Not about politics. Promise

Sup, followers / casual readers?


Apologies for the silence for the past couple of weeks, but I have been doing the do. aka being a midwife.

I know, I know, other midwives manage to blog and be amazing and change the world overnight – but I’m here feeling like I’ve won the day if I remember to take my work shoes to work.
Which I didn’t yesterday.

I’ve mentioned before that my new job is in a Trust which is not where I trained, and while the core principles are the same, subtle and savage differences have left me feeling like a 2nd year student on a couple of occasions.

The most reassuring thing is that I work with colleagues who pretty much tell me “Heather, same same, but different, but same!”. A crisis of confidence is causing this – I keep second guessing myself – I rattle off my plans to anyone who will listen and then look for someone who will cannulate (I can’t yet), set up IVs (I can’t yet), sort out the online prescribed drugs (awaiting IT thumbs up), descend like an angel to do an ARM through a woman’s 1-2cm dilated cervix (thank you, AO!).

Basically, I feel like a freaking burden in a lot of ways at the minute, and that vindictive voice in the back of my head (the one I have gagged for months and months by feeling like I’m winning a bit) has woken up with a fresh batch of disdain and vitriol at the ready.

Essentially, care of the woman is the same wherever you are, but there is no denying that correct and accurate record keeping, ANTT, and policy is essential.

I need to stop being so bloody hard on myself, but with no peers at the minute (everyone has at least 6 months more experience), it’s difficult to gauge my progress.

My Bishop’s score is approximately 2. And I need to get a fucking grip

Bleeping Edna…



MHJ xx


Support in Labour – it’s not what you think

Now three weeks into my third year and the same number into placement, I fully accept and acknowledge that not only have I not seen everything (who has?) but that I’ve only experienced the thin end of the wedge, as it were.

However, I’ve seen a range of family and friends accompanying the labouring woman and this week, after  number of conversations with mentors, midwives, friends, and family, I’ve been prompted to put it on paper. Well, internet, well, my laptop. Well, here.

As all good interview prep will tell you when you’re looking into midwifery – this is woman-centred care (and by that I do not intentionally exclude people who identify as an alternative gender). The word means “with-woman”, don’t rock up to that interview and tell them you love babies. Nuh uh. Don’t do it. Instead you’re encouraged to talk about the midwife’s role in cring for a woman and her family, and one of those “unlearnable” skills is building rapport quickly to start forming a trusting relationship.

It’s important in all the areas of maternity care, but arguably most pressing in the birth rooms – how will you help a woman listen to her body and make the necessary choices if you’re a stranger she can’t relate to? It’s hard work, but doable – it’s much easier to help her focus and calm those manic moments if your voice is one of clear, calming, (sometimes) firm tone.

Now I speak as a student midwife – that’s my frame of reference here, but I’m writing this to address anyone who has been signed up by the pregnant person to be there for her birth. You have a responsibility. You really do. The main part of that is done – you turned up. You’re there! Even if you feel nothing else you do is helpful or of nnote, you met her first request – you’re in the room.

Michele Odent has plenty to say about men in the birth room and how they shouldn’t be there, and in a lot of ways I agree with him, but in one identifying factor, I have to amend it. It’s not restricted to men. It’s applicable to anyone who is present and thinks “I’m helpless here, I’d better do nothing at all!” or “I’m in the way!” or just plays on their phone.

Cut it out, sunshine.

As the old adage goes “anyone can deliver a baby” – that’s true. As the course and NMC requirements go, not anyone can be a midwife. Well with  fat personal debt, and  dissertation on the horizon, and all I hve achieved so far, I kind of hope that not just “anyone” could do it. Makes me feel less special 😀

Not anyone, however, can offer the support wanted by a woman that could come from her husband, or boyfriend, mother, sister, friend – you have that special bond that has elevated you above all others to be asked by her to be present.

If nothing else, get a chair or the birthing ball, or plonk yourself next to wherever she is labouring and just be present. That is all you have to do, I promise! Fulfill her requests for drinks, or something cold, or to bugger off and stop touching her hair, but know it’s not personal. The one thing she should be listening to above all else is her body and sometimes your helpfulness can distract her from that, it doesn’t mean she doesn’t love you.

The need to soothe the pain of the one you love is overwhelming, and it’s hard to watch, but that’s not something to dwell on – do what you can, don’t worry about what you can’t. You don’t have to solve the problem, you don’t have to mke her feel much better, you just need to be there as required.

Women and potential birth partners should really have more of a discussion about what they want from someone else during their labour, and I think it’s probably something that should be considered by midwives in week 36 appointments, it’s something I’ll be asking women when making notes about their birth preferences.

Next week: social media and phones in the birth room.