Here’s to the dads.

 

Oxytocin_with_labels

(^ Oxytocin – the closest thing to magic that is produced by the human body)

 

Here’s to the dads whose faces light up when they first lay eyes upon their son or daughter as they arrive in this world.

Here’s to the dads who visibly marvel at the women who have grown and nurtured this baby with their own bodies.

Here’s to the dads who openly weep as their emotions find no words to carry them.

Here’s to the dads who worry that their own giddy state will cause them to lop off a child’s limb as you gently indicate where they can cut the umbilical cord.

Here’s to the dads who share in their partner’s joy at the wriggling, confused human before them.

Here’s to the dads who hold these children with equal parts love and strength and a commitment to never let harm come to them.

Here’s to the dads who ask you jovially: “What’s that in English?” as you tell them the weight of their child in grammes, so that they can share the news with impatiently waiting family and friends.

Here’s to the dads whose faces are nothing short of incredulous as you handle their baby confidently and carefully to check that there are all the bits there visibly should be, and none of the bits there shouldn’t.

Here’s to the dads who look at a nappy with the eyes of someone whose just been given a project with no instructions, or pattern to follow, but does it anyway and does a fine job

Here’s to the dads who hold baby aloft like Rafiki, only to hear that rumble of thunder from that clean nappy.

Here’s to the dads who apologise for every question that they think they should already know.

Here’s to the dads who all have the same face when those tiny fingers wrap themselves around his own, seemingly giant finger.

Here’s to the dads who don’t call looking after their own child “babysitting”

Here’s to the dads who don’t hunt down the teenager who breaks their son’s heart

Here’s to the dads who show their daughters that they deserve respect and equality

Here’s to the dads who teach their children about consent, and love.

Here’s to the dads who do the job of an absent mother

Here’s to the dads who are actually mums who stepped up

Here’s to the dads whom are there from their child’s first breath

Here’s to the dads who have to witness their child’s last breath

Here’s to the dads who stay silent in a birth room, like the heart beat of their child whom they’ve never met.

Here’s to the dads who don’t know what to say to the woman they love as she births this baby born sleeping with everything that she is

Here’s to the dads who only get to hold their babies for what seems like a nanosecond. A drop in the ocean compared with what should be a childhood of firsts

Here’s to the dads who will never get to hold their daughters hoping to heal their broken hearts

Here’s to the dads who will never get to read their sons a bedtime story

Here’s to the dads who would trade everything to hear their own child laugh

Here’s to the dads.

Here’s to all of you.

 

Thank you for letting me a part of your lives, even just for a short time. I mean it when I say it’s a privilege to have witnessed you becoming a father

 

MHJ xxx

 

Setting Sail

Have I mentioned I hate moving house? No? Well I do.

It reminds me how easily I accumulate crapola, and how I have to sift through it to make sure I’m not just trailing it all over the place like a big trash heap from Fraggle Rock. 

Also, and I think this is important to consider before you try and placate me with “new start new job new home new blah blah blah” I have moved home 12 times – 4 of those within the last 5 years. It’s not fun – and it’s known to be one of the top ten most stressful things you can do.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m excited about living in a new home and finally living with my doggies again; I’m looking forward to discovering new places to walk and run, and to eat! I’m hoping that the local pubs will turn out to be lovely and dog-friendly. I am, of course, mainly looking forward to making my long-distance relationship a very short-distance one. 

My new role is at the excellent maternity hospital, and isn’t too far a drive from home, but of course that will come with all the new girl worries, as well as different Trust policies, and hierarchy, and extention numbers, and corridors, and keys and argh!!!!

I’m going to miss my friends and will increase my FOMO 100-fold, as events and shows come and go on my Facebook, and photos of people having an excellent time doing everything litter my timeline.

Yes I will make new friends, and join new groups and do new things, but it’s inescapable to fear being forgotten, in a way.

And yet, today, I suddenly feel ready. Ready to start a new adventure, to meet new challenges and to carve out a path for myself whereby I can do what I have wanted to for years:

Live a simple, relatively normal, everyday life.

Most of my belongings are packed, and the removal van is booked. I finish my career at McDonald’s on Sunday, and I have a week to tie up loose ends.

But, I’m ready. Let’s do dis 
H xxx

Strong Women Build Each Other Up

When I say 43%, to what could I be referring? Remain voters? Hillary voters? 

I’ll be more specific. 43% of midwives and student midwives have had this happen to them. Something that has been experienced of half of all of them.

Amniotic fluid facial? Perhaps it’s babies named after them?

Any guesses? Ok. It’s bullying.

43% of midwives and students have been been bullied by their colleagues or management. 

May I say to those bullying  (on behalf of everyone else) What the fucking fuck are you fucking playing at?

We are in the sphere of supporting women and their familes and you are unable to do that for your own colleagues? Look we all feel annoyed by people or the things that people do or say (and some times it’s hard to bite it back); but as an over thinker myself who bends to the will of others in a bid to appease…well, stop being unkind.

What do people get from it? There’s the old adage that blowing out someone’s candke does not make yours burn any brighter, but metaphors aside, the snide comments of a person to impressionable people, or vulnerable one can cut like a knife.

There are other forms of bullying of course: systematic undermining of practice, like pushing a midwife to carry as much as she is able and to work autonomously – yet telling her she is over confident without the skills to back it up. That’s just wholly confusing – especially if the women she is caring for respond well to her care.

So people should stand up for themselves, right? Or follow an appropriate course of redress. 

Of the three people I have known who did just this, all of them were then subjected to the most awful treatment when the information surfaced. Midwives who had previously criticised one another behind backs, suddenly closed ranks and became openly derogatory to the person in question.

There lies at least one of the problems, people’s moral compasses are off; friendships mean more than what is right, it seems. It’s hard for people to stand against such bloody mindedness and what subsequently happens is they become homogenised – its classic Mean Girls syndrome. People would rather assimilate with what is wrong to avoid being left out or victimised themselves – and this has got to change.

There needs to be a cultural shift where doing what is right is prized above being popular, or “included”, then the homogenisation would be positive! 

We have to choose between doing what is easy and doing what is right. 

Time to advocate for each other 
H xxx

Jobsworth

Before my new job starts in a few weeks, I have a couple of weeks left at my interim job: McDonald’s.

I have loved working here, I’ve told loads of people this; I’d recommend it, I’d do it again, and truth be told, I wish I had started while I was still at uni.

End of gush.

One of my favourite bits is working on the drive thru’ windows as it means that all of the “not-allowed-in-store” dogs (aka all my best friends), get to meet me and I can smoosh them (then wash hands!), or at least say hi and tell them that they are best dog*.

What I also see is people doing things they shouldn’t

1.  Talking on the phone while driving. 

Actually the police have said recently, in light of the new law, that even smart paying with your phone is considered a contravention as your engine is on. But I’m talking about actually phone to ear, driving, being a knob. A guy recently got convicted because he was scrolling through music on his phone while driving a lorry and killed several people. So, put it down.

2.  Smoking in the car with children present.

What are you doing? That’s been against the law for well over a year, but even if it weren’t, what are you playing at? Pack it in, or let the kid light up. Oh, you wouldn’t do that?! Then don’t make them breathe your bastard smoke.

3. Too many people in a car

“Lol there were like 6 of us in the back!”

She said.

Before the overloaded car couldn’t navigate a corner at speed and it flipped and most of them died.

I’m not saying that happened, but it’s all fun and games until someone’s parents have to start an awareness FB page as if most of us didnt know that the “elephants in a mini” joke was just a joke.

4. Various dangerous seating arrangements for children 

So this one really boils my piss; today, I told the parents.

They came to the payment window and their toddler was sitting on the lap of the passenger.

“Your child needs to be in a car seat.”

-shocked faces…then attitude- “Yeah, we’ve GOT a car seat. It’s THERE (points to the back seat and a child-free car seat)

“That’s good, but she shouldnt be on a lap when you’re driving”

I take the money politely, and give them their change.

“You’re wasted in this job, you should be a police woman (have they seen my bra?!), jobsworth”

“Actually, I’m a Midwife.”
But you know what? NEITHER job is worth more than a child’s life. I wondered if I had really stepped over the line (maybe), but then if people don’t speak up when things are wrong or dangerous, then they will just continue.

Perhaps that car was only dawdling through the drive thru’, but I’ve seen and heard cars zoom round the corner to the window. And what if was one where they were already looking for their money, or one of the people above who are on their phone?

It takes one unexpected knock for that child to fly forwards off that passenger’s lap, and either knock their head on the dash board or for their neck to snap as they are caught by the passenger.

Funnily enough, a midwife and her husband (a police officer) came through about 20 minutes later and I asked their advice, they agreed: if you see something like that, you say something. Better than than the child’s face be on the front page of the local paper with the parents rying to educate us on child seats in view of their own error, after losing their daughter.

*every dog is best dog.

The future’s bright, the future’s Hospital Grey

“Nobody gets to live life backward. Look ahead, that is where your future lies.” 

Ann Landers


I think it’s important to acknowledge that this time last year, my life was slowly emerging from the epic shit show of a catalogue of poor decisions.

Boy-related, obviously. 

My life is full of strong women, and they raised me up; because it’s true: strong women build each other up.

I managed to complete my student practice hours, against a few apathetic obstacles; I finished my course; I was awarded with a PIN; I was added to the register and permitted to legally call myself a Midwife. R effing M.

Now I’m leaving my home city for pastures new and exciting and…have I ever told you how much I hate moving house? No? Well it’s a lot. A very lot. Since 2009 I have moved house SIX times. 

I accumulate shit like I’m auditioning for “Hoarders”. I need to streamline. At some point.

Anyway.

So a friend told me recently that I should just “rip the band aid off” and start my new life in a new city etc etc etc. She was right but it’s so hard to do; it’s not just the people I will miss but the scenery, the coffee shops, the familiarity, the triggers for childhood memories. It’s a bit of a wrench.

This weekend I’ve popped to New Pasture (NP) to head to Occupational Health, and to hand over all the most important documents in my collection for my DBS scrutinisation. I was also scrutinised by the efficient elfin woman in Uniform Fitting; the interim job at McDogald’s places me firmly in “Size Pie” dress. 

I decided after the appointments to pootle about NP; I drove through the areas and streets on a bit of  Brownie Trail, until I decided to do a little bit of shopping, and pop into a museum for some comedy genius level dicking about. Oh and some learning. I did learning.

I’m not sure if it was the beautiful weather, the strength of the city’s history communicated through the museum, or seeing just how close and accessible the nearest Drag venue is, but it started to feel comfortable. I started to feel comfortable.

So aside from the packing, and the moving, there’s a strong possibility that I’ve started to actually look forward to putting on my Hospital Grey dress, entering and saying:

“Hi, I’m Heather, I’m your midwife.”

Remind me of this when I’m bitching about boxes and parcel tape, please

I got it

safety_pin2

 

In the current climate, it’s somewhat fitting that the numbers we get as qualified midwives are PINs.

Safety pins being the recent symbolism of just that: “safety”. Birth is a normal physiological process, but things can go wrong and they can go wrong quickly – if that happens, we still need to make women and families feel that they are receiving the best care they can get.

Safe, woman-centred care.

 

Lets do this.

“So are you nearly finished?” Yeah. Feels like it.

 

In terms of relating where I am in my undergraduate status for my midwifery degree, I would liken it to being T+14 (or 42 weeks). If you’re familiar with that sort of language, you’ll know that I’m now overdue and your friendly neighbourhood consultant is having a red braces day and smiling at me encouragingly as he talks about inducing this degree. Other women are coming and going, spontaneously birthing their BSc’s, some happily cradling two, while I, like Rachel Green, am still getting a bishops score of 3. Ish.

pregnant-rachel

Someone needs to get in here and hold my nose while someone else blows in my mouth so we can pop this thing right out. (Bouffay. P. Sometime in the 90s. Yes cry your tears of jealousy at my Harvard referencing skills).

If that all flew beautifully over your head, then you just need to know that due to a bunch of set backs both beyond my control and between my ears, I’m not yet finished.

Look, I know that things are worse in different ways for other people, I know that thousands of refugees would swap places with me in a heartbeat for the education opportunity and the budding career. But they can’t. So please, just for a few minutes, indulge me and read my train-written rambling.

There are few people I know who’ve had a worse relationship track record than me (in terms of being a serial monogamist); this was very kindly pointed out for me by an ex not so long ago, and while it was spiteful and it hurt, hey, who is still in every relationship they’ve ever been in? Not many.
Break ups hurt. Rejection hurts. Abandonment stings like a rubber trucker – and (cue the tiny violins) I wish that I had my mum to not just give me a hug and let me cry, but to tell me “Suck it up, he’s not worth your time.”

me-and-mum

But I don’t. Nor do a lot of people. But this is my pain, this is my problem, and you’re still reading, so I guess you have a vague interest in what I’m saying. Cheers, you’re a trooper.

What about your dad then? Well I don’t know. I honestly have no idea how he feels because we don’t talk. That hurts too – but it hurt more to talk, and sometimes you have to activate a little self-preservation. It’s not a criticism, it must be incredibly difficult to know how to talk to a grown woman you didn’t see grow, especially as she is so like the woman you didn’t want to be with. I can’t imagine what that’s like, but it’s not for me to imagine; I can’t fix everyone’s feelings about me by changing myself, there’s just not the time. (Written down this might seem a bit whiny, but in my head it’s conversational. So bear with me and imagine I’m just chatting to you about it.)

My brother is pretty great, there’s no two ways about that, but there are limits to the responsibilities of a sibling no matter how close you are. Yep, sometimes you need a parent.

I’ve gone down the rabbit hole a bit there haven’t I? And yet you’re still here? Here, have a cookie. You’re good at this.

perineal-trauma-cookie(I could have tried harder to find a cookie that was less vagina-y. Sorry. No I’m not)

Back to the degree, and what relevance does this all have to that? Well there are things that have pushed me away from it, no, pulled me away from it and each of them are to do with relationships. Losing what I have in the past gives me a huge fear of abandonment, and in the majority of cases I go all in very quickly. I am very open and I wear my heart on my sleeve; some have taken advantage of that – promising me the family life and home of relative simplicity that I look for. Some use it against me to manipulate out of me what they can get. Some just feel it’s too much to handle; and some are a pick and mix of all of that. I’m not a saint, I’m a bit of a dick, I’m not asking for sympathy, I’m just trying to explain why I am so tired. Why each hurdle seems to be higher than the last but people keep telling me “You can get through this you have been through so much” Yeah. I have. And it would be nice if it could stop for a bit. Because each time I have to deal with something, it gets harder and harder to keep going. I have a lot of support – but cheering an athlete while they are standing still has never been enough to get them over the line.

This is why I am where I am, or when I am…I’m not quite sure which one is right. It’s affected my engagement with the career that I have worked so hard for, and that is the current struggle. Seeing that finishing line edge further away when I take a step towards it is disheartening.

 

However.

 

I am not dead. I have not given up. I am just tired. I have the right people around me now and I get the feeling that no one is going to allow me to quit whether I like it or not.

So, student midwives, other midwives, other people (I hear that people exist outside of the hospital walls these days, although that may be a rumour), it is hard, and your struggles are your own and sometimes you will feel defeated. I’m not ending this post with “But you’ll be fine!” because you might not. It’s just that stopping is not the same as quitting or giving up, it’s self preservation, and as we preach all day long “You have to do what is right for you” to women. We have to do what is right for us.

 

Much love

HJ

The Perpetual Student

too-tired

If I haven’t whined at you about this, then we don’t spend much time together.
And when I say “much time”, I mean between 2 and 7 minutes.

Earlier this year, I had to take some time out of the course – it’s a big deal and one that I’m too close to at the moment to express properly here. Besides, this is supposed to be a relatively quick post.

The thing is, that event has had a massive knock on effect on my training and has set me back by as much as 11 weeks. My amazing friends are posting pics of their degree certificates and starting their jobs…and I’m still playing the bursary vs eating game. The negotiation and discussion of competencies to be signed off. The travel to and from placement (43 miles one way, if you were wondering).

And it’s becoming a struggle.

I receive nothing but positivity and support from cohort and colleagues alike, but it’s like swimming the channel – although the end is in sight, the swim is making me ache, and tired, and wondering what utter madness pushed me into starting in the first place.

I have a job, but it’s miles and miles away from where I live and where I’ve trained nd it’s that double edged sword: a new start, a new chapter, but without the reassurance of colleagues I’ve worked with before. The new place are taking me based on my interview (which as intense), my application, and my qualifications; they don’t know me from practice, and I will very much be expected to do what it says I can on the tin.

Terrifying really, isn’t it?

I don’t even have a restorative comment or thought to add to the end of this post.

 

 

 

 

The night duty blues.. (woe is me and fuck you to anyone getting between me and my recovery sleep)

Oh man that paragraph about sleeping in the car? ACCURATE

the moderate midwife

When I signed up I knew I would be working nights. I knew it, but I looked at my mentors with excitement and intrigue – what could be more appealing than the quiet of the night and the increased rate of births? Oh holy hell, I was too deliriously in love with midwifing and pining over the moon to notice the slower movement of the staff.

Pre Night Duty

It all starts the day you wake up knowing you are working that night. If you let it, it will hang over you like a shadow, casting its weary darkness over everything you do. You cannot possibly inject any activity with your normal enthusiasm and vitality and waste precious molecules of energy that you might need to call on later. Oh no, you must be sombre and sullen and ruin a perfectly good day.

Sometimes, you might be tired enough to…

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Desperation, Deliberation…Dissertation. Part 1

It’s that time of year.

Well, it’s a couple of months past that time of year.

Today I have been the most productive yet in terms of getting to grips with how to write it.

The most important part is that I have kidded myself into believing that I understand how to write it a little bit better than I did 24 hours ago. I’ve looked at various web pages (legit) and blog posts about how to go about it – but as is everything with Midwifery, this is different.

Our task is clear: the midwife’s role in something that can improve the service. Well, I say clear, you know, like clouds are clear. Made up of lots of little droplets of clear stuff – altogether: a foggy, soggy mist.

I’m whining. I know I am. Sorry.

Truth be told I settled on the area I’m going to look at a little while ago; I was aiming to look at the maternity care for women in prison. My placement area has cared for several women in that situation and I thought it would be really interesting; with my dissertation head on I was in practice, in the birth unit and a reg had been called up to double check the perineal damage on a woman who’d just given birth on a birth stool.

birthing stool

(Image via BirthRite)

She came out after said inspection and gave her assessment adding on that there was a lot of evidence against birthing on the stool – that they were good for descent, but they tilt the pelvis the wrong way or some such. *DOINK* My ears pricked up and suddenly my improvement of practice became blindingly obvious.

Maternal position in birth and the effect on the perineum.

Yes it needed refining in terms of a title, but I knew what I was going to look at. And that’s as much as I did for the subsequent 3 months. We had an assignment or two in between, as well as a presentation and two placements, but as far as the big D went: all aboard the Nope Train!

 

So, here I am with a list of tasks that don’t even cover writing the thing yet, I am going to prepare this so well that when I come to write it it’s just a very simple puzzle to put together.

For the most part, it’s reading; so much reading. I’m pleased I’ve picked something interesting to me that will really impact my rationale for practice – the key is just to not have a nervous break down between now and 20th April

 

 

Deadline: T-72 Days

Heather x