Over the past few days, I have seen an outpouring of strength from my colleagues. The unit has been exceptionally busy, and the only real complaint I’ve heard from anyone is why don’t they make bras that actually deal with a lagoon of underboob sweat. “Humidititties” as a Tumblr post calls it.
Seriously. Someone get on that.
We jokingly expect September and October to be the busiest months, you know? The alcohol is flowing at Christmas, the weather is too cold for people to go out, and everyone is a bit more flexible over their approach to contraception because of it. Nine-ish months later? BOOM! Internal emails from the Tetris Champions: the rota staff asking if there are extra people available to work shifts. So what’s going on? A birth partner asked me recently if I thought it was the hot weather bringing on labour.
That would be an interesting method of induction wouldn’t it? A stint in the sauna. “Come to our birth unit. SWEAT YO BABY OUTTA THERE”
Perhaps it’s sheer will power? If looks could kill, I would have a deadly army of pregnant women at the end of a whatsapp message. 37+ weeks pregnant and all you need to do to arm that killer glance is to ask a woman in my caseload “So how are you coping with the heat?”.
“Very ready for baby+++” I write diplomatically in their notes.
In all seriousness though, there has been a study looking at birth rates and gestations during hotter months; their hypotheses include a reduced blood flow to the uterus (caused by increased temperatures) can instigate the uterus to start contracting. They also discuss their findings of hot weather causing stress which can induce labour.
As with all studies, it’s not 100% conclusive, but can give us clues as to why the shift leaders have to prepare every board like Ben Affleck in The Accountant.
Meanwhile, back at the unit, dozens of midwives, doctors and staff are just getting on with it. Not complaining about how busy it is, just marvelling at how everyone else is coping and trying to provide the best service for families.
Because you know what? Babies are still being born. You can’t stop the beat. We all know that babies don’t get the memo about bed states, or the capacity of neonatal unit, or how many birth pools are already being used. So what’s the use in mithering? Nothing.
Find you a pack of people who not only give a shit about each other, but give a shit about what they’re doing and how they’re doing it. It will make those obstacles something impressive to look back on when you all finally get to stop running and look back at what you over came together.