Carry on Midwifery.....
So I often find myself being too serious. I start thinking about things. Overthinking usually. I can think myself in to a bad moods in 3 seconds flat. And since my last post was pretty serious, I decided I am going to tell you something funny. I am going to tell you a story about something that happened to me as a midwife. There will be no personal info, no identifying features. But it will make you laugh…..
So I was working a night shift, as usual. A couple come in to the unit. In the early stages of labour. As normal, we take them to a room, take a history, have a little chat about what has been happening, what they are planning, I do routine observations and listen to the baby’s heart rate. This time I am caring for a lovely couple, who initially wanted to free birth, but thankfully (my opinion only - don’t shoot) decided against it. It is their first baby. They have a very specific birth plan. She wishes to go through early labour in the birth pool and she is definitley eligible to. So I do a vaginal examination. She is lying on a mat as she doesn’t want to be on the bed. I snap on my gloves, put the gel on my fingers and I examine her. Midway thought the examination she says “Sorry if it is juicy up there, we heard the hormones in sperm brings on labour”. Well, not many things gross me out as a midwife. But that….. I could have done without it. Can’t you just imagine my face. I actually then burst out laughing. She isn’t wrong. Sperm can ripen a cervix that is ready to labour. But in this instance, I didn’t need to know what was up there…. especially with her husband looking mighty proud of himself up at the head end.
Anyway… She was 2cm dilated. A non labouring cervix. But she was having decent, regular, rhythmic contractions. She wanted to use the pool as a bath, to help ease her pain and allow her to relax and encourage the labour to progress. Fine by me. Early labour is a great time for relaxation, mobilisation, dark quiet spaces. So I ran the water and filled the pool. She stripped off and got in. He started getting undressed too. I told him to maybe not be naked but otherwise feel free to use the pool to support his wife. I told them in early labour, monitoring is not frequently needed. Telling her to inform me if the contractions intensify, her waters break, or for any other reason. I left the room, went down to the office and made myself a cup of tea and tucked in to a sleeve of double stuff oreos.
A hour or so later, whilst we are sat discussing what is so bloody special about tea and toast in the NHS, I hear some serious grunting. Now any midwife will tell you grunting usually happens when you are progressing in labour. We know certain sounds mean certain things. We listen for changes as well as try and observe for them. So hearing this dramatic change, I speed walk down the corridor and knock on the door and walk in. And I don’t see a labouring woman. I see a woman, bent over the pool, going at it with her husband. His swimming shorts floating in the water.
I mean, I am not easily shocked, and I sure as hell am no prude. But I saw so much more than I bargained for! Men’s bits have no business being out and about in a labour room unless they belong to a newborn baby boy. Worst part… they didn’t even stop. They just kept going as I mumbled my apologies for interrupting and backed out the door. Running to the office to tell my colleagues in a fit of school girl like giggles.
When they were, ahem, finished, her husband came out the room (no pun intended) and he said she was having more pain after their romp (his words, not mine). 2 hours later she was birthing her little girl in the water (with Dad’s trunks removed). I often say when women ask me what can they do to bring on labour “What gets it in, gets it out”… but i’ve never had to witness it personally. Little tip… Either do it at home or at least tell the midwife that is what you are planning so we don’t interrupt.
If you have any funny stories, please do share them. I like to know I am not the only person who gets in these ridiculous situations.