Team Sethifer

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New York, NY, United States
We been settling into our new apartment and life here in Harlem since March. Seth rides his bike down the west side of Manhattan to school, work and volunteering. I take the train to North Central Bronx Hospital for work. My first job as a midwife is so rewarding. Seth applies to DPT schools this fall. We love it here - come visit us, we have room for you!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

A shout out to all the folks who have come to visit us since we moved to NYC in March 2008. Thank you, we had so much fun! Looking forward to a quick return visits and to the promised visits by Mike & Julie, Jenn's Dad, Kathleen and Dennis & YOU!:

We had so much fun last weekend with Timmy & Kirsten ( visiting us from Lancaster, PA! Cooking fancy meals at home, boating around a green lake in Central Park, helping to bring back the hula-hoop and then dining on yummy Venezualan arepas with Amber in the East Village.

Jeni Poell and Eric Sears came to Harlem from Brooklyn (almost another State away!) for dinner - Seth cooked a delicious VEGAN meal, even he was shocked at his talent. Now Jeni is in Texas finishing up midwifery school with a clinical experience at a long running birthing center on the border w Mexico. Habla Espanol?

Seth's Parents came to visit us at the end of July for two nights and we had fun hosting them for meals and exploring Central Park on a beautiful summer Sunday.

Kenny (who helped us load up the UHaul back in March) came for his 2nd visit to Harlem the day the Hamilton's moved their historic home from around the corner into St Nicholas park, right across the street from our place here in 141st Street.
In June Jenn's Momma came to visit us and we went to see the Yankees play during last season in historic Yankee Stadium. We had a blast!

Darryl, from our old apartment in Philly, and his friend drove up for a home cooked meal and to go to an exciting modern dance performance at "Summer Stage" in Central Park.

In June Jen Frazier left Hayden and Zach at home in Boulder CO for a few days of work in NYC :( She worked so hard we really never saw her. Busting her bum this year working for her new company Firefly Partners, she did take some time off with Z&H though recently and joined the mass of peoples in Denver to hear Obama accept the Democratic nomination for Prez. Wow, what an experience that must have been!

Ben McCool came from Philly for a week of working film production and stayed with us in March while we were still living in boxes, barely moved in. He was excellent company although with the hectic schedules among the three of us, we hardly had time to visit with eachother. We look forward to his next working week with us in NYC. His Dad, Bill McCool from Penn says that may be soon. Give us a call Ben!

Trips we have taken since moving to NYC:

In August we flew to the great Northwest (Seattle, Portland and Eugene) for 6 days visiting Jenn's family and some friends of ours.

We are very lucky to have Seth's brother Josh and his family live just down the turnpike in Philly. We've made a number of weekend trips back down south since moving to NYC, for BBQs, christenings or just to hang out, it's always nice to be at the PhilaKaeser's.

For the 4th of July we went to visit Seth's brother and sister in law, Adam and Melanie, who were up from where they live in Albany, Georgia spending the holiday weekend at her family's lake cottage in upstate NY. Great swimming, rowing around the lake, fishing, fireworks and excellent food and company made it a great weekend escape from NYC for us. Much thanks to Adam, Mel and her lovely and always gracious family.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Well well well, where to start? Since my last posting in January ...

In March Seth and I moved and settled into our new spot in Harlem. We love it! 3rd floor of a classic brownstone, with a living room view of Alexander Hamilton's historic home and St Nicholas Park. Great light and good neighborhood. The cross breeze has certainly saved us this summer in NYC! Please come visit us, we have a sleeper sofa and plenty of room (for a NYC apartment).

I started my first job as a midwife with the Midwifery Practice at North Central Bronx Hospital. My commute is only 30 mins by train and I work with a group of excellent, experienced and generous midwives and obstetricians. We boast the lowest c-section rate in the entire state of NY at 17.2% for 2006. Neighboring Columbia Presbyterian Hospital has a section rate approaching 40%, a crime, I say! Anyway ... I can not say enough about how much I love my job and how grateful I am to the midwives that have taken me on as a new graduate and are seasoning me in the most challenging and yet supportive way possible. The job is intense to say the least, but SO rewarding.

Seth has added a part time job working as a physical therapy assistant to his long list of weekly duties, but still manages to find the occasional free moment to get outdoors and play on rocks, etc. He is taking a full load of classes at BMCC in Tribeca and is also volunteering in Beth Israel Hospital's PT department. He rides his bike down the west side of Manhattan and can get just about anywhere in a half hour.

We been lucky enough to enjoy delicious fruits and vegetables this year from our CSA ( - we are able to pick up our share from the farm nearby, just down on 116th St in Harlem. Lots of tomatoes these days - we've really had to get creative in the kitchen!

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Student Activism: Advocacy, Grassroots Lobbying and Professional Networking

[This article was written for The Advocate, a publication of the American College of Nurse Midwives, January 30, 2008]

Ah, the thrill of being a new graduate midwife! Four long and challenging years ago, I began my academic journey into the midwifery profession at the University of Pennsylvania's School of Nursing. Success! Graduation came not a moment too soon, December 15, 2007.

Although I am keenly aware that my education in midwifery has really only just begun, I feel confident in the strength of my preparation as a new graduate. In addition to my exceptional clinical training, I have developed invaluable advocacy skills. These skills will enable me to better work within the systems I will encounter in my professional life, to protect and grow midwifery and to work to improve maternity services wherever I am. It was not always easy to balance the demands of work, home and school with the steep learning curve of grassroots lobbying and activism, but well worth the time invested. In reflecting over the past four years, I am particularly grateful to my fellow activist classmates, faculty, preceptors and mentors for encouraging me to participate in advocacy work while I was in school.

Christy Santoro CPM, Janet Lewis CNM, Katie Riley SNM and I published a mother friendly guide to maternity services in Philadelphia, The Philadelphia Guide to a Healthy Birth with the help of the NYC based organization Choices in Childbirth In turn I helped Friends of the Birth Center in NYC raise funds for their New Space for Women at the premiere of Ricki Lake's film, The Business of Being Born. ACNM Executive Director, Lorrie Kaplan and I were caught by the camera in all the glitz and glam (see photo left). Additionally, I spent my integration semester in Auckland, New Zealand with amazing Kiwi midwives that have further inspired, and helped to turned global, my activist tendencies.

I have also had the honor of being the student representative to the ACNM’s Government Affairs and Political Action Committees – most recently working to secure equitable Medicaid reimbursement legislation in Congress. Heather Bradford CNM, Chair of the Government Affairs Committee has inspired many, like myself, to stretch ourselves beyond what we initially thought possible. Vivian Lowenstein CNM tirelessly encouraged students like myself to participate in Pennsylvania state midwifery lobby days and other events (see photo right with PA Governor Rendell) - I hope to pay her gifts forward someday to future student midwives.

Through coursework and by example, all of the faculty at the University of Pennsylvania, especially Dawn Durain and Kate McHugh, have demonstrated what being “with woman” is really about. Midwifery is not just about being a “baby catcher”; it’s about advocacy, too - fighting for midwifery’s seat at the table in discussions about safe and satisfying birth and health care choices for women and families.

Current students, please consider taking the time to involve your self in advocacy work while in school. And mentors, preceptors and faculty, encourage students to join you in your grassroots activities – share your enthusiasm for midwifery advocacy as well as some of the work!

“Jennifer Jagger’s Top Ten Ways Student Midwives Can Become More Involved in Advocacy, Grassroots Lobbying and Professional Networking”:

1. Take a health policy class – encourage your midwifery program to make advocacy work an integral part of your academic training.

2. Join an ACNM list serve – by topic of interest or region. There are ongoing and lively discussions of the latest issues in home birth, international midwifery, student activities, and more.

3. Join a committee - become a student representative for your school, ACNM or local organization on a committee of interest to you.

4. Volunteer in your community – connect with a doula, maternity care, or other service organization. Organize or attend events in your community to celebrate women, families and midwives: film screenings, festivals, picnics etc.

5. Attend local ACNM chapter and state midwifery organization meetings – get up to date on the issues and meet the midwives in your community.

6. Go to a conference – Planned Parenthood, Midwifery Today, Midwives Alliance of NA, and the ACNM all have annual conferences and offer many advocacy and health policy educational sections.

7. Volunteer or study midwifery in another country – recent students have gone to Trinidad, Haiti, Guatemala, Honduras, Saipan, Indonesia, the Philippines, India, New Zealand, Canada and the Netherlands. Learn about practice models in other countries while offering an extra hand or completing a clinical rotation.

8. Teach “Midwifery 101” to your elected officials – visit their local office, make a call or write a letter letting them know about the impact of midwifery academic programs and clinical practices in their area. Encourage them to contact you in the future if they have questions about women’s health issues or legislation. Attend or organize annual “State Midwifery Lobby Days” at your capital.

9. Work on an advocacy project – produce an informational pamphlet on maternity or women’s health services in your community, make phone calls to midwives in your area asking them to become more involved, lobby your elected officials for support of federal, state and local midwifery friendly legislation.

And #10… Shameless self promotion - take the opportunity everywhere you go to promote the profession of midwifery with a button, bumper sticker, a kind gesture, or just a smile. Spread the good word about who we are and what we do as often as you can! So many people just don’t know enough about us and what we do.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

One week ago

One week ago we (my 19 classmates and I - Anne, Dorothy, Elka, Emily, Heather, Jewell, Kate, Lisa, Mai-Anh, Mandy, Megan, Paige, Randa, Samantha, Stephanie, Sundyna, Tamara, Thamy & Vanessa) graduated from the University of Pennsylvania's Master of Science in Nursing, Midwifery and Women's Health Care Nurse Practitioner Program. It was quite the celebration!

Seth's family (missing Adam and Melanie), friends (Chris & PK and Tim & Kirsten) and my family came together afterwards for dinner at the White Dog - what a group!

Now we look forward to a few months still here in Philly: work on Silver 9 (neuroscience nursing) to pay the bills while I sit for my national midwifery certification exam and seek licensing, job and apartment in New York City. Seth is researching and planning for his own transition professionally - hopeful that the move to NYC will be a turning point, a new direction - either to new work or school...

We are nervous, but both very excited - a lot to look forward to :)