I've now finished my time on the MLU and next week I am off to the antenatal clinic where the experience will be extremely different. It's hard to believe that before this placement, I hadn't "caught" my first baby and now I've caught eleven. Eleven very different woman, who coped in very different ways with their labours. Eleven different birthing partners who supported their wives/girlfriends/daughters in a variety of ways. So many of the birth partners say how useless they feel whilst the woman is labouring. They simply don't have any idea of how valuable just being there can be. And lets not forget the eleven very different babies. Six boys and five girls.
I'm not sure I can put into words just how much I feel I have learnt in such a short space of time. I've worked with different people and they all have their own ways of how to deliver and no doubt over time, I will choose my own preferred way. I like to think at the moment that I will work with whatever is appropriate at that time but ideally, maybe even idealistically, I'd like to be fairly hands off in my approach....allowing women to be in charge of their own bodies and deliveries. I think back to the births of my children and how I feel that my eldest was delivered by the midwife, and how my second was delivered by me....I know which experience I'd rather women have.
However one thing I have learnt is that no matter what I think, the woman has the right to make her own decisions. Whilst for me, being continuously monitored or unable to feel the contractions would be awful, for another woman, this is very important to them and part of being a midwife is taking a holistic approach and recognising what is important and why; ensuring that women have all the information they need to make an informed decision so that after the baby is born, they have felt a part of the decision making process and supported in their choices. What I would do is actually irrelevant in so many ways. So as well as all the clinical skills I am learning, I am also learning how to listen to women and support their choices.
Today I am feeling on top of the world, so pleased with all I have learnt and achieved. I'd love to bottle it - I could make a fortune! Or just have a little sip at those times when I am wondering if it is all still possible. For now I shall bathe in this happy feeling, enjoy a few days off and look forward to another new experience on Monday!