How is the birth world treating you?
I was recruited by BRAND X* before I moved here. Went to work almost immediately as I was told no convenience inductions, no unnecessary Cesareans and birth plans are honored and supported. I had to observe the other teachers (I understand) who probably had never experienced or SEEN a normal birth. You know, teacher training programs are such a joke in this era. I cringed at things they would tell patients.
When the doctors started complaining that patients were asking to not birth on their backs, etc., I would point out the evidence-based slides to validate my teaching and the BOSS would take those slides out of the slide presentation—keeping the doctors happy and the patients mis-informed and lied to. Finally, when she forbid me to use the phrase ‘infant instincts’ when I taught the breastfeeding class, I just had to quit this job! I lasted 10 months and wanted to quit at 6 months, but I did not want any of my classes/students left high and dry with an inadequate “sub”. So, I stayed longer and still teach the truth, continued to be in trouble all the time (I know, you are proud of me) and turn in a letter of resignation when I saw an “out”.
Also, I was either famous or infamous (depending on if you were a student of mine or the hospital which lost money on the deal) for getting breech babies to turn head-down! I was also famous for that in Hawaii… Brand X’s administration started asking who this lady from Hawaii was? Is she crazy?” You see Brand X did not ever try to do external versions* – they just scheduled Cesareans saying it was just “easier”. Of course only easier on the medical staff.
One time my boss took me aside and said: “I have calls all day long of students who take the tour from you or another class and call to be registered into all of your classes only. You probably think of that as a compliment.” I said: “Yes, I see it as a compliment.” She said: “Well, it is not. ALL of our instructors are equally competent.”
I said, “Didn’t you tell me to have students call your office if they wanted more classes from me?” “Well, yes. But I have never in my entire 10 years here had so many calls for one teacher.” (I thought to myself – ALL teachers equally competent???)
I said: “Didn’t you ever have a college professor with whom you totally clicked and went out of your way to take more classes from that professor?” She said: “No.”
As for this nursing supervisor at Brand X, sadly and tragically, she is an old bird like I am in the field of childbirth education, though newly certified with Lamaze International. Her first baby was even delivered by the doctor who delivered my baby #2 and #3 – the hippie-dippie doctor who actually liked women and asked us what we wanted in our births!!!! So, she knows better than to support Brand X with policies that crucify the women, babies and birth partners. But she likes her job and the healthy salary that goes with it. All at the expense of Brand X’s birthing families.
Oh, I am also infamous for having my students arrive to birth between 9-10 cms and so calm the nurses look at them and want to send them home until they check them and find out!
So, to wind this up, when I worked my last hour for Brand X I turned in my materials and computer + name badge in to Nursing Supervisor X and said: “Nursing Supervisor X, if I even allowed myself to work in your position, which I would not, I would consider myself sleeping with the enemy!”.
BTW Brand X paid me a fortune to work for them. I liked the money and did get Lasik surgery. But I told Human Resources that to teach what Brand X and Nursing Supervisor X wanted me to teach, and to teach the “redacted” and manipulating slide series, I would be lying to my students. I looked the hospital Education Department Director (boss above Nursing Supervisor X) and the HR department head in the eyes and said: “You don’t want me to lie to our paying customers, do you?” They stared in disbelief at me, like I was a space alien! I know other instructors need the job and the money. But no amount of money can make me compromise my values, work ethic, morals and other standards to which I hold myself. But I can put my head on the pillow at night proud of who I am and what I do. I can look in the mirror and like the person I see.
So, how is the birth world treating me? As you know, these are the same things I have swum uphill again since 1977 from the start of my 1st birth experience in California through the madhouse of oppressive birth in Hawaii.
Nope, no more “working for hospitals” for me. I am always the best at what I do when I am working directly for only my students.
ASIDE: I call all hospitals I have worked for “BRAND X” to insure anonymity. Should anyone or any institution think they recognize themselves in my descriptions, I’d say that is purely coincidental as I have served in few instances in hospitals where birthing families have not been crucified by the Medically Managed Birth Models practiced there.
During the pandemic of 2020, a large Orange County Medical Center reached out to me and wondered if I would teach virtual classes for them. The nursing supervisor recognized my worth as an instructor. We had even been acquainted back in my early Lamaze instructor days when she and I were enthusiastic young childbirth educators in the 1980’s. I asked first if I could use my own course outline, own class handouts and other materials. I asked that it be at least a three-hour, five-week course. And I asked for a salary that matched what I was paid in Hawaii when I worked as an independent vendor for The Queen’s Medical Center.
I got all that I asked for. I said, “Yes.”
That being the case, I am working independently with a hospital. I will still never work for a hospital as an employee where my curriculum night be compromised. Of that I am sure. I am grateful for this opportunity to help the Medical Center that has shown me so much respect – and grateful I can reach even more traumatized expectant parents during this pandemic as a result.