Having found her place in the nursing profession as a Certified Nurse Midwife (CNM), Shellie Hawk, MSN, CNM, recalls her decisions and speaks to the joys of her chosen role.
On the first day of my OB rotation in nursing school, I fell in love with maternal child nursing and was lucky enough to get a job on a Labor and Delivery (L&D) unit about one year after graduation. I really enjoyed working with laboring women and the joy of childbirth. However, I was disenchanted about the fact that the obstetrician would zip in for 15 minutes at the end, deliver the baby and get all the credit. I knew I needed to find a way to give more and that is when I discovered midwifery. As a CNM, I could care for women during their pregnancy, support them in birth, and continue to provide gynecologic care.
Over the years midwifery, while still satisfying, has become more stressful. Women choose midwifery care for reasons way beyond natural childbirth. They choose a midwife because we give them time, we listen, and we attempt to give them the kind of personal birth experience that they think they want--and even if it strays from their plan, we stay with them to see it through to resolution. We are there when babies are born happy and healthy, and we cry with them when they are born still.
Even when I am tired or stressed, once I walk thru the door and start working, I am immediately rejuvenated. As I grow in this profession, I also find great joy in sharing my love of midwifery and women’s health with students. Watching students learn and grow into their own as practitioners only helps me to know that nursing and midwifery is what I was meant to do.