Saturday, March 31, 2007


Pandora by J.W. Waterhouse

Seems like today I forgot about sticking to healthy food.... it was in the moment I threw away the Easter egg wrapper at the end of my 5 hr shift, that I remembered what I was suppose to be eating instead of lovely, brown, melting, cocoa goodness. And as I guiltily threw away the wrapper of the egg, very kindly given to my by Jacqueline, I remembered about dashing into work ravenous from not eating lunch and grabbing a $1 Crunchie Bar before heading onto the floor.... and then the Cherry Ripe on my ten minute break. Ehhh! I'm not a chocoholic I swear!

Believe me please!

Just found out my first week of placement coming up in close to a weeks time is made up of night shifts! Wow! I'm kinda freaked out but really excited too! Excited because babies love being born at all hours of the early morning, but freaked out.... because I'm wondering how I am going to flip my body clock over and how I'm suppose to sleep in the middle of the day at my house, with curtains in my bedroom that even moonlight can shine through!

..... perhaps I'll just go curl up with some dark chocolate, and think about the curtains later!

Thursday, March 29, 2007


(by Mesa Verdeoak)
Changes! Life is rolling along, it's third year, final year of all this study! I don't feel ready to be in final year. Placement is coming up in a little less than two weeks, and some how yet again with all the good intentions of doing better at keeping on track with study, it hasn't happened. To be honest I'm about 4 weeks behind in one online unit and 3 weeks behind in another... and I'm cramming it in. Yes, a strange thing to do to the subject you have a passion for I know!

I almost, almost decided to go part time a few days ago and add one more year on to my course and slow things down a little. In fact I came home on Monday afternoon certain I wanted go part time and being home alone I cranked up the music and danced around in pure relief. The feeling didn't last long.

After swinging back and forth over it I've chosen to take a deep breath and run with full time and finish and be registered in 2008. The feelings of readiness are not deeply felt ... but that's what placements are for! And uni has been very generous with the amount of time we have on placements in final year - sixteen weeks!

Knowing I could have gone part time but having chosen to stick it out, makes me feel more committed to this year..... not long not long now! I need to remember that! And remember that most of my real learning will come in the first few years after my course is over.

So today has been spent studying trying to catch up, and curled up with a hot waterbottle. Talking of changes I just realized my cycle has dropped from a 29 to a 27 day cycle over the past three months. Being overwhelmed by uni and a few other major changes in my life I hadn't been tracking things as I normally would have. When I bled today it was quite a shock, not only had I not noticed any of the usual signs leading up to it, but it felt so soon to the time before. Don't ask me why I didn't pick up on the major emotional swings related to deciding to go part time or not as having anything to with coming close to bleeding! Heheh! So I sat down and worked back, sure enough it had only been 27 days since the last time, twill be interesting to see if the pattern will hold or not.

Another change I've made is deciding to cut out highly processed foods over the time I bleed in. I'm curious to see if it will make a difference. Bleeding is a time of shedding and letting go and I think it's a perfect time to clear out other parts of my body too. I desperately wanted chips and chocolate this afternoon.... but remembered my plan just before I cracked open the MilkyWay bar! Carrot sticks and nectarines... here I come.

Oh and before I forget the other change I've been meaning to write about on here....I got my nose pierced about 7 weeks ago, with a very small jeweled stud in the left nostril. I love it! And have wanted it for 4 years so I thought it was about time to get it done.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Laying midwifery aside...

... I think I'll post about what I want tonight.

Sifting through family photos tonight I stumbled over a rather badly shot photo of Mum, Dad and Hannah by a WWII memorial we stopped at north of Honiara on Guadalcanal (I think I was 12 at the time). While remembering the photo and the day it was taken on I never read the actual inscription on the black stone. I read it tonight, it showed clearly enough in the photo to make out the words.

It says...

Governments create wars but young men are called to fight in them. This is a hallowed area for in World II thousands of young men gave their lives here - on the ground, in the air, and on the surrounding seas. Say a prayer in your own way for these gallant men who served so unselfishly when their countries called and who fought and fell in a desperate struggle. They gave their lives that peace might come to these islands and to the world. Remember them always or their sacrifice will have been in vain. God grant us the peace that they have found.

At times it's hard to imagine the ground I played on as a child had blood spilt upon it, it never really struck me when I was there... even when we'd dig in the soil and limestone ground to play house and find bullet shrapnel, and cartridges, it still didn't sink in. We collected them actually, and it was always a find when we dug up a "whole" bullet. Once we found a massive cartridge at the beach... looking at the diameter of the base, about 1.5cm, I remember shivering just a little at the thought of someone being shot by one of them, but that was soon forgotten in the glory of possessing one of the biggest bullets.

I also have the base of a WWII coke bottle... I discovered it on the beach just before we left the Solomons. Some soldier drank out if it and threw the bottle away. It's sitting on my shelf.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

The books and the baby have arrived

Today was the day the baby came! Actually... it all happened so fast! Andrea and I arrived about three minutes after the baby had been born... but that's jumping the gun... I'll tell the story from the start.

I felt jumpy the whole of last week every time my phone went thinking it was Andrea calling to tell me it was really happening. Finally I let it go, the baby would come in the right time. Last night after feeling peaceful about the whole thing I was pretty sure that it wouldn't be too much longer and kept my phone close by me. Andrea (Sarah's* midwife and my mentor) messaged me at 8:00am to let me know Sarah had started labouring but that it was still early days and she'd call me when things got going and she was on her way.

Knowing how fast Sarah's last baby had been I ate breakfast, had a shower and put my keys in my shoes and made sure that my car wasn't blocked in by any other vehicles in the drive way.
With study beckoning I sat down to use up the time... but gave up realizing I needed to clear my head and pray. Small group at church last night was pretty intense, watching a very disturbing movie set in Iraq that was quite emotionally upheaving. I didn't want to bring that into the birthing space, so sat quietly with God and prayed and let it go.

The phone rang at 0915, Andrea was driving and said, "I'm on my way, Andrew* rang and said I'd better get over there...things are happening quickly!" Knowing Sarah's history we didn't even discuss if she was transitional or pushing, I just said I was on my way and jumped in the car.

I kept the radio off. News is a distraction and is usually bad, there was no peaceful music so I drove in silence recalling Sarah's previous births that she'd retold to me. Her last little boy was so fast the midwives didn't make it in time. By the time I got to her suburb I knew I wouldn't be there for the birth, and was pretty sure Andrea wouldn't make it either. It was a peaceful feeling though, Sarah knows her body supremely well and I was confident things would pan out perfectly weather a midwife was there or not.... we were both on the way and there was nothing more we could do.

Pulling into the drive way I saw Andrea's gear by the door, a pretty good indicator things had already happened and she'd simply walked in to see what was going on and would come out to get her gear if need be. The front door was open, it was quiet and I walked in softly, no need to rush and found them all gathered around the birth pool (which didn't have time to fill properly!).
Sarah was flushed and awefilled, holding her new baby against her breasts, body submerged in the rosey water. Andrew was in next to her and their two sons (Noah and Liam) were excitely hanging over the sides of the pool to see their new sibling. Andrea was cross-legged on the floor close by, simply watching and keeping an eye on things. Sarah's friend Marie, who looked after the boys, took photos. There were no intrusions just a gentle quiet, respecting that first mother baby contact.

Andrea laughed and told me she'd stepped inside a minute after the baby was born. All was well, the baby was pink and content being supported in the water, making gentle arm movements, fingers and toes fanning out in the water, large eyes fixing on her mother face. I sat down near the birth pool and just watched the quiet moment.

Marie and I went about keeping the bath water a good tempurature, carting warm water from the laundry, and put some towels and wraps in the oven to warm up while Sarah remained in the pool for the placenta to be born. It took a while. The boys wandered in and out, nibbling on snacks, and coming to admire the baby. The littlest one Noah munched away on chocolate balancing his four year old self on the side of the pool asking, "Mum, do you think the baby want's some of my chocolate?" The boys were so comfortable it was if Sarah had a baby in their dining room every day! While Sarah explained the baby only ate breastmilk, Noah ducked off to find his swiming goggles and brought them over to the pool as and offering to his new water-baby sister.

To add even more to the atmosphere Marie accidently set alight one of the towels on Sarah's birthing alter with candles. She clutched it up trying to smother it with the rest of the fabric without sucsess and we ended up dousing it in the sink. Lots of laughter over that!

The placenta came and Sarah did it all, asking Andrea only for a few directions. On inspection of the "sack the baby had been in" as we held up the placenta and membranes, Noah informed us that he thought the baby might like to be back in there :)

With blankets warmed and the pool cooling, Sarah got out, passing the baby to Andrew along with the icecream container holding the placenta as it was still attached. The whole family cuddled up on the couch and Sarah went through her thread box to find something appropriate to tie the cord with. I thought it was beautiful the way she carefully tied it, watching her baby closely ensuring that baby was ready to be separated.

Leaving them space Andrea and I cleaned the dining room as much as possible beside draining the pool. The placenta was checked and we went over to the pool to estimate blood loss. As the pool was only half full, the blood in the water was more concentrated than normal. It was dark red, still translucent, but darker than other water births I'd attended. Andrea reminded me that if the bath had been full the water would have been more of a rosey colour which is quite okay. It was good to talk that stuff through and reflect on it.

We stayed present in the background, Andrea doing paper work and I collected and washed up the dishes everyone had made from eating celebratory banana cake (which Sarah had whipped up before things got too intense... it was cooked, warm and ready by the time there was a birthday to celebrate!)

After fourish hours observing we left. It was such a lovely space to leave, knowing you could bring the memory of it with you. We lugged Andrea's unused gear back to the car... I think all that was used in the end was a pair of sterile scissors to cut the cord, and one cord clamp was left incase they thought the thread wasn't tight enough. It's so good to know that hardly anything was needed....

I think something I'm learning more and more about about midwifery is that is revolves around the need to be skillful in learning how to do nothing well! Discerning when to leave well enough alone and when to step in when extra care is required. It takes a mighly lot of competence to be comfortable doing nothing.... and Andrea simply guarded the space by being attentive, taking in the whole picture and sitting back letting what was happening happen.

It was a beautiful day and the fact my car over heated on the way home and took three hours to fix, didn't make it any less enjoyable! I think I'm high!

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Birth Bound

In a few days one of my Follow Through Journey women is due to give birth to her third child, though I'm feeling this baby isn't going to pay any attention to the date, and only come when there is space and time for the birth. It has been a busy time.

Sarah* (not her real name) has asked me to attend her homebirth. It is such an honour to be invited into such a personal part of her and her family's life. Every time I am asked to attend a birth it is overwhelming! There are no words to describe the feeling...

This will be the first homebirth I have experienced. It's an experience I've been longing for over the few years I've been completing my Bachelor of Midwifery. Homebirth is where my heart is at and where I desire to end up practicing. Unfortunatly our university can only provide us with hospital birth environments over our course of learning. Thankfully my last placement was with Casey Hospital a very low risk, holistic maternity unit so I feel that I have been able to remain partially sane amidst the technology driven birth society in Australia. In light of that it's been a joy these last few months to be following through a number of women who are planning homebirths, to hear their stories, plans, hopes, fears, and dreams, to see their journeys unfold.

I spent some time with Sarah* today. She showed me the henna art her women friends had drawn on her swollen belly to celebrate her upcoming labour and birth. Her youngest ran around with his lego man, chattering away. He slowed down to sit with us and watch a Russian waterbirth video showing women birthing in the warm tidal pools of the Black Sea. It's such a peaceful thing to see the whole family becoming part of the journey of pregnancy and birth.

S0.... I'll be waiting for a phone call from Andrea (Sarah's midwife and my mentor) in the next few weeks to tell me things have started. On call!

How to spend a lot of money

.... simply look at your prescribed textbook list for 3rd Year Midwifery and pull out your plastic card! All I can say is that I'm mightly glad I've got a resonable sized scholarship from the government, otherwise the pocket would be needing some urgent TLC at this very moment! Why is it that a single text book can cost $123.00?

So I bought my text books and then while hunting around on the internet I ah.... bought, oh about eleven more miwifery books that had been on my wish list for quite some time. I'm practically pacing till they get here, can't wait to open them all and gobble up their contents! The problem now is wondering how to fit them on my already bursting at the seams bookcase!

The text books were:

The Midwife's Labour and Birth Handbook
Midwives Guide to Antenatal Investigations
The Newborn Child
Women's Health Nursing: Towards evidence based practice
Gynaecology Nursing: A practical guide
Potter and Perry's Fudamentals of Nursing (This text and the gynaecology text are sugested because of our 4 week Gynaecology placement midyear... they need us to brush up on our "nursing" skills.... I am thankful for the opportunity to be involved in other aspects of women's health care though I am glad it's only four weeks and we'll be jumping back into Birthing placements)

The books ticked off the wish list were:

Gentle Birth Choices
Breech Birth
Breech Birth Woman-Wise
Heart and Hands
The Waterbirth Book
Your Amazing Newborn
Lotus Birth
The Midwife Companion
Ina May's Guide to Childbirth
Spiritual Midwifery
Midwifery: Preparation for Practice

I love having books to loan out and have for reference. There is no one perfect book.... so having a variety of good ones is the only solution!

I think I have book lust.