Choosing Home…


I thought this would be forever.

Coming home from a home birth 4am in the morning, tired and emotional. Wanting to talk through my birth with someone, why I am panicking, what is on my mind. But I have nobody to talk to except my little 6 month old rabbit. Therefore, I’m unable to get to sleep. My mind is swimming.

What was on my mind? It was not at all the beautiful birth I have just seen which I was in absolute awe of the woman and amazed to see her go through something so amazing. My anxiety was telling me, I shouldn’t have smiled that way, did I say the right things? will she transfer her care postnatally? I’m going to get sued, I’m going to loose my pin. Shall I message Sarah? No she will think I’m over reacting. I go through the whole birth, from first call to goodbyes. It was perfect nothing is wrong. What if she has a secondary PPH? Is my phone diverted correctly? What if she calls and my buddy doesn’t answer because she’s in the shower and now the lady is bleeding out. Grace stop.

I am in pain from my Endometriosis and I have “birth pool back”. Ok Grace, take a codeine – Brain “you’ll get addicted”, “what if you don’t wake up from it?”, “you’re overreacting about your pain”. So I go downstairs grab a hot water bootle and the rabbit and cry (Buddy the rabbits favourite as he loves the taste of salty tears). Now my mind is else where “what happens if the rabbit dies?” “What if I cannot have children?” ” Why doesn’t Jake want children now?” “Does he love me?”(of course he does). The next irrational thought swims my mind now I am breathing heavy and struggling to catch my breath. “Why can’t I cope?”…

This is just within 2 hours. All these thoughts swimming. I mean, it does not happen every day. Some days I’m the cockiest newly qualified midwife you’ll meet. My brain tells me “YOU ARE AMAZING” “YOU ARE THE SUPERWOMAN OF MIDWIFERY AND WOMENS HEALTH”. Then I try and get to sleep and I’m the worst person in the world.

With my job the women have a lot of choice (which it should be). They decide what they want in their care and we give them all the information they need to have that informed choice. Some women do not like our service, some feel it’s too much having the same midwife come to your house and befriend all your pets. Some women decide they don’t want me as a midwife, they don’t like me or do not like the way their care is going. That’s okay. I totally respect their decision. I have had a few make comments about my age and how I seem too young. That’s fine, I accept that. However, anxiety doesn’t. Huge breakdowns on how I feel about my job, being a midwife. It makes me feel so insecure. What’s wrong with me? Why don’t they like me? Sat writing this right now, I can tell myself that not everybody will like me, and that is ok. However, thinking back to some women who I thought I bonded with, that transferred care because I had to change an appointment due to a birth or the sonographer was off ill, I get the most awful stomach pitting sensation.

The feelings I get I feel are irrational. I feel I over react, I’m over emotional and sensitive and that nobody understands. They do!

It may seem like a crazy reason to leave this model of care, to leave what I know. However, I need home. I need family. I need to get home from a birth and be able to wake Jake up and be talked out of a panic attack or just talk about my fears. I am lonely here. As much as I love my work, the women and my colleagues it’s just not enough. I need to focus on me and my anxiety. So I’m still going to be a midwife, I’m still going to have my beliefs and ensure the women get their informed choices but I will be home. I will be working for a NHS trust, I will be having clinics and less on call. Yes that seems perfect, no longer on call 6 days a week, but now my anxiety is hitting “what if I cannot keep to appointment times”, “what if they think I’m a rubbish midwife?”.

All I have to remember is that I’m 23. 23. You’re 23 Grace.

Life doesn’t have to be fixed now. You don’t need to settle and have a baby and a mortgage and a ring. My fertility isn’t going to disappear overnight – Touch wood. I don’t have to be excelling in my career. If I make a mistake it’s okay, I’m young and I can do this. Nothing is a rush. Enjoy where you are. Now tell anxiety that.

Week 4 of the graft.

Learning, listening and more learning is how I will describe my 4th week of my new job.

Do I love it? Yes!

All that anxiety of thinking I would regret it and I am enjoying it. Yes it has its faults like IT 🙄. Also with the lack of continuity but I’m still providing care I’m still being a midwife.

I did a post on Facebook about two weeks ago now about how I’m loving 9-5 and that Friday feeling as I haven’t felt it for a long while. Yes it’s only the start and I have plenty of on call and and weekend work but I’m enjoying it for now. However, my bubble got burst by a comment “Such a shame babies don’t arrive 9-5”. With the anxiety I feel I felt awful and just deleted the post. It made me feel very guilty. It is true! Babies don’t come in 9-5 hours. But why should I feel guilty? Yes continuity matters and it works but also, it isn’t going to work with a burnt out midwives. Women will be look after in labour no matter what, as long as I’m am there to empower them in the birth of their choosing then I’m sure I am doing my job.

Rant over… this week has been amazing. I’ve now done 2 full clinics by myself, chase up some women who missed appointments and have a couple long long bookings. I love it though. Part of me thinks it’s because I’m a little nosey. I love finding out about people’s lives and family’s and culture. This week it has been Eid! Where I lived before I didn’t have many clients that celebrated but here I do. So this week has been a learning curve. Asking questions about cultures, religion and what their plans are.

I’ve also found my phone! First week down and I lost my phone. Today I get granted a new one and hey ho there is my old phone IN MY BLOODY LAPTOP BAG. I’ve been carrying it around all week! so that has been my anxiety this evening. Am I too forgetful? Is this a sign of early onset Alzheimer’s. Or is it because I’m tired and been focusing to much on things around me and not me. Hopefully the latter.

I am getting there with all the learning. It’s not the midwifery I need to learn it’s the ‘where do I refer this to?’, ‘who is in charge of this?’, ‘WHY CAN I NOT WORK THIS FU****G COMPUTER’- Breathe Grace.

Me and Jake are also still learning to live with each other and we are getting there. I’m just forgetful or find other things around me more important and I think it comes across lazy. I’m not lazy… well I can be at times. It’s not lazy lazy, it’s the type of lazy where I can’t be bothered to fake tan tonight. Or get dressed on my day off. We are both so bloody stubborn we bicker and there’s never really a reason for it!

So that’s it for today! Short and sweet. Mental health wise I’ve been quite good. A little teary but we need that from time to time, an addition of hormonal rage = Healthy mind of Grace. I’ve been off medication for 2 months and I’m going good! I’ve had my panic days where I’ve just had to sit and breathe. The best thing is my mam is around the corner and she understand how I’m feeling more than anyone- I think that’s what helping me along the most.

So long.

Grace x

New house, new job, new me?

So I’m on my 2nd week of my new job. 4th week of new house. So just a quick little blog to catch up with you all and also as a self care measure with myself.

New house.

I’ve lived with people before and house shared. This is very different. I am now sharing a beautiful house with my partner. Who I love lots and have wanted this for a while. Am I truly happy? I’m not sure is the answer. It’s been a long 3 weeks. Getting to know each other’s routine, getting used to seeing someone every day. I love it I do but being in my own house by myself for nearly a year and sharing space for a weekend at a time is very different from this.

To say the least I’m a little selfish. I’m used to laying when I want, cleaning when I want, doing nothing all the time on my own time. Now I have to share the time, now I’m keeping the house clean for someone else. Sharing what’s on the tv, considering him in every thing I do. It’s hard but we are slowly getting a routine. We have bickered lots, and some more but I have also been very hormonal and scatty (not pregnant just artificially hormone infused uterus playing up). What do we do when we are stressed and upset? Take it out on the ones we love. Though I don’t mean to at all, or I don’t even know I am half the time! It’s hard as all I want to do is come in, sit, not eat or eat shit and then sleep. I’m getting to know people at work, taking and smiling constantly so when I get home I’m worn out of it all! Jake understands I hope, or I’m sure he is understanding this side to me more.

We have been having less and less time for each other. This 9-5 working is tiring! By the time I get home, cooked tea, eaten, made sarnies and bathed it’s then time to sit with the rabbit before going to bed. Jake normally goes to be an hour before me as he wakes at 4 (poor thing). I’m sure in the next couple of weeks we will get our own routine and ensure time for each other. At the moment I’m missing him.

New job

So first things first. In this first week I have lost my work phone. I’ve never done anything like this. However I feel it is the fact that I’m not attached to it as I was with one to one as I’m not on call 24/6. Plus you turn the phone off. So what have I done? Turn it off after work and now I can’t call it to see if I can hear it.

Apart from that everyone is bloody lovely. The team have been very supportive and helping me out. So far I’ve been e-learning, with some e-learning and some added fire training – Fun… This week I’ve seen some more, seen my clinic that I will take over and have plans for the week to shadow.

I’m a little bored and I do feel like a student. It’s not the midwifery I need to learn it’s the ways of documentation, the IT, the SOP’s. Plus I’m still waiting for IT to get back to me with logins for everything which I’ve heard can take some time. As soon as that’s in place I’ll be happy to go my own merry way into the world of community midwifery in the NHS.

There has been talks about the new continuity model coming into place which will be developed and implemented by the midwives who wish to work this way. I’ve included myself in this. I feel I have a lot to give from where I’ve come from and it is the midwifery I believe in and believe women deserve.

I am missing one to one more and more every day. In the back of my head- and probably a cause of recent panics, I’m worried that I’ll regret it. I’m not regretting my decision at the moment but I’m scared I will.

That’s what anxiety is, the future. You never get anxious over the present it’s always what will happen in the future whether that’s near or far. For example, if you’re sat in a crowded room it’s not the fact you’re in the room it’s the thought of, what if I cannot get out? What if there’s a fire? What if people go home and bitch about me? – thank you to the counsellor that pointed this out to me and made me understand my own thoughts more.

I am really happy with the team I’ve been allocated to and I’ve been told that both clinics I cover are lovely. I think I just need to get my head down and work now and hopefully that will take my mind off things.

One of my biggest all time anxieties and one thing I’m sure I need to get help for (again) is the fear of not being liked. The fear of upsetting someone. This is why I find it so so hard to say no to people. I think that was the biggest thing with being in Cheshire working on a one to one model really gave me burn out. Even towards my last week I was still covering stuff I really didn’t need to cover. In my head I’m doing it to help people and it’s my responsibility but in hind sight it’s not. Jake hates it and when I used to say yes to covering scans when he was there or cry to him as I’m work out he used to get angry as to why I’ve done it to myself! Nobody forced me to do them, nobody said ‘you’ll be fired if you don’t do it”. It’s the fact I thought people would be let down if I didn’t or think of me as lazy and I couldn’t bare it. There was even one day where I turned up to work in a lot of pain from diagnosed kidney stones because I didn’t want to burden the midwives. Yet it ended up being more a burden with me being sent home and midwives having to cover my phone longer due to me making myself more run down.

So that is my target, my wish, my contribution to my personal growth… I can say no, I will say no, people won’t hate me if I do. I won’t loose my pin if I do. It doesn’t mean I’m lazy. If people have a problem they can stick it – sorry not really I don’t think my brain would cope with that. It would take a lot of propranolol.

Here’s to a new adventure (cheese). I will keep you (and myself) updated on my journey with mental health and midwifery.

Sorry this one is a bit of a ramble and jumps here and there but I type with how my brain thinks.

Comment if you enjoy!

How I am feeling today.

So I didn’t really want to make this blog a journal type thing but today has been a day I need to reflect.

  • How am I feeling right now this minute?
    • Emotional

    I am so happy, it’s hard to describe. I’ve seen two beautiful baby girls enter this world today. I’ve had one hour sleep since 5am yesterday. But that is okay, I got to see physiological birth the way it should be. Without all these time constraints, just going with the mums and their instincts.

    One we nearly transferred for 2nd stage delay, however the amazing strong mum roared her baby our. Relying on her husband and best friend for support. I am in awe of her body and how determined she was to bring her beautiful big eyed girl into the world in the comfort of her own home.

    Now on my way home from doing the first primary visit, seeing the family coming together. Meeting the new grandparents. I am so emotional, sad emotional with a hint of anxiety.

    This is how I want to midwife. I am petrified of changing and moving and getting rid of all my beliefs and trust in physiological birth.

    I am also upset about the suicidal pigeon I had on the way home, who lost their life to the grate in my car. (I tried to dodge but I couldn’t)

    Another thing that’s on my mind is moving, am I anywhere near packed? No. Do I have the motivation? No. Will I let my parents down with a half packed house next Saturday? I hope not. If anybody is non judgemental about a messy house filled with bunnies and hay and is well cluttered, who would like to help me please stand up. I will repay you with tea and bunny cuddles along with my life long gratitude.

    So thoughts to change my negativity-

    1. Grace, please keep it up. We have done through moving schools, a levels, first job, university, first midwife job, getting through and interview and getting another job. You can take change you can. You have moved more times you can remember.
    2. The bunnies will forgive you for not being home for 18 hours.
    3. Chocolate can fix things.
    4. Think about all the good memories with one to one, all the normality. Try to take it with you to your new job and implement them. You can midwife. You are a midwife. And you will survive.
    5. Que Sera Sera. – this is a little thing that has got me through everything. I chant it in my head at the worst of times.

    Plan for the rest of my day (which may change, who wants to throw another birth in?)

      Scans, cover the scans I had planned in.
      Go to Morrison’s, get myself a salad some milk and an Easter egg. – treat yo self girl.
      Home and relax, probably will do a meditation with a bunny running around -perfect.
      Nice bath, small glass of wine and early night. Hopefully with new fresh sheets if you have the motivation to do that.
      Wake up tomorrow, it is a new day. Smile about the beautiful weekend you have had.

    The Start…

    So how did I get here? I am sat here, aged 23, two rabbits causing trouble. Phone going off like crazy. I am a midwife, a real midwife. Where have these last 5 years gone? What happened to 18?

    I never wanted to be a midwife. Thriving at school and sixth form in music and performing arts, I wanted to teach. I am good at singing but not good enough to make it anywhere or make a career with it. Knowing my parents were not too keen on the idea either.

    One day, I started a work experience. ‘Birth and Beyond’ It was called, a program for pregnant women under 21. I found it absolutely fascinating! Conception, pregnancy, birth and then contraception. The google came along, ‘What do I need to do to be a midwife’. I could not get many answers so I turned to my head of year. She was baffled, I knew this but she did not show it. Looking into UCAS at courses it was about a 70% chance of not getting onto a course. I still applied. I am sure me or my teacher had no clue on how competitive it was to get in. Not until I went to my first university open day in Bradford. This was my mams favourite. Closer to home… I knew I did not want that. They stated on the day that they preferred ‘Mature Students’ so I told little young me that I would not even get an interview, and I didn’t. They offered me a place on another course which I did not want to take.

    Keele University, first sight I loved it. Friendly staff (so I thought at the time) and an amazing cosy feel to the campus. I applied and after the most nerve racking interview I got a conditional offer! Shit, conditional… Now the hard work begins!

    I am not the most academic person (my sister is probably reading this right now seeing all my grammar and spelling issues – spell check is not working my way Gemma). To achieve what I had to achieve I had to work hard. Really hard. The harder I worked the worst my anxiety got. All the way through A-Levels I told myself I would not do it. That I would fail. To be fair I nearly did. I studied, Music Btec, Performing Arts Btec and Psychology A-Level. Btecs were my saviours which I flied by. Psychology however, was very, very difficult. Hours and hours of revision, screaming, crying and panic attacks all aimed at my mam (Sorry love you). I still came out with a D, a D!!! I was around so many academic people who were pissed off about their B’s. I got a D and that pushed my UCAS points to 320. 40 points more than I needed.

    University…. Was not my favourite 3 years of my life. However, it grew me. Turned me into an adult. Hahahaha not really. What did I learn? 1. You do put weight on from nights out, no matter how much dancing you do. 2. Do not smell test fish out of date, it is not nice and will put you off salmon for a month. 3. Dominos pizza is the best food to grace this earth. 4. Not everybody will like you. 5. Lecturers can be dicks. 6. Some Dr’s are dicks. 7. Not everybody will understand your humour. 8. To be myself. 9. Stress does make you ill. 10. How not to deal with money.

    My anxiety really thrived in university. I failed exams and made myself ill. Still don’t believe to this day I actually passed as a midwife! I told myself all the way through that I cannot do it, I will fail. I researched other jobs I could go it, even applied to new jobs when I knew I failed an exam. Why oh why did I carry on? I hated it, actually hated it. My family kept me going, how could I leave now? I will be such a failure to them all. Also, placement. Placement kept me going. I was not good academically, I was rubbish at remembering guidelines but I could talk them. This was my biggest issue, why was I assessed on writing about being a midwife, but not actually assessed on being a midwife! (Sorry Keele you failed at this- I know you have corrected it now).

    So I did end up qualifying, 3 years later. Aged 22 exactly. 3 attempts by the university to make me leave. 3 issues risen above and pushed through. I was the last in my year to finish, to get my EU statistics, to pass my exams. 2:2 they gave me. Did I give a shit about my class? no.

    The job. The year of 2017 I fell in love with a job, a way of midwifery. Again, anxiety told me I would not get it and I would have to work in retail until I got it (nothing wrong with that by the way). One to One Midwives, caseloading, on-call, DIARY MANAGEMENT. Sitting there in that little room in April, listening to who could be my future colleagues and I was so excited. I applied, Interview and got the job! At the interview I told myself again I would not get it. Rachel, who I was at university with was at the same interview, mature student. Another midwife at the interview, also older than me. Why would they want a little young midwife, that hasn’t had much life experience and cannot tell her NICE guidelines from her RCOG at the interview – I also had no clue about Better Births. Anyway, fast forward to the 1st June 2017 I got the call off lovely Skye to tell me I got the job – I was high on morphine at the time as I had a laparoscopy that same day. I thought I dreamt the whole conversation until I got an email to confirm!

    So that brings me to today. 1.5 years in the job, still loving it but moving on. Anxiety has told me it is time to move on, move back home and see what that brings. I try not to let anxiety control me at all, I think it is part of me. It drives me to who I am, it gives me instincts (which isn’t that bad as a midwife).

    This is my blog of my stories of being a midwife and dealing with my anxiety.