Can you believe, the last time I caught a baby was back in September 2017?!?! When they say there is more to being a midwife than just catching babies, they really aren’t kidding! That said, I’ve been absolutely twitching to get back into a delivery placement and get catching again!
This week was my first week on the high-risk delivery unit – I’ve been up there before when women I’ve been looking after have had c sections or gone up for epidurals etc, but not actually starting my shifts there, so that was exciting!
On my first shift back, I spent the full day looking after a woman who was having an induction of labour. She had started the process on the antenatal ward but was now getting more regular contractions and so needed one-to-one labour care on the delivery unit. She needed a little bit of hormone infusion to really kick up her contractions as the day went on, but otherwise a relatively “normal” labour (if there is such a thing!)
This woman had 3 children already, and had been saying all day, “When I start saying ‘fuck’, you know the baby is nearly here”. Lo and behold, at about 5pm, she had a couple of really strong contractions and swore at both, and then suddenly she was bearing down, and in two pushes the baby was out! (Note to self: ALWAYS trust the advice a mother gives you – she knows her own body so much better than you do!)
The “drama” came after the delivery, when the mum, a little overwhelmed at how quickly the delivery had happened, after I “caught” the baby girl and passed it onto her chest, lifted the baby higher on her chest a little…over-enthusiastically, and the umbilical cord snapped! There was about 30 seconds of emergency buzzers and paediatrician checks and then all was fine again, but it was certainly something that kept me on my toes – and I’ll be sure to look out for in the future!
It was only after everything had calmed down that we realised that the whole room, the mum, the dad, me, my mentor and the baby all looked like some kind of CSI crime scene – we had all been splattered by the blood coming out of the cord in that 30 seconds – not a huge amount, but it had managed to splatter everywhere – which the dad in particular found absolutely hilarious (once we knew everyone was ok!)
On my second shift, we started the day looking after a woman who was already in quite established labour, and she was cracking on really well with pushing, until there was suddenly a huge bradycardia (heart rate drop) on the fetal heart monitor, to the point where we had to pull the emergency buzzer and she had to go straight to theatre. The baby was already really low down in her pelvis so the doctors made the decision to try to delivery the baby using forceps, something I hadn’t seen before, and they managed it. Within a very short time, the mum was out of theatre and in recovery, with her healthy baby girl in her arms.
It certainly made me very thankful for the quick responses of our obstetric teams. Yes, midwives are autonomous practitioners, but we work as part of these bigger teams for a reason – and having them there and able to act so quickly is life-saving – we really are very lucky to live and work where we do.
As I mentioned in a my “Student Midwife Hospital Bag” post, for the past couple of weeks I have been waiting for the phone to ring telling me that one of the ladies on my caseload had gone into labour. On Saturday morning, I got that call. Her waters had broken and she was having irregular contractions. By early afternoon she was contracting regularly and I grabbed my hospital bag and headed on in to find her in the Midwife Led Birth Centre.
She was labouring so so well, and after some observation of her contractions and her labour generally, we declared her in “established labour” late on Saturday afternoon. In the early hours of yesterday morning, after several really tough hours of labour, she was fully dilated (really quite speedy progression for a first time mum!) and after less than 20 minutes of active pushing, she pushed her beautiful baby girl into my waiting hands.
I have said before, I absolutely love my caseload deliveries. Every delivery is special, but having had the chance to get to know these women and their partners over several months, and then to catch their babies is just another level. I find it really very emotional, and so so special and personal. It is such a privilege to be involved in this slice of their lives and to be the one to pass them their baby after getting to know them so well – I just love it!
Needless to say, I did well up a bit as I passed them their gorgeous baby girl, and saw them transition from a couple to a family – it always gets me, but caseloads even more so.
I left the hospital at 8.15am yesterday morning, really exhausted (after essentially working a night shift without any of the nap-prep) but so happy. I’ll see her again postnatally over the next few days at some point, so it’ll be lovely to see them again after they (and I!) have had a bit of sleep! 🙂
So, you could say it’s been a good first week back on a delivery placement – catches number 14 and 15, both lovely baby girls and one being a caseload baby – heres to the next 6 weeks!
Image by Mindy Olson P
To read last week’s Midwife Mondays post, click here: