Friday, 22 November 2013

Oh to be a Midwife...

So the week isn't over yet, I'm on another day shift tomorrow but today has been a good day and I'm in a blog writing mood!

This week is my second week in placement. My mentor is amazing and I get eased in gently, starting on a community placement. This means I am mostly doing antenatal clinics with my mentor, although we also go out to postnatal home visits and are occasionally on call to cover the birth centre, or on night shifts at the local MLU (Midwife Led Unit) at a nearby hospital.

So far I have taken lots of blood pressures - this seems to be my strong point as this week I have even been doing them through clothing rather than on a bare arm. I have also done basic urinalysis monitoring, have learnt the practicalities of abdominal palpation after learning the theory in Uni, found lots of baby's heartbeats and learnt to do so with my pinard stethoscope (the old style type from Call the Midwife) as well as the more modern Sonicaid.

It's so encouraging to see my improvement with abdominal palpation - on my first day I could find the fundus (top of the uterus) in the abdomen but could not tell which bits of baby were where!! On my second day I got most of my positioning right, and at the end of the week learnt what an OP (Occiput Posterior - also known as back-to-back) baby feels like in utero. I was able to use that learning today and correctly disgnose a back-to-back baby myself prior to my mentor palpating to confirm! :D I am hoping to feel confident enough to take blood soon and master that skill as well.

Earlier this week I was struggling with whether I wanted this enough. Everyone around me was having "amazing!!" days, I was doing ok but didn't have much more enthusiasm than I did for going to the desk job I left to come to Uni. Thinking things through, and doing things today changed that. I realised that the reason I don't feel "amazing" is because I don't feel I've been that useful, I haven't really supported anyone, or been "with" woman.

My mentor is great, makes me feel supported and reassures me that I am on track for what I should be doing at this moment in time.

As for supporting women. I may not have attended a birth as a Student Midwife yet, I may not have stood by anyone's side as they labour through a life changing moment, but today, I saw the tears in a mother's eyes as I found her baby's heartbeat, when at 21 weeks she was concerned that she hadn't felt any movements yet, and learnt as I listened to my mentor's explanation as to why her placenta may be absorbing some of those movement sensations due to it's position. I listened to a woman's many concerns at the beginning of her first pregnancy, anxious to get to 12 weeks to escape that "higher risk" period of miscarriage. I marvelled at the bravery of a woman coming to her first point of contact appointment with the midwife, when she didn't speak a word of english, and admired how the consultation was carried out via a telephone translation service.

I AM supporting women. Each step towards labour needs support, whether that's answering all the questions that they think are silly, whether it's monitoring blood pressure and urine content to make sure everything is well, whether it's doing nothing other than encouraging a woman that she is doing great and discussing her wants and wishes for how she would like her labour to be.

Women are amazing. And I get to spend every day with them!

Friday, 18 October 2013

Honest Truth...

This blog is a diary of my journey, and I'm going to be honest about it.

Nobody goes into a Midwifery degree expecting it to be butterflies and flowers. You go into a Midwifery degree prepared for hard work, shifts, and studying. You go into a Midwifery degree because you are passionate about the outcome.

The past 4 weeks have been INTENSE. The workload is huge. Teething problems with a brand new course structure and University technological changes add unwarranted stress to an already stressful course.

It is challenging trying to fit 5 days worth of new content into your head every week and make it stay there.

It is challenging trying to write an academic essay for the first time in your life.

It is challenging getting into the habit of not making a statement unless you can show that someone else proved it to be so.

It is challenging trying to find a work-life balance; I saw my boyfriend more when we lived 80 miles apart than I do now he is 1 mile down the road, and God love him for putting up with it. It's an adventure.

It's challenging to cope with feeling so overwhelmed, so incapable, questioning if you're doing the right course, if you'll make a good midwife.

It is amazing to have so many new, wonderful, supportive friends.

It is interesting living in a new city, with new people, and new places to see.

It's a privilege to join with everyone in saying the University's affirmation for Nurses and Midwives.

It's exciting to find out your placement trust, and placement areas. To anticipate the day you finally get to be "with women".

It's a proud moment, trying on your uniform and getting it ready for your first shift.

It's a crazy, twisty rollercoaster of a ride...

...and it's only just beginning.

Sunday, 22 September 2013

First Week...

So, I've completed my first official week as a Student Midwife, and what a week!

The first week has been about dotting all the i's and crossing the t's but it's still been information overload :) We've all been together as our entire cohort, gradually learning names and faces over the week, met some of our lecturers, our academic advisors and had a chance to explore the campus.

We've been befuddled by timetabling systems and IT issues, but such is the balance of benefiting from a brand new programme - a few teething problems. We've learnt that we're all expecting rather too much of ourselves, and that our lecturers are more than happy if we are in the right room at the right time!

Everyone I have met is so lovely, and I think the fact that we have high expectations of ourselves will give us a good footing for the years to come. I am equally excited and nervous for the week to come - starting to get to grips with the "real" content of the course. I am prepared to accept any challenge and work hard to get back into the academic frame of mind.

I'm a student again. Eeeeek!

Sunday, 8 September 2013

Becoming a Midwife...

Wow. What a journey I have been on over the past year! Developing as a Doula, supporting my first client, connecting with some amazing, truly soulful ladies who have helped support me in my journey.

Now I am about to start another one. I became a Doula because I am passionate about being there for women, supporting them when they need it most, helping them see the power they hold inside them, listening to them, truly seeing them as women, the amazing instinctual beings that they are. Something in me pushed me further. I want to have the opportunity to change things from the inside :) I want to be a midwife. I want to be able to reach out to the majority of women. Publicise Doulas. I have an urge to learn more. 

So in 7 days I will be starting my journey to becoming a Midwife. I couldn't be more excited! I'm nervous too. I feel called to this, but still struggle with feeling good enough. I have virtually *met* a lot of the girls on my course online and can't wait to meet them in person. I can't wait to start my first day in placement, I can't wait to see what my mentor is like. 

So, if you like, please follow my journey here :) There will be no names or places mentioned. I will not be dicussing my clients, but rather the things I learn, my struggles, my triumphs, and probably some tears (both happy and sad).

I'd love to share this with you, if you'd like to join me.