A few weeks ago I shared Lottie Bella’s birth story. I think it’s fair to say I had a bit of a moan. And I hope it’s fair to say that the moaning was justified.
But I also wanted to redress the balance with our post-birth story. After I was wheeled into recovery and met by the lovely Daniel, I do not have a bad word to say about the hospital staff who looked after me and my little girl (and my husband).
I lost a hefty amount of blood during the forceps procedure. Added to this, I had never received the results of my 20-week pregnancy blood tests, which had shown I was anemic, so by the time Lottie arrived, I was pretty low on iron and rather weak, so we stayed on the ward for a few nights to recover.
I was in a bay with five other women and their babies and there were about four or five bays – that’s a hell of a lot of patients for any team to look after. Despite this, the staff could never do enough for you and more to the point, they always did it with a smile.
We met some real characters on the ward, so I thought I would introduce you to some of them. Their names have been changed, but I wonder if you came across any of these characters among your labour ward staff?
Daniel – the ever-so-slightly camp midwife
As I was wheeled into recovery first thing on Sunday morning, I was met by Daniel, the midwife in charge. From the word go, he was the most delightful person to be around. He made me and Mr M laugh out loud, cared for our every need and bought us copious amounts of toast and tea.
His advice not to listen to anyone telling you to take a salt bath because ‘it will do no good but sting like f&*k’ set the precedent for our interaction and still makes me chuckle whenever anyone suggests it.
Sally – the infant feeding specialist
Possibly the most mumsy lady on the ward with a wealth of feeding expertise for which she gained the full respect of everyone in the hospital.
If you are getting your knickers in a twist about feeding and generally being a bit of a mardy cow about how hard the whole situation is, as soon as Sally arrives, you’ll suddenly revert to your best behaviour and be wholly embarrassed by being such a drama queen in her quiet, calm and authoritative presence. And when she can see it all getting a bit too much, she will place a hand on your shoulder and immediately restore your zen.
Nicola – the nursing nurse
Despite it being the middle of the god damn night and every other woman pressing her buzzer in a plea for help as their baby is taking their turn in screaming the ward down, Nicola’s smile does not slip. And she couldn’t be more helpful.
She laughs in the face of babies not latching and by the time she has left your tiny cubicle, you’ll feel like you’ve made a new best friend. Albeit one who has seen rather too much of your boobs on your first meeting for you to be entirely comfortable going out for a glass of wine and a gossip with her.
Samuel – the guardian angel surgeon
When it feels as though your world is about to end. When your baby’s heart rate is dangerously low and it feels as though everyone is in a bit of a panic around you, Samuel comes in and restores order.
His gentle, yet firm authoritative manner will ( a bit like Sally) calm all around him and more importantly will make you feel like you are in the best hands you possibly could be. He delivers your baby, stitches you up, relieves all your pain and worry and then pops off for a bacon sarnie without a backward glance. All in a day’s work.
Betty – the matriarch midwife in charge
Many of the staff come and go without you really realising who is who. But when Betty comes in, you know who is in charge. 65+, semi retired, platinum blonde Betty is a great grandma, who takes full charge of the ward from the moment she opens the door. What Betty doesn’t know about babies isn’t worth knowing and you sort of wish you could take her home with you as a living encyclopedia.
Even if it’s 4am, if Betty thinks you need a bit of support, she’ll make a plastic cuppa of tea for you both and sit by your bed for a natter to take your mind off everything. She’ll probably get your baby to sleep while she is there too.
There were so many more lovely people working on the ward. Too many to mention. But these were the ones I will never forget and who made my stay bearable when all I wanted was to go home.
Who did you meet on your labour ward?