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Peer Pressure, I’m very sensitive.

It has been a minute since I’ve used this space but two of my best friends have recently taken to the social media and now I’m gonna, too! Their excellent writing has impressed in me the importance of using the online to spread information about women’s health. Please check out this great blog: https://acrossthespeculum.tumblr.com/ and follow this twitter feed: @southern_stdtNM. These are two brilliant women who inspire me to be more but make me feel like I’m enough. It’s possible that I will write some about women’s health, but no promises.

A lot has happened since I’ve been away. We lived in Carolina while Jared did the MBA thing and then we backpacked around South America for a few months (cause when else are we going to have the time?) and now I live in Nashville where I’m studying to be a midwife (what?) and Jared lived in Seattle, where he works for Amazon. We also exchanged sarcastic nuptials in a bar last March. Mazel to us.

But back to being a student midwife and all the amazing women I get to grow into this role with. After spending a year becoming an RN, which included spending time with a lot of 22-year-old blonde women, I am proud to call one or two of them my friends. My other comrades in this program are older, wiser and more brunette (although the true geniuses among us remain defiantly blonde). We are a motley crew of individuals from all over the country with different goals and opinions about women’s health. How great is that?

Our group runs the gamut. We have die-hard liberals eager to take issue with the status quo as well as southern conservatives whose norms are being challenged. I believe the breadth of experiences each of us bring makes all of us better. Our differences are representative of the wide range of women we will be serving, all of whom deserve health care providers who will advocate for their wants and needs.

A brilliant friend once said, “If I’m ignorant about something don’t belittle me, educate me.” This knife cuts both ways because I know firsthand that liberal New Yorkers are just as capable of being closed-minded as conservative Texans. Being truly able to embrace newness without judgment is a skill I have yet to master, but it’s one I aspire to. We have only to gain from being open to learning from people who are different from us. It’s when we think we’ve figured it all out that we’re really missing opportunities to grow.

This program has shown me both that I know nothing, Jon Snow, and that I’m capable of literally anything. We all are. In 18 months Vanderbilt has turned 140 students, some fresh of out undergrad, into nurses on their way to becoming NPs. What’s an NP do again? They help the doctor, right? And midwives – are they really still a thing?

In a nutshell, a nurse-midwife is an advanced practice nurse just like a nurse practitioner. A nurse practitioner is an independent health care provider who can work with or without doctors in a variety of settings. Other types of nurse practitioners include those who work in primary care, those who work in acute care (the hospital), those who just see kids, those who just see older folks and those who specialize in mental health. 95% of CNMs (certified nurse midwives) work in hospitals attending vaginal births and our scope of practice includes primary care for women from puberty through menopause.

Pelvic exams, STI testing, contraception prescribing, IUD insertions, prenatal care, labor and birth support, sexual health needs, menopause symptom management — midwives do it all.

The more you know.


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Sugar Magnolia

Allow me to paint you a word picture…

We’ve been living in Carrboro for about two weeks and after spending some time with a sweet kitty named Johnson, we decided that we were going to adopt a cat! Because most kittens are like crackheads, we decided to adopt an adult cat. The Orange County Animal Services people were lovely and after visiting with a couple of felines, we settled on a sweet orange and white kitty named Sugar. She was a stray before coming to the shelter very pregnant and, after all of her babies were adopted, she remained in the shelter. We were in love. She was spayed and we brought her home, after which we decided to add the Magnolia to her name and proceeded to play her the Grateful Dead song in alternate with “Sugar, Sugar” (the Bob Marley version). After a few days of her being terrified of us and sleeping all the time, now she has taken to sleeping all day and wanting to play all night. I know what you’re thinking: cats are nocturnal, why are you surprised?

Well, I’m not sure… we had the cats I grew up with since kitten-hood and they developed to be very human-like. They knew when bedtime was and they hopped right in and cuddled up. This is a stray cat, an alley-cat if you will, and she doesn’t understand why she’s not allowed to go outside. I really empathize with her because my cats were always allowed to go and come as they pleased, so as far as they knew, the entire world was at their disposal. However, this is an apartment kitty and we’re not ready to let her on the patio until we’re sure she knows where the food comes from. She’s sweet and wonderful, but we haven’t slept properly in days, so I’m wondering: does anyone have any advice for how to get a kitty on a schedule or how to stop them from crying all flipping night long?

Thanks in advance for any suggestions and in return, just in case my word picture is insufficient, here is a real one:


Sugar Magnolia, Fireplace Kitty.


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