Carry On Midwifery.....
It’s that time again, where I tell you the most ridiculous things that have happened to me as a midwife. It really is that kind of job where if you don’t laugh, you’ll cry. Or you cry from laughing so much. On this day, it was the latter. But this story is something else, so ridiculous but so funny.
Now I should mention before I write this, that this lady wrote me a card, after her delivery, addressing what happened and she said if ever I write a book, she better be famous because of this story. She said she was sorry for being the devil and she’s glad I had a sense of humour.
I was on a night shift, when this lady came in via triage in active labour. It was her sixth baby. She was so blasé about the entire thing. “They just fall out now love” was what she said to me when I was taking her history.
She was proper salt of the earth, really really funny. Just great banter. As was her partner. They were comedy gold of the Peter Kay variety. I assessed her and as is so often the case with women who have had several babies, her cervix was about 5cm but could be stretched almost to 10cm. All we were waiting for was her baby to descend (move down), which was going to happen as soon as her waters broke.
Throughout the strongest contractions she offered up a few swear words, but mainly laughed and joked. She moved around. Chatted a lot. She told me about her past. She was fascinating. I love hearing about different people’s lives. She explained to me how her addiction in early life had led to her losing all of her teeth. And now she had false teeth.
Her kids came to visit before they went to bed, it was at this point that her waters broke all over her partners feet. He wasn’t impressed…. They were new Nikes! But things happened thick and fast from this point. After 5 minutes, she was transitioning. Transition is the period of time between 8cm and 10cm. Pain is at its highest, there is little rest, women often at this point say “I’m not doing this anymore! I’m going home!” Classic telltale words from a woman in transition.
Ushering the kids out, I got my trolley ready for the arrival of this baby. This was one transition period I can’t ever forget. I am literally laughing out loud thinking about it. Have you seen the Exorcist? It was a similar scene. She started throwing things at her partner. Cursing him for doing this to her. Sanitary towels, slippers, vomit bowls (empty) were flying at his head. He ran behind me to hide…. this just made her more angry, “Don’t hide behind Nikki, she needs to make sure I don’t f*cking rip in two!!”.
She walks behind me towards this terrified guy (it’s his first baby). And as she’s dragging him to the chair next to her bed, she turns and vomits on him. Projectile. Everywhere. And she does not stop. I encourage her to sit on the bed whilst she is filling vomit bowl after vomit bowl. “At least she’s quiet now”, a comment that earned him a smack to the head. Men, if in doubt at moments like this, just keep quiet!
So, you may or may not know. Vomiting actually encourages descent of your baby. Think about all those muscles in your stomach and your pelvic floor that are squeezed when you are vomiting. So it wasn’t much of a surprise when she looks up and screams “it’s coming”.
She pulled her nightie up and sure enough the top of the baby’s head was just about visible. As she starts vomiting more, the head advances nicely. The vomiting at this point is crazy and as I am talking her through delivering the head, she vomits her top set of false teeth out in to the vomit bowl. Everything just kind of stops for 5 seconds. Then she bursts out laughing. So does he. So do I. The baby crowns and she is absolutely cracking up laughing. But it seems to have stopped the vomiting at least.
She's still laughing and I watch whilst the baby restitutes (twists around). I tell her with the next contraction to give a small push and she’ll have her baby. “OK…. I wish I could put my teeth in….. Oh f*ck it, I can’t push with just the bottom ones.” She fires the other set of teeth in to her partners hand (he was more concerned about waters on his shoes than teeth in his hand) and gives a small push. And with that, baby is out and screaming.
Her first words after baby is out “Look… we are the same. No teeth!” And bursts out laughing. Everyone is laughing. All this happened within 10 minutes, from waters breaking to baby being born. 10 very memorable minutes. I give them some time as a family and when I return with the tea and toast, her teeth are back in place and she is telling everyone she knows via her Facebook that she vomited her teeth and her baby out.
As serious as my job can be, it can also be bloody hilarious!!!