My One Born Every Minute Blogalong. S.8 Ep.1

First: Hi.

I’m so sorry, I’ve been gone n awfully long time and I wasn’t supposed to be, but that stupid life thing happened and I didn’t handle it very well. However, here I am at the end of my second year looking at the gorgeous graduation pictures of my friends in their caps and gowns outside the cathedral and it has spurred me on like no one’s business.

So I am asking myself if this particular blog post is a good idea.

During my second year I’ve had two placements in Delivery (CDS), no not the internal post service ;), come on, put semantics aside. You know what I’m talking about – the unit where women come to give birth if they need some extra care because of complications. I had a good saying for that once. I’ll find it because I promised Sheena and Jenny that I would make a poster.


(Photo courtesy of Little Picasso)

I digress.

Anyway, yes, there I was on CDS and feeling lucky to be in an acute learning environment, giving one to one care to a variety of wonderful women. And as they always do, each of them said some amazing things which made me feel proud to be part of their care team. I bloody love the women. They are rock stars.

As part of one to one care, you spend a LONG time with women and their families, and you know what? I’m a nosey so and so, so I love that. If you are ever in the position that I am your student midwife, or midwife, we’re going to get to know each other. You will hear several of my lame jokes, you will find out that I love Harry Potter…that happens quite early on actually. I can’t help it. A lot of families ask if we (my mentor and I) watch the midwife TV stuff – Call the Midwife, and of course, One Born Every Minute.

I am honest with them and tell them that I don’t; I tell them that it makes me irritated because a lot of women only have this type of insight into childbirth and it’s either frightening them because they don’t know about the birth units and less complicated births, or home births, but also that you don’t have your baby within the hour. (See Milli Hill’s latest blog post.)

Maybe some of the wonderful women I’ve been with wish they could edit their labour in post-production so that the few hour of half sleep with contractions every few minutes, could be shortened to 17 minutes with a bed of music. (That’s right, I know technical terms).

Well that’s why I stay away from it, it doesn’t seem to reflect the situations I have been in – yes we have had emergency Cat 1 caesareans, and yes we’ve called the paediatrician for those births that have CTG traces from text books. But largely, they are births with rock star women, lovely families, and one to one care.

So I decided I would do a “series” of blogalongs. I’m watching on catch up so that I can pause and type…and here it is.

Delia (great name), Midwife and Shift leader: “The first time you look at your baby is amazing”
Yes. Oh boy do I wish I could bottle that feeling I get watching parents meet their baby properly for the first time. It’s rare you get to watch someone fall in love – we’re very lucky to see it a lot.

Brooke and Tim: nervous because they haven’t come up with a name
It may surprise people to know that in some cultures, Jewish for example, the name is not decided until about a week after birth. Well, it’s probably decided but until the baby is named properly, the families don’t tell other people. I like this.
Some parents want to know what baby will look like when he or she comes out before they decide, yep I get that too. But baby will come, name or not. So chill, sir. They’re daft, I like these two.
But I do like Forest.

Nicola – lush.
Walked in and introduced herself straight away wit a smile. did!

The Room
Ok, so this room they are in, very bright isn’t it? A couple of “chemo” chairs (they make me think of when mum was having chemo so that’s how I call them) but kind of like a big clinical room. Meh.

Lady in glasses with her husband and daughter
This is obviously a woman who’s had a baby before because she’s asked “are your legs going to be up on them blue fings” and she says “Not necessarily, no”
That’s right – just because the litho poles are there, doesn’t mean they are there to be used 🙂

What do we think of a 16 year old birthing partner?
We think it’s none of my business. It’s a bit odd to hear some of the questions she has (I would have probably asked more when I was that age), but it’s really nice to see her relationship with her mum.

Holly – again lush!
Everyone here seems so nice. This is a good thing, calm, friendly faces.

Holistic birth support
16 year old daughter Courtney giving beautiful holistic support to her mum, and incredible reflective appraisal of her earlier teenage self and her “off the rails” ways.

Why theatre?
So I have to assume (as it hasn’t been explained) that Brooke is in for an elective section. Nicola has her scrubs and snazzy theatre hat on, and Brooke is in a gown – but at no point has it been explained why she is giving birth this way. Maybe that will come later? Maybe not normalising a caesarean would be good, Ch4?

Um what??? Why is she saying goodbye to Tim?
Is she really going into theatre without him? Why is she wearing a hat? Why can’t Tim go with her? See, I want to know if he has DECIDED not to go in, or if he is not allowed. When women watch this do they and their partners assume they will not be allowed into theatre? This will elevate fear. I shall watch more to see…

Yeah that’s really odd.
Why wasn’t he able to sit with her whilst they sited her epidural, then scoot back, then come in before the procedure started? It can be a scary thing and to have the most familiar face with you the whole time would be beneficial. Anyone know why they don’t do that at this unit? I wonder if she would have cried less if he had been allowed to go in with her before they started?

Always a tingly moment
Nothing will ever change how I feel when I see parents meet their baby for the first time – no matter the mode of birth. It’s incredible.

Now if this had been Jenny The M’s unit’s theatre…
That baby would have been skin to skin already. But it’s not, and I don’t think it happens in a lot of hospitals, but it’s  bit confusing really. Because why do we not now have the facility to get that baby skin to skin with mum where she feels comfortable enough to hold him or her? When we take baby to mum she often wants the partner to hold baby after a few minutes because she is lying down an baby’s on her chest, so it’s awkward and she might feel quite woozy from the drugs. I think we seriously need to revisit this maternity wide – but don’t forget, that’s my humble opinion.

Surgical bonnets?
They are weird looking. I want one.

Family Name – reduced fetal movements?
Good to know. Thanks white board that wasn’t blurred by Ch4

Nick and Hayley
Again these briiiiiiiiiight rooms! It has a pool in it…sad for units that don’t have the wireless CTGs we do 🙂
These two are lovely, but this is what it’s like – you sit and you talk and you find out everything about couples. It’s the strangest, most wonderful thing, people tell you everything. A majorly privileged position of trust! I’m in love with these two. Lush.

Delia, again
She’s a ray of sunshine. What a great presence to have there!

Ok, back to Courtney and her mum
So her mum has said something interesting here – she’s nice and calm, and half of it is to keep her daughter calm as well. This is lovely, because the result is that she is calm, but shows her mum’s great care for her. The flip side of it is that when you have birth attendants / partners who need support themselves, it can detract from focus on the woman and her baby. Sorry dads, I’m including you in this too. See Denis Walsh for his take on men at births there. However, the relationship here is a complex one as you learn more about the things they have been through.

Camp beds
This is a great idea in some ways – we have reclining chairs. But I’m thinking about it more – what if there is an emergency and the bed’s in the way? I don’t normally think like this, but as she’s in the CDS it’s worth thinking about.

Why is she there?
Sorry, I really don’t understand why she’s there. She’s not on continual CTG, she’s cannulated for a Synt drip, but it’s not connected. So is it induction, that’s been paused? Do we think they could make a midwife’s edit for stuff like this? 😀 If it was the BBC maybe the woman’s Hx would be on the red button!

Where is the midwife?
Again, I am confused. There’s a lot of in and out of these rooms, and for a multip who’s contracting well, I don’t understand why she doesn’t have a midwife in the room. I wish this show gave more information! It’s edited to look like she’s been left to it, but I doubt she was out of the room for more than a couple of minutes!

Sterile Gloves and Sterile birth

Birth isn’t sterile, it’s really not, but we wear sterile gloves…then see someone pick up a non sterile towel, move the draw sheet with gloved hands. Weird innit?

Brilliant 🙂 Into the room and they clearly connect with her quickly – editing or not, this woman is born to it.

“The thought of being separated for the epidural is the thing I am not looking forward to most”
Sorry not sorry, Liverpool I’ve got to ask – why do you do it? You could take the chap down to get changed (it’s a planned LSCS), midwife could then go and get changed, and then everyone could toddle off to theatre together. She’s sitting there literally telling you that your procedure frightens her. A procedure that differs in other Trusts. Please someone explain this! So even smiley Delia is separating the two when she needs him most. At least she is there with her, but it should be Nick.
And we still don’t know why she is there for an LSCS.

That “imminent birth” music is playing
It heightens anxiety and then swells just before baby is born, it’s clever music.

Oooh, hang on. She can feel it.
(sarcasm) You’ve got to love televising someone being able to feel their caesarean, I’m sure that will quell many fears of expectant mothers. (/sarcasm) So she’s having to have a general anaesthetic, and neither she nor Nick will get to meet baby immediately.
Going to offer some personal advice from this point about general anaesthetics (GA) – you will never know when a woman can hear what you are saying, so talk as if she’s awake. Positives of this whole scenario? Gives Liverpool a chance to show how their staff react and involve the parents in the care – and it’s good.

Having to hear your baby’s first cry from outside the room

Then watching the brilliant staff getting him skin to skin with his dad. HIGH FREAKING FIVE!

So then the summary of the show. It could really do with a voiceover – “Brooke has come in for a caesarean because she has had multiple growth scans which show her baby is large, and the fetopelvic ratio may not facilitate a vaginal birth.” Or, you know, less jargony. But that would help, it would give context to the major abdominal surgery these women are having.

I like the 24 Hours in A&E format of seeing a bit more of the midwives and staff; one thing about this episode is that the women who were caring for the women seemed lovely, really warm and caring. If women could see a bit more of that, I’m sure it would help alleviate some fears – the GA at the end, for exmple, Sunny Delia was brilliant with Brooke and then Tim (anyone think they should have named their son “Taylor”…just me? Showing my age there) and if people coul see how the staff are with you as much as they are, it would seem less scary.

While there are still some things I would like to change – unanswered questions which probably comes from my natural instincts to ask more about the woman’s history and clinical decisions. This is actually an improvement on seasons I’ve seen before (first one? An episode a couple of seasons ago?); I’m hopeful for next week – and I’m a sucker for a Scouse accent!

Next week – looks like a waterbirth and birth centre week!!! 

CTG – Cardiotocography – This is the print out / computer screen that shows baby’s heart rate, mother’s contractions, baby movement, and mother’s heart rate.

Wireless CTG – the sensors on the abdomen work with wireless technology so the woman doens’t have to be “chained” to the bed. They are awesome.

Litho poles – These are what you might know as “stirrups” most delivery suite beds have ones that unfold from under the bed, and are spongy, blue, leg rests to prop up a woman’s legs either during birth, or for any stitches. The bits that unfold can actually be used for her to bear against, and there are handles at the side of the beds as well if she wan’t to pull against something. These beds are TRANSFORMERS

Cesarean / Elective section / Lower Section Caesarean Section (LSCS), Category 1 section – all mean baby being born by surgical means of an incision being made to the abdomen an uterus for baby to be lifted out.

Scrubs – Work Pyjamas…ok, they are the simple clothes, like overalls, worn in theatre

Siting an epidural – putting a needle in the back (epi = between) (dura mater = surrounds the spinal cord) to then put in a tube (no needle stays in the back) to give pain relief by largely numbing sensation from that point downwards

Cannula / Cannulated – having a tube inserted into the back(ish) of your hand so that samples can be taken / fluids can be given via a tube / drip.

Synt – Syntocinon – it’s artificial Oxytocin and is a hormone. It makes the uterine muscles contract and is used to help labour progress. Given via a cannula connected to a syringe which has an automatic movement to administer it at a certain amount per hour.

Hx = History – yeah sorry, that one was just LAZY

Mulitp = Multiparous = a woman who has had more than one baby, not pregnancy, but baby born.


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