We had a wonderful day on Sunday! We went to Samuel and Joel’s first birthday. It was lovely being around so many little ones. Sammy and Joel were all smiles all of the time. They took the people and presents in their stride. Gorgeous, happy little guys. I took my camera but I forgot the memory card so no photos for me just sweet memories. Ivy and Noah played on the outside equipment throughout the afternoon. Ivy didn’t stop for anything. David and I shovelled food into her mouth while she was climbing the slippery dip. Noah, bless his cotton socks, being male, could not master the playgym. He could climb up and get into the body of the colourful plastic but from there, he was stumped. Instead of trying to work it out, he head butted the sides and the front screeching ‘getttouuuuutttt!!!!!’ All the while Ivy was climbing the stairs, swinging from the bar, to the floor and through the exit over and over again, barely giving her brother a sideways glance.
We had to stop to give them both ventolin through the nebuliser a few hours in but otherwise we thought they did ok, asthmawise. After the croup went straight to an exacerbation of their asthma and we had been struggling to control the rattle and hum of our wheezy babies.
On the way home Ivy and Noah started to cough and wheeze and wheeze and cough. By the time we hit Pennant Hills, they could barely catch their breath. We entertained the idea of driving straight to the hospital but somewhere between the Berowra exit and Gosford, they fell asleep, hands above their heads, necks extended, rapidly grasping at each breath. I just wanted to get them home. I thought that if I could get them there, I could medicate them and get through until morning. SO we pushed on. By the morning and having nebbed them 2nd hourly I was exhausted and so was David. Ivy and Noah were largely better, having made it through the night. A little shakey from all the ventolin but better.
I was disturbed though and not taking the series of the nights events well at all. In a paediatric world this is known as ‘parent acopia’ The parent’s inability to cope with the situation. Often hospital admissions of children are made because of this, according to some. It got me thinking, where do we go if we feel that we can’t cope? I haven’t been in that situation for such a long time. Do we go to the closest hospital? Do we go to the hospital that our paed is attached to? Do we go at all? Because, when you get to 2nd hourly nebs, there’s not alot more a hospital can do for you. It really would be because I couldn’t handle the babies being sick anymore. Of course, I wouldn’t be silly. If Ivy or Noah were in trouble I would take them but hospital is a last resort in this house.
Parent acopia was very real for me on Sunday night. When I asked the paed today we made a plan. He said my problem wasn’t that I didn’t cope. It was that I coped too well. Essentially, he made it ok for me not to cope. He let me know that most parents wouldn’t cope with 4th hourly nebs, let alone 2. He made my acopia acceptable… for me. So now, if I get to Sunday night’s stage of complete and utter breakdown, I can go to his hospital and we will take it from there.
We have a plan and I like plans!
On Monday I met some lovely nurses. We introduced ourselves and our area of work. When I announced that I was a midwife the medical and surgical nurses all commented on how lucky I was and how easy my job was.
Ok, birth is a normal life experience and most women enjoy a healthy pregnancy, have a normal birth and are independent of cares during their postnatal period. Having said that, I don’t think midwives have an easy job at all. For a start in our position we are expected to have some medical and some surgical skills. We have to be ready to treat episodes as scary as eclamptic fitting and postpartum haemorrage right through to being able to prepare and take a lady to theatre for caesarean. Our position is not so much the physical as the emotional. We deal with mental health issues, people with developmental delay, we look after ladies from all walks of life with differeing expectations. We deal in new life and birth and an important right of passage but we also have to have knowledge and compassion for those who lose their babies and for those who lose their right to birth in a way that equals their expectations. Midwives work hard every day. We are lucky though. Lucky, that on a daily basis, we are invited into something as important as a baby’s birthday. That, for a few hours we have an insight into a woman’s life, her family, her very being. I think that we are so priviledged to be a part of something so beautiful. Midwives are the lucky nurses