The Poplar St. parking lot at the Juravinski Cancer Centre is closed from June 3 to September 27. Click here for more info.

Hamilton Health Sciences Home
Faces of HHS Pilar Chapman
September 22, 2016

Introducing… a registered midwife

Pilar Chapman is a registered midwife and the site lead for midwifery at West Lincoln Memorial Hospital (WLMH). She has worked at WLMH for 17 years.

Tell us about your first day at HHS.
I work at WLMH site of HHS and have worked there for my entire midwifery career, however, I trained at much larger sites in Toronto. Before taking my first job as a midwife I didn’t really know much about WLMH. When my colleague was showing me around the unit during my orientation, I initially thought she was joking when she showed me our two labour rooms. Prior to this I had trained at units with 12 and 18 labour beds.

I quickly realized she wasn’t joking, especially when she showed me the janitorial closet. At that time we did not have cleaning staff after 4 pm or on weekends. We were expected to clean our delivery rooms after each birth outside of these cleaning hours.

When I joined the labour unit at WLMH those two labour rooms were used to birth approximately 300-350 babies per year. Now those same room are used to birth over 900 babies each year. What growth!

I am happy to say that our growth has led to 24 hour cleaning service  🙂

What made you enter your field of work?

I am a people person who also likes to work with my hands. I am also not cut out for a profession that would require me to sit at a desk or manage 9-5 hours. Being a midwife allowed me to combine these aspects of my personality.

“Now those same room are used to birth over 900 babies each year. What growth!”

What do you love most about your job?
I love being part of a transformative part in people’s lives as they become parents. I also love being able to watch a family grow and attend the birth of siblings. It’s a very unique profession in that I am part of an intimate time of people’s lives.

Describe one of your most challenging days at work.
There is not a specific day that stands out in my mind. The days that are the hardest are when I am running on little sleep — as babies often come during the night – and they sometimes want to share the same birthday so it can be busy.

What do you wish you had more time for at work?
I wish I had more time to be actively involved in my profession at a provincial level. There just aren’t enough hours in a day to do all the things I want to do.

What do you do after work to unwind?
I like to knit and sew. I also love to garden. Sometimes my way to unplug is to read or listen to a great podcast while I knit.

When I need to unwind after working in the middle of the night, I feel lucky to have my hot tub. It’s a very helpful way to change gears after a busy day, and lulls me to sleep.

“A lot of people share their birth stories with me – and some are very entertaining.”

What do you eat to keep you energized at work?
I find this incredibly challenging. Being on call means I need to be always ready and sometimes, I am not ready in terms of packing a good lunch bag.

When my kitchen is stocked with home made granola, I feel I am ready for my call week. That is my “go to” along with very good yogurt & fruit.

When you tell people what you do, how do they usually react?
People often comment that I have a rewarding job, which I do. Sometimes people assume that I only attend births at home and are surprised to hear I have hospital privileges.

A lot of people share their birth stories with me – and some are very entertaining. I should write a book!

Tell us about your most gratifying experience at HHS.
I love working at WLMH. I really do. We are a close staff. People take care of each other. I see that most during challenging times. Its not just about the cases we see. Its also about taking care of each other as health care providers when we are faced with those difficult cases.

What’s one thing people would be surprised to learn about you?
I was active in 4-H as a kid. I learned how to garden through 4-h. When I was 13 years old, I decided to enter a squash growing competition at the provincial fair. I grew the largest squash in Canada and the second largest in the world. It weighed 315.5 lbs.