Sunday, November 10, 2013

Is Call the Midwife, anything like the profession today.

I can remember the district nurse riding around on her bicycle, dinging her bell when the kids got in her way, her little black bag perched neatly on the back of her bag.  It was intriguing to me, who have always wanted to be a midwife since I was very small and before I knew the meaning of the word.  Her black bag was off limits to anyone but the midwife, I could hear jingling and rattling and it was a complete mystery.

Now we have a car which has a trunk full of equipment we may need, sonicaids, stethoscopes, ambu-bags in case baby needs oxygen, emergency IV fluids and drips etc., we carry so much more than midwives portrayed in the series 'Call the Midwife."

This interesting article is taken from the Guardian newspaper and I enjoyed watched the series very much.

"Being a midwife today is very different to how it is on Call the Midwife," says one community midwife from the east Midlands. "We don't go out on bikes for a start." Although if you do fancy a bike, some midwives in London's East End have electric bikes for quick home visits. Longer visits need lots of equipment: Sonicaid and pinards to listen to the baby's heartbeat, resuscitation and emergency equipment, oxygen cylinders, entonox cylinders, the sphygmomanometer to measure blood pressure, blood forms, urine sticks, leaflets to give out and lots and lots of paperwork. "I look more at forms than I do at people," says another midwife who works in a large hospital in Cambridgeshire. Get that lot into your Pashley wicker basket and your back wheel wouldn't touch the tarmac.
In Call the Midwife, when a baby is due every passing person gets involved: the police officer, a random delivery boy, perhaps even the milkman. But today, mobile phones have largely put paid to that community involvement (although the Guardian did recently feature a woman who gave birth outside Waitrose, where lots of people did get involved).
Midwives today also don't live in nursing homes, or usually wear uniforms outside of hospitals. "But the camaraderie among my colleagues is exactly the same as in the programme," says the Cambridgeshire midwife (none of the midwives I spoke to could talk to me on the record without prior permission and, very likely, more form-filling). The threat of litigation has also, largely, put paid to a midwife presiding over a breech or a twin birth, far less a twin breech birth.
Finally heed this: "People go into midwifery thinking: it's about babies," says one midwife. "It's not. It's about pregnant women giving birth. You don't get to cuddle babies very often." The good news is that you're with women at the most intense, exhilarating, mind-blowing time of their lives. And "there's far fewer pubic lice than in the 1950s. There was a lot of that in the episode I watched," she adds."

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