herbalist, author, teacher. Of these, being a midwife most informs and enhances all of what I do and who I am. Midwife literally means "with woman." But it also means, "to bring forth." Midwives listen, coach, cheerlead, care, reassure, support, and speak truth. At my best, I am a midwife in all contexts – not just to the women I serve, but to my partner, my children, my friends, my patients. At my best I bring forth their best – their strength, confidence, and belief that they can do it. And as a midwife, I am able to be patient about whether this happens quietly or with loud screaming! At my best I am deeply present and listen closely to what the people in my life are telling me. And I listen to the unsaid, as well. When I graduated from medical school at Yale I was given an award as the most promising primary care physician in my state for that year. This was not a result of what I learned during my medical education. Being a midwife for 20 plus years prior to medical training imbued in me the art of caring that should accompany doctoring but too often doesn't. As a physician, I care for my patients with the compassion, deep presence, and heart of a midwife, whether they are giving birth or being treated for pneumonia, whether they are trying to nurse their newborn for the first time, or have suffered a stroke, leukemia, or are in their last days of their life. And because the demonstration of presence and compassion is more rare than common amongst physicians, it was noticed. How Being a Midwife Made Me a Better Doctor Aviva Romm It is my understanding and internalization of the midwifery model of care, which places a partnership model and a patient-centered model first and which treats the body as wise and self-healing rather than as a machine that requires repair that makes me the physician I am. It is being a midwife that informs the care in the health care I provide to all my patients. And it is this true caring that inspires me to do what is best for my patients, and to truly know who they are as people, not diseases. I not only midwife my patients, but their families at their hospital bedsides and in clinic rooms. I care just as I would for an anxious expectant father or other children at a birth. I bring the whole family in. One evening a young woman came into the hospital in imminent labor with a 28-week pregnancy. It was the mother's own birthday. She'd been out to dinner with her family to celebrate when her water broke and she began having back-to-back contractions. She arrived at the hospital "feeling pressure" and was found to be 9 cm dilated – nearly complete and ready to push. The baby was coming fast, and given its small size, didn't even need full dilatation to emerge. We were in a small community hospital unequipped for the care of a severely premature baby, so it was quite a chaotic scene – trying to stall an imminent birth and arrange medical transport for the about-to-be newborn.

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