The longer you have been a midwife, the more funny, frustrating, outrageous and often concerning the things parents say.
I’ve come across many of the following classics over the past month, and the rest of them I’ve heard over the years on more than one occasion. I’m sure many midwives will find most of these familiar!
“What did he weigh?” [Knee deep in liquor and placenta not even delivered yet!]
“Why won’t he do it?” [Breastfeed, after only five minutes of baby being near the breast]
“Can you put an extra stitch in?” [Partner, laughing!]
[Busy postnatal ward, buzzer goes in the furthest bay where most of the ladies are self-caring normal deliveries] “Can you pass my cup of water please?”
“He needs a nappy change” [looks at midwife expectantly]
“I’ve decided I would like to go home” [15 minutes later] “I’m ready, can I go now?”
“I’d like to give breastfeeding a try, but I’ve got bottles and formula with me if I need them”
“I can’t get him to breastfeed” [Baby wrapped and lying in the cot next to her]
“Actually, I don’t really want to breastfeed” [After many back-breaking hours helping and supporting the mother to help her breastfeed]
“Will it get worse than this?” [Latent phase of labour]
“How will I know if I’m in labour?” [With the occasional exception, I’m confident you will know!]
“Here’s my wee sample” [Balancing precariously on top of the plastic wrapper keeping the kidney dish sterile!]
“Oh no sorry, I didn’t bring my notes”
“Will you be taking our baby away over night so my wife can sleep?”
“I think i’m having Branston Pickles” [Braxton Hicks!!]
[First push with an epidural in the second stage] “Can you see the head yet?”
“My baby is so good, he slept through the whole night!” [Panic!]
“I need to push” [On the antenatal ward]
“I haven’t felt my baby move for two days, but didn’t want to bother you as I know how busy you all are”
“I’m not sure if this baby will be white or black!!”
“I haven’t got any milk” [Day 0]
“Actually now you mention it, I’ve had wet underwear for a few days now and have had to wear pads…”
Although some of these are quite amusing, I can’t help thinking how sad it is that women are still so ill-informed about fetal movements, breastfeeding, and when to contact a midwife.
Some women are still under the impression that pregnancy is an illness and become unable to perform everyday tasks like getting their own drink, caring for their baby and sometimes even taking their own underwear off!
Not all women and their partners want to attend antenatal classes, and some would rather not know anything because sometimes the information we give can be too much for some to deal with.
We can never assume the knowledge that women have, and must make time to discuss and explain things as and when required, no matter how many times we have heard it.
If the same remarks are coming up frequently, we need to look at our antenatal education and ensure these women are fully informed. It could mean the difference between successful breastfeeding or not, and maintaining a healthy outcome for these women and their babies.
However, some of the above comments would suggest there really is little hope I’m afraid!
I would just like to add that it’s not always the women and their families that make amusing comments. My favourite staff comment of the month has to be from a wonderful student midwife who was reassuring a dad that his belongings would still be on the labial ward!
An easy slip of the tongue you might agree, which gave everyone a giggle!