This week was my final week on placement before Christmas – I have now finished all my shifts for the Christmas break – I mean, I’m still working on some assessment stuff over the holidays, but I’m officially now on my Christmas break, and by goodness do I need it!!
This week has been another exciting one, and a really high to end my community placement on – I’m sitting here in my pyjamas writing this feeling completely physically exhausted, but absolutely high as a kite – and although I need the break, I also can’t wait to see what comes next.
Yes, I am no on a Christmas break, however I will still be posting my Midwife Mondays posts while I am off – I have a few posts planned including my night shift survival post and an interview hints and tips post for all of you who are in the application process at the moment – it was this time last year I was preparing for my interview and was absolutely desperate for any tips so I’m going to try to put together a post that will (hopefully) help!
So, what have I been up to this week in the world of placement? (as always the order has been changed for confidentiality reasons)
- My First Sweep
This week, I have been lucky enough to perform 3 sweeps, the first I was talked through every move as I hadn’t done one before, and then second and third I was increasing in confidence in what I was feeling on doing – it was very exciting to be allowed to try it out, and it’s another skill to tick off having tried and succeeded in (I know that at least one of the three worked pretty quickly and the lady delivered soon after – yay!)
For those of you who don’t know, a sweep is carried out when a woman is overdue, and is a step that can be taken prior to induction – essentially, it is a natural way to try to stimulate natural labour. The midwife uses her fingers to stretch and sweep the cervix – it can be slightly uncomfortable for the woman, but by that point, the majority are quite uncomfortable anyway and the sweep is the lesser of two evils if it gets everything going!
- More Caseloading Appointments
I got to spend some more time in appointments with the ladies on my personal student caseload this week which was great – all of the ladies I am following are at different stages in their pregnancy so it really keeps me on my toes to remember who is at what stage – and it’s so lovely to see how they are all progressing!
- My Third Catch (My Christmas Baby!)
I had my final night shift of this placement this week, and I couldn’t have asked for a better evening – it really was special! Although I have had two solo “catches” so far, this one really felt like I was leading the care, rather than my mentor leading and then letting me catch the baby. With this lady, my mentor, although still in the room with me, took a bit of a back seat and let me do the majority of her care, helping her through her contractions, monitoring her and baby, and generally putting all I’ve learnt into practice. The lady had come in about 15 minutes before we started our shift, so we were looking after her for the whole shift – and it was so lovely to be able to see her care through!At about midnight, the lady asked me what time I thought she might deliver, just as a fun guess…..
She delivered several hours later, about 8 minutes before the time I had guessed, right into my waiting hands, and then straight up onto her chest!
We had also been chatting away while she was contracting and I had guessed the baby’s weight at 7lbs 7oz based on the size of her bump….I have absolutely no knowledge at all of how to accurately guess a baby’s weight so this was a complete stab in the dark – however, when it came to weighing her beautiful baby boy, he came to 7lbs 7oz – needless to say, I was high as a kite at having got both the time and weight guesses right – absolute fluke I’m sure!I felt a lot more secure in what I was doing at this delivery – I didn’t feel so much like a rabbit in headlights, not quite knowing what to expect – it felt more like I knew what I was doing, and I felt confident doing it.
This catch, more so than my first two, really felt like I had been the lead care provider, and my mentor had very much sat back and observed; letting me get on with it (obviously, if anything had been going wrong she would have jumped in!)
It was so very special! I’m so very grateful to my mentor for trusting me so much to let me do that – it meant a huge amount to be able to be so involved and to be trusted to do and say the right things. I went home at the end of my shift absolutely shattered, quite emotional, and with a real sense of pride at what I have learnt the past few months. Needless to say, it was a night I won’t forget in a hurry!
I spent a lot of time this week in antenatal and postnatal clinics again. I really do feel that my confidence is increasing with these and I really know what to say to the women and what pieces of information I need to pass on at each appointment. This week particularly hammered home that although clinic can sometimes be busy and you can be rushed off your feet with lots of appointments but it is so important to give each woman your undivided attention in their 20 minute slot – you never know what might be bothering them and you need to be a trustworthy confident, not a person who is ticking the boxes so they can get to their next appointment. I had a woman confide something very personal to me this week and it reinforced this special role that midwives play in these women’s lives – it is so much more than just the medical support.
I also want to say a huge thank you to the whole team that I have been working with in the community – I’ve worked on a one-to-one basis with each of the midwives on the team at least once and they have all gone completely out of their way to teach me and to give me a real variety of experiences – so, although I can’t name the team or the midwives I’ve been working with (confidentiality) if you are reading this, thank you!
As I said, it’s been a busy placement and I’ve learnt a huge amount, and I’ve truly loved every day – but right now, I’m so ready for a bit of a break! Two weeks off and then I’m back in uni – can’t wait to see what 2017 will have in hold for this incredible journey!
Have a wonderful Christmas all of you, and I’ll be posting my next ‘Midwife Mondays’ post in a week’s time, on Boxing Day! 🙂
To read last week’s ‘Midwife Mondays’ post, click here