"Are you a midwife?"
When Zee was born 9 months ago it was via an induced labour. To say it was a long process would be an understatment! From the beginning of the induction process (10pm Sunday night), to the time when Zee was finally born (1:54am Tuesday morning), the whole ordeal took just under 26 hours. It was a marathon! (And you can read about it here: Part 1 & Part 2)
Being in there so long meant that I was exposed to every midwife who worked in the hospital, save those who were on holidays or days off! Some midwives are awesome, they work with you and for you. If you want to be in a certain position, no worries, we'll work around you. Nothing is too much of a hassle.
Other midwives however, they really need a refresher course on the basics. Like not walking in to a room and proceeding to talk to a woman who is clearly going through a painful contraction and is doing her damned best just to remember to breathe, let along listen and answer questions. Or hooking you up to a monitoring machine, then going off to have some tea and forgetting about you entirely, until your husband goes to find them and demand the monitor be taken off because his wife is about to start climbing the walls from the pain and not being able to move through contractions!
But I digress.
On the Monday morning after the induction had been started, I was seen by the OB and the midwife in charge of the Maternity Ward (MW). Before the OB had arrived the midwife had been asking me lots of questions about my previous labour and delivery of Punky (the story of which you can read here (Part 1 & Part 2). Luckily I got the same one who had delivered Punky. After decisions were made (no water-breaking and no drip! Yay!), the MW midwife took me over to the delivery suite to get settled in.
We chatted as we went and once we were shown to our room she went out to do the hand-over to the midwife in charge of delivery suite (DS), Stef. I could hear them talking about this and that, and my previous labour, how long it had taken, how fast it had progressed. It was then that the MW midwife lowered her voice and proceeded to talk at a volume that I couldn't really make out.
A few minutes later, the midwives popped their heads in to see how I was going and the MW middy said "We were just wondering, are you a midwife by any chance?".
To say that I wasn't a little chuffed to be asked that would be a lie. I told them no, I wasn't a midwife, but I had quite a few friends who were, as well as doctor friends, not to mention that I semi-regularly attended a parenting morning tea that was run by private midwives. Oh, and I read. A lot!
They both laughed and the MW midwife told me that they had just been discussing whether or not I was a midwife myself, as I was so familiar with the technical jargon and the process of inductions and birth. She said it wasn't very often in our area that they had women who knew so much about what was going on, and the "midwife terms" that they used.
It was nice to be made to feel like I wasn't a moron or idiot by a trained professional. Too Often with people in the medical profession you can be treated like an ignorant child who needs to be looked after and has no clue of what the "adults" are doing or know.
That same DS midwife, Stef, ended up being back on shift and delivering Zee, and thank God she did! The midwife I'd had for the couple of hours before I hit established labour and for an hour after they broke my waters was terrible and I was about ready to ban her from the room when she had to go off to attend a C-section.
Stef was amazing. She followed my lead and helped me to do what I felt I needed to do to get through labour. She didn't bully me in to getting on the bed to be monitored, or insist on internal examinations. She made me feel like she was on my side, rather than working against me. She was everything a good midwife should be.
I am so thankful that I got a midwife who had a genuine love of her job and who went above and beyond to make sure that I was ok, that bubs was ok, and even to make sure that Dave was ok! She even went so far as to make sure that not only did I get some tea and toast (we had a long stay in the delivery suite after the birth due to a small hemorrhage) but that Dave got some as well. And she made it herself! She listened to me when I told her things and answered my questions respectfully, rather than brushing me off. She was fabulous. If I could give out the award for Midwife of the Year I would give it to Stef every year!
In a lot of ways Zee's birth could have been a really horrible and traumatic experience, and there are parts of it that were really horrible. Had the earlier midwife been the one to be there at the end I don't I would have been anywhere near as ok as I was afterwards. I wish that every woman could have a midwife as amazing as Stef was. I also wish that more people appreciated just how awesome midwives really are considering the patients they have to deal with, because God knows, there is no creature so crazy and unpredictable as a woman in labour!
Linking this post up with the lovely Lounge Lizards via Robomum, and with Rhi for Thankful Thursday.