The drive to work often involves feelings of both excitement and apprehension as life as a midwife varies so much day to day. At the start of a 12hour shift we take handover from the lead midwife and get a full history of each woman who is currently on delivery suite before being allocated a lady to care for. The reason we are informed about every woman is because we cover each other for breaks and have to attend should an emergency bell be pressed.
A more detailed handover of the lady we are caring for is then given by the midwife who has looked after her up until now. The word midwife means ‘with woman’ so a key skill we must have is the ability to build a good trusting relationship very quickly. A good relationship with a midwife can create a positive birth experience from even the most challenging birth. I feel very privileged to be part of such a special time in the lives of the families I care for. As a midwife I work in partnership with the woman constantly adapting my care to meet her needs. I simply offer support and guidance as it’s paramount the woman feels she is in control of what’s happening.
As a rotational midwife I work in all areas of the maternity unit on a 6 month cycle. My favourite area is delivery suite. Here we support women with more complex needs, which although challenging it is also very rewarding. Today I have been assigned a labouring lady who has had a worrying pregnancy as a heart defect has been detected on scan. She was originally booked for an elective caesarean but babies don’t always follow the plan and make an arrival whenever they want! Delivery is imminent so the team are all waiting to assist. The room can feel quite crowded but the collaboration of all the different specialities is flawless and provides safe, effective care. Women are amazing at listening to their body and following their instincts. A beautiful baby boy was born into my hands and placed onto his mother’s chest for skin to skin as he appeared well, so delayed cord clamping was appropriate. Once the cord was cut and clamped I took the baby over to the paediatricians so they could check him over under mum and dad’s watchful and euphoric eye. The baby was taken to NICU as planned whilst I helped his mum hand express some colostrum to feed him. Once mum was feeling strong enough after having the world’s best tea and toast (it’s a key midwifery skill) I wheeled her round to NICU so they could get to know their new baby boy.
Before I get chance to finish the paperwork and drink my tea I take a phonecall from a frantic husband saying his wife is in the carpark pushing. I grab a delivery pack and myself and a colleague sprint through the hospital just in time to witness the arrival of a screaming baby girl in the footwell of her parent’s car!
The rest of my shift is less eventful, I assist in theatre with two elective sections, provide break relief, check and restock equipment. Once home I fall asleep as soon as my head hits the pillow, thinking about the four happy families and four beautiful babies I helped welcome into the world.