Christmas Day at work was quiet. Not so for the midwives who were on-call before me, they had three births; one booked homebirth and 2 BBA’s (born before arrival). The babies born before anyone arrived were not due to be born at home, they just put in extremely rapid appearances!
My Christmas Day (aka Boxing Day) was frenetic. 8 adults and 5 children made sure that it was noisy, but happy and that is really all I could ask.
This was my Christmas pressie from Hubby. The saga goes, that the week before the festivities he had no idea what he should give me. Daughters, who had been banned by me from telling him, had taken to leaving catalogues open at the appropriate page, sister sent him an e-mail, and then he went into overdrive but the shops had sold out. Youngest daughter was then enlisted and she went onto E-Bay, just as a listing was ending, and ‘won’ my new little plaything for me. Same daughter gave me the ‘Brain-training’game which has discovered that I have the brain of an 80 year old. Excuses, excuses but, the DS does have a problem with understanding me when I say ‘Blue’, unless I speak in a basso profundo tone, so it is probable that I am not quite that geriatric in the brain department. My plan was to take my little friend into hospital with me to while away the time but Hubby is concerned that I may be ‘sectioned’ if I do as one of the exercises involves speaking to it. Me sitting in bed shouting out colours, in deep tones, at a small red tin may cause the staff to question my sanity.
My favourite gift was from Son and DIL, a Family Portraits session. All the family photographed together in a session lasting an hour and a half and then 2 printed images of our choice and a CD with all the photo’s on. I cried, with happiness, when I opened the envelope. I know I’m a soppy, sentimental, brain compromised, old fool but to me this is an amazing gift, something to treasure.
Yesterday was a busy day at work. It started with my clinic where I had to tell my ‘patients’ that I may not be seeing them again due to 2 weeks holiday, Tenerife here I come, and then going into hospital with the expectation I may not be back until after Easter. My job-share is going to be covering my clinics for me but most of the women have only ever seen me so they were a bit doubtful about the change. One of the women started crying, apparently she can’t ‘do it without me’, I assured her that she can, and will, but I do have to say that her demonstration of emotion has put a a little chink in myarmour concerning surgery and left me a little concerned. One of my visits yesterday was an initial booking. As is my practice, when I have finished with the history taking, and if the woman is ‘low-risk’, I discuss homebirth. I explained that, if all proceeds normally through the pregnancy, we would be quite happy to offer her that option. From the hall, where her Husband was laying a new floor, came a resounding ‘No’. I laughed and clarified that I was just giving the information, and that if all remained well through the pregnancy it would be a decision that they made, with as much input from me as they requested. The woman did seem really enthusiastic, it will be interesting to see what her partner’s opinion will be later on.
My monthly copy of ‘Midwives’ came today (imaginative title) and I did what I always do, turn to the recruitment page. All too far away, except one for a Research Fellow. Ideal, 2.5 days per week, secondment for 2 years, working from home, good salary. My heart rate increased, yes, this is the role for me. No. Bother, or words to that effect, I don’t have a higher degree, and I’m not even contemplating a PhD and I doubt that I have a ‘respected reputation in maternity, neonatal care or women’s health’. With the exception of one article in a magazine all my quotes have been anonymous, at my request, as they are usually berating the powers that be and highlighting the deficiencies in the maternity services. Oh well, looks like I’ll be staying put.
My search for ‘that special’ job got me thinking, what am I looking for? Well, really, once I had mentally drawn up a list of requirements I accepted that I am in my ‘perfect’ post now, or should be. I do love my job, derive huge satisfaction from the continuity of care I struggle to provide, enjoy meeting all the families I come into contact with and am thankful that it integrates well, on the whole, with my family life. I just hate the politics, the manipulation by those who control, but have little or no experience of the maternity services. The hand-to-mouth way the service is cobbled together. The lip-service paid to concepts; one-to-one midwifery, they promise that it is on the agenda but when and how is not explained as it will require more, many more, midwives. Midwives autonomy, they have got to be joking. Our autonomy is being drained away more quickly than free booze at a lager lout’s convention. Try and exercise any autonomy and guidelines, policies and protocols are thrust at you. A dictionary definition of autonomy is – self-governance, self-directing freedom and especially moral independence, it refers to the capacity of a rational individual to make an informed, uncoerced decision. I cannot see how today’s NHS midwife can possibly be described as autonomous, virtually every aspect of our practice is covered by some government initiative or Trust directive. If we are not autonomous, how can we truly be an advocate for the women and families we care for? If all our care is based upon a policy there is little room for manoeuvre without being in breach of our terms of employment. Whoops, ranting….again. I have started researching for a post I am going to do about why midwives are leaving and I am now wandering into those realms, so I shall stop this little moan now and release it all at sometime in the future!
Oh wow! This is the job for me, Freelance Medical Writer, could even fit it in around my midwifery. Best of both worlds. False alarm, again. Must get me a PhD. Do you think I can get one on E-Bay?