I wonder what has happened to me lately…..?
Throughout my ambulance career so far I have loved the maternity jobs. I have delivered 9 babies, not all of which have been happy experiences, but none the less I have always had a sense of excitement and adrenaline when going into maternity cases which look like I am going to get to deliver the baby.
Out of the nine deliveries, I have been present at the relatively smooth delivery of 6 healthy babies which were all wonderful experiences which have left me smiling for a good few days afterwards. UnfortunatelyI have also had a full term still birth baby and also had to deliver twin 26 week babies on the 14thfloor of a block of flats. We managed to get both of them to hospital still breathing and warm, but as far as I know they didn’t do very well and did not make it home.
Up until a couple of months ago, I still got the buzz when a job came in
“female in labour, wanting to push”
Why is it then that I have suddenly become wary of maternity jobs when I used to crave them?
A couple of weeks ago I was working on the rapid response car when I was sent to a lady “? giving birth” at a location approximately 11 miles away. This location is known to be in the middle of nowhere and if I was going then the crew at the closer ambulance station was obviously out on a job, which means a long wait for a back up crew.
Instead of feeling the usual excitement and rush of adrenaline with the prospect of another delivery, I had the sensation of dread. I’m not exaggerating this, I honestly hoped that the baby was no where near coming out and it was just another maternataxijob. I continued driving with my lights and sirens on and arrived at the house to be met by a frantically waving older lady. As I pulled up she shouted
” hurry, quick, the baby is coming!”
Great!!!! Why was I feeling so afraid? Was it some sort of premonition? Was this going to be a horrible delivery, with risks to both mum and baby? I went into the house, maternity pack in hand feeling more nervous than I have ever done before.
Mum was obviously about to deliver baby, she was huffing and puffing and pushing for all she was worth. She had already undressed and had some towels laid on the floor. Within 2 minutes, baby’shead was making an appearance and within 3 minutes baby was out. I gave baby a good dry and clean, gave him the quick once over, wrapped him up and give him to a very surprised but relieved mother. Everything went well, there was no drama, no emergency, jut a normal complication free birth. It was wonderful. The crew arrived and took mum and baby up to the hospital for a check over. Mum thanked me for what I had done and we said our goodbyes.
I took some time to reflect on why I felt how I did with this job. I really dont know why I felt that way. As soon as I entered the house, even though I was feeling wary, I know that I could have dealt with whatever I came across.
I displayed the normal calm, professional and reassuring manner that I always try and do but this time it just felt different.
My conclusion is this….I have now been in the ambulance service for nearly 9 years. I have seen my fair share of good and bad maternity jobs. I have changed from the young, eager, enthusiastic ambulance man who believes that everything will turn out wonderful and will save loads of lives, to an older, eager and enthusiastic paramedic who knows that sometimes bad things happen that no one can do anything about. Delivering a baby at home or in the back of an ambulance is not the best environment to be in.
I have moved on from a newbie, to a fully functional experienced paramedic. My mindset has changed from “lets stay and deliver baby here” to ” can we get to hospital in time or not”. A little bit of fear is a good thing. It stops you becoming complacent and keeps you focused. Im happy with how I feel about this now. I think it has been a positive change and one that shows me that I am more aware of what can happen, than I was before.