Life as a Midwife
Being a rural midwife is challenging, rewarding, exhilarating and carries a huge responsibility. Traveling many miles in one day to see a woman who birthed the day before. Checking on mother and baby to ensure both are well and the Mum is coping.
If the woman is breastfeeding her baby and having problems, she may ring in the middle of the night for advice and then if required, a journey to her home which may be an hour away. An hour there, an hour for the postnatal visit and then an hour to drive home again.
If the problem cannot be resolved in one visit, you are available by phone and then visit every other day until the problem is resolved and does not require as much input.
A woman planning to birth at a hospital some distance away means a plan made for the woman to arrive in a timely manner. Tracey lived an hour from my house and I lived a further 40 minutes away from the hospital. The first birth had gone well. She arrived at my house and we went in convoy to the hospital, arriving in plenty of time to settle in and a bonny baby girl was born four hours later.
The plan worked well the first time, so we planned the same for her second baby. Tracey rung me when she was in established labor, to tell me she was on her way. She would call into my house and then I would follow behind as we traveled to the hospital.
However, by the time she arrived at my house she was ready to push the baby out. I supported her into my home and onto the spare bedroom. Fortunately, I had a homebirth pack and equipment in the car used for homebirths. An unplanned homebirth at the midwife’s house was preferable to birthing the baby on the side of the road in either her car or mine. It is extremely messy as well.
Certainly, the life of a rural midwife is never dull or boring. Total commitment is required; to be on call night and day for the women. Caring for mothers and babies and being an essential health professional for the community.
Julie grew up in a small, rural town in New Zealand. After leaving school, she worked at the local maternity annex as a nurse aide, which gave her a love for caring for mothers and babies. Life could not have been happier until the death of her second baby at birth led to depression, loneliness, and despair.
Julie’s first book Born for Life: A Midwife’s Story follows her journey to overcome the challenges she faced to become the midwife that she was born to be.
She always had a dream to travel and work in a developing country. She had the opportunity to work as a midwife in many countries – including Zambia, Africa where she worked at Kalene Mission Hospital.
Julie’s second book Born for Life: Midwife in Africa describes her experiences living and working in Africa. She shares her incredible journey to make a difference in the lives of African women and their babies.
Julie lives in Palmerston North, New Zealand with her husband, Barry. She has recently retired and enjoys writing, traveling, volunteer work and spending time with her friends and family.
Follow Julie online!
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From a young age, Julie pondered what she would do with her life. A job as a nurse aide in the local Maternity Annexe at the age of sixteen gave her a love for being with women during labour and birth and caring for mothers and their babies.
Life could not have been happier, married to the man she loved and the birth of a son. The tragic and unexpected death of her second baby in her first hour of life led to depression, loneliness, and despair.
Born for Life: A Midwife’s Story tells of Julie’s struggle to overcome tragedy and who triumphs to become the midwife that she was born to be. The many birth stories are told from an era in the 1970s through the eyes of a young nurse aide to modern day midwifery in New Zealand as an independent midwife with her own caseload.