Tag Archives: birth photography

Obstetric Nursing {Project Life 365}


Many years ago, around ten, maybe, I took a spiritual gifts class at my church. There was a three part assessment. The first was a really long questionnaire type thing to help determine what my gifts might be. I don’t really remember what all my results were. I know faith was number one, and I think prophesy was one of the top three. Anyway, that part is irrelevant to this post. The second part of the assessment was determining which people group I am made to serve. It came as no surprise to me that my people group was expecting and new moms. I definitely feel drawn to this group.

I began working as an obstetric RN in 1997. I loved it for a very long time. However, I eventually became disillusioned with the machine that was modern obstetrics. I turned to home birth. I began apprenticing with a home birth midwife. This is where my heart lay. I truly loved attending women in labor in their homes. But, it became difficult with my family situation and being on call 24/7. I gave up my life for these women. I gave up trips home (here in Wichita) to visit family for Christmas or a summer trip. I walked out of the movie theater because someone called in labor. I even missed my own baby shower once. It’s a hard life. It’s a life one only chooses if they are called to it. But it’s also incredibly rewarding. I eventually left nursing to focus on home birth. With the birth of Ian, I decided to take a break from midwifery. It was during that time that I discovered photography. I fell in love with it. I discovered birth photography, which was very obscure at that time. I felt I was uniquely equipped to offer this service. I understood the cadence of a birth, so I knew where to be for all the great shots. I knew what was coming next. Unfortunately, I was way ahead of my time. Birth photography was unknown and expensive. No one saw the value in it. Now, of course, it’s an entirely different story. There are dozens of birth photographers out there, doing their thing. There are workshops, forums, and even main stream news coverage. I think, eventually, it will become as popular as wedding photography.

Fast forward 5 years. I found myself in a place to need a steady paycheck and health insurance, which neither photography nor midwifery offer. So, back to nursing. It took me about a year to deal with licensure and securing a position. I’m sure it was God’s hand as I was placed right back into obstetrics. OB nursing jobs are pretty hard to come by since the nurses doing it rarely leave. Running around 12 hours a day, sucking up all that natural oxytocin in the air just feels to wonderful. Watching new families being born is far too gratifying.

Well, as you can imagine, modern obstetrics is a complete opposite end of the maternity spectrum from home birth. It requires me to participate in things that I have a professional disagreement with. But for my children, I will do anything. If I have to be a part of the machine, so they can have security and health care, then so be it. Because that’s what moms do, right? We will sacrifice anything for our children.

Yesterday was my first day doing obstetric care. I still carry around a midwifery model of care in my mind. I will still use that model to the best of my capabilities as long as it doesn’t jeopardize my job. I am fortunate to be in a birth care center that only admits low risk moms. This is limit what I have to do that goes against my own birth philosophy. God knew what He was doing putting me there. That’s for sure. I survived the day with only one small hiccup – one of our babies was circumcised. I didn’t assist with it. In fact, I went to an completely different nurses station so I wouldn’t have to listen to him cry. It was ok.

I’m so happy to have my job when so many people are out of a job. New grad nurses can’t find a position. I’m lucky. I know that. If I have to bite my tongue a few times (or a million), or walk away from a situation to catch my breath, I will still count myself lucky to be working, even if it’s as a cog in the obstetric machine. And maybe….just maybe….once in a while, someone will have an improved birth experience because I was her nurse.