“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

So You Want To Be A Midwife?

Gas And Air

picstitch (1) How my life has looked for the past 3 days

And relax.

I’ve just finished a mammoth 3 nights on call and I’m shattered. It was up for every one of them, you could say we’ve been busy in our little team. I don’t think you realise how exhausting this job can be when you’re training to be a midwife, I certainly didn’t. Back then when I was a naive 21 year old, the only person I had to get up and dressed in the morning was myself and that was sometime a chore (especially if we had been out to Vodka Revolutions the night before, Vodka and a mixer for 50p, bargain!) Now I have to co-ordinate my shifts with my husbands work schedule, throw 2 children in the mix and it sounds like a recipe for disaster. But we somehow manage.

I often get asked ‘why did you…

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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.

It Wasn’t Supposed to Be Like This

She stands beside the incubator, her eyes fixed on her tiny little boy.

I’ve offered her a chair but she knows that if she sits down she won’t be able to keep her eyes open, so exhausted is she from her almost constant vigil at her baby’s side. The only time she’s left the room is to go and express breast milk, clinging to the hope that one day her baby will be strong enough and well enough to drink it.

Despite her exhaustion she doesn’t want to sleep because she knows that this could be the last day, these the last hours and minutes and even seconds that she has to commit each and every detail of him to her memory.

She doesn’t have those lazy mornings and those soft, sleepy hours in the middle of the night when there is just you and your baby and you have…

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Gin and Tonic Cupcakes

Midwives like gin.
Mostly true.
Midwives like cake
Mostly true.
Re blogged because awesome.

Bake It Instinct

For the last month or so I have pretty much only been making salted caramel brownies because they are everyone’s current favourite and they freeze well and they are easy to convert to gluten free by just switching the flour and they taste so good. Anyway, finally I have made a new and exciting thing: Gin and Tonic cupcakes. Gin and tonic is by far my favourite alcoholic drink and with a friend’s party coming up I thought it was a perfect excuse to try something a bit more grown-up.

BSMkFkuIQAAHmsc.jpg-large

It was based on a recipe I found on Katie Cakes but slightly modified in places:

Ingredients:

For the cakey bit:

  • 175g unsalted butter softened
  • 175g golden caster sugar
  • 175g self raising flour
  • 3 medium eggs
  • 4 tbsp tonic water (I used Fever Tree – yum)
  • 2tbsp gin (I used Hendrick’s)

For the icing

  • 250g unsalted butter softened
  • 500g icing…

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My One Born Every Minute Blogalong. S.8 Ep.3

I’m going to watch this, go for a run, then watch Great British Bake Off – I think GBBO will just make me want to sit at home and eat.

If can can start this by thanking people for their interaction with me over these posts via here and Twitter, including LWHSM account which realised that it was a look at how the information is perceived, not the care that is being given.

That being said, let’s crack on.


“If only you knew what I’d saw today”
Yep, I think that sitting in traffic.

Delia talking about her heritage of strong women and her mum being with her at the birth of her baby “She knew my needs before I even expressed them”
This is where the true “art of midwifery” comes into care; tuning in to a woman and her words and movements and sounds. Really listening to what’s being said and trying to read between the lines as well. Its a fine art and something to strive for.

Sammijo 34 weeks pregnant, drinking Redbull
No. Just no. Pregnant ladies, hear it loud:
No.
We’re not supposed to be negatively judgmental, but this is a clinical thing – caffeine has been shown to be detrimental in pregnancy. Redbull isn’t the best choice.

Being with mum 24/7
Some of us aren’t lucky enough to have a mum to be there during pregnancy or birth, or to look after our children, how good it is that she has that relationship with her. Bit of a double act 🙂

The attitude
This doesn’t just happen to people, people aren’t like that when they are born – her life will have affected her and people around her will have shaped her as well. You can see that from how her mum responds to her in the room “Who are you talking to?!” This is the same for how we treat people; you see lots of posters about abuse of NHS staff not being tolerated, but we need to make sure that no matter how we are spoken to, or the presentation of any attitude – we’re sticking on that smile and understanding that woman and her needs. If that’s to back off, then we back off. There’s a perfectly good staff room to let out  long sigh.

High pulse
Just sayin’ *cough* Redbull *cough*
Excellently tactful way for the midwife to say stop drinking Redbull, and drink water instead

“You can have a walk around, sight seeing and stuff”
That made me laugh 😀

The whimsical music
Can you see the difference? We’ve had clips of Samijo’s verbal spatting with her mum, but now we have a couple of childhood sweethearts…it’s all oboes and woodwind and twinkling pianos and trilling. So that we can see that this is a lovely couple. No doubting that they probably are, but it’s good to be wary of the music that’s playing while you watch.

Talking about the woman while she’s right there.
I’m not going to say about this what you think I am going to say about this – when someone has a complicated history it’s important to get ll the info across to people who are caring for her, what is *better* and what’s being done here is that both midwives are facing Rhiannon. I like this better than the secret huddle – or the proposed handover of information at the foot of someone’s bed on a ward which a friend had suggested was going to happen in their dept (not maternity). All aboard the nope train for that one! It’s one thing involving a person in their own care – it’s quite another involving several relative strangers in the surrounding beds!

Heart strings music
Ah there it is again; Rhiannon’s story needs warrior music if anything, not sympathy music. As IF she wants to have the nation saying “ahhhhh”.

Leanne.
Lovely and friendly but let down by C4 because they have cut out any explanation of why she is doing what she is doing and it’s really obvious because the flow of this scene is jagged and clunky. What it might look like to women? That midwives come in and touch your bump for no reason without washing their hands, and then put you on a monitor.
Might not be the actual case, but all that editing and shunting is what it makes it look like.

Entonox (gas and air)
Not entirely convinced that we’re seeing the picture that Leanne is talking over right now. What help is the gas and air going to be to Sammijo if she breathes in through her nose and out through her mouth? In and out through your mouth if you’re using it, so like I said, not entirely sure that the image on the screen is what we can hear Leanne directing with breathing.

Post natal depression (PND)
It’s heartbreaking to hear Sammijo talk about her PND like that, not only with that clarity, but saying that she just wasn’t there for her daughter for the first three weeks. This is why her previous scenes irk me; OBEM have painted her in a light illustrating her attitude, her attachment to her mum and had that bloody plinky plonky “ooh look at these weirdoes” music playing. This can alienate women into thinking that only certain demographics get PND. Well they don’t – certain things may pre-dispose you to it but being “a bit gobby” is not one of them. Plonking the baby on her as a last resort was a bit risky, and seeking help from midwives and GP and peer support groups is improtant, so we must make sure that women have the best post natal care they can get as well as information to services they can use if they need them.

Leanne is incredible. 
That’s all.

Cystic Fibrosis in pregnancy
Learning new things about this! Eating “constantly” is making me wonder what the “only water now!” protocol is for women with CF?

The CTG

CTG

That’s what the lines mean. The line for contractions only measures the force of the muscular contraction against the toco – it doesn’t tell anyone how much it hurts; the reading is there to observe frequency (if required) but more importantly to see how the fetal heart rate is coping with each contraction.

“You’re not going to be able to do it with just this”
No matter how well you know the person who’s in labour – don’t tell them what they can’t do (Sammijo’s mum)
It’s quite black and white here, Sammijo didn’t feel a connection with her baby after a 27 minute previous precipitate (fast like) labour – she thinks that contributed to her dissociating herself from her baby. While it’s a good idea for women to stay in as much control as they can in labour and to allow their bodies to rest where possible, she clearly feels that the pain helps her to connect with the baby she’s carrying. I totally get that.

“I can’t do this no more”
Sometimes this means that magical stage: transition! *HAAAAAAAALLELUJAH!* In laymans terms, the baby is ready to be pushed out. Sometimes it means that the woman is knackered and in pain and doesn’t know what to do.
Now, does this mean that we are getting a real-ish view of time elapsed and that here mum popping out for a smoke/use the phone means this baby is going to arrive forthwith. Or is this timeline edited for effect? I’ve paused it here, so I genuinely don’t know what happens next at the time of writing.

“Ooh. your baby’s head’s here now”
Ha, there we are then!

PND – just one last note
Because Sammijo’s had it before it makes her predisposed to feel the effects of the post natal depression again, so while you may feel that rush of love (or not) for your next baby, it’s still important to engage with your care providers and your support network of family and friends to make sure that if you’re feeling that way, you have a quick response xx

“Why are you being induced?”
See? See? Seeeeee? The midwifes DO ask, so please SHOW this!

Explaining what they are doing and why.
Not sure why we needed to wait until episode three for this to come to light, but to who ever made the decision to include this info, – about flipping time.

Doctors instead of midwives.
Well actually, let’s be a bit more accurate here – it’s more than likely an anaesthetist – the specialty of whom is to get needles into seemingly impossible spaces. It’ not just a case of an “upgrade” here.

Death
Quite a striking, and frank talk from Rhiannon about death, which is something that I suppose can come from living with a condition like CF where you are given an unbearably short prognosis.

Editing
Honestly, sometimes the editing sequence is more contrived that RuPauls’ Drag race – making people’s facial expressions ft what someone else has said. For instance, Kirsty’s mum has arrived and is sitting in the chemo chair, In is sitting in the smaller one. During the conversation Kirsty is having about a “home” vasectomy” you see Ian’s eyebrows pop up…but that’s a reaction from way earlier in the couple’s stay – you can see Kirsty’s arm on the left of that reaction shot and she’s wearing the top she was when she came in.
No this particular part is not important, but what IS important is knowing that what you see is not necessarily what happens, in order, in reaction. Just be aware.

oneborn1 oneborn2 oneborn3 oneborn4

Not his real reaction to what is said.

“Back to the bed” “Get on the bed”
Gosh…sorry, yes. Um, with noises like that I would have a pair of gloves on to have a look and would have got the mum to ring the bell.
Zero reason here for the woman to be on the bed. I just, can’t – I don’t know why people want women to be on the bed, i don’t get it! If this baby is about to arrive, what good is getting her horizontal going to do? I’ve paused it. I don’t know what is going to happen next, but I can have a good guess. This midwife is going to catch this baby…literally.

Whoosh
Ok well, the dad caught it, an that midwife is THE FONZ, wow she’s cool and calm!

*Edit – Having seen a Tweet saying ” Less than a minute earlier it would’ve been in the toilet!” let’s not be hasty shall we? Les than a minute on OBEM could be five minutes or 8 hours – as per the editing sequence above.

Sorry
Unless you hurt someone or are nasty in labour, you rarely need to apologise. Human nature, I know, but no one expects and apology because you’ve had a baby 🙂

Shellshock
Ian. Look at that poor bloke.

“Delivered by dad”
Pretty sure Ian’s cervix didn’t dilate at any time, but it was a good catch.

The Epidural
Ok ok ok. So the partners are allowed to stay in the room for the epidural, but it’s a theatre thing then this complete exclusion of the partner when siting it in theatre? I feel we’re getting somewhere with finding out the answer to this mystery.

It’s making me worry
Yeah your blood pressure does drop after an epidural, yes her blood pressure was low, yes she’s now feeling feint.
Ok. Right I’m unpausing it again.

Its this music. and that’s why you have to be wary of it. The power of music influences your feelings over what you are watching, and you can’t help it.

How do we go about getting an OBE or something for Delia? Anyone know?

obe

The main thing that sticks out in my head is that somewhere a woman has watched that and will rigidly stick to the bed during her labour and birth for fear that her baby might just fall out if she goes for a wee. And if that’s even the reaction of one person, then I’ll need to write a letter of thanks to Channel 4 for setting the active birth movement back about 70 years.

Twidmife x

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!

rubber-duck-toy-image1

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

Ah THANK YOU
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.

Hana
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!

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

STOP CHEERLEADING HER, JEANETTE!
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.

Hana
“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.

Paracetamol
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.

https://twitter.com/SirFredFeast/status/626493051389771776

https://twitter.com/SirFredFeast/status/626495478151151620

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