March 21, 2015
An independent midwife in the country
Roadworks, ironing and the BOC depot. Just a normal day in the life of independent midwife Nicky Garrett
Up, showered and breakfasted, replying to an email from a new client while crunching through my Cornflakes. Today I have two visits arranged; one in the morning, at the southern extreme of the area I cover, and one in the late afternoon, to fit in with my client’s working day, about forty minutes’ drive to the West of my home. In addition, I am on call for a client who may go into labour at any time, so on my way out of the door, I grab my drug box and her notes in case I am called to her. All the rest of my kit is in my car already.
En route to my first client I call in to the local BOC depot to pick up a new cylinder of gas and air. It’s a really ‘male’ sort of place, the BOC depot, full of safety boots and hard hats, but the guy fetching me the new cylinder knows I’m a midwife and tells me that his first baby is due in a few weeks, so we chat a bit about how he feels about becoming a dad, and how much time he’s going to be able to take off from work to be at home with his wife and new baby. They don’t know if it’s a boy or a girl and are looking forward to the surprise when he or she arrives. I love that moment of discovery!
Off again in my car. I usually arrive a few minutes early for appointments, but today there is a diversion because of roadworks (the bane of my life!), so I get there spot on time. The roadworks are going to be there for some time, according to the signage, and that reminds me that I will need to work out an alternative route to this client, in case there are road closures when she calls me to her labour.
“They don’t know if it’s a boy or a girl and are looking forward to the surprise when he or she arrives. I love that moment of discovery!”
I do her antenatal examination, and all is well, except that she is very itchy. No rash, just really itchy, especially on the backs of her legs. Her husband has made us all a cup of tea, so we drink and chat for a while, trying to work out if we can pinpoint the cause of this itchiness. There are so many things it could be; diet-related, environmental, detergents, hormonal etc. that we can’t isolate the cause, but, together, we decide that she will have a blood test done to check that it’s nothing we should be concerned about. In the meantime, I suggest a few things that might help to relieve the itching. Ping! A text message… I quickly check that it’s nothing urgent (such as a client in labour), which it isn’t. So then we chat some more about which room she’s planning to give birth in, and the thoughts she has had on how to make the room feel just right for the birth. We make our next appointment and I get into my car, replying to the earlier text message before leaving. It was just a client wanting to change her next appointment, so quickly and easily sorted. I set off for home about an hour and a quarter after I arrived, driving through some beautiful countryside and pretty villages, although everything’s looking water-logged just at the moment.
Back home I take the dogs out for a run around the fields in the hope that they’ll sleep well tonight. They are cocker spaniels, and I wish I had even a quarter of their energy!
In the afternoon I nip into our local town to have a word with the pharmacist there. I would like to find an alternative supplier for the drugs that I sometimes need to administer during the course of my work. Luckily, she is familiar with independent midwifery and agrees to set up an arrangement with me once she has checked out that I am who I say I am, and that I am currently registered with the Nursing and Midwifery Council. Result! That’s going to make life quite a bit simpler when it’s up and running.
At 5.00 pm I have my second client appointment of the day. Although she knows she can have time off from work for antenatal appointments, she prefers to have them in her own time, so that’s what we do. Again, all is well here. She’s feeling very thankful that, other than dragging tiredness, she’s feeling pretty good.
This client is still in the early weeks of pregnancy and has chosen to have a dating scan and all the blood tests that are offered at this point, so we talk through the likely sequence of events at her hospital appointment, making sure she has all the information she needs. We have a bit of a general natter too, because the relationship between the mother and her midwife isn’t just about clinical care. It’s about getting to know and understand each other, building and investing in the trusting relationship which will pay back in spades when it comes to the labour and birth and the early days of parenthood. So there we are, a whole two visits in the day, but with all the driving involved as well, still a pretty full day’s work!
“…It’s about getting to know and understand each other, building and investing in the trusting relationship which will pay back in spades when it comes to the labour and birth and the early days of parenthood”.
It’s quite dark now, and I’m glad I remembered to put the outside light on before I left home. Another cup of tea and cuddles with the dogs, a bit of ironing, and other normal life stuff. Husband home, and a chat over supper about our days, then we put the television on, grumble that there’s nothing worth watching, and nod off in front of it anyway…
Nicky Garrett has practiced as a midwife since 1998 and offers independent midwifery services to families in Norfolk and Suffolk.
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Roadworks, ironing and the BOC depot. Just a normal day in the life of independent midwife Nicky Garrett Up, showered and breakfasted, replying to an email from a new client while crunching through my Cornflakes. Today I have two visits arranged; one in the morning, at the southern extreme of the area I cover, and […]