Sunday, 18 March 2018

Gas in Labour

The client who I attended as she laboured this week was one of the more dramatic type. Her mum supported her in the long ordeal with great competence and stamina. I have never seen a more dedicated support person, even to the extent that  this muslim lady got in the shower with her daughter, not just fully clothed in the traditional sense but with long sleeves, long pants and hijab.
Most labouring women will develop a way of coping with each contraction and put that technique into practice as the pain builds intensity but this young woman appeared to be surprised by it every time and would frequently fall backwards or launch herself off the bed to be caught by her mother every time. 
At one point my client seemed to be safely and quietly resting on the bed and her mum went to do something else. A pain came and the missile launch thing happened again. Fortunately I was close by. My attempt at catching her was successful if not graceful. At that moment there were two of us making an almighty effort so nobody can be quite sure who it was that "let one slip"!

Sunday, 11 March 2018

The things I say

Some of the things I say on repeat:

  • What time are you going?
  • Do  you need to eat?
  • What time is your train?
  • Has Harry been fed?
  • What are we gonna have for dinner?
  • Are you home for dinner tonight?
  • What time will you be back?
  • Are you going to work today?
  • Are you going to the gym?
  • Can you get milk?
  • Can you get bread?
  • Does that uniform need washing?
  • Bye
  • See you later
  • Have a good day

If you had a parrot, what would it learn to say?

Saturday, 10 March 2018

International Women's Day

My client at the moment is aiming to have a VBAC (vaginal birth after caesarean). She has also developed Gestational Diabetes. The two things are not linked except in the fact that they both conspire to make her a "high risk" patient.
On Thursday she had an appointment with the diabetes educator, that is an expert in diabetes not birth, and the educator told her that at under five feet tall she would not be able to achieve a VBAC and should book in for a caesarean.
I have no desire to be a militant, doctor hating, suspicious, against-the-system kind of doula and I spend a lot of time reassuring mothers that nobody in the system is trying to do anything to upset them, just to be responsible and accountable but incidents like these make me into a liar. These situations where people step outside of their professional boundaries and say inappropriate things have the potential to derail a woman's confidence long before she has even a niggle of labour.
I wonder would a diabetes educator even dream of telling a man he was too small, too fat or too thin to have normal sexual function? Or would they stick to the task of diabetes education?

The timing of this pronouncement, on International Women's day, subtly underlines how far we have yet to go in the quest for equality and I am proud that one by one, I help womyn to find their subversive voices.