Well I’m officially on leave. I’m in my first week of having four months away from my paid work. I don’t know what that feels like as I’ve never done it before, and I guess I’m still settling into the idea of not seeing my work colleagues (or the women I care for) until August. That seems like an age away! In my last couple of weeks at work I spent some time with the midwife taking over my role while I’m away, working together, talking together and introducing her to people who can help her so that I know she will be ok.
During the course of this activity many people gave me their best wishes and asked me if I was excited about my upcoming adventure. The answer is – I’m not quite sure. It’s hard to describe how I feel. I remember being excited when I planned the big European adventures of 1988 when I left Australia for a period of time which ended up being 5 years. I don’t feel like that. I remember planning the move back home. It doesn’t feel like that. It feels a mix of nervous anxiety with a tinge of heightened expectation at the unknown. I’m heading into an adventure that has been five years in the planning and it could simply be that it’s a long time coming and I’ve used all my nervous excitement.
It might simply be a case of I know what I don’t know as a practicing midwife. For the last ten years or so I have been working in the antenatal arena and am considered an expert in my field. What does that mean? It means that I know the systems within our hospital inside out. It means that when a problem arises we refer quickly and easily (via medical opinion/referral) for blood tests, scans or medical opinion. AKA ‘We have the technology’. For some time past I have been asking myself what would I do in certain situations if I didn’t have the technology at my fingertips??
I have spent the last eight months or so “upskilling” in the birth suites. I spent all of my time there asking myself what I was learning that would help me care for women in Africa. The answers were mixed… I now am proficient caring for women with an induction of labour, an epidural, active management of 3rd stage and can ‘catch’ a baby at LSCS. I’m fairly sure there will be none of the medicalization of birth where I am heading. Will I be able to support a woman in natural labour, with non medical pain relief options and natural 2nd and 3rd stage?
I know that I will be well supported by the staff who live this as an everyday experience. I know that I will be challenged in many ways, least of all mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually. I will see things I’ve never seen before, and things that I’m hoping I will never see. I know I will learn many things that will help me continue to grow as a person and as a midwife. And if I achieve that I will be happy.
Am I excited? I guess the answer is Yes. Twelve days left before I leave. Talk to you all again then.