Anyone who has read me in my other blog will know that I have problems detaching my non-work life from my role as a midwife. Well, it’s not so much that I have problems, more that my Head of Midwifery believes that I should be able to switch off my midwife persona at will and, as I find that I am unable to this, it causes her problems. The issue climaxes when one of my daughters is pregnant and I am ‘allowed’ to be her birth partner but not act as a midwife. The truly absurd aspect to this is that my daughters are exercising choice, the buzz word in maternity care, and I am facilitating, another popular word, their choice. Don’t get me wrong, I have no objections to providing their antenatal care, where appropriate, but I have declined acting as ‘first’ midwife at the birth. Of course it is an amazing privilege to accompany my daughters through the whole pregnancy, birth process but if they had not expressed a desire for me to be involved I wouldn’t have been. The problem is, it’s not just family who call on my services outside of work, it’s colleagues, my friends, daughter’s friends and now friend’s daughters, how do I refuse? It would seem churlish, or it does to me anyway. If I were a computer buff, I wish, and a friend asked me to help them out with a computer upgrade or to show them how to work a programme I would do it, really it’s no different. As long as it’s within my sphere of practice and in my intention to practice area then it should be alright, but I do seem to get into a little bit of trouble every so often and I’ve a nasty feeling that it may happen again. Friends daughter, S, is pregnant, 31 weeks, and has been seeing one of my colleagues, well, has seen her twice, the other times she has seen the G.P, she has not exactly hit it off with her midwife. S is filled to the brim with expectations of the care she will receive. She has trawled the internet, read all the pregnancy books, is attending NCT, is high on alternative therapies and boy, is she disappointed with her care to date. Tonight she phoned me and asked if I could become involved in her care, ‘why?’, I asked, basically she has no faith in the midwife and feels she is not doing her job properly. I have agreed to see her on Monday, do an antenatal check-up and chat through any queries she has, but I have not said anymore than that. I really don’t want any more trouble.
Still on work and personal life overlap, I took Amy to toddlers gym this morning and 5 women from my previous caseload were there. I acknowledged them, ruffled their tot’s hair and went off to bounce on the trampoline, with Amy of course! Next thing, all of them are are with me, chatting away, catching up with how my ‘new’ post is and inviting Amy and me out to lunch with them. You see, how can I separate my private and work life when it seems to integrate with little impetus from me?
It was back to work yesterday. Quite a low-key return really. Enough work, postnatal visits and a booking, to give me the time to ‘create’ a brochure one of my G.P practices had requested to give out to pregnant women outlining the care they can expect from ‘us’. I also took the liberty of downloading the NICE antenatal care guidelines, which they seem to have no knowledge of, and distributing a copy to each of them. Strange they don’t seem to know of the existence of the guideline when I had a copy sent to me at the surgery and via E-Mail when they were released.
One of the postnatal visits illustrates the problem of short hospital stays after giving birth, especially if it is a first baby. This Mother wanted to breastfeed but her and baby were having problems, whilst still in hospital, working out how things should go. The hospital advised her to stay until baby was feeding but she insisted on coming home. As a result I visited a Mum and baby where nothing was happening on the breastfeeding/feeding front. Baby hadn’t fed since birth, some 40 hours, and Mum and Dad were both of the belief that this little, slightly jaundiced, jittery baby was just a ‘good baby’. Two hours later and I had run out of ideas, skin to skin, stimulation (foot tickling), expressing, nothing was working, I gave up and sent them back in to whence they had departed with such haste. Antenatally I do try to impress upon couples how advantageous it is to stay in until feeding is sorted out but to them an extra 24 hours seems too much to ask. Having to go back in though means that baby is going to have pins stuck in it’s foot, blood taken and be given bottles until the doctors are happy baby is well. What price an early discharge?
Pregnant daughter is back at the hospital tomorrow, another scan to see if the liquor is still increasing. Fingers crossed that all has calmed down.