How do these things get handed out?
I ignored it for a bit, thinking it was a viral phishing code, but as I have barely posted anything this year I thought it would make for another post! Desperate huh?
Anyway, I have really mixed feelings about any such thing. You've probably noticed that I don't write so much recently about work and individual births. This is because I was heavily warned off by a series of events, including a lecture on cyber-presence and how one is vulnerable to 'flaming' if radical groups find you and take you on. Examples were given and my blog was used (among others) to illustrate the talk. This blog IS in the public domain, so it IS fair game to such things. No permission was necessary. But it made me feel vulnerable.
I also received a few comments accusing me of breaching confidentiality. Just a few, scattered over one or two posts, mixed with many times more comments appreciating the posts. But coupled with the warning lecture it put me off. I didn't enjoy writing it anymore, even though I still felt the same way, and reflected just as much as I always had, it was just in my head, instead of on the page and shared with readers.
I wondered if I could leave stories to 'cool off' for a while before telling them. Then days became months, and so many stories fell away from my memory. And I got out of the habit of sharing them with you. I felt silenced, but safe from criticism.
There have been many, many stories I wish I could share.
I haven't actually seen a baby pushed from a vagina in months. Truly. I did have a woman pushing with me two weeks ago, a first timer, but after an hour it became clear she was going to need a hand to get her baby out. But the doctors were busy. So even though I stayed late after a nightshift, I still didn't see the baby emerge.
I had another woman, another first timer last week. She was being induced for post-dates at 11 days after her due date. The balloon catheter hadn't budged after 18 hours. We deflated it and applied hormone gel high in her vagina near the cervix to help ripen it. My shift ended and I handed over to another midwife and student, who were between 2 rooms. I could see she was contracting a bit, but I went home. I thought I would have her again the next day (our third day allocated together for continuity). But she was left alone for a long time on that shift as they got busy in the other room. She called the bell later that evening and was attended by a different midwife who, finding a woman in some distress and contracting a fair bit, examined her. She was 8cm and proceeded to push her baby out two hours later!
So, a good result in the end, and a relatively uninterfered with 'natural' birth after a second induction attempt. I saw her the next day and they were a bit stunned but delighted with their daughter. They were pretty lucky that the docs were busy elsewhere, and that she was able to be undisturbed, even if they felt abandoned. I was sad they felt under-supported in the building labour, but thrilled for her that she achieved a vaginal birth, against the suspicion that her induction would be deemed a failure.
After a summer in the homebirth arena, well...at the shallow end of it....it is still chafing to find myself in a high-risk environment. Yet I am largely proud of the work we do in that world. We see a lot of stuff. A LOT of stuff. Big Stuff. Confronting and complex stuff. Life threatening stuff. And we do it, and deal with it, and do it well a lot of the time.
There are some who don't cope or thrive in that environment. There are some who have forgotten it can ever be any different. And there are some who have a bare minimum of exposure to complexity and emergency, and pooh-pooh those who work in those environments. I've met them all. Birth can turn in an instant. Recognising the instant is the art.
As a midwife I want to experience it all. I don't want to become so indoctrinated to swimming with sharks that I forget to take off my chainmail when dealing with goldfish. Yet I don't want to forget that birth (and life) is bigger than the goldfish bowl of homebirth. Most of the world sits somewhere in between. Its a tricky balancing act.
Yet despite the tightrope act....I love being a midwife.