It was two years after my little sisters birth that I finally realised my calling, I had gone to college and was studying for my A-levels in English Literature, Fine Art and Media studies. When applying to college I still wasn’t sure what I wanted to do and so I applied to courses that had something that I enjoyed doing in each of them. English Literature helped me develop my writing skills as I loved to write short sci-fi and romance stories, Fine Art allowed me to continue being creative and enjoy the little things and Media Studies allowed me to explore films, TV and print in a new and innovative way.
It was only when I began to think about my future that I realised that the A-levels that I was currently doing would not get me somewhere, a career that I could love and could see myself doing for the rest of my life. I had always shied away from the possibility of ever going to university – this was until I realised that there were means to cover the cost of tuition fees and normal daily life. I think that this may have been why it had taken me so long to realise that I wanted to be a Midwife – I wanted to be an advocate for women and their families and ensure that they received the best possible care throughout their pregnancy, labour and the postnatal period.
Looking back, I feel silly for not realising earlier that this was what I wanted to do. I was fifteen when my mum went into labour with her fourth child, my baby sister. I walked into my dad at the shops on my way home from school and he had told me that my mum had started having braxton hicks, I remember feeling excited – at this time I had not known an awful lot about labour or that braxton hicks normally occur two weeks or so before the real labour started. So I rushed home, my mum had got in the bath to use warm water to comfort her and ease the pains. I remember taking one look at her and thinking that this was labour, my mum had been in denial her entire pregnancy that she was having a baby – as she had not thought it possible. So when I told her that I didn’t this was braxton hicks she kept saying I was wrong and I didn’t know.
During my mum’s pregnancy I had watched shows about pregnancy and labour like ‘one born every minute’ and ‘call the midwife’ – I loved these shows. I realise now that one born every minute doesn’t show you a full picture and kind of scares pregnant women. But it taught me just enough to know what was labour and what was braxton hicks. My mum was calm in the bath but as soon as she got out her contractions increased in intensity. She kept saying later that she need to go to the toilet or that she felt like she needed to poo. We called the hospital and they said she should come in, my dad looked pale but called an ambulance and a first response car arrived very quickly. The paramedic assessed the situation and new immediately that my mum was progressing quickly and needed to go in. My dad was ghostly white and didn’t really know what to do with himself – he had seen the birth of me, my sister and my brother but it was like a whole new experience for him.
By the time the ambulance arrived my mum was contracting heavily and was using gas and air as pain relief. It looked amazing, my mum looked amazing – and it amazed me that my dad was struggling. Unfortunately I didn’t get to see the birth of my little sister as I was too young and had to stay home to babysit my brother and sister who were a few years younger than me. My mum and dad left at about 22:00 on the 22/02/2012. According to my dad, my mom’s waters went when she got to the hospital and just leaving the ambulance, they got her into a room with a midwife and my sisters vertex was visible. Midwife went to leave the room as she didn’t think the baby was coming even though my mum said that she was – the ambulance guy whose wife was pregnant with twins insisted the midwife stayed which was good as my mum delivered my sister a few minutes later at 23:00pm.
The paramedics were amazing and really helped my mum. The next day we went to visit my little sister and my mum and it all seemed so surreal, we stayed the whole of the visiting times and didn’t see a midwife once. That was the first time I had ever seen the inside of a maternity unit – it was a postnatal ward and seemed quite cold – the staff on entry seemed bored and fed up – no one was smiling or really interested in us. When I looked at my mum, I kept seeing how amazing she had been the night before – I wished I had seen the birth – it may have made my decision to become a midwife a lot quicker but it didn’t change my path ultimately.
When my mum came home, it was a huge change – who knew a newborn could be so much work and it meant a whole world of changes. But it was amazing – I enjoyed being a part of my sisters many firsts – her first words, her first smile, her first step – pregnancy and the birth of a child, a new being is a beautiful thing and to be apart of that journey really appealed to me. I decided two two years later that I wanted to be apart of that journey and knew that nothing could stop me from achieving my dream.
I changed my chosen courses to BTEC Medical science, I met a great many amazing people, none of whom could understand why I could possibly want to be a midwife when I could be something like a biochemist. I exceeded everyone’s expectations, the course directors were very reluctant to let me switch courses because they were so different but I persevered and made my case. I graduated with triple distinction star – the only one in the class to achieve this grade – it felt amazing I had never been very good academically so I felt great. During this time I had begun a carers job – to develop my interpersonal and communicative skills. I feel like it was meant to be, I had been thinking about calling up places to do some voluntary work, however on one of my Saturday shifts at my local pharmacy a lady had come in to leave some flyers about carers and I had asked about voluntary work – she had said why don’t you just do it and get paid for it and so that’s what I did. I never planned on staying there as long as I did but you just get used to the people and their stories – I met many great people who had done amazing things in there younger years, some nurses, some midwives – because of my age at the time I had cared mainly for women of all ages.
Throughout my mum’s pregnancy I was intrigued by all of the appointments and scans that she went to – unfortunately it wasn’t until my little sister was born that I got to tag along. At these appointments I would meet lots of qualified midwives as well as training university students shadowing them. This was valuable to me as I was able to talk to them and ask them questions that only they could answer – it was good to hear their experiences and their views on the course. I also got to meet a lot of soon-to-be-mothers and young families at the pharmacy which was nice because it was good to hear about their experiences of pregnancy, birth and aspects of everyday life. Whilst working as a Carer I have also had the wonderful opportunity to care for ladies who worked for the NHS as qualified nurses or midwives, this was a great learning curve as they were so passionate about the profession and were helpful in a way that made me finalise my decision, that becoming a qualified Midwife was the right path for me.