The one word that you should never say in a hospital. The one word that I have thought about a hundred times this past week. The one word that I have said in my brain so many times I was half expecting someone to tell me to stop thinking it!
It’s been so damn quiet this week! Three shifts on the birth unit. 37.5 hours. And the first 25 of them, I only did about 3 hours of labour care!
My first shift back after the holidays was a night shift (cruel!) and I had worked out beforehand that it had such a high chance of being a busy one. Firstly it was in September, which is famous for being incredibly busy delivery-wise down to everyone getting busy at Christmas, and secondly it was a full moon, which is again, proven to be a busier time as women seem to be led a little by the moon.
All my expectations, however, were proven completely wrong and I spent the first 10 hours of my 12.5 hour shift helping out on the postnatal ward (which was also quiet so we got sent back down to the Birth unit!) and then doing the checks of the resuscitation machines etc….and then just waiting for the phone to ring!
At about 6am a lady came in labouring and my mentor and I were assigned to her care. She was actually really cracking on in labour and by the time the end of my shift came around, I was actually considering staying as she was getting quite close, but one of my student colleagues was ready to take over with her mentor so I couldn’t really stay. We said our goodbyes and I headed on home for some well earned sleep!
Somehow a night shift feels much easier when you’re busy – when there isn’t much to do it really does hammer home that you are just staying awake all night, and it feels like a blooming’ long night!
My second shift of the week was very similar, with it being incredibly quiet (oops, I said it again!) until about an hour before the end of my shift and then we were assigned to a labourer who we had to leave, again! She wasn’t quite so close when the end of our shift came around so it wasn’t so hard to leave her (she would have been labouring for several more hours, and it’s not safe to stay longer than about an hour or two extra really!)
My third shift of the week couldn’t have been more different! I had decided the night before that I was going to document it as a “day in the life” for a post on here, and I couldn’t have picked a better shift! We arrived to a woman in advanced labour and she had her baby really quickly, and then we had another lady come in after lunch to have another baby early afternoon – two babies in one day – and both were “catches” for me – numbers 12 & 13! Read the full “Day In The Life” post here.
So, it’s been a weird first week back after the summer – I “caught” two babies, but also had two shifts where I felt like I really wasn’t doing much and there wasn’t much more I could have done. I guess thats just how it goes, but even my mentor said it was really unusual to go two shifts without more than about 3 hours of labour care and absolutely no births – but then it just goes to add to the fact that there really is nothing predictable about this job!
Image by ORNELLA BINNI
To read last week’s Midwife Mondays post, click here