My One Born Every Minute Blogalong. S.8 Ep.2

Good morning, folks.

I know it was only a few days ago that I posted for episode one – but I had exams last week so had to watch on catch up TV.

Because the show was on last night, it’s clear that there was a Twitter team “on duty” and my hash tagged Tweet containing the link to the last post was noted by the Supervisors of Midwives team.

First, GOOD that there is a Twitter account for this team! YASSSS!!! Second, I think it was clear, or at least it was my intention that I was acknowledging the care of the midwives despite the editing…but I’m left a little baffled by that “no birth partners” epidural thing. Anyway, I’m not ever irked by the care, only by the editing and portrayal of situations. Best case scenarios, it makes it look like short labours. Worst case scenarios, it can be seen to exclude care given and make it look as if midwives are doing less than they are.

Having said that, when I posted the link on BookFace, a midwife friend commented that it’s the same in her trust, which is in, um, I want to say Croydon? So yeah. What’s the deal, policy makers? Why are you devising ways to isolate women? It’s not cool.

Anyway this episode will be sowing a pool birth according to last week’s preview!


So I’m about to launch 4oD to watch last night’s episode as I couldn’t watch live last night, and after that, I’m hash tag hunting to get the good, the bad and the ugly reactions…

I’m pausing it ALREADY – on the 4oD website, the tagline for this episode is “A young couple worry about their premature baby as the mum’s waters broke at 18 weeks”, it would be nice to acknowledge the other births in this as well, but sadly a safe water birth is not good click bait.

In the montage preceding the episode’s content could we just use that woman’s exclamation as a shout out to everyone “Stop pushin’ me ‘ead!”
Yes. Stop forcing a woman’s head forwards during a contraction; the perceived reason for it is to curl the spine, or close the trachea, or gawd knows what (couldn’t find a study quickly!), but if a woman can’t do it herself, don’t do it for her becuse yes it does in inhibit breathing and she knows when she needs to breathe!

Essential oils
Not going to lie, boxes of essential oil. I’m excited about this episode

Item 647 on my list of things that grind my gears – calling a woman’s mother / father “mum”/”dad”. Unless that person is your OWN mum or dad, or you live in the 60s and call your husband or wife by that term of endearment, you really should have learned that person’s name – or at least asked it at some point. This FABULOUS (MCA?) did exactly that as Emma’s mum came in. Top work. TOP work.

Do we go to another room for the birth?
Yep, you hear that a lot in an MLU. I think it’s because it’s that different from a hospital room that people’s preconceptions end up confusing them.

Bright lights
Again. Is this an OBEM thing, or hospital thing, or woman thing? They are mad bright.

Needs to lean on something
“Lean out the window” suggests mum Jeanette. How about the back of that chair in which you’ve set up camp, Jeanette?

What’s your story going to be?
Absolutely. There are a few different types of admissions for women coming in to hospitals, but when it comes to the MLU women tend to call when they think that they are in labour. Midwives ask some basic questions to make sure they are heading to the right place (they may have the wrong number and need to go to an obstetric unit), try and assess labour over the phone (this is why women need to be on the phone themselves, not partners or parents!) and if appropriate, encourage them to stay at home for as long as they feel they can. Women tend to labour better at home, a number of other things may mean she needs to come in sooner rather than later – if her first baby took 45 mins to arrive for example, and this is baby number 2.

I like Hana A LOT, she’s warm and open and calm.

Paul and Sam
I might have missed some detail here, but they were in this room last time, right? Did she actually have her baby in that room? I’m only asking because she makes reference to an epidural and I don’t know if it’s an off hand comment (I can’t quite hear what she says) or if she’s had one before. If you opt for an epidural in birth at an MLU, you get transferred to the obstetric led unit. I love this little family unit; Sam’s mum (haven’t heard her name) is my cup of tea! Dry as you like.

The Sign
I trust in my ability to give birth to my baby. YES, LIVERPOOL! YES! That’s a great sign,

Ed Sheeran
I used to like Ed Sheeran, then during my placements, the radio station of choice was Heart…now it makes me cringe a bit!

The corridor
Just caught sight of a proper view of the corridor, doesn’t reflect the rooms, does it? I’ll have to look at LWH’s website* to see if there’s more info about the MLU. I’m used to seeing a self contained unit which resembles more of a spa when you go in 🙂 *had a quick look at the website and there are no photos of any of the rooms or units.

The Epidural
Look, no matter what any antenatal classes tell you, there is no gleaming medal for birth without analgesia (pain relief), there’s no failure in it either. I’ve been with at least two women who have broken down in tears at the thought of what their antenatal class would think if they opted to have an epidural (are there really antenatal teachers out there putting the words “failure” in ANYTHING to do with birth? Seriously? Then the failure is YOURS as an “educator”.).
However, listening to what women want and having an open conversation with them that you believe in them (seriously, Hana, you’re making me cry with pride) may help them in realising what they are capable of. MLUs don’t mean no pain relief at all (paracetamol, diamorphine, pethedine, entonox, essential oils, the pool…), it’s just that an epidural requires obstetric observation.

The hospital gown
What happened there then? So, I am assuming that there was a bit of a gush, and that Emma was then laying in a wet nightie which needed changing. However, it kind of looks to the casual observer that in order to be ready to have baby, you’d better be dressed as a patient. You don’t. Channel flippin 4. (Yep seeing a bit later, her waters went and looking at the track marks on her legs – her bloke or mum could have helped her clean a little bit! – she got up to change into that gown). Ah the glamour of birth!

Ha! Poor chap looks like Sam Beckett just jumped into his body and is waiting for Al to appear! Oh boy!

Sorry. But. Seriously. And pushing her head about.

What’s this?

what are this

What is going on in this picture? Is that water in there? What’s it being used for? Is it warm? I, um, I am not sure what is happening here and would be glad if anyone does know, if they could explain it?

Our kid
Oh come on, look at that baby looking up into his dad’s eyes, that’s magic. That’s love happening.

“It’s so lovely to see someone come in feeling vulnerable and scared and to support that person” Have I said I love her enough yet? “It’s not just a job it’s more than that. It has to be doesn’t it?” Are you listening, Jeremy?

To the obstetric unit!
You can tell, can’t you, because when women have complications in their pregnancy they don’t deserve the nicely decorated rooms, or to feel like they are more than a lab experiment…oh wait, yes they  do. This room is everything that is wrong with hospital birth, it’s stark, it’s hard, it’s everything birth isn’t.
Extra care is being taken over this birth because this baby is at the gestation of 28 weeks (term is 37 weeks or more), but why can’t the birth environment be created within this situation? I’m not talking a yurt in the car park, I’m just saying that this clinical feel is not relaxing…and she’s already panicking over that five minute interval between fetal heart rate dropping. (I actually huffed after writing this paragraph). I’ve clearly been spoilt by our facilities for women.

Ladies, yes this is a form of pain relief, but mainly it’s for your rising temp as it helps reduce it 🙂

Editing…I hope
Words along the lines of “I have spoken with a doctor about you and we are going to do this to you now”. So this edit means that channel 4 are missing the point of the meeting that we had with their production team a LONG time ago (before the Bristol season). WHAT YOU SHOW ON TV, WOMEN LARGELY UNDERSTAND TO BE TRUE. This makes it look like this care has not been discussed with the woman (which is what happens before things like this) or why it needs to happen. The edit undermines informed consent, it ads to the lab rat vibes that are coming out of this situation, and it’s not ok.

Sitting with the woman
Finally we get to see this midwife having the time to sit with Aleysha and talk to her about the baby. There is so much to do at times, that you feel that this sort of care is a luxury.

Ten to Ten
And THAT is why it’s cowboy time 🙂

Labour Selfie
Here I am blathering on about OBEM and sticking it on social media. You found the link via social media. I LOVE social media. When I’ve talked about my own birth when asked, a couple of people have said they are sure I will live Tweet it, or that it will be on FB within minutes. And actually, no it won’t. There are times when we need to switch off, there are things that don’t need to be shared. I’m not saying that this picture is headed for social media, but it certainly was the catalyst for me to talk about it.

The poo sieve!
Hana says she’s joking about its use…but she’s not! You’re more than likely going to poo in labour, and that’s ok. We scoop it out because you’re not going to want it floating towards your face as you continue to labour!

The Howes!
Did you know that mirror that looks like a square cake slice was devised by Virginia Howes because she kept breaking her glass ones? Well now you do.

Dat pool labour tho.
Look at what a massive contrast that is to the birth we have already seen. No cheerleading, just encouraging her to listen to her body. Talking to her about breathing deeply. Telling her she’s being amazing.
Compare it with the labour in the other room, the lab rat room. Why do these women get such different birth experiences? Because of the “risks” *spit* that come along with their pregnancies. I am not saying get someone with a premature labour into the pool. Nope. I am not. So don’t start. I’m talking about their surroundings and how they are portrayed by their attendants. Births are all different and need to be treated as such. Holistic care of a woman should always be paramount. I’m not talking about Liverpool here specifically, but that’s the example being presented; no matter what a woman’s history or pregnancy, or any of those things, there is always a way to help her connect with the birth and her baby more.

The intimacy of the room changes
Yep. But the dignity shouldn’t. There’s always time for “Hello, my name is…” especially in cases like this where fear level is at a maximum.

The plastic bag
Pre-term babies have a large surface area with less insulating layers of fat, the best way to help prevent heat loss is to pop him or her into one of these bags while the checks are carried out.

Baby Ollie
I’ve yet to go into a neonatal unit where the staff aren’t excellent and happy to answer all questions for parents (and students!). They know it’s their bread and butter, but they know that it’s unusual and frightening for other people. True awesome folk of the world.

Losing a child
We took part in a bereavement study day at uni with our Midwifery Society last year and one thing stuck in my mind from the speaker. “He’ll never have his heart broken, but he’ll never laugh either”. That’s never going to leave me as I take part in the care of bereaved parents, I wish I’d never heard it.

So in summary *through my tears* yet more great care from the maternity team in Liverpool, impeded by the editing of the post production team. Let’s see what Twitter says.

Now this last Tweet here was the start of the following conversation, so I would like to just deliver Robbie a MASSIVE high give for getting it spot on, and an eye roll for the other participant.

Fred here seems to think that Midwives should decide who gets to have NHS care, and who doesn’t.

The far right, ladies and gentleman, not to forget this gem:


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