Commencement '20: grads reflect

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Rachel Blatt / Brooklyn, NY
MSN, School of Nursing

What were you doing in your final semester?
I was at Stony Brook University Hospital on Long Island [New York], seeing outpatients, and in a hospital attending births.

How many births did you attend?
Let me do a little math here . . . I’m going to graduate having attended around 50 births.

What did you do after Yale ended clinical placements because of the pandemic?
I’ve been assisting a home-birth midwife, both at births and administratively. A lot of pregnant people in New York worried about going to hospitals and have been calling to find out, Is home birth an option? And how does that work?

I’ve also been organizing PPE donations for the larger midwifery community. We’re wearing N95s, goggles, face shields, gloves, and gowns. It’s a different vision than what we might have in mind for traditional home birth, but we’re doing everything that the evidence says we should be doing to protect ourselves and the clients.

What will stand out for you, looking back at your Yale years?
Something that will stay with me forever was going to rural northern Uganda last summer with a small group of other midwives, and learning from nurse midwives and traditional midwives at a birth center called Ot Nyal Me Kuc. In Acholi, it means House of Birth and Peace. There was the opportunity to see so much uninterrupted physiologic birth—the natural process of labor playing out with limited intervention.

Do you plan to be a hospital-based midwife, or a home-birth midwife?
I definitely plan to work in a hospital, and I’m excited about that. I’ve been lucky to see birth play out in a variety of settings. I think midwives are needed in all of them.