Mermaid Midwife Apprenticeship Program Outline
Read more about my mentor and Evergreen alum Darby Partner CPM and Hawaii Holistic Midwifery
Holistic Prenatal Care- this included conducting prenatal visits, intake and informed consent, palpation of the belly, using the fetoscope and doppler, taking mama’s vitals, physical and emotional assessment, and more.
We discussed gentle water birth and the logistics of using a birth tub for labor and/or birth. I didn’t get to see a water birth yet but Darby has a tub for clients to rent out if they choose to.
Holistic Postpartum Care- including newborn exams, postpartum exams for mama and baby, lactation support, placenta and cord processing, and relaxation support.
Gentle Birth Practices- including Delayed Cord Separation- cutting or burning the cord is typically the last thing done before the midwives leave, approximately four hours after the birth. Some families choose to do a Lotus Birth- letting the cord dry up and detach without intervention. In this case, the midwives would assist in preservation of the placenta using herbs.
If the cord is cut or burned within a few hours after birth, the family can choose to have the placenta encapsulated and/or to eat the placenta in a smoothie. Encapsulation involves dehydrating the placenta, blending it into a powder, and putting it into capsules. The placenta medicine can be used by the birthing person to ease after-pains and baby blues, balance hormones, enhance milk supply, and ease menopausal and menstrual related complaints. They can also be given to the child when they are sick or separated from their parent. Capsules can last for many years if stored properly- in a dry container in the refrigerator or freezer.
Placenta examination is a fascinating aspect of postpartum care that will take much more practice for me, but I enjoyed inspecting the placenta in all of its detail and beauty.
I observed a Newborn Examination and read about more. I am beginning to understand reflexes, APGAR scoring, charting, and more.
Cupping is a great way to relieve pain and promote relaxation both prenatally and postpartum.
Darby also demonstrated Moxibustion Therapy (Postpartum Heat Treatment) o one of her clients using chinese mugwort.
I am getting familiar with doTerra essential oils and their various uses in pregnancy and childbirth. For example, clary sage and fennel oils massaged on the belly tend to get labor moving. Helichrysum on the perineum intrapartum will reduce the risk of tearing. Lavender is great for cleaning babe’s cord stump.
In addition to essential oils, I also learned about Herbal Medicine for the Childbearing Year, and Homeopathy for Labor and Birth.
I had the opportunity to support a laboring mother physically, emotionally and spiritually. Attending my first birth was an experience that cannot be put into words. The birth story does not belong to me, so I won’t be telling it here. What I will say is that it only reaffirmed my path of midwifery!
I had a chance to experience what it’s like to live life on call. I actually enjoyed it; it prompted me to get things done right away, just in case I ended up at a birth for three days. 🙂 It’s cool to see not only the clinical side of midwifery, but the lifestyle as well. Darby is great about making time for adventures and not just sitting around waiting for the calls. Of course, cell phones help a lot!
Also included in the apprenticeship were adventures to various parts of the island. We swam and snorkeled with wild hawaiian spinner dolphins, sea turtles, reef sharks, and all kinds of ocean creatures. We will be visiting Pele, the volcano goddess, this weekend, and we have explored other historic parks and sacred Hawaiian sites.