I have always loved babies. Even as a young girl, whenever I was around a baby I would ache to hold them. Even so, this path of serving Birth and Babies took its time unfolding.
When I graduated high school, and people asked what I was going to do with my life, I told them that I was going to study Medicine. When they asked why, I would say, "Because I love people, and the human body amazes me."
I started college taking "pre-med" classes, and became an EMT. While working on the ambulance, I learned that I didn't want to be a doctor. I didn't want their life or job. They were uncannily busy, with little time to spend on any one patient, and when they did spend time, it was often necessary for another professional (usually the nurse) to come and decode the conversation that had happened. I couldn't see myself in the role.
And so, I mused about other fields for a while... Physical Therapist, Occupational Therapist... My mother, herself a NICU nurse, kept her mouth shut for what must have seemed like ages, until one day the moment arrived when she felt inspired to ask, "What about nursing?"
She noted that being a nurse seemed to fit all the things I was looking for. Immersion in knowledge of the human body, more time with patients, flexibility, travel possibility...
I was accepted into the University of Washington School of Nursing the following year.
In nursing school, one might study medical-surgical nursing one quarter, pediatrics the next, and community nursing the following, etc. I enjoyed each specialty as it came along, and remember thinking, "How am I going to choose?"
My second to last quarter of nursing school was Maternity focused. I fell in Love.
When we started the book learning, I was hooked. When I saw birth for the first time, I was riveted. I was privileged to spend that quarter studying abroad in Costa Rica with a small group. I saw birth in a community hospital where the women labored together in a large room and then were wheeled across the hall to a cold, sterile room with a metal table for birth.
I saw birth in a private hospital that had a 70% C-Section rate. Costa Rica has universal health care, and there seemed to be a belief that if you were well off enough to pay for care, the technologies of Cesarean were the most desirable.
Regardless of set and setting, every birth I witnessed had, at least, a lingering moment of Magnificence. A moment where the world stopped and God entered the room, goopy and crying. And I was changed forever.