A Happy Job (For A Change)

Barely two days since moaning about matern-a-taxis, than I get sent to another one.
“We have a job for you”, said Control.

“Of course you do, I was just about to have a cup of tea”, I replied, “so…what is it”.

I looked at the display terminal in the car.

“It's a bloody maternity”, I was outraged, “One minute contractions – I bet they'll be ten minutes apart when I get there”.

“I reckon they will as well”, replied Control.

So I dutifully shot down there, to a place fairly well known to me – it's a large housing unit for teenagers, they all have social workers and are looked after pretty well. To be honest I think it's a pretty good place, I've never had any trouble there and the residents tend to get a fair bit of support.

I entered the accommodation, to find a young woman having a contraction, while standing in a puddle of fluid.

No problem I thought, the waters have just broken.

“I really want to go a poo”, she said.

“Oh bugger”, thought me.

It's one of the guides as to how close you are to delivering the baby – if you want to go a poo, then birth probably isn't too far away.

Then she had another strong contraction, then another – they were one minute apart…

So I turned on my breezy, “relax – everything is fine, nothing to worry about” personality and quickly phoned Control to see when the ambulance was. I was told it was on it's way and they turned up pretty quickly, but by then birth was too close, so we decided to “stay and play”.

A midwife was called for, and she told Control she would make her way there in her own car. I do have a slight problem with this. If an ambulance crew needs a midwife, it's generally as an emergency, otherwise we transport the patient to hospital. If it's an emergency then shouldn't we pick up the midwife and get her to the job on Blue lights and sirens?

The ambulance paramedic and myself let the ambulance EMT do must of the mucky work. Not because we are cruel (particularly), but because it was his first ambulance delivery, and it's a good experience.

A lovely baby girl was born at 10:29, and we let the father cut the umbilical cord.

Then, after all the screaming, poo, blood, fluid and pain, the midwife turned up.

Luckily for us the birth was uncomplicated – it took maybe a shade longer than I like, and apparently the birth fluid was stained green (to my eyes it looked normal, but then I do have strong prescription glasses). The fluid being green means that the baby may have pooed while being born, and that could be a sign of distress.

I also managed to use all my very bad jokes during the delivery, which is a sign of how long the delivery took, because I have a lot of bad jokes.

It's always good to be involved in the birth of a baby, everyone is happy, you hopefully end up with a pretty little baby, and dad normally bounds around taking photos of everything. It always feels like a “job well done”.

We don't get much training with birthing, and when we do deliver it's normally in an awkward place, with poor lighting and loads of people panicking. It'd be nice if our training encompassed a little time in a maternity unit, rather than sitting in a classroom for a morning.

But in an uncomplicated birth, it really is a case of just catching them as they pop out.

Anyway – I gave me a big grin on my face for the next few hours.

22 thoughts on “A Happy Job (For A Change)”

  1. Amazing… not many people get to experience Death and Birth in the space of a week – but for you guys I guess its all part of the job description.Your blog makes for great reading as always.

  2. I loved this post thank you for making my day a bit brighter!How about a short-posting series of the bad jokes that you tell people in various emergency health predicaments? I'm sure the blog readers will assist you with some more to add to the collection?

    If this posts THREE TIMES I'm sorry as t' internet died (500 Internal server error)

  3. Wow! *starts to get a bit clucky* The good bits eh – lovely! Will they be naming her after you do you think?

  4. I never could understand why women always seemed to want to have their babies in the back of my ambulance. They would wait until delivery was imminent and then call 911. Can you imagine a more disgusting place to give birth? When various surfaces of ambulances are swabbed for microbiology homework, the professors always seem to have unpleasant reactions to the resulting cultures…. When I had my kids, I made sure that I was no where near an ambo! But congrats anyway, it really is the best part of the job, the only person getting hurt doesn't really care a couple seconds after they see the person who was doing the hurting. Funny how it works.

  5. I guess you hold onto these moments, the good ones to get you through the others. Slightly TOO much detail admittedly but then I'm quite squeamish, so don't mind me…

  6. Hey – thanks for putting a warm smile on my face.Completely unmaternal myself but births always amaze me.

  7. That reminds me of a story my mum told me.When she was in the hospital having me, a woman arrived in the ward who was mortified to have had given birth to her baby in the car park.

    Fast forward almost 3 years, and my mum is back in the hospital having my sister. A woman is wheeled in, mortified, having just given birth to her baby in the lift.

    My mum leans over and says “oh, don't worry, when I was here last, there was a woman who gave birth in the car park”.

    At which point the poor woman wails “aye, that was me too!”

    … and in an almost unheard of burst of wit from my mum, she recovered with “well never mind, at the rate you're going, you'll make it all the way to the delivery room next time.”

  8. Hey I think Brian is a good solid name for a baby girl … and growing a beard in early middle age should help!!

  9. “It'd be nice if our training encompassed a little time in a maternity unit, rather than sitting in a classroom for a morning”…. I wish you had that too…I wish everyone in Healthcare did. As part of my training way back in the 80s, as one of the Professions Supplementary to Medicine, we had to spend 7 days of each of 4 clinical placements with as many different people as we could arrange…from Ambulance Crew via the Laundry to Speech Therapist etc. Those 28+ days taught me more than anything and it *really* gave us an insight into the pressures and priorities of others in the bigger 'team'. Nowadays I feel surprised if more recently trained colleagues have the first clue about what I do..and it un-nerves them when I know a lot about their niche. Communication eh? Thing of the past?

  10. In my ex-job flogging medical kit I spent far too much time watching hips , grommets and D&C's. Just once in 15 years did I spend a morning in an obs theatre. I'll never forget chatting to the dad who seemed more off this trolley than his prepped missus who was having a section. I'll certainly never forget the size of the smile on the guys face when the baby appeared over the drapes. Really nice moment.

  11. Hoorah! Don't you just love a good BBA.Agree with you about the midwife/emergency thing. We aren't allowed to speed (even down an empty road at 3am) because we aren't an emergency service. We don't get ambulanced to precipitate homebirths because we aren't emergency enough.

    Yet even the most newly qualifieds of newly qualifieds would know what to do with a breech baby at home or a shoulder dystocia (and NOBODY will convince me you could get her into hospital in time if that head is born) or a PPH or a cord prolapse. Dunno what sort of training you get as EMS for these things, but I have heard about a few cases recently where midwives have requested a paramedic ambulance and stated why, and only technicians have turned up… not quite what was asked for. It's the flip side of control making something worse than it is I guess, them making it less than it is (and a birth can go very wrong very quickly and we can't predict which ones that will be in a lot of cases).

    So I guess what I am saying is that we need more teamwork with EMS. Oh, and we had a lovely ambulance man come and work on our unit, he was so nice and I would have him catch my baby any day.

    Liz, have a look at http://www.studentmidwives.co.uk forum.


    Nearly Midwife

  12. About half a dozen, which is about average – some people have been in the job for 20 years and haven't delivered one.

  13. Exactly!I have an advantage in that I did trawl around various bits of the NHS during my nurse training (sometime voluntarily, becasue I was interested in the whole shebang)., and it comes in incredibly useful.

    For the same reason, I think we and the police should have rideouts with each other.

    And I'd love to do a ride out with the fire service – I could sleep all shift…

  14. To be fair, when it comes to the difference between techs and medics in maternitys there isn't anything that I think medics can do that a midwife can't do already.As far as I know, medics give synometrine and that is about it (something that midwives do as routine).

    I'm not sure if our medics can intubate newborns, but I don't think they can.

    Prolapsed cord we transport in a pressure relieving position, breech isn't too much of a problem, as we try to transport, or get you folks out to them. Or just cross our fingers…

    Shoulder dystonica is one of those “get them to hospital NOW” moments – and while I know all about episiotomies and that “pull the legs back” position (I forget the real name for it and can't be bothered to Google), I'd still be happier with them in hospital.

    Any of those would be a nightmare job where you have to jusdge the distance from house to ambulance, then the running time to hospital, and the difficulties in transferring a patient with a cord prolapse or arm waving at us protruding from what you normally sit on…

  15. I had a lot of those “internal server errors” as well.. probably it's due to that heat today *ggg* ..

    Yeah I wanna hear some of the bad jokes (the worse the better), please, c'mon!

  16. Time for me to come out of 'anon mode' now after a few posts…Yes, I agree Reynolds. That would be good too. I have mentioned before working in a secure environment and in the beginning we did have such a reciprocal arrangement with Police but, as their and our numbers were pared back, fewer and fewer showed up as they couldn't be spared. To be honest, I think some of the new ones were a bit scared of mental illness and didn't have the 'lose-your-embarrassment' genes.

    To be fair, I'm terrified of Fire so I'd find that day out a tricky one.

  17. McRoberts.Speaking of interspeciality experience, A&E doctors and nurses could do with coming out with us.

    Did a cardiac arrest a bit ago, blued into resus, handed over to 4 nurses and a doctor. We had done a few loops and had real trouble getting any air in, patient in drug induced PEA, we'd had sreaming and crying family round us all the time and the 2 of us had to work in a very small space.

    One of the 4 nurses turned round and asked my crewmate what the patients BM was.

    How I laughed.

    Only helped deliver one baby and everything was done by mum (I just coached) by the time midwife got there. Nice feeling though.

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