Suzanne Ryan is a midwife who helps deliver babies locally and in China.
1. Can you tell us about how you got involved in midwifery?
I was an Officer in the Army Nurse Corps doing acute care at burn units, emergency departments and ICUs.
It was a difficult time. Once I left the service, I wanted to be involved with seeing new life.
I became a Certified Nurse Midwife in 2000 and I have been very blessed working with moms and babies ever since then.
2. You recently returned from helping to deliver babies in China. What organization do you work through and do you help in other countries as well?
I work with a large Chinese Company that has (currently) nine private maternity care hospitals throughout the country. The hospitals are beautiful and envison a hotel-type service for these families. I've enjoyed visiting the different hospitals and educating parents and staff on international care. I have also worked in Haiti in a free-standing birth center.
3. Why are midwives needed in China and what is a typical day like for you when you are assisting with births there?
Chinese midwives, like British midwives, do all the natural births in their country — from labor to postpartum. The physicians are on-site and do all the Cesarean sections. I cannot be licensed as a midwife in China — I can neither speak or read the language but do attend births alongside the midwives and I especially involve myself with those who are expats and wanting a water-birth.
A typical day will involve reporting in the morning with all the physicians, midwives and nurses; then morning rounds; assisting with breastfeeding; going into the labor room to support a mom; teaching a class to parents on a variety of subjects; or prehaps going to a new hospital for a week and teaching staff.
4. What are the most rewarding experiences that you have gained from helping these women? Empowering the women to choose natural birth (over a Cesarean section) and achieve that goal with one- on-one labor support; doing immediate skin-to-skin bonding with their newborn; and encouraging and raising breastfeeding awareness
5. What do you hope that Chinese women will remember and value from your help?
Not to be afraid of birth and to empower others to have the best birth possible though support and kindness.
— Rimsie McConiga