What a week! I mean seriously! What an incredible, emotional, inspiring week!
In case you haven’t read my previous “Midwife Mondays” posts, I am a first year student midwife, and this week was my first week out on placement after 6 weeks of theory in uni.
I have been placed in the community as my first placement, and in my head, I thought this would mean a bit of a gentle introduction to the world of a working midwife….this week however has been the complete opposite, and I couldn’t have loved it more if I tried!
I have discussed this blog and documenting this journey with my lecturers at uni – I want to make sure I stick to all the confidentiality guidelines etc. So, as they have recommended, now that I’m on placement and working with actual patients, I am going to be a little vague about when and where things happened – but I will still let you know what I’ve been up to, even if the surrounding details are a little vague – I’m sure you all understand, in this job, confidentiality is so so important.
So, what has made this week so brilliant? What have I been up to? Here goes. (in no particular order – I’ve muddled them up for the sake of confidentiality)
- My First Birth!
I started my day completely normally, heading in to the normal meeting point for the community midwives. Next thing I knew, the phone was ringing and my mentor & I were on our way to a home birth! Needless to say, I was so so nervous but also ridiculously excited! We arrived at the house & met the gorgeous couple. They already had a pool set up so we spent the next few hours supporting her with her increasing contractions. The final moments of labour went so so quickly and, with no pain relief & so much calm, she delivered a beautiful baby girl with no complications at all. As it was a home birth, and she was in the pool, she wanted a very “hands off” approach, so when it came to the actual delivery, she did it all by herself – incredible! I will never forget it – we spent an hour or so at the house afterwards to help her with feeding, weighing the baby etc.
We had told her beforehand that this was my first delivery & after the baby was born and was snuggling on her chest, she looked up & asked me “How was that for you then Rosie?” – at which point, I got a huge lump in my throat & had to admit ” I’m feeling quite emotional actually!” – so yes, I did cry a few tears, but can you blame me? I witnessed my first birth!
If you follow me on instagram, you will have seen me post a photo of a box of eggs, and then be really cryptic about it. The story behind the eggs is that the couple at this home birth had chickens, and as a ‘Thank you’ for delivering their baby, my first, safely into the world, they gave my mentor & I a box of eggs each – what a lovely thing to do!
- My Amazing Mentor.
Yeah, I won the mentor lottery for my first week. Seriously. My mentor this week isn’t even the mentor I will be working with the rest of the time on this placement, but she has gone completely out of her way to teach me, to get me these birth experiences & to talk me through things when I didn’t understand or felt a bit overwhelmed. And, after my first birth, she gave me my own scrub top that I can use for home births as a present, and she asked her partner, who does a lot of wood carvings, to make me the most gorgeous mother-and-baby elephant wood puzzle carving (see lead image!) – I mean, seriously, how wonderful is that?!? She has been amazing this week, a week I will never forget – and she has made it so very special for me.
- Antenatal Appointments.
I spent a day this week in a GP surgery, assisting my mentor on her antenatal appointments. We saw women who were just booking in after finding out they were pregnant, all the way through to women who were in the early stages of labour & were desperate to get everything going properly! I got a really good chance to practice abdominal palpations (feeling the bump to work out what position the baby is in), manual blood pressure, urinalysis (analysing ladies pee with a little dipstick), and measuring the bump to check it is the right size for the gestation. It was so lovely to meet the women and get a chance to learn a bit more about how the antenatal appointments work – and to get to grips with annotating the appointment onto her medical records too.
- My Second Birth!
This was another moment that was completely unexpected! I had headed into the hospital at 8am to get some paperwork done. At around 9.15am my mentor spotted a lady coming in and managed to get me assigned to her case – I wasn’t even in uniform because I was only doing paperwork so I had to get changed super quickly into some very fetching green scrubs, borrow someone’s shoes (knee high boots don’t tend to go well with scrubs!) and I spent the rest of the day helping this wonderful couple with their delivery. There were a few complications through the labour, and there was one moment when it all got a bit scary with about 25 doctors in the room all at the same time – I just tried to stay out of the way and translated all the medical jargon for the couple to reassure them. The doctors managed to resolve all the complications and she ended up delivering a beautiful baby boy with very little assistance, no interventions, and no pain relief! The little baby boy needed a bit of resuscitation after the complications during labour but after just a few minutes he was back skin-to-skin with mum, perfectly happy, as his dad cuddled them both with tears in his eyes!
I also got a little bit of a cuddle with this gorgeous little boy a bit later on, and got to be the first to dress him and help him breast-feed for the first time – seeing this first-time mum feeding her child and the smile on her face when he got the perfect latch definitely brought tears to my eyes.
As you can see, I’ve had a completely amazing week. There have been moments where I’ve been emotional (and had to hold it together a bit!), there have been moments where it’s been a bit scary, and there have been moments where I have been completely ecstatic. And at the end of it, there is a tiny baby girl and a tiny baby boy in the world who weren’t here before, and I was part of bringing them into the world – that is a feeling that is completely indescribable. It has truly been a week I will never forget!
To read last week’s “Midwife Mondays” post, click here!