Oklahoma Student Midwife in the Making: Highlights & Hurdles of My First Year

Oklahoma Student Midwife In The Making

Table of Contents

my first year as a student midwife

As I close the chapter on my first year as a student midwife in Oklahoma, I find myself brimming with gratitude, reflection, and anticipation for what is next. The journey thus far has been challenging, with lessons learned, and beautiful moments of connection with families. From driving across the vast landscapes of Oklahoma to attend births, to the intimate spaces of client’s homes, I’ve become more passionate not just about the art and science of midwifery but also about community connection. 


If you want to learn more about why I decided to become an Oklahoma student midwife, you are welcome to read my previous blog about Becoming and Oklahoma Midwife.  

Starting the Journey as an oklahoma Student midwife

Three weeks before I began my first year as a student midwife, I gave birth to my fourth baby! She has been my study buddy all through the school year. This means that in a vast majority of my classes’ live sessions, I was most likely breastfeeding my baby while taking notes. It also means that during breaks & on the way to and from clinic and births, I was pumping for my baby back at home. I had to get pretty comfortable pumping while driving and just draping a scarf over myself so passing drivers couldn’t tell I was pumping. 

Leaving my littles behind to attend clinic and births was a difficult part of being a student. As a parent, you never want to miss a thing and this was my first time as a mother being away from my babies so often for work or school. It was a big adjustment for them but my husband is incredibly supportive and an amazing father who held it down at home and oftentimes had a meal ready for me to eat Kirby style when I got home before passing out in bed to recover from back to back births. 

You can also read about how I planned out and prepared for my first trimester as a student midwife at MCU on my blog post, My Student Midwife Journey – All Signed up for Classes

Student midwife NRP training
Kristin Grauer LM, Deanna Norris LM, and myself at a NRP training in Tulsa.

Academic Highlights

During my first year at the Midwives College of Utah, I completed 31.5 credit hours and earned a 3.93 GPA.

The courses I completed in my first year of midwifery school at the MCU were: 

Anatomy and Physiology of Obstetrics, IV Skills, Advanced Herbology, History of Midwifery, Midwife’s Assistant Orientation, Herbology for Midwives, Technical Writing for Midwives, Technical Writing for Midwives, Medical Terminology and Charting, Math with Statistics, Human Lactation, Equity & Anti-Oppression in Midwifery Care: Understanding Difference, Power & Privilege, Anatomy for Health Professionals, Phase One Practicum, Outward Mindset & Dialogue in Organizational, Community, and Relationship Transformation, Introduction to Writing, and Introduction to Midwifery. 

Oklahoma student midwife
Me and some of my textbooks for second trimester at Midwives College of Utah


Two of my favorite classes I have taken so far at Midwives College of Utah are Herbology for Midwives and Advanced Herbology. Ruth Anne Colby was an fantastic instructor and I really enjoyed attending our class live sessions to learn about herbal remedies from her and fellow students. In the first herbology class, we started our own ‘midwives gardens’. I researched and planned out my 2023 garden based off of this class assignment and this year my garden was full of medicinal herbs.

Getting to work with the herbs from a tiny seed through to a mature plant, and collecting it’s seeds for next year helped me have a deeper connection and understanding of each individual herb. It is one thing to read about herbs and plant medicine in textbooks and a completly different thing to immerse yourself in their world, collecting leaves, seeds, roots, and flowers from plants you started from a seed and making your own plant medicine. 

We read the book, Braiding Sweetgrass by author Robin Wall Kimmerer which was incredibly inspiring and spiritually enlightening for me personally. 

Clinical Experiences

During my first year as an Oklahoma student midwife, I worked under the guidance of Deanna Norris, LM of Holistic Birthing Services. I attended clinic at her office space in Edmond, Oklahoma through the week and was on-call for the home births of her midwifery families. I attended over 150 prenatal and postpartum clinic appointments and 20 births in this time period. 

In clinic this year, I learned:

  • How to take a client’s vitals including their blood pressure, temperature, and pulse.
  • How to set up for and perform a venipuncture (blood draw) for blood tests.
  • How to fill out lab orders, package specimens, & call the lab to order a specimen pickup for the different tests we performed.
  • How to measure a clients fundal height, use a doppler to asses fetal heart tones, and perform The Leopold maneuvers to palpate a baby’s position in utero. 
  • How to counsel clients on different tests and screenings like GBS, Gestational Diabetes, and blood testing. 
  • How to take an infant’s vitals including their heart rate, temperature, and respirations. I also weighed and measured babies.
  • The beginnings of the newborn exam and performed my first one in August. 
  • How to care for a client and their infant in immediate postpartum including vitals, assessing a client’s postpartum bleeding, and more. 
  • Why ferritin, hemoglobin, hematocrit levels are so important for pregnancy and that the majority of clients need support in increasing these levels during pregnancy. 
  • At the end of my third trimester of school, I was able to perform my first perineal laceration exam and newborn exam.  
  • And so much more!
My first newborn exam as a student midwife
Performing my first newborn exam on a sweet little midwifery baby under the guidance of Deanna Norris, LM.

Memorable Moments

I had the honor of attending 20+ births in my first year as an Oklahoma student midwife.

One of those births included a twin birth with a whole team of local midwives. Not only was this experience incredible because I was there to witness a beautiful twin home birth, but because I was able to wait patiently for these babies alongside several local midwives. Just listening to them talk about their experiences was wonderful. It isn’t often that so many midwives are all in one room together, so what an opportunity to be a human sponge trying to learn everything I possibly could! 

There was one point during my first year as a student midwife where I attended seven births in ten days! My preceptor and I were both exhausted to say the least! Having back to back births can be difficult for many different reasons, one of them being it often totally messes up your circadian rhythm. It took a week or two to get my sleep patterns back to normal again after so many births in a row with the help of magnesium, skull cap, and occasional melatonin. 

student midwife twin birth
The midwifery team for the twin home birth! Leading midwife Kristin Grauer in front. Deanna Norris, Michelle Gilley, myself, Alyssa McKenzie, Sarah Tilford, & a proud mama and her twins!!

Additional training and instruction

In addition to learning under the guidance of my midwifery preceptor, Deanna Norris LM, I also had the opportunity to learn skills from other great teachers and mentors! 


IV Skills & Venipuncture 

In my third trimester, I was taking the IV skills class. My field preceptor was a close friend of my husbands who is an RN and used to previously teach IV skills practice! Finding a field instructor for the IV skills class can be a little stressful because without the supplies and teacher, you cannot pass the class. You have to have your preceptor figured out by the fifth week of the class as well. 

Before learning how to perform placing an IV catheter, I completed over 10 venipunctures with my midwifery preceptor in clinic for her client’s. I am proud to say, that out of all of the blood draws I did, I only missed two people’s veins. Several client’s said that I was the best draw they had ever had which was super encouraging. I really wanted to do well for these client’s and give them as comfortable experience as possible when doing a blood draw. 

Spinning Babies

During my last trimester of my first year as an Oklahoma student midwife, I was able to attend the Spinning Babies Workshop At The Young Life Chiropractic office along with some of midwifery professionals. The workshop was full of other doulas, chiropractors, OBs, DOs, midwives, nurses, and more which was really cool. I Love Getting To Connect And Learn From Other Midwives And Health Care Professionals Who Are Passionate About Physiological Birth. I Built On The Skills About Encouraging Physiological Birth Through Spinning Babies And Also Learned New Skills That I Am Super Excited To Use On Upcoming Births.

okc spinning babies
Michelle Gilley and Rachel Brown practicing a new skill with me as a model at the OKC Spinning Babies workshop.
OKC Doula Oklahoma Doula
Practicing Walcher's Maneuver with fellow student midwife, Rachel Brown

Suturing Skills 

I was invited to join Michelle Gilley, LM and her primary student Rachel Brown for a skills practice in my last trimester. We went over suturing skills which was my first time ever getting to learn and practice suturing! I had a blast doing Michelle’s ‘Suturing carnival’ of tasks to help you build the fine motor skills to perform suturing! After doing the carnival, I was able to test my new suturing skills on chicken breast to see what it is like to suture tissue together.  We also had several really mind blowing and mind opening conversations about different midwifery relevant topics that helped me expand my understanding on midwifery care. 

student midwife suture practice
Practicing Michelle Gilley's suture carnival
student midwife skills practice
Fellow student midwife Rachel Brown and I working on suturing skills together
OKC Doula Oklahoma Doula
My first time suturing on tissue on a chicken breast.

Personal Growth & Development

I have grown substantially as a student and as a person through this first year as a student midwife. 

I have learned so many skills, jumped out of my comfort zone to tackle goals, faced uncomfortable situations with a brave face, and felt honored to be in such an intense yet exciting career path. 

It was a balancing act at first, and still is sometimes, to manage responsibilities at home and at clinic/births. Having four young kiddos and doing full time school and clinic is no joke and not for the weak. I have learned to keep trying my best to nourish my self and stay hydrated because you never know what is going to happen next in midwifery. 

My husband’s support makes this journey possible for me. He has made me waffles in bed when I am recovering from a long birth or back to back births. He sends me cute photos of my babies while I am away at births. He also listens to me when I need to express heavy feelings about midwifery work and life as a student. Midwifery can be Intense and having someone to be there for you when you need to curl up in a ball and question everything is super helpful. 

As intense as midwifery can be, it is also profoundly moving and heart opening. It still blows my mind that I have the privilege of getting to walk alongside families during their childbearing year as part of their birth team. I have witnessed so many little humans enter this world, take their first breath, and latch for their first feeding! What an honor that is! I am forever thankful for the opportunity to witness family’s grow & welcome their little one’s earth side. 

student midwife okc dog kisses
Getting doggo kisses from a midwifery family's dog while we waited for baby.
student midwife okc cat
Spending time with a midwifery family's furry baby while we wait for baby to make his way!

Looking Ahead: Goals for the Next Year

This next year is going to be a big one! I will be beginning my Assist Phase of midwifery school in the Fall 2023 Trimester. This is a big deal because as of now, I have technically been in my ‘Observe Phase’ where you shadow and watch your preceptor as they work. In the assist phase, you have a much more active role in the care of midwifery clients’ clinic appointments and births. My first year preceptor, Deanna Norris was teaching my skills beyond the observe phase that she felt were appropriate based on my skill levels. So I have a sneak peek of what the next year might hold. 

Academically, I hope to keep my GPA at a 3.9 in the next year. I am looking forward to all the new things I will learn in more advanced midwifery courses. 

Advice for Aspiring Student Midwives

1. Make sure you build a support team for yourself and your family before you begin midwifery school. The support system you have in place can help in making or breaking your future as a student midwife. 

2. Start networking and connecting with birth professionals and potential preceptors as early as possible as a student.

3. Connect with your birth and health and wellness community. Attend trainings, workshops, and conferences when possible. Reach out to professionals beyond your immediate location. For instance, I live in Oklahoma City, but I have met connected with Tulsa, Oklahoma, Kansas, and Maine midwives and students all over the world. 


As I reminisce on my first year at the Midwives College of Utah, I’m filled with a sense of achievement and anticipation. On the academic front, completing 31.5 credit hours with a GPA of 3.93 has been immensely gratifying. The courses “Herbology for Midwives” and “Advanced Herbology” were some of my favorite classes, weaving the magic of herbs with the art of birthing.

I was privileged to attend over 20 births, with one standout memory being a twin home birth. I felt like an academic sponge trying to soak up as much knowledge as I could from all of the midwives present during the birth. In one whirlwind stretch, I attended seven births in ten days. My poor sleep patterns were a little funky after this experience! Yet, I recovered with the aid of magnesium and herbs! 

I am really looking forward to this upcoming year of school. Come Fall 2023; I’ll transition to my ‘Assist Phase’, marking a significant evolution from my current ‘Observe Phase’. I will shift from an observing student to a more active participant, closely involved in clinic appointments and births. Thanks to my first preceptor, I’ve already had a preview of working in the assist phase, as she allowed me to practice assist-level skills that she felt were appropriate.

With academic aspirations of maintaining a GPA of around 3.9 and the excitement of diving into advanced midwifery courses, the upcoming year is promising profound growth. 

To my mentors, peers, and all of the incredible families I’ve had the honor of serving: thank you for shaping my path and enriching my understanding. For those embarking on this journey or contemplating it, know that it’s a road of both hard work, intense emotions, and immense joy.

 I look forward to the adventures the next year as an Oklahoma student midwife holds and hope to share them with you. Until then, let’s continue to champion birth, justice, and the power of community. Here’s to unfolding chapters of enriched learning and hands-on experiences in Oklahoma’s world of midwifery.

Jenni Jenkins Sekine Student Midwife

Jenni Jenkins – Sekine is an Oklahoma Student Midwife, Midwives Assistant, Birth & Postpartum Doula, and Child Birth Educator who serves her Central Oklahoma  community. She began her journey as a student midwife in 2022 at the Midwives College of Utah.

To learn more about Jenni, please click here.

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