MakeErin.... a Midwife (Student Midwife Diaries) #5

The Big Update: Placement

My mentor said to me today: "You may be 'MakeErinOver'.. but i'm MakeErin A Midwife." And Wow has she made one hell of a start. 

I've been struggling to write this update, simply because so much as happened in the past month. How can I break it all down using words alone? When so much has happened, so much has changed. Words seem so little, just not enough. But i'm up for trying?

M Y   F I R S T   D A Y

My first words to my mentor were "Terrified" She asked me how I was, I answered honestly. I was completely terrified. I had been psyching myself up for weeks; but the reality was this was completely new territory, with people I didn't know, somewhere new and I was almost certain every ounce of knowledge I had picked up since September would evaporate the minute I needed it.

My first placement is Urban Community. We had been told we may on occasion get the odd shift on the Midwife Led Unit, but the majority of our time would be spent in GP surgeries or bases doing clinics (antenatal appointments), Parent Education Classes and doing postnatal home visits.

Not in a million years did I think my first shift with my mentor would be on the Midwife Led Unit. Not in a million years did I think on my first shift I would see a birth. Not in a million years did I think that within 6 hours of starting my placement, I would have caught a baby to pass to it's Mum.

To be clear, some births are beautifully textbook. Babies are in the right position, Mums are pushing perfectly, it's the perfect combination for a very natural, completely hands-off birth - one where my mentor could just say "Erin, do you have your gloves on" (nods) "Good, put your hands there and catch the baby".

I didn't see anything through the tears; my gloves were on squint, my glasses were falling off, but it was beautiful. She was incredible. That moment showed me how incredible the female body is and how incredibly honoured I feel being a part of that journey with a family.

C O M M U N I T Y   P L A C E M E N T

I am four weeks into my placement now, and I am in disbelief over the sheer amount I have learned since starting. Clinics are SO much fun. I love the fast pace, I love speaking to people, chatting about their pregnancies, their lives, picking up on their moods and wellbeing. But mostly it is one hell of a pace for learning the basics. Manual blood pressure, maternal pulse, urinalysis, bloods, fundal height, fetal position, fetal heart rate, - accelerations and decelerations. Signposting at the right points; whooping cough vaccines, movement matters, classes, then there are the NOTES, aaaaaall the paperwork.

Then there is the team itself. As a student, you are teamed up with a qualified midwife, with that you have to become part of her existing team and try not to irritate the living daylights out of everyone with the endless questions of where things are or what to do.

This was my biggest fear, everyone hating me, my mentor hating me.

What I can say is, the team I have been placed with are incredible; everyone is so lovely, so understanding, some of thee most clever, kind, hardworking women I have ever had the joy to meet and work with. Especially my mentor. She has so much patience with me, dealing with my overexcited love of everything we are doing, helping me, pushing me, guiding me. She is everything I could have hoped for and more for my first placement, and I am confident she has shown me the kind of midwife I want to be; understanding, knowledgeable, and kind beyond words.

Midwives really don't give themselves enough credit where it is due though, they brush off compliments and consider it to be a part of their role, which it is - but they need to celebrate it more. They may not have continuity throughout yet, but they are managing it regardless with their big hearts finding space for every woman they meet and look after - and to me, that is what it is all about. Caring, thinking of others. They all have bigger hearts than even imaginable, and it's people like them working for the NHS that make me proud to be doing what I'm doing. 

Did you know? 

A booking appointment with your midwife typically happens between 7-9 weeks of your pregnancy, it can take around 1.5hrs. In the appointment, we will take all the details. Yours, your partners, your next of kin. We go over every birth and miscarriages you may have had. We also ask a whopping 110+ questions about your health, your wellbeing and your family. We also take your height, weight (to calculate BMI) a urine sample and blood samples. A booking appointment is a foundation of health for your pregnancy, and something we will also use to get to know you too.  

[GIFTED] You need to be careful about what you eat during pregnancy. Lily Nichols kindly sent me across her latest book - Real Food for Pregnancy, which has been a fantastic study tool for me and would be perfect for breaking down the reasoning why certain foods are limited throughout your pregnancy. Grounded in facts, research and references to findings this book is the perfect manual for those curious around their food choices and want more information to decide themselves. I've loved it, really really interesting - will have you hooked on understanding why. (please note, this is my opinion only, not associated with the NHS, if you have any concerns please speak to your midwife/Obstetrician) 

I have created an instagram especially for my Midwifery Journey, you can follow it here, or search @Midwife_Erin on instagram :)

I attend Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen, studying Bachelor of Midwifery, you can apply or find out more here: 

Make sure to follow me on instagram for constant updates too! :)


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