24 hours On Call

What a little flurry of excitement it has been since Monday morning! Having had a child free weekend recovering from my horrible mouth infection (which I spent mainly snoozing on the sofa and watching re runs of Friends episodes), I was all geared up for a full day back at work on being on call by myself. Not quite as full on as I had expected!

Monday 9am: Up, dressed, 2 kids dressed, 2 breakfasts gobbled, 2 pack lunches made, 2 drop offs and full of beans ready for what the day might bring. I spoke to one of my women who had been niggling (a midwife term meaning irregular contractions but not yet establishing) all weekend but no sign of baby. My other 2 colleagues were at the hospital handing over from a birth they had over night so I did a few antenatal visits then popped over to see my woman in early labour. After a cup of tea and a full midwives assessment, I found her to be 9cm dilated! A little surprising for us all but thrilling for her and her husband so plans were made to go to the local hospital and we bagged a room with a pool. 5 hours later there was no sign of baby and with my energy levels flagging my lovely colleague arrived to take over so I could go home to rest.

Monday 5pm: Kids home from holiday club and nursery, husband with a bad back, tea being made whilst my mind was thinking about my poor woman at hospital. Gobbled down a bowl of pasta pesto (essential carbs) and off I went back to the hospital to take over from my colleague for the night

Monday 7pm: Arrived back at the hospital to be met with the news that we were going to theatre for a ‘trial’, A trial means the doctors need to perform an assisted delivery (ventouse or forceps) but in theatre in case it doesn’t work they are in the right place to perform a caesarean section.

Monday 7:30pm: Baby Martha weighing a whopping 9lbs was born with a little assistance but not a caesarean thank goodness! Mum and Dad thrilled! Midwife thrilled but the night was still young.

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Monday 11:30pm: Pager goes off to notify me that one of our women is in labour. I finish my notes take my lady to the postnatal ward and gear up my energy for another labour. Glad I have carbs in my system! The labour in surprisingly quick but lots of ‘you can do its’ and ‘one more push and your baby will be here’. Phew I was wacked but looked forward to getting home and hitting my pillow. Sleep is most definitely not for the weak. When I’m on call I try to forget that my pager can alarm me at any moment and I put it on the other side of the room. Out of sight out of mind.

Tuesday 1:30am: I’m finally in bed, fast asleep.

Tuesday 4:09am: Pager goes off. I jolt up in bed. Takes me a few second to realise what this means. The pager message tells me one our women is in labour at home and needs me. Luckily it’s just around the corner, so I’m up dressed and in her bathroom by 4:20. She is in strong labour and this is her second baby so the birth is imminent. Her amazing husband finds towels, an old rug and plastic sheeting to protect the carpet. A second midwife arrives and by 5:30am a beautiful baby girl is born in the family bedroom. The morning light fills the room and tears of joy wept by all us soak our grinning cheeks as the woman cries ‘I did it’. Tea and Jaffa cakes are shared as we all embrace what an incredible job she has done and how lucky us midwives are to be have been part of it all. Granny and Grandpa arrive and the big brother awakes to great his new baby sister. It was really a perfect setting.

Tuesday 6:30am: My adrenaline starts to fade and the sheer exhaustion of the last 21 hours kicks in. With the family safely tucked up in bed, my colleague arrives on her bike to take the placenta away with her (yes really!) and I leave with my half empty delivery kit.

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Tuesday 07:30am: I’m back in my bed again and the girls are up and bouncing with excitement eager to hear all about my night. They love hearing about the baby catching Mummy has been doing. Eventually my husband (the unsung hero of this all) took them off to nursery and holiday club and with my eye patch and ear plugs firmly in place, I could finally go to sleep. But not without thinking of this moto brilliantly printed on a bag given to me as a present from one of my women.

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7 days in Sunny April…..

Last week I returned back to work having had a week off. Ahhh a week off, time spent with my kids, getting through those pesky jobs which linger in the corners of my home, an essential mani/pedi and the joys of no on calls!  Having a week off means you essentially have a weeks worth of births to catch up on, emails and lots of texts from women who often want to change appointments due to work commitments.

heavs Saturday: I discharged my super star woman who had a beautiful home birth on the day of the Grand National, despite being adamant throughout her pregnancy that she would be in hospital with all the drugs available for her. Fortunately for her, her labour was quick and perfect in every way and her little baby girl was born on the living room floor 3 minutes after the race ended. (more on that in next weeks post). I then received not one but TWO presents, totally spoilt but totally amazing!  

photo (3)Sunday: I was on labour ward on a beautiful warm Spring day with an induction. The woman and her partner were fab and we kept each other going  with the Times crossword, Haribo Starmix and talked baby names. It was so hot on labour ward I rocked out the no socks and Converse look, luckily I had remembered to shave my legs!

photo (4)Monday: I immersed my watch in a birthing pool last month, it steamed up and eventually died so decided to treat myself this snazzy Swatch watch, added bonus that its waterproof!  Time is of the essence when you’re a midwife, I just wish I had more of it to share about.

photo (5)Tuesday: Hello sunshine, hello happy midwife! Nothing quite like a bit of great weather to get you smiling when you wake up! Had a busy day of weighing and checking a new born, helping a couple prepare for the birth of their first baby with their birth plan and booking my newly pregnant women due in November. November feels like so far away on a warm Spring day. Lunch was eaten outside on the garden of the GP surgery where I’m based, alfresco style.

photo (6)Wednesday: I was on call and back on labour ward with a woman having a long old labour, poor girl was knackered and despite all the our best efforts she was just too tired to push her baby out. I had to get the doctors in to give her a hand and she ended up having a forceps delivery. I felt knackered by 2am so god knows how she felt. I say boo to forceps but she and her baby boy were both doing really well by the morning. Congratulations!

photo (7)Thursday: The beautiful sunshine continued to warm my skin and having caught up on some sleep, I oiled and tweaked (read my husband) my battered old bike and rode off to do my visits. I use to have a really nice bike but it got nicked so when I finally replaced it I decided the more rusty and old looking the less likely it would be nicked again, so far so good! The perfect day was blessed with a perfect home water birth, and as I rode off home to see my girls I thought ‘I have the best job in the world’.

photo (8)Friday: Day off! Which is such a blessing, caught up with a friend whilst our little ones threw themselves about at the soft play and had an evening out with my husband and friends in a great  local pub. My mind was totally switched off from work until I walked home and spotted the full moon. A full moon to midwives means only one thing, lots of births! I had a peak at my emails when I got home and lets just say the moon is often right!

photo (9)Saturday: I spent the day with my wonderful little family at the South Bank, eating yummy noodles, watching the boats pass by and getting soaked in a freak shower. Oh and I couldn’t help but check my emails again, 2 more births, that pesky full moon kept my colleagues busy!

I hope you all enjoyed the beautiful weather, what did everyone else get up to?

On Call

My 'beloved' pager

My ‘beloved’ pager

I’m week 3 into my new role as a community midwife, and I’m beginning to get the hang of the ‘new’ me.  With a new  job comes lots of new experiences and a bit more paper work than I am use to.  But my new job has come with something I’m still trying to get use to, being on call.  Our on calls start from 5pm until 9am the next morning.

Last week I was on call 3 times.  The first night I took my pager into the bathroom every time I needed a wee, it sat next to me staring at me as I prepared dinner, it even joined me to watch my number 1 programme Girls (I swear it laughed at all the appropriate parts).  But I slept soundly (as did it) and woke feeling refreshed as it hadn’t beeped once.

The second night was the same and by the third night I was feeling rather cocky that these on calls were easy peasy but at 2am it beeped.  I say beep it’s more alarming than that ‘beep beep beep beep beep beep’ and I bolted upright.  My husband woke too and I slowly came round and realised that no it wasn’t the smoke alarm, nor was it the alarm clock telling me it was 7:30, it was my pager.   After hearing the exciting news that a home birth was imminent, I got dressed and quickly jumped in my car and drove to the woman’s home to watch her give birth so peacefully and calmly in the pool.  I was on such a high that I failed to sleep properly that day but my happiness continued as I watched Florence and The Machine belt out Cosmic Love to a audience of 20,000 adoring fans at the 02.  Indeed the whole experience was cosmic.

Me attempting to sleep after a homebirth

Me attempting to sleep after a home birth

I feel it’s too early to say I’m LOVING my job, I can’t believe I’m home by 5pm each day and it’s so great to be able to take the girls to school and nursery.  I think my poor husband is the only one suffering from the new change.  Sharing a bed with me and the pager, I think it’s fair to say there are now three people in our marriage.