Friday, February 29, 2008
Remembering your midwife
The semester has began again for 2008, new faces, new units, some repeating units, the corridors are buzzing with excitement, university staff are ensuring all is going well. But alas you know the old saying "the best laid plans of mice and men" yes something always goes astray. My week has gone smoothly and I am excited about the new semester. My energy levels are high and I am revving to go. I was given a boost the other day, that I thought I would like to share, because it is good to share the feel good stories, it makes the world go round more smoothly.
I had come out of facilitating my tutorial, happy that the session went well, when someone stopped me and asked if I was "Pauline" and did I work at a particular hospital, do you remember me?' I don't know about you, but this makes my heart stop, you rack your brain for some sort of recognition, a bell to ring, something, but all you do is draw a blank! you finally respond, smiling, and saying 'can you give me some more clues' then she said, 'yes you were the one who helped me birth my twins',your heart sinks, you still draw a blank and apologise, smiling and hoping that your memory will trigger this wonderful event. then when all else fails, you bite the bullet and say, 'I'm sorry, it is a vague memory'.
In this instance the woman relayed the story of how I assisted her not only with the birth of her twins, but in our time together I was able to empower her to believe that she could reach for the sky and attain her goal. Her goal was to do her nursing and midwifery even though she had given birth to her beautiful twins. She said "thanks to you, I am now half way through my nursing course, you inspired me, I am on track. My twins are 4 1/2, I am happy and I am glad I have had the chance to meet with you again and say thank you for encouraging me to go for what I want". I responded by saying "congratulations, she had done all the work and that she must be very proud"
I was floored, and I did remember her and our conversation, she was upset that by having twins it would put her dream on hold for many years, even though she was happy about the twins.
I guess the moral of this story is, that women remember their midwives, both positive and negative experiences. The midwife - woman relationship is the basis of a good shared decision-making process. It is always very important to find out what is significant to the woman and her family, by talking things through. The focus being on 'woman centered' care, being in a partnership with the woman. Our role as a midwife is to respect, promote and facilitate the woman's choice, the choice of individualised, personalised care. We have such an important role, we must never lose sight of that, we can and do influence outcomes for women. I feel that I am privileged to be able to work with women and their families, to attain the best outcomes. Our relationships are based on trust,respect, and commitment, that facilitates communication and enhances care. It is all about listening to women, valuing their opinions and supporting their choices in a safe environment.
"caring is a fundamental necessity rather than being a soft option and is as important as technical knowledge or science" Ann Oakley