The main point I’m trying to stress in this blog is how different every day is for midwives and student midwives – no two days are the same and you never know what it is you’re going to encounter next. Here is my week in the life of an RGU student midwife, looking over four particular shifts I had in February.
Tuesday 7:30am start, 8pm finish.
Today had started off the same as any normal shift with getting up and out the door for 6.50am. The handover presented a decent amount of work to be done and plenty of lovely families to look after. My mentor was starting her shift later on in the day so I was assigned another midwife, who I think coped very well with my endless questioning.
As it started to quieten down a bit on the ward I took myself off to an empty room to write some reflectives for uni. An opportunity like that doesn’t always come about so if the ward is quiet it’s best to get as much done as possible before it gets busy again. My mentor came in the afternoon and we then took over the care of a young woman in labour. Her calm and confident atmosphere made us all feel at ease with each other. She progressed very well while my mentor and I observed, documented and gave her body time to do what it needed to. Some difficulties presented themselves so it was decided that my mentor be the one to catch the baby, a gorgeous baby boy.
Even though I didn’t get to catch the baby, it was a good learning experience for me being able to watch my mentor do a fantastic job of keeping the woman calm and in control while teaching me at the same time. After my shift I got home, had my dinner and a glass of wine (well deserved).
Thursday 7:30am start, 3:30pm finish.
Handover today was, again, fairly busy. We had plenty of work to keep us going, including a labouring woman with a complicated birth. Once the baby was born and things settled down a bit, my mentor debriefed me on what had happened and why a doctor had had to step in. We were both quite stressed but the adrenaline keeps you going! A cup of tea and a mug of noodles was greatly welcomed at 1pm. Not long after sitting down for that, we had visitors waiting for us on the postnatal ward. A woman, her partner and her baby had come in to bring chocolates and cards to say thank you to us for looking after her during her induction, caesarean section and postnatally. This was a massive energy boost for us, and it was such a kind gesture.
From then on, the ward continued to get busier so we recruited another student midwife from across the hall to pitch in! While my shift finished at 3:30pm, my mentor’s carried on until much, much later. Midwives like her go above and beyond to deliver the best care they can for women, even if it means finishing several hours after they’re supposed to and journeying up and down the ward a few thousand times.
Friday 12pm start, 8pm finish.
I was quite glad of a lie in today. I started my shift delighted to see that one of the women I had cared for the day before as she was undergoing an induction of labour, had given birth to a healthy little girl. My mentor and I were caring for two new inductions today, both very lovely women. I wasn’t able to get a birth on this shift, but it’s still a really good opportunity for me to spend hours communicating with the mothers and learning about their plans for birth. Every woman that I work with gives me something to think about, and those experiences are mine alone to take home. For instance, when a woman holds your hand for the first time when she’s in labour, it’s one of the most amazing feelings; a connection of trust and empowerment between you both that is entirely euphoric.
I’m glad to say that I can still walk away from every single shift knowing I have seen something new, good or bad. My mentor is still just as passionate about her job as when she started which I completely admire and aspire to. I start work everyday thinking that I love what I do, and I’m so grateful for that.
Sunday 7:30am start, 8pm finish
Today was the best day of the week. My mentor and I were lucky enough to be taking care of a woman who ended up having the most wonderful birth during our shift. When discussing options for pain relief during labour, I suggested that she would be a fantastic candidate for a waterbirth. After less than an hour in the pool she birthed her beautiful baby girl all on her own while we observed. It was one of the best births I have seen so far, she was so in control of her labour with a relaxed personality that was a pleasure to be around. It was an honour to have been able to witness such a moving birth, and it is one that I will never forget.
No matter how women birth their babies, in whatever position, with whatever methods of pain relief and for how long they deal with contractions; birth is beautiful. All of these individuals are strong and inspiring and I absolutely love working with them.