7.30am, woke up, not because of excited children but due to my alarm beeping loudly, yes, just like an ordinary working day. Three-quarters of an hour later and I was quietly closing the front door so that I didn’t disturb a sleeping Hubby and, crunching across the icy snow and getting into the car.
8.30 am and I unlocked the office door. Instead of the usual 4 or 5 midwives in our office there were just two, just 2 with half a dozen mince pies, a tin of chocolates and a box of luxury biscuits. Unfortunately we have no tea or coffee making facilities and the cafe isn’t open at weekends or bank holidays, so the biscuits were left unopened, the mince pies stayed in their container but each of us took a handful of chocs to enjoy whilst driving around.
Busy day in store. Usually we try to leave Christmas Day free of ‘routine’ visits and only do visits for those who have been discharged from hospital the day before, but the backlog of visits from the couple of days when the road conditions made some visits too dangerous or impossible meant that we each had 5 visits on the books before we found out about the new discharges. No one wants to be in hospital on Christmas Day so there are always quite a few discharges, and today was no different, so by the time the phone call from the mothership was over I potentially had 11 visits. My colleague and I had a chocolate and then brainstormed, prioritise, that would be the solution. A few phone calls later and 3 women had told me that they didn’t want to see a midwife on Christmas Day and assured me that all was well with them and baby.
9.30am, I picked up the entonox cylinders and left the office. The main roads are virtually ice and snow free, however the side roads are full of icy, rutted snow and black ice, that was what I encountered arriving at my first visit. Having negotiated the slope and the corners I found a safe place to park, away from any other vehicles and not obstructing anyone’s driveway. As I stood getting my scales and bag out of the boot a BMW started coming toward me, lovely, new 6 series saloon with an elderly, distinguished looking gentleman behind the wheel. Just as he drew level his car lost traction, there was much wheel-spinning and no forward motion so he ceased trying and proceeded to lower the window nearest to me. He may have looked distinguished, but his language was straight from the gutter . The gist of his discourse was that his driving difficulties were due to him having to drive past my car; that if I didn’t move then he would probably end up bashing my car; that I should drive out of the side road and onto the main road. I wished him a happy Christmas, apologised for having to work and inconvenience him, returned my scales and bag to my boot and drove out of ‘his’ housing estate and parked on the main road. Then I was truly pathetic and had a quick cry. He had difficulty driving up the road, I wish I could see him again and explain to him how much more difficult it was to negotiate 200 yards of rutted, icy snow carrying scales and a heavy bag. Good start to the day.
My next visit was to the home of the woman’s parents, as arranged, however she was running late so I was asked to ‘return in an hour or so, but not over 2 hours as they would be having christmas dinner then’. For the rest of the day everyone was in, and welcoming, and after 30 miles and 8 visits I pulled onto my drive.
4.30pm and I’m home. Hubby had cooked the turkey and was just putting the beef in to roast, we are having a christmas ‘buffet’ tomorrow. I phoned all the family and heard how their day had gone, prepared one of the puddings for tomorrow and with ‘The Gruffalo’ recording in the background settled down to baked beans on toast. Who needs turkey and all the trimmings?
Christmas day for a midwife is much the same as any other, the roads may be quieter but there are still breastfeeding issues to try and resolve, newborn screening to undertake and babies to weigh. Unfortunately I’m on call until 8.30am so no relaxation….yet, but tomorrow, whilst everyone else has a year to wait until next Christmas, this midwife will be enjoying her’s with all her family.