You know, I kind of dove into midwifery without even thinking about it. Waking up at wild hours is honestly one of the hardest parts of the job. But it’s not when I have to wake up in the middle of the night that’s the problem - it’s having to wake up at 5AM for my 12hr shift that drives me loopy.
This is how my schedule works: I work in a hospital practice, which means that I am one of about 10 midwives who rotate through call shifts in order to have someone at the hospital at all times. We each take a 12 hour shift, either 7am - 7pm, or 7pm - 7am. I do that about 2 times a week. Then I also have 2 regular office days, when I’m seeing patients for prenatal appointments or IUD insertions or postpartum visits. Those days are 8 hrs long. So I never have to be on-call from home, and therefore when I’m asleep for the night I don’t have to worry that I’ll be woken up to rush off to a birth. When I’m in the hospital for my night shift, I have the ability to go to sleep when no one needs me, but I always have to be ready to leap out of bed. I just treat that like I’m getting to nap during work, not like I’m having my sleep interrupted.
Honestly, you get used to it. Midwives, RNs, MDs, other night shift people - what do you think?