AAMI Midwifery Skills Lab
The instructor was Kristi Zittle from Virgina Beach VA. We had 18 enrolled, I believe.
I did learn a few things. I went in with really high expectations. I came out understanding that I'm not really ever going to be the model of midwife AAMI graduates. It's funny because I totally surprised myself in finding this out about myself.
I believe our MSL was about 70% lecture and 30% hands on. Apparently if you want more experience, you need to sign up for the advanced MSL. You can't attend advanced before beginning. If you're someone who has been an active homebirth attendant, this might not be the best experience.
Still loads and loads of love and respect for Carla and those who are of that AAMI mind-set. I don't believe there is *one* kind of correct midwife but that there are so many women with so many different needs, we need *all* midwives.
I think everything we do/learn, is another stone in the path to midwifery.
Sorry to nag for details, but your first-hand experience is uber-valuable
I attended one as well. It was not exactly what I had originally expected, but I had recently been to the 2010 Trust Birth conference and met Kristi and Carla and I then had a much better idea of what I would find. I learned sooo much. It was so valuable. We did alot of hands on activities, many of the skills have already been listed by others. But we also did alot of learning ABOUT those skills and what leads to needing to know them, why you would use them, and why you would not.
It is an extreamly valuable weekend of information, knowledge and training, and the more we learn from as many different people as we can, the more well rounded we will be. I think all student midwives, and many "practicing" midwives, should attend one of these.
That being said, if you are just looking for physical hands on training, and you dont care to learn any more about using or not using them, there are other places you can get that. You have to come into this Lab with an open mind, open heart, and a willingness to listen and learn about women, birth, and midwifery.
I recently got back from the last skills lab that was held in Michigan. It was so amazing. I highly recommend it! It was absolutely worth every penny. I got to stay with the hostess and a few other gals (at no extra cost, amazingly) and I would sign up again any day just to hang out with them and exchange birth stories and experiences. Really it is not that expensive when you think about all that you will be learning about, the great connections you can make, the big binder of information and resources, plus your food and lodging being included.
I have been an apprentice for about a year and a half. I went in with pretty green, with some book knowledge, but few actual skills. The midwives I work with probably wished I would have had an opportunity to go to the skills lab before I started with them, but they took time away from their families and busy schedules to teach me a lot of "hands-on" skills. So, I went into the skills lab thinking that I've had 1 1/2 years practice on some of these skills, and I came away thinking if there's another one being offered in the Midwest, I'm signing up! I thought it was pretty heavy on the skills practice, though Kristi did take the time to make sure we understood what we were doing and why, and in what scenarios it may be appropriate. I also recommend getting your hands on the Practical Skills Guide for Midwives; it has the skills laid out step by step, but doesn't tell you the why's or how's or when's involved in each skill.
I really appreciated the TrustBirth perspective, as it's not one that I've had a lot of exposure to, and it's not one that you'll get from most books.
I feel very confident in performing most of the skills we learned, although I also learned that I don't think I'd want to suture anyone anytime soon, and I wouldn't be all that confident about doing a vaginal exam to determine baby's position based on suture lines, etc.
Ok, sorry to ramble on. I hope my experience with the skills lab helps you decide to jump on the opportunity!
I went to the same MSL as Kristina (Hi Kristina!!) and I had a wonderful time. I learned a ton! There is so much crammed into a few short days, so there isn't time to get really good at all the skills we practice, but I felt I had enough to then practice at home. Do you have the information packet for the MSL you are looking at attending? It has in it a long list of skills that are presented. We don't do all of them on real people at the beginning MSL, but Kristi has fake arms, fake bladders, etc. for practicing those skills on, so you'd still get some hands-on practice. Are you friends with (or have you "liked" I'm not sure which it is) the MSL page on facebook? There are pictures of several different MSLs there, and more than one person has been convinced by the pictures! Check them out. Overall, I had an amazing experience, learned a ton, and it was worth every penny and more.
I attended the basic msl taught by Kristi and absolutely loved it! I appreciate the focus throughout all of the class being that birth works, and it works best when we do all we can to support the mother, rather than "doing" things to her throughout her labor. The skills and knowledge were covered within the context of this understanding. I loved Kristi's style of teaching both in lecture and the hands-on skills. I have 8 children and listening to Kristi teach us about the wide-range of normal in labor and birth resonated so very much with me. The amount of information covered is enormous and we went home with a binderful that will be tremendously useful in our studies. Thank you, Kristi, Carla and all the beautiful ladies who have helped you learn what you're passing on to the generations of midwives to come. We desperately need midwives who know enough about birth to be comfortable keeping their "hands-offa, hands-outta and mouth-shutta".(Carla's quote) :- D