Hey there babylove2013!
Now, I'm not a midwife yet, so feel free to take this with a grain of salt. I realized my calling to midwifery several years ago and immediately started on the path to CNM. I started working as a doula/childbirth educator and eventually attended an acclerated BSN. I passed the NCLEX this past August. I was open to working L&D, and had done my practicum on a maternity unit, but as a new grad, forget about it, no luck. Instead of throwing myself into the "obligatory" med-surg year, I've just applied to a miwifery program (Frontier). And I'd like to add that Ive not made this decision naively and without research or thought. Before even attending nursing school
I spoke with over a half dozen CNMs. All but one said that working as a nurse was not
necessary in order to be an excellent midwife. One was a Yale educated midwife who did a masters-entry program and went straight through - one year accelerated BSN and a two year Masters in Nurse Midwifery. Of course, she would be biased regarding that topic, but I'd argue that Yale does not make its educational decisions lightly, including its requirements for midwifery education. Another midwife had been a L&D nurse for 12 years before attending midwifery school and even she said "no, absolutely not." She went on to explain, "the role of an L&D nurse is completely different from a nurse midwife. It's a different kind of thinking and approach to care. Plus, there's a tendency as an OB nurse to become reliant on the technology, or fearful making independent decisions. You often have to unlearn things. That's not to say that the skills can't be valuable, but is it necessary? No." Additionally, in the British model, most midwives are "direct-entry" meaning that they are only trained in midwifery and not nursing. While I am certain that there are many valuable skills that you can and do learn as a nurse that can be translated to midwifery, I also firmly believe that it is possible to be a highly skilled midwife without ever being a nurse.
In your case, you've already certainly gained valuable nursing experience. But do you need to continue to wade through years more of med-surg if you can't find L&D, I would say definitely not. Do you need that L&D experience to be a fantatsic midwife? Nope. Frontier, for example, only requires for one year of nursing (any area) or other childbirth related experience (doula/CBE/IBCLC, etc). I've heard the majority of their admitted students are from other areas of nursing, not L&D. So if it's your passion to be a midwife, don't let fear of inadequancy or lack of experience prevent you from going for it. Good luck!