Call the Midwife


By Rosa Nanasi Haas

It was noon and midwife Jessica Schwarz was caught with her head between a 42-year-old woman’s legs at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia one Friday in November. The patient’s water broke the night before, but when Schwarz checked her patient’s cervix and it was completely closed.

Schwarz gave her patient Pitocin, a drug that induces contractions and it started to do its job. The patient’s cervix began dilating.

The woman’s contractions grew longer, stronger and closer together. Her cervix started thinning out. The patient pushed harder and harder, until a little head started crowning.

Schwarz looked at the monitor and saw the baby’s heart rate dip. The dips continued.

The baby had to come out. Schwarz did a maneuver to help the baby deliver faster.

Schwarz delivered a shocked, eight pounds, 10-ounce baby boy at the Children’s Hospital of Pennsylvania.

Another delivery successfully completed, one of thousands Schwarz has assisted in.

Schwarz is currently the Team Lead for the midwives and nurse practitioners at CHOP who assist women during and after pregnancy. Over the course of her 11 years as a midwife, she has been present for thousands of births and has risen in her field to become a skilled midwife.

“I learn stuff here everyday,” Schwarz said of her job at CHOP. “It’s like the weirdest, strangest place to work.”

Schwarz, 37, received her degree in Midwifery from the University of Pennsylvania in 2003.

When asked why she is a midwife, Schwarz replied, “It was all the natural, earthy-birthystuff was what I really fell-in-love with.”

Newborn Baby

Schwarz began her career as a midwife in 2005 when she went to work at Lawrence OBGYN, a small private practice in Lawrenceville, New Jersey.

Schwarz explains how she hopes women feel after giving birth. “I hope they can come through feeling like they have a voice and they have decision- making capacity.”

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Schwarz had recently started working at the Children’s Hospital of Pennsylvania. A mother was admitted to CHOP.

When she arrived at the hospital, she was nine centimeters dilated. The woman was nervous and jittery.

Schwarz comforted the patient.

“Take a breath. It’s going to be fine. You’re almost there. We’re going to push the baby out. We’re going to be done. We’re going to be done before you know it.” Continue reading