1.a person, typically a woman, who is trained to assist women in childbirth.
1.assist (a woman) during childbirth.
When asked why she became a midwife, the hospital staff who was with me during my labor responded with: “Oh because I really love babies. I already have four and won’t be having anymore. So this is my opportunity to snuggle lots of babies.”
Now, in my epidural haze, I thought, “Wow, that’s so lovely. My midwife loves babies, that’s why she became a midwife.”
So, she became a midwife not because she has an interest in assisting women, the mothers-to-be. She became a midwife for the babies. She also told me I’d better push or the doctors would take over. Erm, isn’t that her job to let me know when? Did she not remember the epidural they gave me? Wasn’t she the one who was supposed to be monitoring me? So it would be my fault the doctors intervene?
This was quite evident in the hospital I was at. The midwives in my ward had no interest in looking after me, one of the women who had just given birth. None whatsoever.
The only midwife who remotely care was the initial midwife who was assigned to me when I went in for my induction (who was subsequently taken over by the senior midwife and a student midwife). Then there was a young midwife Mel who discharged me but didn’t look after me. She had a similar bad experience as I did at the very hospital I was at. She was a RN and decided to train as a midwife as a result of her bad experience at the hospital. She explained that even over 18 months after the birth of her son, she was still affected by her experience. But she channeled that anger towards becoming a midwife so as to hope other women didn’t have to go through what she went through.
My five days stay at the hospital was horrendous.
(1) They wouldn’t let my partner stay with me even though I had been there since early morning and was cut open. He was promptly kicked out an hour after our newborn and I arrived at the ward;
(2) They took my newborn away while I was passed out and not return to me for over 24 hours. And without any explanation. They told me an hour.;
(3) I was still in the hospital gown I was put in before they rushed me to theatre. It was covered in blood and meconium. It was not til the next day when that a midwife got me a clean gown and helped me changed into it and also cleaned me up. (I was hooked up and couldn’t really walk);
(4) The midwife assigned to look after me the majority of my stay had no interest in looking after me. She was instructed to remove the catheter and the cannula but she refused. Took many attempts by the seniors to instruct her before she remove them.
(5) The very same midwife refused to help me get a wheelchair so I could go to the nursery to see my newborn. I wasn’t able to walk and I was still hooked up to drips. It wasn’t til towards late afternoon before someone got me a very big wheelchair with deflated tyres. I hadn’t seen my newborn and I was scared. I couldn’t even recognise which baby in all the cubes was mine!
(6) The same midwife, again, told me off for not changing out of my hospital gown. Uhh, what? I had tubes sticking out from my body and every few hours someone checks my back. But yea sure ok. When I could finally go to the bathroom, she told me that my partner would have to help me (even though all the hospital material said the midwife would help the patient).
(7) The midwives refuse to help me with the pumping equipment so I could get colostrum to my newborn in the nursery. My partner had to ask a lot of midwives until one finally pointed him to a cabinet saying that’s where all the stuff are then gave him a couple of shields (that were way too big for me but we didn’t know til after we engaged a lactation consultant when we got home). No one showed us how to use the pump. We had to figure it out ourselves.
(8) The midwife was as charged with looking after my newborn in the nursery not only use a dummy on him, she also fed him formula milk. When I went down to see him, I asked to feed him but she refused. I gave her the syringe of colostrum I expressed, she just left it on the bench without feeding him. She left it there and went home. Not only was I not allowed to feed him, she kissed my newborn’s face in front of me. I was too drugged up, too tired, too scared, too shocked to do anything. I felt like I failed my little boy.
(9) None of the midwives knew what was wrong with him and why they took him away to the nursery while I was sleeping. Til this day, we still don’t have an answer. On the day of discharge they were still refusing to let him leave even though the paediatric coordinator signed off on the discharge (after a lot of noise made by me for not getting any answers from anyone). They were throwing random numbers about infection and one even told us to be prepared for the worse (and to leave without him). Then when we asked the next midwife, she looked at us like idiots and told us she had no idea what we were talking about.
(10) I was told by the ward co-ordinator that she had assigned a midwife to help me overnight with breastfeeding and help me while I was expressing. She didn’t. It was all a lie and cover-up. The young midwife on my last night not only did not help me with anything, she gave me a bottle of formula to go ‘help yourself’. I did not sleep at all that night. My whole hope of getting my newborn home the next day hinged on getting him to feed and that I would expressed sufficient amount. They didn’t even tell me this. I only found out from Mel the next day. She pretty much said if I didn’t express enough and he didn’t gain enough weight, they wouldn’t let him leave. I was horrified. I was trapped in that hell of a hospital.
So tell me, midwife. How are you assisting the woman?
I am still scarred by my experience. I am still waking up to check my baby hasn’t been taken away. Do you know how this feel?
I still look at my scar and blamed myself for not being able to ‘push’. A stark reminder of my failure. The words of my midwife still rings in my mind.
The image of the young midwife kissing my newborn is still fresh in my mind. Now I am afraid of someone taking him away.
Tell me midwife, how are you assisting me, the woman who gave birth.
The woman who was cut opened.
The woman whose newborn you took away from her room while she was asleep.
The woman whom you refused to help with expressing colostrum/milk for her newborn.
The woman you wouldn’t help to feed her newborn colostrum.
The woman whom you refused to help breastfeed her newborn when you finally returned her newborn to her.
Midwife. If you do not like nor enjoy your job in assisting the mother-to-be. Or you have decided you have made the wrong career choice.
Please, for the sake of us, leave and find a different career.