July 22nd, 2003. I started blogging.
While it was only three years ago, it feels that I have been blogging all my life – one of the side effects of having such a poor memory.
I did have a considered blogpost for today, it was about looking through old photographs of girls I’d had a crush on at school or at my swimming club and wondering where I might be today if I’d actually managed to go out with any of them. I wondered how my life might have changed if I’d married and had children, its a near certainty that I wouldn’t be blogging, or indeed that I’d be in the ambulance service.
However it was vaguely maudlin post and not very interesting to anyone but myself.
Then last night I had a job that seemed much more fitting…
The call was to a 28 year old female who had ‘Fallen down, unable to get up’. So far, so dull – we drove to the house on blue lights as, for some reason, it was rated as a high priority job. As an aside, one of my pet hates is that a little old lady who has fallen over and is stuck on the floor without any physical injury gets a very low priority, while a 20 year old with a cough is often a high priority.
So we arrive at the house, grab our bag full of equipment and make our way inside. A man is standing outside hopping from foot to foot. He’s saying something about ‘she’s had it’, and , ‘funny breathing’. We fully expect to see a woman laying on the floor having a panic attack.
We climb the stairs into a room full of mattresses and clothes lying around the floor. There are four females in the room. Our patient, her sister, a next door neighbour…
…and a newborn baby girl, still attached to the mother by a glistening umbilical cord.
Time to switch into action mode.
I jogged back to the ambulance to get our childbirth delivery packs while my crewmate started to assess the patients, he is only a couple of months out of training school but handled himself really well. He cut the cord and I looked after the baby while he took care of the woman. My immediate impression was that everything had gone smoothly. The mother had minimal bleeding and with a bit of rubbing on my part the baby soon ‘pinked up’ and didn’t seem to be in any sort of distress.
I spoke to our Control on the phone and they promised us a midwife. In a case like this, what we normally do is get a midwife out to assess the mother and child and do the normal things that occur in the hospital, then if they are happy with both patients we can leave them at home. Much nicer than taking them to the hospital when the dangerous part is already passed.
However, the midwife seemed to be taking a bit of a time to arrive.
Here is a rough time-line.
00:10 Baby born.
00:15 We arrive, experience mild panic.
00:16 Cord cut, everyone is happy.
00:20 Ask for midwife.
01:00 Ask where midwife is – Control tell us that there is difficulty in getting one.
01:30 Still waiting
02:00 Are informed that there is a midwife who will come out. Midwife is waiting for taxi as there are no ambulances available to bring her to scene.
02:40 Midwife arrives, does various technical things.
03:00 We are clear from scene and are ready to do another job.
The mother was in occasional pain from needing to deliver the placenta and didn’t want to hold the baby. The father was worried that he would drop the baby. So it was up to me to cuddle the baby and keep it warm while awaiting the midwife. So for three hours I was left holding the baby.
Thankfully the baby was very content, it didn’t cry at all. As I was looking down at probably the fourth job where I have had to deal with a birth at home it occurred to me that the child was born just as my own ‘baby’ turned three years old. It seems that the Universe sometimes has a sense of poetry.
Strange the things you think when you have nothing to do for a couple of hours.
I have an idea of why the call didn’t come down to us as a ‘birth at home’. I imagine that the sister phoned for the ambulance, said something about the patient lying on the floor, which the calltaker then typed into the computer. Then the sister told the calltaker that the baby was coming out and so the calltaker had to talk the sister through the fun and games of childbirth. They were then so busy that while they bumped the priority of the call up for immediate dispatch, they forgot to type in that the woman was having her baby.
Perfectly understandable, and it’s nice to be surprised every so often.