December. There are times when I wonder why it is that I do what I do. Through the months I’ve been writing this blog I’ve shared some of the highs and lows and as we draw the year to a close, this final month has brought more of the same.
It’s always difficult when some on loses a baby. But when it’s someone you know, a colleague, it’s always worse. When something awful happens, we always question ourselves. Did we not do enough? Act quickly enough? Make the right decision? It’s a million times worse when you know for a fact that but for a single element the outcome could have been so very different. This is the situation we found ourselves in December, the week before Christmas. I can’t quite describe the pall that fell over the labour ward that morning as our shift ended and we knew that one of our own was mourning and we had been unable to prevent it.
Christmas week passed in a blur of emotions and a mass of patients giving us barely time to breathe but still giving us enough time to ask each other “Why? Is it worth it?” It’s an internal discussion that we as midwives are all very familiar with and every time you start to think that maybe it isn’t, something else comes along to tell you that perhaps it is. Like the two babies who came into the world at only 26 and 25 weeks and against the odds, are doing very well. The patient who clung to my hand while she was anaesthetised for a caesarean section, terrified she wouldn’t wake up and so very grateful that I didn’t leave her. Or even just the patient who I gave a pain relieving injection to who sang drunkenly through the last half of her labour. So as we start our new year by delivering the first baby in Scotland we pick each other up and carry on regardless. It doesn’t always make sense. It isn’t always fair, or happy but there isn’t another job quite like it in the world and despite those extreme highs and extreme lows, we’ll keep on catching babies.