Sex With Strangers…walking in.

During the past week there was a momentary blip across the news desks of the nation; something happened in Bristol that shook the prudes among us to their very cores. Was it a giant, inflatable butt plug being passed off as a Christmas decoration? No.

The news was that a domestic at St Michael’s Hospital, Bristol, has walked in on a couple having sex in a private room on the maternity ward. The woman having sex was heavily pregnant and she was waiting to be induced.

mrs overallJulie Walters as Mrs Overall in Acorn Antiques.
Image from BFI

While it was in discussion for a few minutes at uni over coffee, the usual phrases came out that we all talk about when trying to give advice to women about non-pharmacological ways of inducing labour:

  • Orgasms stimulating uterine muscle contractions
  • Relaxing helps the flow of oxytocin – responsible for uterine contractions
  • Semen being rich in prostaglandin (a synthetic version of this being used as a pessary for induction otherwise)

Unfortunately there is no hard and fast evidence that sex itself leads to the onset of labour – but the reasons above are all true. As Ina May Gaskin says:

“Breast stimulation is especially effective in starting labor at term when it is combined with sexual intercourse. Unless your partner is an abysmally poor lover, this combination is by far the most enjoyable method of induction.” 

The one other point that was brought up was the lack of the domestic’s common courtesy; now the story says that she had heard complaints from other women…then walked in on the couple and was offended not only by what they were doing, but the fact that everyone else (midwives MSWs etc) pretty much told her that it’s fine for couples to get down to it. They are, however, asked to put a “Do Not Disturb” sign on the door, which apparently hadn’t been done.

First: massive round of applause to St Mike’s for standing up for women against prudishness. How someone can work in a maternity ward and be offended by sex, I’ll never know. Perhaps she thought a midwife’s duties involved waiting for storks and pruning the cabbage patch.

Second: I was at St Mike’s a few weeks ago (not as a student midwife!) and the other sign that is up all over the place is about knocking and waiting for a reply; signs about dignity and privacy.

Maybe she did knock and thought someone yelled “COME IN”? *ahem* 😉

Evidently I must have missed the signs about talking to a newspaper regarding people’s personal business.

The way that it has been phrased in the press is “a hospital source”; so has this domestic reported it herself, or has she gossiped to someone else (who comments “Amazing” read somewhat sarcastically) who then goes to the paper? Either way it’s tasteless behaviour by anyone involved in bringing it to the attention of the press, but I must also applaud the vast majority of commenters on al the stories saying that sex is a way to achieve childbirth and everyone needs to get over themselves. Well done, people!

As for the domestic, I’m not sure where she’ll end up, but it looks like she started here as the child in the blue baseball cap 🙂


Bright Friday

Dumbing down the science as much as possible, I will tell you that the “colour” black isn’t a colour at all; it downright refuses to reflect any of the colours that light bounces against it. Rams all the colour into it and keeps it for itself. Greedy black.

So Black Friday is well named, isn’t it really? Judging by recent footage people are rammed into a small space and greedily grab as much as they can carry.

I used to work as a customer service assistant at The Bear Factory (now Build-a-Bear) – yes it was as awesome as it sounds…until it was very, very crowded and people lost sight of the fact that they were getting cross about pricing ON A FOOTBALL KIT FOR A BEAR. In a buzzing crowd, it’s easy to lose perspective, I guess.

Perspective: this is one of my friends from school, bright, enthusiastic, kind – and reached out to me when I was a lonely “keener” weirdo.

Trina Hamblin

Trina on Leavers’ Day 15th May 1998

Trina, yes that’s her real name, yes I know that I said it would only be my name that was real on this blog, but there’s a good reason for her name being here.

At a young age, Trina was fostered into the family I knew as hers. While at school her foster mum sadly died, and she experienced a loss I couldn’t understand or quantify. She was bright and enthusiastic and joined Army Cadets and LOVED it. She left school after her GCSEs and the last time I saw her face-to-face  was about two years after that and she was telling me about what she was studying at college. Telling me about society being any group of people, some really insightful stuff and she was doing well.

That was about fifteen years ago; we’ve chatted on Bookface now and again – but I can safely say we lost touch.

I was shocked to hear a few weeks ago that she’d died rather suddenly; my first thoughts turned to that bastard we all love to hate: Cancer. It made sense, cancer can be quantified, publicly fought, proudly beaten, or agonisingly terminal. It doesn’t discriminate between the old and the young. That’s how my mum died – I could relate to it, if not accept it.

Sadly Trina was fighting a different disease: depression. The killer that walks among us, thriving on silence and misunderstanding. It was an even greater shock to be told that Trina had in fact taken her own life.

I was stunned, what could have happened? I has some selfish thoughts: “Could I have been there for her more?” “If only we hadn’t lost touch” “Maybe I could have been someone she could have talked to.”
They’re selfish thoughts because Trina was surrounded by family and friends who loved her, and being perfectly frank with myself – who the hell do I think I am that could have been there for her instead of her family?!

I attended her funeral on the 5th November and I’m pleased to say that I did *not* sit down. I couldn’t – Canford Crematorium was absolutely packed to the rafters. You might think that off for someone who saw death as a solution, but often people who feel a deep loneliness can do so surrounded by people.

I squeezed in at the back among strangers. My tears fell freely as the person holding the service read out a letter…written by Trina. I won’t disclose what was written, it was directed to the people who had come, but it was heartbreaking to hear words she had written herself having made up her mind. Her birth mother spoke and said much the same, that Trina had seemed to cheer up in her final days, and they guessed afterwards that it was because she knew that she was going to do it.

I hadn’t known Trina in her adult life at all, I don’t know what she faced in that time, or how any of her past pain my have re-surfaced. I regret this; I really regret this.

There will be someone reading this now who has faced depression or may be going through it now, you might be at the end of your tether and feel hopeless, or helpless or that no one cares. This one is for you

a sign

Please call the Samaritans on 08457 90 90 90

To some that might seem crass, but I’m happy to risk that if just one person sees it and thinks “Ok, I wasn’t sure why I was going to read this blog post, but now I see why”, then that’s ok.

So why the link to Black Friday? Why call it Bright Friday instead? Because for all the TVs, games consoles, electronic bargains that people have clambered over each other to buy, snatch and grab, I’m sure that there are countless others who would crawl over hot coals to grab, snatch and *steal* a few more hours with a lost loved one. THAT is perspective.

Call the people you love, visit the friends you miss, god dammit write a letter to relatives, just reach out and stop missing out on the chances to catch up and show you give a monkeys. There will be new “stuff” every year that we can buy, but some things pass by and are wasted.

I apologise if this has been a depressing post, but when I see how much material stuff seems to matter to people that they will literally trample others, it’s time to get a reality check and consider what is really worth your time and effort.

Allie Brosh is an incredibly talented bloggess, she has a “real life” but her blog  posts about depression are wonderfully open and honest.

Read the first one here.

The second is here

You should read her other stuff too because it’s very funny, click the image for a link to one of her all time funniest posts for a bit of cheeriness!


The Twitter “How-To” Post

Hello again, just a quickie today – not like that, you mucky filth!

If you’ve ever watched Jeremy Kyle, you’ll be aware of the damage that Facebook can do to people’s lives…when they live on it. Well, in some ways it can do the same to your professional life if you’re not wary of how you’re portraying yourself.
If you’ve had a Trust induction yet, or you’ve been to a few, they will tell you in no uncertain terms that you’ll be walking the plank if you act like a plank in the way you use it.
And you woodn’t want that now, would you?

sheesh, tough crowd!

But I’m not talking about BookFace, I’m talking about Twitter here.

Full disclosure: I Bloody Love Twitter

One of the best things about it is that you get linked up very, very quickly to up to the minute ideas and happenings. When conferences are happening and you’re not able to be there, follow the hashtag, you’ll see pictures, quotes, links, all sorts of stuff that you otherwise would have missed out on.

The other incredible thing is that THERE IS NO HIERARCHY on Twitter, you can follow anyone from your friends to speakers and professionals who are leaders of their fields. Cathy Warwick, Lesley Page, Sheena Byrom, Ina May Gaskin – and if you engage, you are already part of the community.

So, not sure where to start? Well you can, ahem, um, you can follow me @Twidmife and see who I follow and go from there, and that will start to suggest other similar people to follow (it’s clever, it knows how to do that!).

Twitter image

If you’d like, I did a 4 minute animated video a few months ago that was specifically for people, like us, who want to use their account professionally.

Hope you like it!


Heather x