by Linda Friedel | Reprinted courtesy of KC Nursing News

Just like the thousands of mothers she has worked with over the years, Kathy Melton, CNM, of College Park Family Care, is used to being up all hours of the night.

Though she doesn’t have 1 a.m. bottle-feeding sessions in a rocking chair or the bleary-eyed task of soothing a crying infant hours before the alarm for work goes off, Melton has a pretty important job: delivering those babies. According to Melton, lots of those newborns enter the world in the middle of the night.

“I’ve spent countless hours between midnight and 6 a.m. either sitting with a patient who is in labor or actually delivering their baby,” says Melton, who is affiliated with Overland Park Regional Medical Center and admits the practice of midwifery isn’t for everyone. “I have a commitment, a calling to do this.”

Melton considers one of the absolute highlights of her job—aside from seeing tiny hands and feet wiggle and squirm and hearing that first yelp—is empowering women to take control of the birthing process and their health. Education is a major part of midwifery, says Melton.

“Midwives encourage their patients to make decisions and choices that will be beneficial to them and their baby personally,” explains Melton.

As a Kansas midwifery pioneer and the third Certified Nurse Midwife to have hospital privileges in the Sunflower State nearly 17 years ago, Melton loves every aspect of her job. From establishing unbreakable bonds with moms-to-be to welcoming her patients’ sons and daughters to life outside the womb, Melton says she was made for the profession that she is passionate about—and will retire from in mid-July.

“It’s time for me to move on to another stage of my life,” says Melton, who will join her husband, a district manager for H&R Block, in Wilmington, N.C.

But before Melton starts to write that chapter, she has one very important piece of business: to deliver a patient’s 12th child. To make that momentous occasion even more poignant, it’s Melton who has brought all 12 of that mother’s babies into the world.

How many little ones has Melton ushered into the world?

“Oh, probably around 2,500,” says Melton. “I haven’t added it up because I think the sheer reality would totally exhaust me. Let’s put it this way: I’ve delivered enough babies to populate a small town.”

tags: womens care