Friday, October 3, 2014

Catching Babies: Oceans of Sorrow and Rivers of Blood

I’ve already posted a little bit about what happened in September and if you follow me on facebook you know it kicked my ass harder than usual. Since I needed time off in October I ended up working extra shifts, so it was own fault really. Traditionally September is the busiest month in the baby business and this year was no exception. We had anywhere from 10 to 20 inductions of labour every day on top of the people who had the audacity to go into labour on their own, the routine caesarean sections and the various other admissions. Into the ‘other admissions’ category fall the people who have sadly lost their babies. Most people don’t think about what happens in this case but these babies still have to be delivered and after a certain stage of pregnancy this happens in the usual way with a midwife looking after you. For the first couple of weeks of September I was that midwife.

It’s heart breaking, stressful and at times unpleasant but it is so, so important. Perhaps one of the most important parts of my job. And just like any other delivery there are those which stick with you forever. This time it was twins, a threatened miscarriage. They were too far below the time at which they could be successfully resuscitated. Their parents and I waited for two long days hoping against hope but knowing deep down that they were coming and nothing I or they could do would stop it. We discussed several scenarios, among them the possibility that the babies would show signs of life when they were born. When the awful, inevitable moment occurred that’s exactly what happened. Their parents decided to hold them until the passed away peacefully. It was terrible and yet, somehow it wasn't. They got time to say goodbye.

In the way of medical professionals everywhere I moved from bad to good without breaking my stride. I soothed away my sorrow in the raucous squalling of new life as I delivered baby after baby and September rolled on. We discovered a new trend for September – antepartum and postpartum haemorrhages. It seemed like every second person who came through our doors was attempting to pump their life’s blood onto our beds and floors. It became almost routine as we moved through each emergency like a well-practiced, well-oiled machine. As I sat down for a moment to catch my breath after another major haemorrhage and contemplated changing my blood spotted scrubs and cleaning my shoes someone stopped by to tell me there was a gift waiting for me in the office. After I cleaned up I went to claim it. It was a huge box of chocolates and a lovely card. “Thank you for looking after us so well and giving us precious time with our babies.”

Well played September, well played.