Midwife Mondays 92: A Busy Week In The Life – Two “Catches” and a Big Emergency.

So I got a message on Instagram a couple of weeks back asking me to share a week in the life, so you guys can really tell how busy and demanding this course can be – I tried to do it by timings, but the post was so unbelievably long that I thought no-one would read it so I’ve done it by the days, but in sections….hope it still makes sense!

So here it is, a week in my life, starting Monday morning and finishing Sunday Night….

This was just one week, and obviously my weeks and shifts vary – this week my shifts were quite well-spaced, which I suppose is quite typical – hence choosing this week to share in this way.


Monday

I wake up at 5.50am, have a quick shower, then pull on some clothes and grab my travel cup of tea, a couple of Omelette Muffins for breakfast and my lunchbag as I walk out of the door. It normally takes me about 35 mins to drive to the hospital so I get there and parked up in plenty of time. I sort out my bags and get changed into my scrubs and then make a cup of tea before handover. My mentor and I get assigned to look after a woman in fairly advanced labour, on the CTG monitor and with an epidural.
We observe her for a few hours, having a nice chat with her and her partner (one of the nice things about ladies with epidurals!) After a few hours, the baby’s heart rate is having significant decelerations so we call the doctors into the room to review her. The doctors have a discussion with the lady and the decision is made to take her to theatre for a caesarean section because the baby is showing more signs of distress.

We transfer her into theatre, and within about 15 minutes, the baby is delivered – a gorgeous baby girl! Once all the suturing is finished, we take her into recovery and start writing our notes up. I make her a stack of hot buttered toast and a big mug of tea – women always say the toast they have after labour is the BEST toast you ever eat!
After we are finished with our notes, we are sent to go on our lunch break. After an hour of having a bit of a sit down and a bite to eat, we head back and are asked to go back to obstetric recovery to cover for the midwife there while she has her lunch. One of the ladies there needs an x-ray to check the position of a line that has been placed in her neck so I take her to x-ray. Once the x-ray is done and everything is ok’d by the doctors, I take her back to recovery.

The Recovery midwife comes back off her lunch and we head back to the delivery unit where we are assigned to care for a new woman. This lady is having an induction and is due to have her waters broken, so I go ahead and break her waters – she is about 3cm dilated. As part of the protocol, we examine her again two hours after her waters are broken and she has advanced to 5cm dilated which is great progression!
We stay with her, giving normal labour care as she is now cracking on really well in labour until, about half an hour before the end of our shift, she says that she feels like she wants to push. We re-examine her (so she doesn’t start pushing if her cervix isn’t dilated) and she is now 9cm dilated – amazingly quick progression!
The night staff come into the room at about 8.00pm and we hand over to them before heading to get changed and out to the car. I ALWAYS lose my car in the car park so it takes me about 10 minutes to work out what floor I have parked on before I can start the drive home.

M generally waits for me when I’m on a long day shift before eating so I get home and we curl up together in front of the telly with big bowls of Tuna Pasta Bake, then chill out for a bit before bed around 11.00pm.

Tuesday

I’m on a uni day today, so I wake up to M’s alarm and he leaves the house before I’m up. I get out of bed around 7.00am, shower and grab a bowl of cereal. By 8.00am I’m in the car and on my way to uni. I have to stop at the co-op on the way in as we have been told to bring sponges and grapefruits for suturing practice and I hadn’t got round to grabbing them beforehand. I park up by uni and head in. As it’s me, I need to fuel myself with caffeine so I head to the cafe and grab a cup of tea before finding the girls and having a bit of a catch up.

Our morning is spent in the skills lab, going over everything about working in theatre, including a very comedic hour where we all get scrubbed and gowned – there were a LOT of selfies going on!! After this we have our lunch before heading into a different skills room for our suturing session, giving grapefruits episiotomies and suturing up sponges with the hope that it will vaguely help us with the daunting task of suturing in practice! We finish by around 3.00pm so I head back home via the supermarket, picking up a few essentials and by the time I get the shopping home and unpacked, M is back from work. We have a cuppa and a bit of a chill and then at around 7.00pm I start prepping dinner. We have been watching Happy Valley, so we pop on an episode and eat dinner in front of the telly – bliss! After a few more episodes, we head to bed around 11.30pm.

Wednesday

I’m back in the hospital tonight for a night shift so I stay in bed when M’s alarm goes off and doze for a few hours until about 8.30am. I get up, have a shower and get dressed before having a cup of tea and heading out of the door. I have my travel appointment at the GP this morning; I’m doing an international Elective placement in the summer so I need some jabs (more on that soon!) It turns out, I need 4 jabs and malaria tablets too so she goes ahead and gives me two jabs in each arm (ouch!) and I head back home.

I try to set up my meals before night shifts so I have a late breakfast, then have lunch around 6pm and have “dinner” around 2am (or whenever I get my break) so I don’t get too hungry, so I have a bowl of porridge when I get in from the GP and have a bit of a chill for a few hours, reading a book (you need to read “This Is Going To Hurt”!) and trying to relax. Then I put myself to bed for a couple of hours to rest up before my shift.

M gets home around 4.30pm and we have a cuppa together – he has a couple of biscuits and I have my lunch before heading out to the car and back to the hospital.
My mentor and I are assigned to look after another induction case who has just been transferred from the antenatal ward. She needs to have a cannula and my mentor asks if I want to do it – I’ve never done it before, but I give it a go and it goes in right – first time!! 🙂 We break the woman’s waters (part of the induction process but also because we needed to place a fetal scalp electrode  on the baby’s head as the monitor wasn’t properly picking up the baby’s heart rate), then it’s just a case of watching and waiting.
Come 11.00pm the woman is getting really uncomfortable and has asked for an epidural so we call in the anaesthetist and he sites the epidural…

Thursday

At around 12.45am the woman is completely paint free and so we dim the lights and let her sleep. Now it really is a case of just sitting and watching the monitor, making sure all is going well wile she rests. Come 4.15am we still haven’t been relieved for a break and I’m really struggling to stay awake so my mentor sends me out to quickly wolf down some food before heading back in.
At 6.30am, still not having had our break, we re-examine the woman and she is fully dilated! She starts pushing and just 40 minutes later, she delivers her baby boy into my waiting hands. For me, it’s catch number 17 of the elusive 40!

At 7.45am the day midwife comes into the room and we hand over to her. We are both absolutely shattered but so pleased that this woman had a normal delivery and all went well – but now it;s time to go home! By the time I get home, I’m basically seeing stars so I head straight up to bed and manage to sleep for about 4 hours before the daylight bothers me too much and I get up.
M get home at about 5.00pm and we head to see a friend who has just had a baby. We’ve got some prezzies for them, and of course, baby cuddles are a necessity!

We get back around 8.00pm and I whip up a quick chicken and veg risotto (with crispy bacon on top – YUM!) Then it’s time for a couple more episodes of Happy Valley and then bed by 11.30pm.

Friday

Friday is a bit of a treat day for us. M works the morning while I do odd jobs but then at lunchtime we head to a nearby spa where we have a spa afternoon booked – the whole afternoon and evening is complete bliss – I’ll have a full post on this soon so I won’t say any more now, but it was AMAZING!
We get home about 10.30pm and head to bed.

Saturday

Don’t you hate when you sleep through your alarm?! I wake up on saturday morning, check my phone and see that it is 6.26am! Oops! I should be leaving the house in 4 minutes….bugger.
I have the worlds quickest shower, get dressed and wolf down a bowl of cereal and mange to be in the car by 6.38am – must be some kind of record!
Today my mentor and I are assigned to a lady in spontaneous labour. We head in to introduce ourselves and within 15 minutes she tells us that she wants to push. We examine her and she is fully dilated so she starts to push. Less than 20 minutes later, my waiting hands catch her beautiful baby boy – Catch number 18! 🙂

We tidy up after delivery and I make her a big stack of toast before we get on with our documentation. We do all our postnatal care, including some breastfeeding support until about 1.00pm when we go on our lunch break. After our lunch we are assigned to look after another lady; this lady is only 36 weeks pregnant and is contracting really regularly so we head on into the room. We examine her and she is already 7cm and coping really well. After a few hours, the monitor starts to show some significant decelerations in the baby’s heart rate, closely followed by some really long ones so we call one of the doctors into the room and they give her an episiotomy and deliver the baby – another boy!

After the delivery, the mum is bleeding really heavily and so we have to pull the emergency buzzer. What followed was 15 of the longest minutes of my life – there were so many people in the room; doctors, midwives, care assistants, all trying to help and manage the bleed. It feels like carnage but eventually we manage to get the bleed under control. Technically, our shift has ended, but there is no way we are leaving any time soon. We hand over care to the night midwife, but there is a LOT of documentation to do and my hands are still shaking. I text M and tell him I’m going to be late.

At about 8.45pm, more than half an hour after my shift ended, my mentor sends me home. She still has notes to write – god knows when she will get out of the hospital. I have a little cry in the car – it’s such an emotional job anyway and things like that are when you realise how life and death is can be. As the adrenaline starts to wear off, you just need a little cry. When I get home, M is waiting with a cuddle and dinner nearly ready – I’m so lucky! I dash upstairs to have a quick shower – I feel like I can still smell blood on me and I need minute to shake myself off a little. I come back downstairs in my PJs, by which time M has dinner ready and we curl up for dinner and a cuddle; just what I needed!

Sunday

Sunday is a day off for us both, which is so lovely as I feel like I’ve hardly seen M for days! I make a batch of pancakes and we sit and have breakfast. The rest of the day is spent doing admin; I nip to the shops, we have a bit of a tidy and even manage an ice-cream in the sunshine before the England Game.

After the football is finished, I whip up some dinner and we have a few hours to chill before bed. I’m back in the hospital tomorrow so I’ve gotta get my rest in!

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

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