Midwife Mondays 50: A Day In The Life Of A Student Midwife! (catching two babies!)

This week, there is going to be two “Midwife Mondays” posts – then I’ll be all caught up from holiday time – yay!

So I thought I’d do a bit of a “day-in-the -life” style post as my extra post this week, before my normal weekly post a bit later in the week. (As always, I can’t tell you which day I am writing about, simply to maintain complete confidentiality. I have also slightly altered the “exact time of birth” to prevent any possibility of indetification)

5.50am Alarm goes off. It always feels so much earlier, and now that it is starting to stay darker for longer in the mornings, it’s becoming more and more of a struggle to drag my butt out of bed!

6.00am I have a quick shower and pull on some jeans and a jumper (it doesn’t really matter what I wear, I’m gonna be in scrubs once I get to the hospital anyway!)

6.20am I pack my bag with my lunch (leftover chicken stew that M made me a couple of nights before – yum!), a snack (a punnet of raspberries) and my breakfast (I’m a bit rubbish at that time in the morning so I went for one of those pots of porridge that you just put boiling water in – it’ll keep me going until lunch but I don’t have to eat it until I get to the hospital), as well as my hospital shoes (sexy sexy Clarks Unloops), my fob watch & hospital ID, and my Practise paperwork.

6.30am I leave the house, dodging the horrendous rain, and hop into the car.

6.45am Early morning disney sing-along to wake me up! (My view wasn’t that bad either – see above!)

7.15am It always takes  a little while to get parked in the morning because of the volume of staff all coming in to the same car park at the same time, but by 7.15 I am parked and heading out of the car park to the hospital.

7.30am Time to pull on some scrubs, then make a cup of tea and quickly eat my porridge pot.

7.45am All the staff on the Birth Unit meet at the desk for handover. The night staff tell us about the ladies who are in, anyone who has called in, or anyone who has been in overnight who they have sent back home (as these women may well be back in more established labour a little later on!)

8.00am My mentor and I are assigned to the care of a labouring woman and head in to her room to introduce ourselves.

8.15am Turns out, this lady is getting very close to delivery so we make sure we have the right sized gloves etc to hand ready to “catch”. One of the things I love about deliveries is getting to see the couples together and watching the partner being so incredibly supportive. This woman was delivering on all fours on the bed, facing her partner and he was just being so incredibly lovely and caring – it’s so special to see.

8.20am We can see the top of the baby’s head!

8.28am One final big push and the baby is here! Its been a while since I’ve been in a delivery setting and so catching a baby for the first time in several months is so so lovely! That’s catch number 12 for me – yay!
The couple hadn’t found out the gender beforehand so it was so lovely to help her to lie back onto the bed, pass the baby up onto her chest and then see the parents both look together to see what their little baby was – they had a little baby boy!

8.32am We clamp the cord and the dad cuts it – always a special moment for the daddies!

8.35am The Placenta is delivered and we inspect it – we have to check that it is all there and in good condition, which it is. Then I assist the mum with breastfeeding whilst my mentor starts doing some of the delivery documentation

9.15am The clean up from delivery is all done and the baby is breastfeeding well so we leave the couple in their room and head to the midwife station to finish our paperwork.

9.30am I nip off to change my scrubs as I got a little bit covered in fluid at delivery – it’s a glamorous job isn’t it?!?!

10.30am The baby has finished feeding so we head in to weigh the baby. He was a diddy little boy at 5lbs 11oz! So cute!

11.30am Paperwork all done, I’ve been in and out of the mum’s room for the past hour helping with bits and bobs and answering questions too, and it’s only now that I realise I haven’t had a drink or a wee since I arrived on shift, so I make myself and my mentor a cup of tea and nip for a quick wee.

11.55am The phone rings. It is another labouring woman who sounds like she is really cracking on in labour. We invite her in to the hospital. She lives about an hour away so we decide to take a half hour lunch break before she arrives – who knows when we will next get to stop!

12.10pm I heat up M’s chicken stew in the microwave – it’s already been a really busy day so proper home cooked food is exactly what I need!

12.30pm We head back to the desk and start looking up the details of this woman, so we know a little of her background before she comes in.

12.45pm My mentor from when I was out on community has come into the hospital for the late shift. It’s so lovely to see her – the woman who took me with her for my first ever birth witness – such a special day!
She needs my help finding a piece of equipment and I end up heading off to one of the other wards to find it for her.

1.40pm I’ve come back with the kit now, and our labouring lady is still not here. We start to wonder where she is, and really hope that she isn’t labouring on the side of a road somewhere – it happens!

Chicken Stew – tasted so much better than it looks in this photo!

2.10pm The door buzzer goes and our next lady is here with her husband. We show her to her room and do a full set of observations on her. She tells me her birth plan – she had a very clinical delivery with her first and really wants a water birth, “as natural a possible” with no pain relief, so I start to run the pool for her.

2.25pm The pool is nearly full but this lady can’t wait, she really wants to get in, so we help her into the pool while it is still running so she can get settled. As this is her second baby, we are aware that things could be moving a little faster than with a first baby.

2.40pm She is definitely getting closer now – she’s getting much more uncomfortable and seems to be reaching the “transitional stage”. At transition, a lot of women start to believe that they can’t do it. They need a lot of support and reassurance at this point, but generally, the baby really isn’t far behind!

2.50pm She’s properly pushing now. Both of the women today have been amazing at listening to their body and following their instincts regarding pushing – there has been no yelling “PUSH”, instead these women have followed what their bodies want to do, and have started pushing when they felt they needed to. I much prefer letting women follow their bodies, and it helps them feel in control too (obviously, there are situations where this isn’t really an option, for example if they have a strong epidural block and can’t feel below the waist….so they need telling when they have a contraction and when to push..etc etc)

2.58pm And the head is out. We just have to wait for the next contraction before she can give her final push. From behind her, I can see the baby’s face, eyes still closed, and see the head turn as the position changes for the final push.

2.59pm One final push and the baby is born! I catch the baby and slowly bring it to the surface of the water. We help the mum to a more comfortable sitting position and place the baby on her chest. This couple had found out the gender beforehand but I still suggest that they “check” – and it is what they expected, a little baby girl! She is absolutely gorgeous, and my first baby girl in AGES (apparently I only catch baby boys!) – catch number 13 for me! Eek!

3.10pm As the mum had requested a natural placenta delivery, we wait until it comes away naturally and with a couple of little pushes, the placenta is delivered into the pool, and caught by my waiting hands. We then clamp the cord and it is cut by the dad.

3.15pm We pass the baby to the dad and help the mum out of the water and over to the bed. Once she is sitting comfortably we place the baby skin to skin with her again.

3.25pm We inspect the placenta which is complete and in good condition and then help the mum with latching the baby. She has breastfed before so does remember a little bit of what she should be doing but all new mums still need a bit of support with establishing breastfeeding.

3.40pm The post-delivery clean up is done and, as the baby is feeding and settled, we leave the couple in the room and head to go and do this set of delivery paperwork.

4.30pm The baby has finished feeding and we head in to weigh her. She is a little bigger than this morning’s baby boy at 7lbs 6oz.

4.40pm I make the new parents some tea and toast. The ladies always say that the toast you have after labour is the best toast you’ll ever have, so I make sure it’s perfectly toasted and smothered in lots of melty butter!

5.00pm We head back out to the desk to leave the couple with their new baby, and put the finishing touches on our paperwork and delivery notes.

5.15pm Definitely in need of a bit more tea so I make myself and my mentor mugs of tea to sip at the desk. Then I sneak off for a quick wee – such luxury eh?!?! Ha!

5.45pm My community mentor has had a couple of people not turn up to her postnatal clinic so asks me to give them each a call to check they are ok and try to rearrange their appointments.

6.15pm I have managed to speak to both women who had missed appointments and both have kindly said that they will head in to the hospital now, to catch the community midwife before her clinic ends.

6.25pm The phone rings. A woman who had her baby 2 days ago hasn’t had a visit from her community midwife today so I start trying to work out what has happened there.

6.55pm I have spoken to various hospital teams and this lady is actually meant to be seen postnatally by the midwives from another hospital so I give them a call to make sure she has a visit by the end of the day.

7.00pm I take my other half hour break (we get an hour a day) – a cup of tea and my punnet of raspberries is exactly what I need after quite a long day!

7.45pm Handover to the night staff begins. We tell the night staff about the ladies we have been caring for and once we have handed over everything we head to the changing room.

7.50pm My mentor signs all my paperwork for the shift, my hours, my deliveries, my vaginial examination, care in labour etc – everything you do needs signing off to say you’ve done it.

8.10pm I am finally done with paperwork and am changed out of my scrubs. I pull my coat on and head back to the car park.

8.15pm I get back to my car and start the drive home – it’s always quite busy to leave at that time so it takes me several minutes to get out of the car park as all the day staff are leaving.

8.52pm I stagger through the front door – it’s been a great day, but I’m now very very tired! I write my “catches” into my midwife birth record and hop straight into the shower (there is a hospital-smell that just lingers – a shower is just ALWAYS necessary!)

9.05pm I come back downstairs to a freshly made bacon sandwich! I’m a lucky lucky girl! M is so wonderfully supportive and he could just tell how tired I was – bacon fixes everything!

9.30pm We curl up and pop on the tv. It takes me a little while to wind down after a busy shift like that so an hour or so of snuggling on the sofa with the tv on is exactly what I need!

10.45pm Off to bed. It’s been a great day and now I need my sleep – I’m back on shift in less than 36 hours!

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading a day in the life – it was a particularly exciting day so it was a perfect one to follow!

To read last week’s Midwife Mondays post, click here:

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