Snapshots from my 'place of birth'
A final week of madness on the ward. The hospital is in crisis mode, with a serious bed shortage and a staffing shortage to boot (I have not offered to work an extra shift this weekend).
I was lucky enough to work the same 4 rooms for 4 days, and saw 9 different women through those rooms, and 5 different babies. Some babies were in the nursery, some hadn't come out to play yet. All but one of the babies were great feeders, with sensible practical mums. It really makes a difference.
I can't tell you how many bells I answered, but it was a LOT. I have a sore foot currently and am limping alot of the time, which makes my other hip and my back sore. I was not pleased with frivolous ringing of bells, but I did take a certain pleasure in seeing that I would not be answering bells next week. Just mobile phonecalls.
I had my last late-early split. Bliss. I am well aware that I will be on call and I may long for the life of a rostered day off, but just let me enjoy this tiny fantasy, will you?
I worked a late, early, early, early, and was in a meeting from 9.30-1.40 today. Hubby was away on business and I had to walk/limp to and from work all week as I have no parking permit at work, and I live pretty close anyway so its not worth taking a car for an 8 minute walk. Unless you're limping. This part of the week DID suck.
Word was still spreading about my departure, so I have broken the news and said goodbye to many people all week. I have enjoyed much goodnatured ribbing about people making me hand-embroidered placenta bags if they'd known (my reply? Frankly my dear I'm bloody insulted you hadn't already wrapped it ready for me, what's the holdup? You've had 4 weeks notice!).
I have had 2 avo teas, with cake, wherein I received a lovely gift from my home ward, and many many good wishes, acknowledging my long-held desire to work in this field. Students and former students professed to have enjoyed birthing and working with me, saving lives with me, and laughing with me. I cried. I laughed. We hugged. I assured them I would not be far away, and would not be a stranger to them.
This morning I handed in my uniforms to the cheerful Julia in the hospital laundry/uniform section. She asked where I was heading and was delighted to hear that I was going to be a homebirth midwife. She regaled me with tales of her mother giving birth to 12 babies at home, including one caught by Julia herself when she was 13 years old. Her brother had come really fast and her dad was still away fetching the midwife!
This afternoon I had a final engagement with labour ward. Over two hours staff staggered in and out and asked for information about my next job. Some of them almost seemed to be giving grudging permission for this career move, but were greatly outweighed by those assuring me I would love it, and that it would be a great fit for me. There was much discussion about knowing me, and my capabilities, and knowing that I would understand their expectations if transfer occured. There was more ribbing about me phoning in to transfer primips who had been pushing for 7 hours (c'mon girls, you KNOW my minimum time limit before transferring is 8 hours) and much curiosity about details, which I was largely unable to furnish, as I have yet to be oriented. I caught up on the gossip, who was pregnant (3 of them), who was planning to be and who had got new roles. It was great to touch base with these fantastic bunch of hardworking and talented midwives again. I have missed them over the last 6 weeks and was a little sad not to finish up with them on Labour ward. But I am sure I will see them from time to time, and I know it will be a warm welcome.
Lastly I handed in my security pass. I cried again, suddenly, and couldn't speak as the man took it from my hand, and I left the building with tears rolling down my face for the umpteenth time that day.
The tears are ones of recognition of the importance of that place in my life. Of gratitude to my colleagues who have taught me and shared so much. Of grief to be leaving their daily lives. I have been delighted to work there, to become the midwife that I am. My tears are also of pride in my accomplishments so far. The tears of transition.
Most of all, over the last 4 weeks, I have been humbled by the warm support of mentors. They have been open in their joy for me. I am certainly standing on the shoulders of giants. I mentioned before that I felt like I was at Everest base camp, still with one heck of a climb ahead of me, but Oh! The view!
Who knows what sort of midwife I am yet to become?