My Last Post

Starting with a small cliche but today really is the first day of the rest of my life. This isn’t really the direction I ever envisioned this blog going, but as of today, I’m no longer a student midwife. This both saddens me to the depths of my battered soul and brings great relief in equal measure. I have spent the best part of three and a half years on this journey but wished for it for so much longer and quite frankly, I have no idea what to do now. I feel lost and incredibly tired, so I guess I may spend some time sleeping, taking the dog for long walks, giving my house a much needed spring clean, and possibly flying off to somewhere sunny and welcoming!

At present, I have simply “stepped off” the course and am free to return to pick it up in a year, or two. But in reality, I cannot imagine that will happen simply because I don’t feel time alone will make any difference to the issues which have resulted in my withdrawal.

Whenever I hear myself talking about my situation, all I can hear is a whining voice offering up excuses for my own poor performance and inadequate personality so, dear reader I fully appreciate if that is what you hear too, however I feel that by using this platform to write it all down, I am indulging in a little piece of self-counselling which may, or may not help me move forward, albeit at the expense of exposure of my own vulnerabilities.

So, where to actually start? I have to admit, if I think back to my 2012 self when I began this ” journey”, if I was to ever consider that I would not go on to finish my degree, it would most likely have been because I thought I wasn’t clever enough to manage the workload. If there’s any redeeming feature in this whole issue, it’s that I have learnt that I’m actually not all that bad academically, and whats more, I really have enjoyed learning and have so far this year managed an 88% aggregate, which is a “First” classification. Go me!!!

I have also thoroughly enjoyed looking after women during one of the most important experiences of their lives. Even when I’ve spent an entire 12 and a half hour shift on one hastily snatched biscuit, a cold cup of tea and fit to burst bladder, it’s all felt worth it when I’ve finally said goodbye and the woman has thanked me profusely for helping her through it all. It’s also been incredibly fulfilling to spend an hour with a tearful and exhausted new mum and see a transformation before my very eyes when I’ve helped her to finally manage to breastfeed her baby painlessly and gain the confidence in her ability to nurture her baby exactly how she planned.

So where did it all go wrong? Well this is where I am most likely the master of my own downfall! For those who are familiar with Myers Briggs Personality Types ( MBTI) without exposing myself totally (figuratively speaking) I will admit that my personality is that of someone who prefers to live by clearly defined rights and wrongs. I prefer straight forward talking, which is welcomed by some, but which I am very aware can also appear abrasive to others so is something I do try to keep under control. However, this can also often make me seem like I’m trying to backtrack on my own “rudeness” with lengthy diatribe which just makes the situation even worse! Surprisingly, these days, people seem to see this trait as an indication of autism, which has been somewhat of a revelation to me as it is something that has been proffered as a “reason” for my inability to fit into the midwifery sorority. For reasons I shan’t go into here, I find this highly unlikely though!

Additionally, I realise I am a bit of a perfectionist when it comes to my own conduct and work hard to ensure I do not often get things wrong and set myself high expectations of self control which can make me appear rigid and I tend not to show my true emotions. I definitely do not wear my heart on my sleeve, unless I feel comfortable with my surroundings and company. At work, I rarely discuss my personal life and certainly do not carry pictures of my loved ones in my purse or placed on my desk. This seems to confuse most people who like to share their families adventures, exploits and mishaps and they seem to conclude I am some kind of emotionless weirdo! I have no problem listening to their tales but in truth, yes, I am guarded, but once you have gained my trust, I am a faithful, loyal, caring, sharing and might I be so bold to say, quite humorous friend! Well I think so anyway!

Extremely stressful conditions such as awkward or ambiguous situations, being closely monitored, or being made to look foolish in front of others affect me quite badly and I have a tendency to close down, become even more distant and get even more things wrong. This exacerbates others which in turn creates more stress for me and I tend to replay the situation over and over in my mind until I’m tired of hearing my own “excuses”!

So that’s me in a nutshell!
So, choosing to be a student midwife where your skills are constantly scrutinised, where body language and words spoken both in public and private are analysed and critiqued, alongside the continual “threat” of being required to answer challenging questions put to you by your mentor in front of the very women you are asking to trust you to be a competent practitioner was, on reflection, probably not the wisest of career moves for me!

I have never failed at anything. Until now. I have always believed in my own ability to succeed, and I usually do…eventually. It usually only takes a bit of extra hard work. And I’ve never shied away from that. I cannot quite put my finger on why this approach has just not been enough this time around but it hasn’t. On a personal level, I have felt exposed and vulnerable from the start. Maybe this was because I was the oldest student in my group, I really don’t know. It has meant I have stood out as different from the start, when really I just wanted to blend in. Aside from the occasional non-mentor that I worked alongside and who have all provided glowing reports, I never had the vibe that I had a friend or ally in any of my mentors, which, rightly or wrongly, made me feel unsupported and as if they were out to trip me up. I’ve felt like I’m constantly under exam conditions. I watched other students who seemed to have very comfortable relationships with their mentors, almost as if they were being nurtured, even mothered perhaps?

Out of the 4 mentors I have had: one who was a similar age to me appeared to feel threatened by me and admitted to feeling I was being dishonest about never having studied midwifery before as nothing seemed to faze me, which bothered her immensely and eventually asked for me to be reassigned to another mentor! Another admitted that as I was a “mature woman with such worldly experience” and nearer in age to her mother, she found it difficult to mentor me and resorted instead to reporting all my “misdemeanours” en-mass at official progress reviews where they invoked “measures” and “action plans” rather than simply saying ” did you realise you did that wrong?” or even better” this is how I would prefer you to do that”. I believe I got along ok with my other 2 mentors but could see they were a little perplexed at what seemed to be a different perception of me by my other mentors Consequently progress reviews seemed rather strange with one mentor reporting she had ” concerns” whilst a second did not. And unfortunately for me, professional camaraderie is the top trump card! None of us seemed to consider that it may be the way the mentors interacted with me which affected my performance and it is only recently when I have been doing a considerable amount of reflection, that I have realised how my behaviours changes when I am under stress. So, for instance, something I was absolutely competent at doing during a shift with one mentor, would totally evade me with another! Discussions which were encouraged and regarded as “lively debate” by one mentor would be viewed as “challenging” or even ” cheeky” by another ( yes, I have become a 10 year old!).

I came to dread ” progress reviews” as I never knew what hidden “treasures” would be revealed. Sadly, the old management ethos that there should never be any nasty surprises at a progress review appears to have bypassed the midwifery profession completely. Consequently, I feel like I have lived the past 9 months in a gradually increasing pressure cooker to such an extent that I no longer recognise myself, and more importantly, I don’t think my husband does either.

It’s for this reason that I have decided to leave. I’m sorry to all who had faith in me. My family have reassured me I haven’t failed or disappointed them, but I feel I have. It pains me greatly to admit defeat.

A week of two halves

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As if to highlight what I’m always saying on this blog…My last week on placement contained both the worst shift I’ve worked so far, and the best!

So, the worst first…I had a gruelling 13 hour shift on the maternity assessment unit, where I was tasked with looking after 6 women who were having their labours induced for various reasons. Thankfully, these women were all given different “start” times, which meant they turned up at staggered times which enabled me to have a brief chat and take their blood pressures etc and hook them up to the CTG monitor to record their baby’s heart rates before moving onto the next woman.

So far so good hey?! Unfortunately, the labour ward was already filling up on the other side of the hospital, so at one point, I had to postpone a couple of women’s treatment, as there wasn’t anywhere for them to go if their labours took off too quickly! At the same time, two women needed hardly any intervention and were speeding along on their own, and frantically asking why they couldn’t move to labour ward to have an epidural! Another woman needed to be on the CTG monitor, but it wasn’t picking up the baby’s heartbeat very easily, so for an hour and a half, I had to kneel on the floor holding the sensor onto the woman’s tummy whilst she swayed and puffed her way through contractions, whilst a room was being cleaned and prepared for her on the labour ward! On that day, I managed to snatch one 15 minute break to get some lunch about 9 hours into my shift. On the way home, whilst mulling over the day’s events, I found myself crying from exhaustion and frustration as I realised I felt I had not really given any of the women I’d looked after that day, the kind of support or care that I would have liked, as I felt I had spent the entire day just rushing about. Whilst my mentor had been around, she had been busy looking after a steady flow of women in another room, who were coming in for various reasons, needing scans and assessments, blood tests and examinations, and consequently, she didn’t really have the time to actually “teach” me anything!

But, as they say, “tomorrow ” was another day!

The following day could not have been more different! I was assigned to look after a lovely Polish woman, Rosa* on the labour ward who kept telling me I wasn’t to let her have her baby before 9.30 as her husband was only coming into he hospital after the school run! Personally, I was suspecting she was being rather optimistic that events would move so quickly, but if I’ve learnt one thing it’s…never underestimate a woman’s intuition!
Rosa was an absolute dream to care for. She was incredibly appreciative of everything, from the fact she had her own room, to the menu for lunch! She was impressed when I reassured her I could call an anaesthetist to provide an epidural without too much fuss, and that she had her own shower with hot water to use afterwards! Whilst Rosa and her husband have lived and worked in the UK for close to ten years, she obviously still has most of her relatives back home in Poland, so I was asking her why she didn’t choose to birth her babies back home. She explained that her sister has recently had a baby back in their home town and that she had to labour in a communal room, with just a curtain around the bed! She had had to pay £20 for an epidural, and she’d had no choice at mealtimes. There were less of the antenatal tests which are pretty routine in the UK, such as those which screen for gestational diabetes or fetal growth charts. It was such a pleasure to speak to someone who viewed the NHS as providing such amazing care. It is such a contrast to the criticism which seems so rife in the press these days.
Although my mentor was close at hand if I needed her, I spent most of Rosa’s labour caring for her on my own. Everything seemed to still be in very early stages when Rosa’s husband arrived in the room, but within half an hour of his arrival, her contractions had started to pick up quite a bit to the extent that she wasn’t really chatting to me any more and was asking for some pain relief. I called my mentor and she went off to prepare an injection of pethidine. Almost as soon as she’d disappeared out the door, I noticed Rosa seemed to be pushing, even though she’d only been 5cms dilated when she was examined only five minutes before! so I took a quick peak under the sheet, and spotted a crowning head! I really didn’t know what to do first: pull the buzzer, remove her trousers, get my gloves on, open the delivery pack?! Somehow, all of the above got done, but as my mentor had only just left the room, help didn’t come too quickly and I was left on my own for what seemed like an eternity! Thankfully, she returned just as the body was emerging, and calmly passed me a towel to dry the baby off!

Rosa and I had a lovely hug when I took her up to the post natal ward later and then she reappeared on the labour ward before the end of my shift to bring me a beautiful bunch of flowers, and another hug!

So although this was my 26th delivery, it really is more special than the rest!flower002

Oh my goodness! The ups and downs are just so severe, thank goodness grey hair is all the rage at the minute, I’m going to be bang on trend!

Total deliveries: 27/40 ; Assignments pending: 3; Exams to revise for: 2

 

Year 2, First Semester – in the bag!

Gosh its almost the end of February already! How time flies!

clipart_objects_296OK,  so… where am I at? Well I’ve had an interesting few study weeks at Uni, where I was quite surprised to learn that suturing is just like…well..sewing! Which is actually a skill I mastered some considerable time ago as I used to enjoy making (to their upmost embarrassment).. matching little dresses for my children (when they were young)… so I was quite relieved to find that in practice at least, I found it rather therapeutic and enjoyable. I’m sure it won’t be quite that straightforward in reality, for a number of reasons which I wont go into here, but it fills me with optimism that it may become something I might actually enjoy mastering!

My three  “over-Christmas-holidays” assignments have now been marked, and I managed to achieve a couple of very good “Firsts” and one which was less so, but actually still makes my average fall within the category of “First” so…what a good start to assignments which actually count towards my degree classification! Long may this continue!! 🙂

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I’m still having to work hard on thinking for myself, with a tendency to instinctively run for my mentor whenever anything deviates from “straightforward”. I really need to start thinking through all the options and possibilities first, so I don’t feel like such an idiot when she points out that I do know the solution after all..but it is very hard to do! It feels like an overwhelming responsibility sometimes. I know my mentor is there in the background to ensure I don’t mess up…but its just so damn hard to just remain calm and try to rationalise before going running in the first place sometimes!

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My main aim at present (apart from staying sane and keeping on the course) is to master all the documentation which is required.

I have to admit that way back in my “child-bearing” days, I was blissfully unaware that there was so much paperwork going on. Hmmm…In fact, I think it would probably be quite interesting to see what was written during my labours now…and they are kept for 25 years …so I might just try to find out!

Anyway…I digress… As an example, during labour, I have to check on and write up what the fetal heart rate is and what the womans contractions are like every 15 minutes, including what positions she moves into, her pain relief and how much fluids she’s drinking/excreting and a little summary on her mood or how well she’s coping. when things get a little manic during the birth, obviously the writing often gets left and is caught up with afterwards. This can sometimes be quite hard to do if you’re attending to the womans every need, and supporting her through each contraction. In the hospital where I’m based, this is all done by hand onto paper records which are then copied into the computer afterwards. Some hospitals are fortunate to have gone paperless, with the midwives using ipads or PCs in the rooms; which is hopefully the way forward for all, but obviously that all is a rather expensive undertaking! But that seems to be a long way off for me, so I just have to get to grips with this, and try not to allow it to compromise the care I’m providing to the woman! I’m sure eventually I will have some choice phrases which will make it simpler… but just for now, I’m still trying to find my flow!

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Coming up soon – a complete switch with an exciting new placement, as well as going back into Community Practice with the very wonderful Lucy who was my saviour last year…cant wait!

 

 

My effort towards World Peace

I thought maybe it was time for a catch up, and felt like having a bit of a break and taking some time for some mindless rambling!

I’ve been quite a busy bee lately. I’ve had a few weeks back on placement, which coincidentally has been only nightshifts, so am feeling quite wrung out. The problem with nights is that they take up much more time than day shifts! Even though they are the same length of working time, there’s the hours beforehand which are usually spent napping in preparation and then the day following which is spent sleeping, so it all takes so much more time out of your life! Last week I did 4 nights in a row, but it seemed to take up the entire week!sleep-zzz-clip-art-75079

I’ve still got some assignments which are imminently due, so every spare minute seems to be spent focussing on those ( except for now!). Obviously not EVERY spare minute, but it really does feel like that, as if I’m not working on them, I’m doing some background reading, and then all other minutes are spent feeling guilty that I’m “wasting” my time and not doing work!

So what’s been new on placement? Well I’ve actually taken my Birth numbers just over the half way mark,( remember I need 40 before I qualify) which is brilliant news considering I started the beginning of second year lagging behind my peers. I’ve also got a new mentor, who seems “luckier” at getting us assigned to women who go on to birth on our shifts!

Another “first” for me was that I looked after a woman who had had a previous C-Section, but wanted to attempt to have a vaginal delivery this time round. Otherwise known as a VBAC ( vaginal birth after ceasarean). It was so lovely to be able to support her and reassure her that everything was going well, and her face was a picture when I told her I could see the baby’s head advancing and she realised she was actually going to get the chance to experience a “normal” delivery! Obviously this isn’t an option for all women, for various reasons, but in this case she’d had to have a section before because her baby had grown distressed.

This baby was continuously monitored and we were keeping a close eye on the woman’s pains and uterine contractions, to ensure there wasn’t a breach of her old scar tissue, but thankfully everything went according to plan and a gorgeous baby boy was born into an amazingly tranquil and calm environment. Quite different from his big sisters birth.

I have a theory about a baby’s birth being a great influence on their character. I’m not sure if this is something that could be proved academically, as my theory has grown out of my own personal experiences with my own very different births, but it certainly has a bearing on the midwife I’m shaping up to be!

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My eldest was born into a room with bright lights and a room full of littlegirla shouting and cheering medical team with a lot of directed pushing ( not used so much these days…” Grab behind your knees, chin on your chest aaaand….PUSH! PUSH!”) . Although she’s slightly calmer these days, growing up, she used to like being the centre of attention, and making lots of noise. She didn’t like being on her own and needed lots of encouragement.

ist2_2335968-cartoon-girl-on-inline-skates-vectorBaby number two was a short but intense labour, in a darkened room, with just the midwife in attendance. There was some music playing softly in the background, and she took us unawares and just popped out with two pushes, nearly scooting off the end of the bed and just stared up at our faces, blinking in the half light. So, child number two is someone who sits quietly in the corner, doing her own thing. She doesn’t like anyone paying too close attention to her, but will (reluctantly) come to you if she’s really stuck. On the whole though, as a child, she wasn’t really into being parented and preferred to be just left alone to get on with things, thank you very much!

little-girl-cartoonBaby number three ended up being a grade one emergency section, all fast paced and urgent, since I was quite ill with pre-eclampsia. I’m sure you can guess what I’m going to say about child number three! 🙂
In her defence, I must say, this is all despite her very best efforts to not impose but….child number three always seems to need rescuing or attention just when you’ve got other plans! She is incredibly disorganised, leaves everything until the last minute, always needs close supervision ( nagging) or she will let things slide. Everything is a huge drama and the more I try to rush her, the worse a situation gets.

SO, it is my midwifery mission to bring about World Peace by helping as many babies into the world in the most peaceful, unhurried and stress free way as possible!

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The caring profession

I originally planned to post again before Christmas, but life was so hectic, it just really slipped off my radar! Whilst we “technically” got a break over Christmas, the reality was somewhat different as I actually had 2 weeks off my placement but I’ve got a mountain of work which is due before the end of January, so I only really took Christmas day off, before returning to my studies.

There’s quite a bit of NHS stuff in the news at present, with the government abolishing the bursaries which student midwives and nurses currently get which pays for their degree and for some, also provides a living allowance which is means tested. I posted about this previously here, as there were efforts to try  to get this means tested part extended to more students, to take it more in line with a “living wage”…unfortunately this has now totally swung the opposite way altogether! I can see why the general public may not see this as a big issue, given that all other uni students in England have had to pay for their degrees for quite some time now but I think this may be because they aren’t seeing the whole picture. There have even been some arguments in online forums which indicate the feeling that we should be paying just like all other uni students, appears to be quite strong. Except “other” degrees don’t expect their students to only have 7 weeks annual leave per year, (which in reality is only 3 weeks), or to be available for a 24 hours/7 days per week rota – which in reality means nursing and midwifery students aren’t able to get a second job to boost their finances.

This is such a  shame, as I really don’t think the public have any idea what it actually takes to become a nurse or midwife, or how much they do actually contribute to lightening the workload in the NHS whilst they are students, or the fact that the NHS is the main provider of healthcare in the UK and therefore will most likely be the employer who will benefit from the investment. Could you just imagine if you went for an interview for the Laughing-Joker-GIF_1job of your dreams and the interviewer offered you the job (well done!) but said YOU would have to pay HIM for 3 years whilst he trained you?! Wouldn’t you query how you are meant to survive? How to pay your rent/mortgage? Feed your kids? Pay for the fuel to get to work… and so on…

Because, by scrapping the bursary, the government is effectively saying that the students must PAY to work full time, for 3 years! This is because they are expected to take out a student loan to cover both the course fees (currently £27,000 for all 3 years) and living expenses ( another £30,000 at a conservative guess) not including some way of paying for childcare if you have children (currently at least £100 per week for most). I find it absolutely mind boggling that it is deemed to be acceptable that as students, we not only work incredibly hard…for the benefit of the NHS…for free, but that we should also accumulate debt in the form of loans which, after 3 years are likely to be in the region of £100,000 when the wage structure is so regimented and restricted within the NHS that it is unlikely most students will ever repay their loans! It’s not as if there are lots of employment options for nurses and midwives…oh yes…apart from leaving the country…and taking their skills with them…and disappearing off the Student Finance radar…and therefore NEVER repaying their debt! Yes Mr Prime Minister…what a good idea!

It appears that “someone” in charge of the public purse has had the light-bulb moment that they will use the good nature and dedication of the staff within the NHS to actually contribute towards the 11% wage increase that the government have paid themselves, whilst advocating that nurses and midwives may, grudgingly, have a 1% wage increase! So with this and the current junior doctors debacle, I just have this to say…

Why is it not seen as the ethical imperative that ALL who do valuable work in the NHS should be paid appropriately, for every minute that they do work?!

oh..and I’d just like to add here, before you all start sending me food parcels…none of this actually affects me, as it doesn’t come into force until 2017, but that doesn’t mean I don’t care about the wellbeing of future students!

AND…breathe!

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So back to the business of catching babies…As previously mentioned, life as a student midwife is an absolute roller coaster ride of emotions. At present, I’m feeling quite positive and focused…last week wasn’t quite like that, but it’s at times like this that I like to mull over some of the experiences I’ve been involved with to help me “bank” some positivity to shore me up for some of the low times!

So, some recent “firsts” for me…I got to utilise my emergency training when I looked after a woman who experienced shoulder dystocia …where baby’s shoulders got stuck in the pelvis. Thankfully, my skill drill training kicked in and I’m pleased to say I calmly assisted as we progressed through the various manoeuvres to finally get the baby out! I was relieved to see that I wasn’t the only one in the room with beads of sweat on their brow, but it felt really good to be working as part of the “team”.

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On another occasion, I also helped to resuscitate a baby who was a bit slow to start breathing, which is more common than you would think, as it’s just part of the initial transition to life outside of the uterus…but still fairly nerve wracking for all involved and really got the adrenaline flowing! Although both situations have always held a little bit of fear for me, and I’ve dreaded encountering them….when the chips were down, as it were…I realised I do actually have some little nuggets which seemed to come as second nature!

I also recently had an amazing shift working alongside a newly qualified midwife ( ie one who was also a student 4 months ago!) and we looked after a woman who couldn’t speak a word of English, using her partner, who knew only a small amount of English as interpreter. Despite this, we managed to communicate incredibly well, as we asked him what some of the key words we always tend to use during labour were in their language, and proceeded to use them to speak directly to her. This might sound quite simple and intuitive, but no other midwife that I’ve ever worked with has ever done this, and I have to admit I’ve never thought to do this myself! We usually carry on using the partner to interpret. This new way was a vast improvement, and I feel it made a significant contribution to a positive birthing experience for her as she rapidly progressed. Not enough to give birth on our shift, but certainly much faster than expected, and she even took us quite by surprise when she was tearful about us going home at shift handover time and begged us to stay to deliver her baby with her!

Whilst I did feel a bit guilty and as if we were letting her down, the reality was we had already worked more than our shift by that time, without a decent break and were desperate to get home for some dinner! I’m glad to say she delivered her baby safe and sound without us about an hour later!

The NHS is full of amazing people doing amazing things…simply because they care.

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My first twins!

I’m constantly being told off by my mentors for not being courageous enough ( there’s THAT word again!), and always seeking reassurance about everything, rather than just getting on with the stuff I really DO know. So with a bit of a push, I finally decided to grab the next opportunity to stand on my own two feet, and chance would have it that I ended up caring for a lovely woman and her babies at my first ever twin birth!

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I’d already met Julie* when I worked earlier in the week on the antenatal ward, so was really pleased to be assigned to her , ( along with my mentor of course) on my next shift on the labour ward. I was warned it was highly unlikely that she would deliver on my 12 hour shift though as she was being induced and wasn’t even in established labour yet. But nonetheless, I was still pleased to be able to look after someone I’d already built a rapport with.

Julie appeared equally pleased to see my familiar face and with my second year shoes firmly laced up, from the outset I took the lead and my mentor took a back seat and left me to get on with all the monitoring and routine assessments. Julie was doing really well and coped admirably with the growing contractions to such an extent I had to keep asking her if she was feeling the contractions that I could see being recorded on the CTG machine, as she didn’t yet have any analgesia on board! She had previously been examined before the start of my shift, and was only 2cm dilated ( 8 more to go), so as an estimate, was likely to take another 16 hours or so, before starting to push…so possibly another 20 hours or so before the birth of both babies would be complete!wait

With that in mind, before the next examination, I gave lots of reassurance and kept saying that it’s not unusual for there to not be any great changes this early on in the labour, but that lots of other changes were going on and that dilatation was just one small piece of the jigsaw! My confidence wavered slightly when I examined her though, as all I could feel was a baby’s head! Whilst that’s not unusual….as it is possible to still feel it, even before the cervix is fully dilated because it is low…but then you can feel the cervix either in front of it or round behind it…however, I couldn’t feel any cervix at all! I asked my mentor to please glove up and double check as I was so stunned and was sure i was wrong..but I wasn’t! ( so, so pleased with myself on that!) but how amazing is this mum?! She didn’t even break out in a sweat, and here she was all fully dilated and ready for the main event…after only 4 hours! Pushing took some considerable effort though and Twin One was a tiny boy who was born an hour and a half later, and Twin Two was a slightly chunkier girl, born an hour and a half after her brother! Both needed a bit of assistance to get out, with a ventouse (suction cap on the head), performed by the Doc, so technically they aren’t counted as part of my birth numbers, but hell, I got stuck in and did all the midwifery stuff myself, so to me, this was definitely one of MY Births!

I really had taken the lead…Doing all the monitoring, paperwork, blood tests, examinations of mum and babies, made decisions and continually informed my mentor of what I was doing rather than asking her if it was ok ( she WAS ok with that!), which is a huge step for me at present!

What’s more, I did this all on one quickly snatched chocolate biscuit and a cold cup of tea! I was totally buzzing when I got home! The lack of breaks was totally my own fault, as I was offered the chance to go but I chose to stay with Julie as there was a need to constantly be doing things, and I didn’t want to hand over to anyone else. I was absolutely exhausted at the end of the day, but it really was well worth it! I feel I have beaten my demons, and it has done wonders for my self confidence as I realise I actually DO know what needs to be done, and when. I just always deferred to my mentor, even when I knew that I knew…but I just lacked the confidence to just get on with it!

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I’ve never attended a twin birth before, so this was pretty special anyway, but personally I feel this has been a watershed for me, simply because I had the courage to proactively manage the process, rather than waiting for instructions….let’s just hope I can keep this up!

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*not her real name.

 

Ups…and Downs

Those who know me, or who have followed my incessant rambles on here will be aware that I didn’t embark on this journey to midwifery lightly or without due research…So I have to admit that yes, I was aware that the course is tough, and requires great strength of character and resilience…HOWEVER….I really do have to say that the range of emotions that I seem to experience on an almost daily basis is much more extreme than I could ever have imagined or be prepared for!

My poor husband deserves an honourable mention here as he is the poor soul who has to constantly put up with my see-saw-ing of emotions, and I’m so very lucky to have his unwavering support. I’m sure he dreads me coming home from each shift, as I’m either absolutely buzzing or collapsing in tears of frustration and tiredness! It feels like there’s never a middle road on this. The smallest thing can tip me over into a pit of despair, as I find it so frustrating to not be competent and knowledgeable, as there is just so much to learn…and retain! After spending years working in roles where I’ve prided myself on being competent, efficient and reliable, I now find myself constantly challenged by my lack of knowledge and personal insecurities! Some things I feel I know almost as well as the back of my hand can simply evaporate from my brain in time of need, leaving me feeling quite foolish and frustrated! After days like that, I do seriously wonder what on earth I could have been thinking and remembering that my previous life was actually pretty damn good!

I see that all my friends are living much more “sensible” lives, totally untroubled by assignment deadlines or erratic schedules….and find myself wondering what the hell I’m doing! I see them going off on wonderful holidays and adventures…spending weekends walking up mountains or exploring new cities, and I’m so jealous as I don’t feel I have either the freedom, time nor resources to be so self indulgent! And on the other hand, this feels like the MOST self indulgent thing I’ve ever done, since my family have to cope without me being at their beck and call, and put up with me saying…”we can’t do that…I’m a student! ”

“Everyone” says it will be worth it in the end…