Wednesday, December 26, 2007

News from the night shift

I confess to being a bit surprised but relieved that Xmas is over already. Here in Perth it was 41C, and today (Boxing Day) it was over 44C. Yikes!!!

The lead up to Xmas was all a bit truncated by three night shifts on 21-23rd ending at breakfast on Xmas eve. I had a baby or babies every shift, or at least saw them born, including breech + breech twins born vaginally. Yahoo! Normal birth IS possible. It was a fabulous birth, spontaneous labour. The woman had had 3 previous vaginal births with no trouble and although a CS had been booked the obstetrician on duty when she came in labouring said "Go for it". So a delighted registrar got a chance to do TWO breech births at once, a flexed breech (butt first) and a footling breech (one foot first). I saw it all from very close-up and it was so wonderful and interesting and the Mum was so pleased and the babies were so cute! Girl and boy twins with only 5g difference between them (2.45kg) , same length and head size. Born at 7 mins and 1 min to midnight! Too cute for words. A month early, but in great condition and each hopped on for a feed in the first hour. Everyone was very pleased with themselves.

Today I have supervised my first student midwife birth (easy-peasy, it was her tenth) and then gone to theatre for a CS for a small baby, a month early, who went to the nursery for respiratory distress. Mum will get to see him this evening (probably by the time I write this). She had a big cuddle on the table for ten minutes before he went. He is only 2kg, a tiny scrap of a fella, not helped by Mum having an IV drug problem and brain damage from a drug psychosis. Sad. I also got a big spray of his blood on me from his cord :( An hour or two later, back on LBS I answered a bell and entered to find a midwife holding a 5 second old baby who had shot out of his shocked but exultant Mum. There was a lot of love in that room I tell ya, sobbing with happiness the pair of them.

As a rule I don't cry at births. Not because I'm not a sook - I am extremely open about tears and cry at the drop of a hat. I honestly expected that I would be a secret sniveller at births, but I am so busy that I rarely even mist up. I do well up when I see a man cry though. And this Dad in the sudden birth room was sobbing with pride and delight, and I confess to feeling a bit moist (it passed very quickly).

Anyway, I'm off to bed as I am on shift again in 9 hours time, and I need my beauty sleep! In a hot bedroom. With a fan. Its expected to be 22C overnight. Sheesh. Wish me luck for sleeping!

Friday, December 21, 2007

Evidence of love

I am loved.

The evidence is here.
Somehow, lately, I have got myself in a complete tizz about being unloved and unloveable. The therapist described it as a core belief. Its quite an obsessive thought deep, deep down. I didn't realise how deep it went but I now know it has been there all my life. Long story.

While feeling very wobbly over the last months I decided to try NOT cheering myself up when I was wobbly, just as a test to see how much of my natural bubbly personality was a result of me gee-ing myself up and how much came from outside sources. BAD IDEA FOLKS - DON'T try this at home. Not even if you are a trained professional.

Such a dumb idea. So dumb. IQ the size of a small planet and I thought it was a good idea (because I am depressed and not making good choices). I thought that I had obviously been duping myself into being a happy little soul for years when no-one actually loved me because I was unloveable. But if I was cheerful and witty and kind and clever people would keep me around and I would feel like I belonged because I was at least useful, which was almost as good as being loved for myself.

So I turned her off. The self-nurturer. The cheerer-uperer. And she has been surprisingly difficult to turn back on. I discovered this last weekend.

I had had a reasonable week at work last week, caught a few babies, and had a day off on Friday. My husband and I had a bit of time to oursleves and were spending some quality time and sharing some stuff together. And it pushed some buttons for me (my buttons are HUGE at the moment. And invisible to all, including me.) So I then spent the next 24 hours feeling immensely and increasingly unloved and unloveable and abandoned. Sigh. And the thing that really undid me was getting up on Saturday and feeling very wobbly and anxious, and then I saw these.

DH had got them for me while out shopping for groceries. He does things like that sometimes. So how could I not know I am loved? I fled back to bed (after sobbing in the loo) and had an anxiety attack. Not fun. Not in the least. Was I going mad? Or is it just that my vulnerability buttons are huge at the moment? DH was great. Applied lots of TLC. Kept me safe. Got me down off the ceiling. Helped me pick up the apples from the applecart that were rolling all over the floor. Got me to work that afternoon. Where I was fine if a bit shaken.

We went to the therapist on Monday and told her about my weekend. And she explained about the core beliefs thing. And I told her about the self-nurturer thing. And she told me to turn her back on cos we need to balance self-nurturing with outside nurturing and its too hard to expect it ALL to come from outside. Which I'd realised many years ago and was partly how I got so good at doing it for myself, and why I (felt) I was so happy. I felt I was so happy and fulfilled that I was filled with light. I was so filled with light that it radiated out of every pore, I couldn't turn it off if I tried.

My son had loved lighthouses as a small child and I always had a soft spot for them. He grew out of them and then I realised that my sentimentality was more than nostalgia, it was related to this inspiring light filled image and then at a workshop 2 years ago I realised I WAS the lighthouse, a beacon, radiant. What an experience.
I came to understand that it has all sorts of spiritual connotations, religious significance, new age connections and that it was a huge symbolic object. And I was OK with all of it. I was grown up, mature, insightful, confident and self-assured. I had it all together and was comfortable in my own skin. (And I was happy to have a new thing to collect :) ) I didn't talk about the light thing much to anyone, just me and my journal really, and maybe a few friends. It felt really private. But I include images of lighthouses in many of my creations (see necklace below)
And then this period of depression happened. The slide was gradual at first, and I thought I had enough insight and had done plenty of inner growth work in the past to have had it sorted out. I thought I was over all my self esteem issues, but clearly I wasn't. And I lost the sense of myself as a light filled being. A friend who knows about the lighthouses sends me pictures of them with light and energy pushed into them, but I still felt only flickering. I thought of a pool light to lend me some light as I felt I was underwater! Even that image only lifted me briefly. And then this arrived yesterday.
Oh Lesley thankyou so much. I had opened it (my Xmas present) early as I thought it would be one of her darling little wonky funky Christmas birds and I hadn't even got any decorations up yet, so I opened it to get at least something Christmassy underway. And then this beauty emerged. I was misty with pleasure and delight, and it was just what I needed. It will never be far from me, ever, for the rest of my life. Even if it was Christmassy I would keep it out 365 days per year.

The only thing I want for Christmas this year is love.

And I have it. From many sources. Here's to re-shaping crappy core beliefs with the evidence to the contrary.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

A new game

BTW does anyone else waste time / express their curiosity in blogland by

a) updating their blog and going back mega-quickly to the dashboard page and seeing if THEIR blog is one of the recently updated ones to flash across the top of the page? OR

b) when visiting favourite blogs on blogspot use the 'Next Blog' key at the top out of curiosity? Just keep clicking on the key. Its fascinating to see how many other blogstyles there are and in so many other languages...until you hit the porn sites or a site with the 'next blog' key disabled. Rats...

But its a fun game while it lasts. How many clicks this time? Anybody else play these games? NO? ...just me then (sigh) - although I could give the game a name and then I would be some consecutive-blog-link-game-queen! Me and my delusions of grandeur. You can share my game. I, the blog-link-queen, give you permission to try it out.

Just findin' ways to waste time in blogland (oh but its fascinating)

The Ultimate Purple Bag

In the beginning there was a woman (me) who loved the colour purple. She wore a lot of purple, and fancied a handbag that featured the shades of purple she liked. She searched the bagstores high and low, markets here and there, to no avail. She remained unrequited.

One day the thought occured to her that she had a rather enormous stash of fabric. So she should MAKE a bag for herself (shock horror). She sketched a design to feature a range of gorgeous textiles including some luscious suede-y /velvetish fabric in two shades of purple some burgundy velveteen and taffeta lining and small feature trims of stuff from her sister bags (OMG I hope that works I've never tried to hyperlink before) and to include some comfy handles, and roomy enough to hold stuff but not STUFF, and maybe a button-up pocket at the back to hold documents and other things like thumbdrives etc.
She was heading overseas for a Big Trip real soon, and as her wardrobe was geared around purple or black it would be good to have it done to take OS with her.

So she pulled her finger out and made it. And it was good. She packed it to take away and it was in regular rotation for her long round the world trip with her dear husband and it even made it into photos in various places including Paris (featured here on shoulder while eating French Fries at the Eiffel Tower)and San Diego - where it was spotted in a restaurant by a woman named Melissa who admired its Ulimate Purpleness and commisioned one for herself!
The one pictured in the making is, in fact, Melissa's near copy of the original prototype, and by the time she gets it will be nearly as well travelled- having been posted all the way to her from Perth in Western Australia to Colorado, USA.
Photos were taken, records were made, blogs were created - and now she is looking for more of the gorgeous purple suede-y stuff, cos it makes great bags, but keeps op-shopping in case she finds another purple remnant (I found some luscious purple corduroy that will be useful for another purple bag).
And one day- when she has the time- she will make more lovely Ultimate Purple bags and sell them on her (currently empty) Etsy shop. But until then her head teems with images of yummy purple (and other colour) bags yet unmade.
And she lived happily ever after.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

In at the deep end - paddling like mad.

Hmm, well it seems I can swim!

My second day on LBS I was to be oriented/refreshed again with the plan to leave me be with someone to back me up at page or a push of the bell. I started at 0700 and entered the room to a young woman having her second baby, who was entering transition and restless. Spontaneous labour, all good, intermittent listening to bub, gone off the boil a bit?. Encouraging her to move to apply gravity and to help cope with contractions.

By 0735 there was strong involuntary pushing so I pushed the bell anticipating an imminent birth, a different midwife arrived and it was clear there was a babe on the way, with head on view. 0745 birth of a lovely floppy-ish baby boy. My preceptor took him over for a bit of resus (I was still a bit slow with clamping) but he was fine. Gave the oxytocic (just remembered) and all was good. Placenta came out followed by a gush, hmm. Fundus firm, trickle stopped? Perineum is intact - another gush, where from? Higher up? Can see the cervix and push it back - but does it have a tear? Gush, not happy, fundus firm again - or did it twitch beneath my hand? The room was filling up - thank God.

The short version was that she lost a little over 1500mls of blood, but the drama was over in 25 mins. By 0822 she had her baby in her arms (for the first time) and he got to work on her breast straight away, where he essentially remained, with only short breaks, for 2 hours. All 3650g of him (8lbs 1oz). She was so full of oxytocics that the intermittent uterine atony was under control, and she made it up to the ward OK, didn't have to go to Adult Special Care.

Before she left LBS I was assigned care of a another woman having number 3, her second planned vaginal birth after a CS. She had had a small bleed, and had maybe ruptured her membranes, but was contracting a bit. Her spontaneous labour built up over the morning to having 3 contraction in each 10 mins by 1230. Getting really painful, thinking about an epidural. Went to the loo, opened her bowels and came back to bed at 1300 draining meconium stained liquor and proceeded to a spontaneous vaginal birth (with no epidural, we sent the anaesthetist away at 1310 when we realised she had involuntary pushing and was fully dilated - she cried!) at 1322 of a 3960g boy (8lbs 12oz). Unfortunately she pushed quite vigorously and blasted his head out quite suddenly, thereby sustaining a partial 3rd degree tear (torn a little into her anal sphincter :( ). She had to go up to theatre for it to be repaired very thoroughly, as this type of birth injury is a nasty one, and frequently has long-term consequences for the woman with continence, and sexual comfort. Rats. The woman was very happy with her quick spontaneous birth in the end though, and wanted the tear fixed as best as humanly possible. Midwives always feel bad when 3rd degree tears happen, and she had had an episiotomy and forceps for her previous vaginal birth. I felt it go, but it often tears from the inside first, and this was in a different place from her previous epis. You have little control over these injuries sometimes. I had another midwife with me and she was very kind and practical, and fairly philosophical about the tear. She also finished the paperwork for me as it was time to go home! I had done a very full day's work!

A big day all around. So much for orientation! See if I can have a drama free day tomorrow. I swam OK - in fact it was quite exhilarating and I remembered more than I thought I would! Thank heavens I had had a chance to check a room yesterday and knew where things were in an emergency (for both births)

Welcome to the world little Shane and Felix. You are in my birth journal as babies number 28 and 29 of my midwifery career, with hopefully many more to follow.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Relative update

Thought you'd like to see this.

This is a photo of the nephew (LP, 15) and niece (T, 16) recently injured in late November. They were photographed late last week as they attended the Airforce Cadets Ball.

Thanks be to God.

A first

Today I signed my first birth registration papers as a registered midwife. Somewhere in the universe a little boy will be registered with ME as the certifying midwife. Yay! A small but significant milestone (skipping).

Today was my first day back on labour and birth suite (LBS). I saw 4 babies born today, the first at 7.45am answering an assist bell with a mild shoulder dystocia for which I called a paediatric code blue (he was ok, just stunned for a minute or so), the second at 10.54am by CS, the third at 11.55am by CS and the fourth at 1.07pm also by CS (it was my day to be oriented as the Section Queen). All sweet fat healthy babies (3.4-4.48 kg) and lovingly welcomed by their parents. Tomorrow I hope to see some babies birthing from women I know better! -through hopefully having cared for them for a couple of hours in labour.

I also stocked a room (thereby reminding myself of what goes/can be found where) and spent the remainder of the shift doing paperwork and weighing placentas etc. We were busy, but not as busy as the staff on the wards who were under pressure to get the women out the door to make way for the next one! One ward refused to take a baby from us due to lack of midwives (uh-oh) holding up the list, which made an anaesthetist speak rudely to us about the delay (sigh) which gave us all a pain in the proverbial, but we smiled sweetly and our day still finished on time.

I made a bit of a mess with clamping and cord cutting. I was surprised to find my hands shaking as I went to clamp the first one in theatre. Slippery, bleedy, spurty little suckers those cords but all of a nice fat size and easy to take cord gas samples from (phew). I remembered how to do all the data entry stuff, and what samples to send where and with which stickers for the Rhesus negative Mums. Birth is certainly a messy business. Midwives would recognise the smell of blood ANYWHERE.

It was good to be back. There was even a slowly labouring term-ish breech planning to birth vaginally. Hope she goes OK. I'll find out tomorrow.

My feet are sore but I still feel like skipping! AND I'm smiling. Yay for me! I like this job!

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

A pair of journals in the garden

A pair of journals in the garden
Originally uploaded by
Laura 61 via my new Flickr account

This is what I did for the One Hour Craft Journal Swap, but I didn't hear from my partner until a few days ago and we've decided between ourselves to delay our exchange until January (due to mutual family crises). However I have uploaded the photos to Mia's Flickr site to take part anyway. And then I found out that I could upload a photo from my Flickr account to my blog...OMG, I feel like a complete genius!

It was so nice to hear from her (Marybeth) and she was really excited to have an Aussie partner, however I have been looking at her blogsite and I think I will make her a different journal/altered book, as she (like me) is keen on altered books - that also function as journals.

I have been cleaning for the last two days (yes, its true). I called a friend who has been down (as well) lately and is turning the corner too. We were mutually confessing to the appalling state of the clutter in our houses, and how overwhelmed we (and our husbands) felt by it. Where to start - and using WHAT source of energy?

So ... being the daring soul that I am, I suggested we photograph the clutter as 'Before' and see if we couldn't make a dent in it, and then shoot 'After' shots. Anything for motivation. Sigh. My name is Laura and I am a hoarder. It runs in my family (thats my excuse). I did send the bedroom shots to her, but I am too embarassed to post them to y'all. (Should I do a post entitled "I'll show you mine if you show me yours"?)

However seeing that I am quite keen to be getting on with some craft projects, and that there is not a surface left in the back 2 rooms on which to DO anything, I decided to bite the bullet. I found some 'too-hard' boxes that I shoved on a wardrobe in 1996 - well, clearly that is no longer important enough to keep - OUT it goes. I have ditched all sorts of bits and pieces. Lycra from 1994 - Goodbye! Old PTA stuff from the nineties? Hospital committee stuff from a similar period? Hmm. Decoupage papers - keep - they can be part of my scrapbooking / book altering. New uses for old stuff. Out go the old lampshades that I might have re-covered. Out goes the hideous sounding echo tube toy that I had hidden from a child - it sounded extremely weird disappearing into the goodwill bin across from my house. Boxes of crap that I am exceptionally unlikely to miss.

The floors throughout were swept and vacuumed. Vacuuming - now there's another pleasure when you can really see where you've been. I'll (maybe) wash them tomorrow morning. I have made new smaller piles of stuff, and haven't yet tackled the accumulated stack of 6 years of university study work. Do I really need to keep EVERY note I took? Probably not, but I might save that for another day.

I can't wait for my SIL to re-claim (i.e. remove) the twin foam mattresses that have been looming in my vision for months. As I no longer have housefuls of drunken band members/mates of my son crashing for the night I can do without them. Yay! For now, however, they are forming a makeshift settee in the second TV room, but they ARE going! They are next to a new pile of op-shopping from last week's efforts to keep myself calm, but that will be tackled (i.e. cut out for bags/pouches/ dolls/purses) very shortly.

Tomorrow I have a friend coming for lunch with her hubby and two of her three children. She is about to move across the country (sniff) and I birthed her baby Thomas in February. He is just THE most adorable little guy and I will miss them both like crazy. My heart leaps with utter joy whenever I see them both. They've been cleaning out too - but EVERYTHING - and putting it into a container (including the Barbie house and Ferrari from my cleanout) and are literally camping on the carpet until they leave on Saturday.

And Don is away at the moment, way on the other side of Oz. Its his birthday tomorrow, and he will be home late that evening, and I would like the house to look more respectable when he arrives than when he left. Judging by the 'before' photos that wouldn't be hard. It will be (like) his birthday present. I am missing him, and look forward to his return. I just want to be joined at hip with him lately, its probably good for me.

Anyway, this post has been interrupted by TWO phonecalls so I had better be off and let the (relatively) patient daughter onto the computer. She was a big help with the tossing out today!

See ya