Marzipan penguins? Your post was hilarious.
I have not started any classes yet; in fact, I am anxiously awaiting word from the programs I applied to as we speak. What I can tell you is what helped me decide to apply, which was:
1) reading LOTS of books about midwifery and the role of CNMs. I highly recommend Midwifery and Childbirth in the United States by Rooks. It is more of a textbook but it's the most comprehensive history of where CNMs started, where they're going, etc that I have found.
2) I scheduled informational interviews, some in person but most by phone, with midwives at different stages of their careers, most of whom had taken the accelerated route that I'm pursuing.
3) I shadowed a CNM for a full shift on the labor and delivery floor.
4) I also learn a lot from two blogs: one written by a midwife practicing in Malawi (http://babycatching.blogspot.com/
) and another by a student midwife in NYC (http://www.studentmidwife.org/
Hope that helps! Best of luck as you decide on your future path. Remember, being a nurse is not the same as being a midwife, so your sister in law's opinion may or may not apply to you.