For today’s post I had loads of ideas for topics. There’s so much going on in the midwifery world right now.
I could discuss the ‘repeal’ campaign for the rights of women to choose a termination of pregnancy in Northern Ireland.
I could discuss the Royal College of Midwives fair pay campaign.
I could discuss the ongoing UK independent midwifery crisis.
I could discuss some new research that’s come out on using the ‘windmill’ technique instead of controlled cord traction to avoid having to do manual removal for the delivery of placentas.
These are all very worthy topics and I will likely blog about them at some point.
But...in our midwifery culture which is about serving women and getting it all done, it’s easy to slog away at new information and projects without a break. It’s not just on shift or at work, it’s all over midwifery social media too. It never ends.
We see tweets about midwives and students working until they drop and Facebook posts about being exhausted and finishing essays at 3am.
I’m no stranger to this and I know sometimes you have to sprint to keep everything on track for women. I also work extremely hard and probably always will. It’s how I was raised and I’m not sure you ever get into midwifery without this gene.
But...I’m going away to the Peak District next week! This is the first time in well over a year I’m taking a week off and I’m fully unplugging from being online and running my midwifery support business.
I think these breaks are just as important as the work itself.
If you’ve ever heard me speak at a conference you might well remember me referring to ‘adult play’ research by Dr Stuart Brown. (It's not the kind of adult play that fills much of the internet. Probably best not to google the term 'adult play').
It turns out that play is essential to good team work, relationships, creativity and problem-solving.
Without some fun in your life and work your compassion and ability to care about your role begins to erode.
So my suggestion is that you find some things this week that are play for you. Mine include cycling, running and singing really terrible brit pop loudly with my partner. Luckily we've rented a cottage far from anywhere so we'll only scare the wildlife.
My suggestion for this blog post, because it’s August and summer and we all need to laugh despite the serious stuff sometimes, is that we discuss some of the funniest things we’ve ever heard on labour ward or in midwifery. And I want to hear your funniest overheard moments too (anonymised of course).
Spending some time laughing at what goes on when babies arrive is ok...nothing unkind, just catching those moments!
I’ll go first, these are my top ten funny things overheard during midwifery care, in order of hilarity:
1. Woman in labour, totally out of it, using Gas and Air: ‘I’ve never understood why people use drugs but I do now. Do they sell this on eBay? I’d like some for Christmas.’
2. Partner of a woman on labour ward: ‘So she has this cafetiere in so she doesn’t have to pee...’
3. Dad, conversationally, looking at the placenta,: ‘So when does that go back inside?’
4. Midwife Amanda at a homebirth: 'Do you two have a table lamp or a torch so I can see what's going on down below?' 'Uh, no, but my phone has a light' 'That’’ll work fine…' Several hours later 'Amanda, I think you were filming when you had that light on! I have a video of your suturing that tear!'
5. Student midwife: 'You know how you told me to send the placenta off for testing and flush the stuff in the bed pan down the sluice..how much of a problem is it if I may have sent the bed pan off for testing and put the placenta down the sluice?'
6. A Pakistani woman in labour: 'My English is little.' Me: 'That's fine...why don't you try a bath' gesturing to bath 'Water's good for pain?' The woman looks at me like I've asked her to go bungee jumping and reluctantly steps into the (empty) bath fully clothed.
7. Italian Midwife: 'You're not quite understanding the hand expression. See, I give you a hand job?' (Dad hysterical in the corner)
8. Dad holding up minutes old son: 'Now I promised your brother that he'd always be my favourite, but if you can prove you're more intelligent, better looking or can make more money, the title can be yours.'
9. Me helping with breastfeeding: 'Normally I prefer to be hands off, but if I just show you, if you do this...' Dad, dreamily: 'You know, 9 months ago I would have paid good money for another woman to touch my wife's breasts…'
And my very favourite, a husband on the phone to his sister in law who was the other birth partner…
10. 'You need to come now, she's 5 metres dilated!'
She may have been having a bus!
Can you tell me some of your best overheard midwifery moments? Post a comment below!
No post from me next week but I’ll be back the week after to tell you all about the Peak District and the inevitable midwifery conversations you end up having with women you meet (has anyone else noticed this?! As soon as you have any midwifery experience at all you become a homing beacon for birth stories...which I love <3)
All my best,