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Archive for the ‘midwifery’ Category

Breaking

You get to the point in your day when you cry. You left home at 6am and packed a bag for the next 2 days and you feel like you’ve lost control only 10 hours into the day..

I feel like I can’t handle the pressure today. I’ve managed to lock myself out of the house and managed to get a speeding fine. I’ve managed to forget my lunch and feel as though I’ve lost complete control. I’ve made mistake after mistake.

I received some negative feedback from a facilitator that said I look as though I don’t want to be on placement and I don’t want to learn. The truth is I’m just trying to stay awake! I feel as though I’m at the end of my tether and I feel like I need to admit I can’t do it. I feel as though life is just too hard to juggle work, study, Uni contact hours, placement, my second job, my third job, my sister wants me to do some stuff for her and my house is a mess. I have my game face on 20 hours of the day, always putting my best foot forward and always giving my best impression. Trouble is I think my best foot is beginning to show a little wear and tear..

I could take a week off and delay my finish, but it’d all still be there for me when I come back so it wouldn’t make a difference.. The work piles up, the readings pile up and the assignments are 1 week closer to due date..

I just want to relax and take a breath but I can’t. So I put my game face on and put in the only effort I have left. A mediocre one. Until I break.

Even though I cant be happy with that, the only thing worse than mediocre is losing momentum…

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Well it’s a little neglected this little blog of mine.. I think the last time I posted I was on a deadline for an assignment.. And coincidence of all coincidences, I’m working to a deadline again.. essay only 2/3 done is due Monday 😉 (coincidence! I swear!)

I was at the hospital the other day working my shift. I have been on placement since July, working 2 days a week in different sections of maternity. It’s been an overall good experience, and re-affirmed my love of all things midwifery. I truly do love what I’m doing.

This has been a difficult semester, not only am I playing catch-up for all the stuff I missed out on last semester, but I really had the confidence knocked out of me early on. It was during a conversation with someone close to me that this first manifested itself. Basically, this person suggesting that student midwives have no place in the hospital system or at a birth.

It really shook my confidence. For a long time I have been pinching myself. I got into uni, and I’m not quite sure how it happened. I pass every test, every assignment, every competency and every placement and I am not sure how that is allowed to happen. And at the end of the day, I’m not an imposter. I’m here, I am a 3rd year nursing/midwifery student. It’s no mistake, I have earnt my place in the class of 2013. My teachers, lecturers, tutors, educators and mentors have validated that as such. I keep expecting to one day wake up and find it has all been a dream. But it’s not, it’s real. And it’s amazing. So who is this person in my life, and why let them convince me that I don’t belong in my life?

It still amazes me everyday that I walk on the ward that I am allowed to be involved in providing care for these women and their bubs in utero. I recognise the pleasure, privelege and responsibility that is. And I am thankful for it everyday.

I thought I would share an experience I had the other day. I was rostered for the delivery suite. I love going to work on delivery suite. Cos overwhelmingly, it means it’s someone’s birthday. It’s the day that someone welcomes a new member to their family. It was particularly quiet that day, no women in labour. So we stand and wait. We need to wait, just in case someone comes in to deliver.

We had a caesarean section booked, and the midwife’s role in that room is minimal, if not super-numery at times. The caesarean section had been booked well ahead of time because of a particular complication with the pregnancy. When I did some research on the topic, I found that most of the time, this complication is diagnosed on pathology investigations. I found that the majority of the time, the complication results in a bad outcome for mum and bub, and usually it is discovered after it’s too late.

All went well with the procedure, though shortly after being born we noticed that bub was working a little bit too hard to breathe, and decided to take the little critter up to nursery for extra help to breathe. The operating theatre is a scary place for me as a student, and as someone who has been the patient on that table, it’s even scarier so for the patient.

In the moments after they took bub upstairs to the nursery, with dad and 4 or so other people in tow, that I remembered the very basics of my training. I remembered that there was a woman attached to that open abdomen, who had a head, a heart and feelings. I remembered she is a person, a wife, a mother, a scared patient. I sat down, next to the mother and held her hand. I explained to her that her baby was in the best place, and we would find out very soon what was going on. I reassured her and I stayed with her. I spoke to her and updated her on what was happening at each step. I stayed with her when the obstetrician beckoned me over to look at and learn about the complication that had brought us there.

I remember at the beginning of my training we discussed holistic care. That it’s more than just a broken knee in bed 16, there’s a person attached to that knee. And that person needs just as much care as the open wound. It’s more than just a woman who’s been induced with gestational diabetes, or pregnancy induced hypertension. It’s more than a woman who is in labour with her 4th child and had a major haemmorhage after the birth of number 2. It is a person. And midwifery means “with woman”. I hope I never forget that.

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For those of you who know, I worked hard last year and I lost 30kg. I have always been the chumpy kid, and as I grew up nothing changed. In fact I got chumpier. I do not have a natural athletic ability, I never have and I never will. But I got to a point where I stopped comparing myself against other people and started competing against myself. I got to a point where for the first time in my life I was able to run, and became quite fit. I was really enjoying my new level of fitness, mentally, physically, emotionally. It felt there was little that would get in my way… How wrong I was.

I fell off a dirt bike in April this year, I hyper-extended my knee and landed on it the wrong way round, basically snapping or damaging 3 of the 4 main ligaments in my knee. I ended up having surgery, and a number of months of rehabilitation. I am still going through physiotherapy and rehabilitation, and I will be to some degree for at least the next year or so if not longer…

Last night I went back to the gym for the first time since April. I went to my first spin class, and oh how I have missed the endorphins. I don’t think the class went particularly well, and I felt extremely unfit and unable, that is until I realised I am back to comparing myself against others. As far as I could tell, I was the only person in that room last night returning from major surgery and at my first session back, and I know I am the only person who is me.

Back in the day when I used to be obese, my excuses for not exercising amounted to laziness. Essentially, I was able to exercise, I just didn’t want to. When I did start going to the gym on a regular basis, I found that there was very little I couldn’t do. I would improve each session and I would slash through my previous best efforts. Each gym session I was happy to push the limits, and I was happy to go further than before.

Last night when I went I felt victim to my body. For the first time in a long time, I was no longer in charge of the body; I was instead being limited by it. I felt scared to push the limits, and scared of doing more damage. I still worked hard last night on my spin bike, but I felt I didn’t work as hard as I might have previously. In some ways, I feel that my body is failing. In the mind, I am ready, willing and able to get on the bike and ride my little ass off, quite literally! But my body just doesn’t respond the way I want it to.

Over the time I have been immobilised, disabled, incapacitated, call it what you will! I have struggled against this leg with a mind of its own. I have also managed to put on 2-3kg. I want to move that and even more. It’s action time. Even now, there are few excuses I will allow myself to make when it comes to doing the things I want to do.

In a way, it’s an important lesson for me to learn. I am going to be a nurse/midwife at the end of next year. I will have patients who are not in charge of their bodies. Patients who have the willpower and motivation but a body that won’t co-operate.

I guess in a way the hardest part of all of this is that it’s not quite mind over matter. In a sense, mind over matter is a good attitude to have, but I need to be careful to listen to the demands of my leg and not push beyond its capabilities. Because pushing too far would be the ultimate casualty here. But I will continue in my determination. Can you guys help me…? Losing the weight again is not going to be easy…. I’ll need encouragement…

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I have an exam in 2 hours, so of course I am sitting here in this uni bar at 11am in the morning blogging… I can’t think of a better use of my time.. Can you? Some might argue that whatever I cram in the next 2 hours is not likely to be of any good to me anyway… Ah well… I’m not too worried.. It’s one of my nursing subjects.. They seem very common sense in comparison to my midwifery subjects…

I had a conversation with a patient a few weeks ago that has been playing on my mind.. I guess I wasn’t really sure how to take it.. I’ll set the scene…

This semester part of my midwifery degree has me working at the local hospital’s maternity services 2 days a week. We work accross post-natal, birth unit, family birth centre, ante-natal clinics and detal monitoring. I love it. It’s hands-on experience and it’s what I need to learn the practical tasks of the job…

The conversation I had was a fleeting moment with a father of a newborn baby… His wife ran into some complications during the birth of their bub, and she was transferred out of family birth centre into the post-natal ward so that she could stay a bit longer and get some extra medical assistance. The father marvelled to me: “Wow! I can’t believe the level of care she’s receiving! This is in a public hospital! I’d expect this in the private sector, but not public!”

Back in June, I was lucky enough to have an article published in Sunny Days magazine, which I haven’t shared with you guys here.. But I will.. It basically went to say how much I love my course, and love what I’m doing, but that the most important aspects of my job and who I am, cannot be learnt at uni. As a nurse or a midwife, the most important attribute you can have is a genuine care, love and respect for people. The job is too bloody hard if you don’t care. Being someone like me, I care about each and every one of the patients in my care. For me, care is not just saying that a person is under my allocation for the day, it’s doing everything I can to make their stay somewhat less painful. I accept that I can’t change things, I accept that I can’t make the pain go away. And I admit that there are situations where this will be difficult to stomach.

But as far as things go, it’s not just working a shift to me. It’s not just cleaning bed pans, administering medication, checking for bleeding, monitoring vital signs, showering patients, changing beds, changing nappies, cleaning up bodily fluids, and monitoring heart rhythms. These menial tasks are all a part of the bigger picture. I wouldn’t do those things if I didn’t also care. I sympathise with my patients, I empathise with my patients, and I care about who they are as a person. To me the person is in the bed, it’s not just another number in the bed. It’s a person, who has a family, they have fears, they have joys. They are more than that broken leg, they are more than that infected body part, they are more than that respiratory infection, they are real. And the majority of the time, who are in that hospital bed is not who they are in real life. That person in that hospital bed is at their worst, and they deserve some respect. They deserve to be treated as a person.

I guess I am surprised at that man’s sentiment. I can’t see why you should receive any less CARE in a public hospital to a private one. I myself was a patient in a private hospital this year. As far as I can tell the only benefit I had from going in as a private patient was that I was able to book my operation within 10 days of the first consult with my surgeon, which meant having the operation a month or 2 earlier than I would have otherwise. For me that meant being able to continue with uni this semester instead of having to defer a year. That’s it. I had a horrible nurse overnight in the hospital, and I couldn’t wait to leave the next morning… Oh and the other privelege I had from that whole experience was being able to pay for the whole operation… (some may say was my own fault being uninsured! I’ll accept that! 😉

But in my experience, you can’t buy care. You can’t buy empathy. These are human emotions. And the vast majority of the time, the people in my profession have these in great quantities. At the end of the day, we are human too. So if you catch us at a bad moment having had a bad day… I’m sorry…………

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I know I know. I’m a bit late to be talking about 2011. But here it is.. It_has_finally_BEGUN!!!!

Woke up 6am this morning… Too excited to sleep… Today is my first day back at UNI!!! I start 3rd year of my nursing/midwifery degree. I CAN’T WAIT FOR IT TO BEGIN!!!

I bounced out of bed with the excitement you might expect to see from Tigger in Winnie-the-Pooh and I jumped into the shower. I had breakfast and ran out the door on my way to uni.. Jumped on my bike and stopped to take a pic of the beautiful sun as it rose in my street… I then rode my little heart out to uni..

On my way I had a few thoughts.. I can’t wait to see my BFF, who has been busy as have I. And also just how pumped I am to be beginning uni again for the year.. I finally feel like I am doing something worthwhile with my time apart from meandering around. Being a lady of leisure is fine.. But just for how long can I do that? Let me tell you, I’ve been doing it since November last year. It’s got old now… :S

Last night I went to bed feeling sick. Not that unusual. I have come down with a bit of the flu and spent the majority of the last 48 hours in bed. But I couldn’t shake the feeling of sick. No matter how hard I tried to ignore it… This morning on the way to uni, I still felt sick.. Couldn’t shake it.. And then when I arrived at uni, it lifted…

I realise now that it was anxiety I was experiencing. I don’t know why. I mean, I am going into 3rd year at Deakin, I’m not even starting at a new campus like I did last year… I am just going back. Going back to where I have spent the whole of last year. I am going back to what I love. WHY AM I SO ANXIOUS??

Thinking through it now. I realise that the anxiety is related to uni itself. In a way, I can’t believe I am so lucky to find something I am so passionate about. Something I want to throw my heart and soul and into and be consumed by. Nothing in my life has ever felt so right than what I am doing right now… and I am so lucky…

When I finished school I didn’t get high enough grades to get into this course… This course was something I wanted to do before it existed. And that was a devastating blow. In some ways I feel like I am living a dream. Like I need to pinch myself so I’ll wake up. In some ways I feel like I still don’t deserve this… And in some ways, I feel like I am shooting above the possible. I feel like I will wake up one day and someone will tell me it’s all been a dream and it’s too good to be true… But it’s not.. I am here, I am living it. And it’s MINE!

I started with a dream. The rest is up to me to make it happen.. And that’s what I’m gonna do… I am going to grab this opportunity and RUN!! And in a few weeks time, remind me to think back on this… and how much I love it… 😀 The joy is so real you can  almost touch it! 😀 making you sick with my happiness now aren’t I? 😛

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Another year on….

 


 

 

It’s the time of year that does this to me…. It’s the drawing to a close of the calendar year, and a new one beginning.. A new year looming around the corner…. I know… It’s petty to place such importance on the click of a clock and the flip of a calendar page.. But really… If there is something that prompts you to take stock, sit back and re-evaluate… So sit back and allow me to take stock on this arbitrary turn of a page….

I think it can only be a positive thing to sit back and see where life is taking you. To apply some form of a measure to your life and see whether in fact progress has been made.. I do believe life is not a race, but nothing wrong with trying to grab all you can from it…. And that’s what I want… I wanna get to the other end and know I did the best I could… If you don’t measure where you came from, then how can you plan to do better next time?

So while I sit here and justify away the way I am feeling and what I am thinking.. I have been deciding on my next goals.. the next things I want to achieve…. I guess putting these goals up here is my way of putting it out into the universe.. nothing wrong with that….. so here are my goals for 2011.

1. Lose the last 5kg on my weight loss journey.. This is proving almost harder to lose than the first 30 was to lose.. :-/ But I can do it…

2. I want to get no parking tickets in 2011. And that will be quite the feat.. Coming from me…. Maybe aim for no speeding tickets too? Should be easy right?

3. I would like to start developing myself professionally. I’d like to start doing some professional networking. Even if only to gain some support networks in a professional sense. I have gained some contacts already. And I’d like to build on that… #MidwiferyRelated

4. I will stop smoking. For those who know me.. I smoke on occasion.. Once a week, to once a fortnight. It’s sporadic. Usually when I am drinking… And I wanna stop it all together.. I am done. It’s not healthy and it’s not helping any of my fitness aspirations…

5. I wanna complete the half marathon… To do this I will need to run like a mad fucker.. Which will no doubt help with goal no. 1.

6. For once and for all I will sort out my issues with boys and relationships.. or at least I might work out what they are…I’m not suggesting I will have everything sorted.. By gawd, that’d be a ridiculous thought.. But at least I might learn what it is that I’m working with…. :-/

7. I won’t stop making mistakes. Cos making mistakes is how you learn new things…. and I learn things the hard way. Which I am ok with…. I discovered a long time ago it is the only way for me….

8. I will not make any silly resolutions about becoming neater, more organized or more punctual. Cos I know they won’t last… I am who I am and I am happy with it… 😀

9. Next year I plan to achieve better results on my assignments and exams… But that is achievable right?

10. I will treasure every moment I get to spend with my family. New and old. New and old moments and new and old family…. On that note… I will call my sister more often, and I will eye-roll less often….. :-S

Nothing wrong with setting a goal right? I mean.. If I set no goals then I have no idea which direction I am headed in….. And though I can’t read a map, and probably never will.. At least I ought to know what direction I am headed in for the next year…. This my little neglected bloggy blog might see some rather large changes coming to it…

What are your plans for 2011? Is there any way I can encourage you? xxxxxxxxxxxxx

 

Merry Fucking Christmas Kids!!! And a happy new year…….. xxxxxx

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So placement continues.. Here I am… I am working on the birth unit. And. Loving. Every. Second. Of. It. I am working 7 days a week, working into the ground… I am dog-tired and brain-friend. But I am so happy.. I woke up this morning.. I am happy.. The placement is over.. But it’s bitter-sweet.. I didn’t want it to end, but I am glad for the break…. It just goes to show though that it’s what I am meant to be doing… Even on the worst day I’ve ever had in there…. I know it’s where I wanna be… Of one thing I am sure.. I have not yet had my worst day in there…. Not by far….

Anyway.. on to more pleasant things.. It was a wonderful 2 weeks all the same.. I caught many babies, and I didn’t drop a single one.. As part of the educatings we need to do a certain amount of “witnessed births” before we get hands on.. and even then, when we get hands on, it’s a “double scrub” so there’s another midwife there who has gloves on and has her hands there too.. Just to make sure that everything goes well.. This is all a very good system… There is no set number of double scrubs that one must participate in, it’s a case of when you are deemed safe to practice on your own without someone else’s hands there.. “Baby-steps” if you will…….

So anyway, over the course of this 2 week placement, I finally got to be hands-on and delivered a baby!! There was only one where I put it down as me who solely “caught” the baby.. The other times, the midwives were there as well….. I mean, they are responsible, and often times I am working with a new midwife each day who doesn’t know what I am capable of…And every delivery is different…..

I learnt SO much… And saw amazing woman who screamed at me that they couldn’t do it deliver their babies.. I saw some crazy things.. I saw an undiagnosed pregnancy- A woman who didn’t know she was pregnant until she came into the ED with abdominal pain, and was told she was in labour.

I saw a couple of caesarian sections, I saw women who just got on with it…. And I am ashamed to say I learnt from seeing a few times, what NOT to do/say as a staff member.. A lot of the time, you’re a fly on the wall in someone else’s workplace….. And if rude/inappropriate staff members do nothing else at least students like me can take away from the experience and realise that that is what NOT to do….

I’m afraid this blog is not full of wishy-washy lovely heart-warming moments… Cos I learnt a lot.. and it’s usually when you witness mistakes that you learn I am afraid… I mean, that’s mostly my mantra in life… I don’t make mistakes, I learn better ways of doing things through a process of elimination…..

We did have one case of a woman who came in before she was in labour, and we gave her some pain meds and sent her home.. Nothing wrong with this scenario… I mean, it’s proven that women labour better at home.. A normal labour, is better done at home.. As long as Mum is well, bubs is well.. Why do they need to be in hospital…? She was incredibly anxious… And started refusing to leave, demanding an induction, demanding a caesarian. No medical professional in their right mind would agree to that course of action if it was not indicated for. An intervention in pregnancy or labour should only take place if the benefits to the mother/baby *far* outweigh the risks associated with said procedure. If everyone is well, leave well enough alone…

As far as we could tell, bubs was good, Mum was hyper-anxious but physically well. So we gave her meds to help with the pain and sent her home.. This happened over a couple of days.. and she was not in labour. All of her observations and tests remained within normal limits….

But some of the staff started to get quite exasperated with her and were saying things about her.. They were saying how she was a princess, a winger, a sook. I tended to think she was hyper-anxious and something just didn’t sit right…. I mean, yes I was a little annoyed as well.. I mean, she was taking up time from other patients who needed it as well…. As a health care worker you recognise these things… But as I said, something didn’t sit right… I was wondering… And I was thinking.. there was something mental behind all this… My instincts are usually pretty good, but I couldn’t nut this out…

Eventually when she did come in, in established labour… Everything was progressing well.. But she was still hyper-anxious.. Strange, especially considering this was her second baby.. I mean, most first-time mothers will be anxious.. But as I said.. this was something else… I kept wondering what else was happening.. thinking that surely there was more to this…

It was only then when she was out of the room that her husband told us something that just went: *CLICK*… A close relative in the last couple of months had gone into hospital and her baby had died during the labour… It ended up a stillborn…. So this explains the anxiety…… DUH!! There were a number of staff that day who felt more than a little stupid, and a lot guilty…

It also taught me a valuable lesson.. Never judge a book by it’s cover.. You don’t know what’s going on inside someone’s head and why they are behaving a certain way.. A patient who is being particularly difficult might be doing all they can do to just survive…. It might serve as a white flag to find out more… As a health care worker I don’t need to read minds, but I do need to keep my eyes open for what my patients AREN’T telling me…

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think that patients hide things from health care workers on purpose.. But I do think they are doing all they can to cope.. And one way of doing that is soldiering through….

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