For better or worse, we saw a pin on Pintrest recently that stated, “2013 is gone and shall never be spoken of again,” and we couldn’t have agreed more! This was the year of multiple transfers, nearly all of which were first-time mothers whose amniotic sac had ruptured – for several days – and ultimately became exhausted. We had several peculiar events as well, such as mysterious preterm hemorrhaging, molar pregnancies, galactosemia newborns and preterm births. All mothers and babies were, and continue to be, safe and secure, but the home to hospital transfer can be quite a bit to endure for everyone involved. We also had a unfortunate scenario with an employee that brought great heartache to the staff, drawing us closer as a team and each of us wiser because of it. However, in spite of the chaos, we also shared a number of fabulous moments that I wanted to share as I close the book on this monumental year.
Early in the year, Penny’s daughter birthed her first grandchild, Kaiden Gene. We had a wonderful mustache bash, and the girls were amazing support for her through labor. We have an amazing team of women here at Believe and I am truly blessed to have them serve alongside me. Kaiden was born on March 21st, 2013 and Keely proved to be the loving, attentive mother we all knew she would be. It’s hard to believe he’s almost a year old!
In spite of transfers being the last scenario any mother or midwife wants to endure, these unfortunate events did allow us to build a relationship with the providers at Methodist Hospital. Having already had some experience working within the facility as a nurse, and Penny completing her residency with the HealthNet team of midwives, we were already somewhat familiar with this network of providers; however, after one of our early transfers, the medical director invited Penny to meet with her and the head of each department to discuss collaborative efforts. They were kind and gracious, and well, Methodist is the true definition of utopia for homebirth midwives. In spite of having a twenty-plus nurse-midwifery team though, it was rather befuddling to learn how unaware the nursing and medical team are to the scope of our profession, especially the pediatric team. However, again, after much dialogue, this proved to be a very respectful relationship, offering seamless transfers throughout the rest of our trialling year. For this I have prayed greatly…
This winter was seemingly mild looking back, particularly now that we’ve experienced multiple blizzards on the opposite end of the year (makes you wonder if all our premature rupture of membranes were the predromal rumblings of a crazy winter to come). Look at this beauty though! I do love returning home from births in the early morning, just after the snow has fallen and the sun is glistening across its white beauty. It seems all is right in the world when you’ve left a family tucked warm in bed with their new baby, and you are returning to wake your own sweet children from theirs.
This late winter also marked the end of our Noah being a young child, because by the end of the summer, he was a grown man and scared everyone when he’d walk into the office from around the corner. He grew up so fast, it took reminding that he wasn’t a mysterious man who had quietly snuck into our midst. Noah graciously offered a great deal of his time to work in the Indianapolis office, assisting where needed, fixing things and moving furniture, or entertaining the younger boys while mom and dad worked hours on end. He became quite handy, and demonstrated a work ethic similar to his proud parents.
This was also the year we caught a baby who had a velamentous insertion placenta, meaning the vessels from the umbilical cord traveled from the protection of the warton’s jelly through the amniotic sac into the placenta. The risk of these are significant, as rupture to the amniotic sac can cause the vessels to rupture and baby would demise quickly. This mother had three ultrasounds, one or two of which were with a maternal-fetal-medicine specialist and never was this anomaly identified. Penny was the midwife in this birth, and was rather awestruck upon discovery.
There is no doubt this little young man is destined for great things. This sweet family gifted their midwife with this placenta and it remains with her today for purposes of reminding her that the Lord is always protecting her work, and to share with others for purposes of teaching.
This summer was quite beautiful. Gretchen and Penny traveled to the annual ACNM (American College of Nurse-Midwives) annual convention, which was the first experience for both of them and if we had a second, or third midwife, this would be an annual trip – worth every penny.
The end of 2012, Penny initiated her doctoral studies, joined the board for the state’s ACNM affiliate and CAPNI, as well as joined the legislative liaison team for ISNA. This entire year then, professionally for Penny, was about attaining leadership skills in effort to advance the cause of midwifery on a larger scale, and ultimately was the focus of her doctoral preparation – conflicted relationships, communicating as a leader, systems management, advancing the profession, clinical scholarship ect. This will continue into the next decade or two, but is certainly a new area of focus. While at the ACNM convention, Penny attended leadership training workshops specific to the affiliate, and she and Gretchen coordinated their schedules so they were never attending the same workshop. The intent was to share information; however, Penny is a visual learner and Gretchen is entirely auditory, so the strategy wasn’t hugely successful. They did however, have to ship home three boxes worth of information and gathered material, prior to their continued travel to Florida, that would be implemented into the practice over the next year. They each gained a bountiful supply of information. It was a midwifery Christmas!
Florida’s travels were anticipated to be in effort to host our bi-annual vaginal breech workshop; however, our primary speaker had canceled and so we had refunded all registrations and canceled the workshop at the very last minute. The financial loss was significant, but having non-refundable plane tickets and hotel reservations, Gretchen took opportunity to study for her nursing boards on the beach and Penny joined her in completing necessary doctoral work and spending time with Cindi, her very favorite midwifery sister. Cindi has a practice, Gentle Birth Options in Niceville, Florida, and she and Penny share time each year together, helping the other draw boundaries, stealing ideas, training each other’s staff, identifying in each other areas for improvement and most importantly, encouraging each other. This summer’s visit also consisted of a great deal of shrimp, lobster, sushi, and wine… and well, we all got piercings too.
This year our practice transitioned to a new electronic health record, a second office in Indianapolis, opened our boutique for shopping, and met Pam Rossio, who would later determine Believe Midwifery Services would be a good fit for her final career destination. We invited her to attend a birth with us in June, with mother’s permission, and she proved invaluable and thoroughly enjoyable. Of course, this was one of our more momentous births, a fairly significant postpartum hemorrhage. Pam was confident, trusting, easy to collaborate with, understood her place within the client’s home, and ultimately assisted us in extending care that allowed us to support the mother’s needs while remaining at home. While it would seem you’d want to demonstrate the most beautiful of births, it is these emergencies that really test the midwife and allowed us to see in each other, our strengths and commitment.
A great deal of work in the fall of 2013, was put into cleaning and preparing the Indianapolis clinic for receiving clients. The house itself required a great deal of work, as well as doubling the equipment and supplies. Coordinating additional staff for the additional office and adding the boutique proved to be a rather tall order for a solo midwife, simultaneously homeschooling three rambunctious boys, while earning her doctorate in an accelerated program, as she worked on the board of two professional groups, a legislative team, and a national committee while compensating for a hole in our budget that sucked away enough to purchase a small home before it was discovered and corked. (This might explain the additional thirty pound weight gain to Penny’s mid-section and third chin, but that soon will be gone! There will be no sharing of pictures here.)
Certainly, the Lane family was a world of support to Penny and the practice, a blessing beyond her ability to articulate. After moving in, Penny shared with her husband, that there was an unfinished attic that they could potentially redo to include office space – “and there’s even a window!” After her teenage son visited to inspect the new place, he quickly pointed out that what appeared to be light from a window was instead a HUGE hole where which rain had poured for many, many months. Each and every room required painting, lights to be hung, blinds in every room to be fitted, holes in the wall to be plastered, pump replaced in water fountain, new garbage disposal, even vines and tree branches needed peeled out of the window ceils where they had grown in through the cracks. Our landlord, in spite of a plethora of calls (water heater replacement, rewiring, spa leaks, shower leaking, dead trees, washer leaking, ect) was a wonderful sport and assisted us in creating a beautiful space here in the historical district. Did I mention trips to IKEA… loads and loads, allen wrenches and more allen wrenches…
Better… did I mention the arrival of our new exam table? The story actually begins with the quote from our salesman: a few hundred dollars, less than a grand. I was shocked. I had imagined several thousands of dollars for a new fancy-smancy exam table. Great! No need to stalk Craigslist for a gem in the rough. Absolutely. We’ll order a new one for our new fancy building. The quote… was just for the cushioned topping. After having it delivered, and after the installers stated they absolutely could not get it up the stairs, and after my fifty year old husband said,
“No worries. Have then leave it in the front room and I’ll get it up there,” only one large scratch later, but absent any bodily injury… we learned that the base fee was not included in the quote and that would be several more grand. After pouting, for a few weeks, we wrote the necessary check.
We caught our largest baby in the practice this year, eleven pounds, eleven ounces and you should know that she is a VBAC mother (vaginal birth after cesarean section). One of my favorite mommas had her third baby with us, as did a number of favorite mommas this year. We have yet to catch the fourth baby in any one particular family… this winter may just bring forth baby number four!!
We taught several NRP courses, a midwifery assistant class or two, multiple series of childbirth education, and introduced the new Balancing Breast & Bottle class. We trained a student nurse practitioner and a number of nursing students.
Penny was an expert witness in three legal cases, the largest of which was a nationally recognized murder trial. The case was historical and held great potential for establishing precedent in the state of Indiana, imposing on the rights of child-bearing women.
Gretchen passed her boards and became a Registered Nurse, and Michelle Burton graduated from nursing school… soon to be passing board as well.
We made friends with the neighborhood diner – A.M.A.Z.I.N.G. hummus.
Of course we need to add baby statistics… those are a-coming… oral defense in a few weeks and then practice stats are near the very top of the list. Stay tuned!