“Every birth is unique”

“Every birth is unique”

67
Student midwife Samantha Stavretis describes her experience as ‘life-changing’. Photograph – Richard Polden.

A Masters course at Curtin University is preparing the next generation of midwives, with students such as Samantha Stavretis practising hands-on care through one-on-one partnerships with women.
Samantha is only one semester into the Master of Midwifery Course, but says she is “definitely on the right path,” having found her passion at only 23 years of age.
The two-year course is offered to students who have already completed a three-year undergraduate degree.
“I’ve always had a passion for women’s health and once I finished my undergrad, I thought, do I want to get into medicine, or do I want to follow that discovered passion for women’s health?
“So, I found this course and I’ve just loved it,” Samantha said.
“When I was reading about it, I saw we had to recruit women and I thought that’s going to be super challenging,” she said, referring to the requirement to recruit 30 women over the two-year period, with whom the student works one-on-one throughout pregnancy, attending antenatal appointments as well as labour, birth and post-natal care.
“My first recruit – her name is Brittany – she reached out to me, it was her fourth baby.
“She was really easy going, really open to it and knew what to expect, so it was easy to build that relationship. She gave birth on Monday,” Samantha said.
And Samantha was at that birth, racing down to attend after getting the call at 5am.
“It’s thrilling, honestly, when you get the call, your adrenaline starts going and you’re super excited.
“You don’t know what you’re going to walk into, every woman’s birth is unique and different and there’s many turns and twists.
“It was really nice to follow her journey, be there for the antenatal appointments, feel her baby in her tummy and the be there for the birth, it was just magical.”
But thrusting oneself into one of life’s ultimate moments is serious business, and Samantha has been there to experience crushing lows that are a very real part of the role of a midwife: her first birth attendance resulted in tragedy, when the child was unexpectedly stillborn.
“For my first birth as a student it was the most heartbreaking thing I could experience,” Samantha said.
“It definitely made me question my participation in the course, I thought, is this really the right thing for me?
“There was nothing that could prepare me for that. But it has made me stronger. I’m more driven to give the best care to these women than ever before.”
Part of that care, and part of the course, included a placement at Armadale Hospital, under Coordinator of Nursing and Midwifery Kate O’Reilly-Bradley.
“We are a maternity service, with up 2500 births a year and have students through all the universities here in WA and the NT,” Ms O’Reilly-Bradley said.
“At the moment there is a shortage of midwives so we are looking at ways of promoting the midwives program.
“The goal is to grow our workforce, so they choose us and then they grow into valuable member of our midwifery team. Our goal is to specialise in women-centred care.
“They can follow a woman right through the pregnancy – it’s called continuum of care – all their ante natal appointments and they have to be very agile and flexible and committed to that woman’s pathway,” she said.
And while Samantha says that the course is challenging, there is no doubt to her commitment.
“I am just getting through each day, but I know I’m on the right path,” she said.
“I’m not sure if I’ll end up in the hospital or working as a community midwife just yet, but I know I’m in the right direction, that’s for sure.”

SHARE
Previous articleCat law change
Next articleMayor suing ratepayer