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!