• 02 September 2021
  • 8 min read

My 20 Years' Experience As A Midwife

  • Brenda Walcott
    Adult Nurse & Midwife
    • Richard Gill
    • Mat Martin
    • Aubrey Hollebon
  • 0
  • 379
“Some people think that midwives only deliver babies but we are there for women from their first contact with the maternity services to, up to 28 days after the delivery of the baby.”

Midwife, Brenda Walcott, tells us about her twenty years in the profession and explains the challenges and rewards that she has encountered during her career.

Topics covered in this article

A Sub-speciality In Women And Children’s Health - Midwifery

A Variety Of Roles In Midwifery

Coaching Women Through The Birth Process

Building Rapport With Women And Their Families

Sometimes I Am Interviewed All Over Again

Unspoken Trust

Listening to The Women Improves Communication

Educating Patients And Their Partners

Giving A Crash Course On The Labour Process

The Hormones That Make It All Happen

Midwifery Is Really Wonderful To Me

An Example: I Advocated For My Patient To Exercise Her Right To Choose

A Sub-speciality in Women and Children’s Health - Midwifery

I have been working as a Midwife since qualifying in 2001 after completing the eighteen months course at the University of Brighton.

That was nearly twenty years ago, although it doesn’t feel like such a long time.

So, I had just one year of nursing experience under my belt when I decided to study midwifery and I have not regretted that decision.

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A Variety of Roles in Midwifery

My experiences are many and varied, including working in various maternity units across Southeast England both in substantive roles and agency/bank roles.

My experience includes working in the antenatal clinic, the antenatal ward, the labour ward, the midwife led unit, the postnatal ward, obstetric theatre and recovery and Maternal Foetal Assessment Unit.

Coaching Women through the Birth Process

One of my favourite areas to work is the labour ward because I just find the birthing process so intriguing.

Some labours can be rapid and straightforward while others can take many more hours than expected.

It’s not easy to predict how long labour will last or what the outcome will be, whether a normal birth, an instrumental delivery or a caesarean section.

But I always enjoy the interaction with my patients.

Building Rapport with Women and their Families

On occasions when I have provided support to a family during labour and the birthing process, where I am interacting with them over a twelve hour shift and get to build a good rapport with them.

I often see the process as it unfolds from the introduction where I am aware of the unspoken appraisal (who are you and how experienced are you?

Can we trust you to support us through this unique moment in our lives?)

Sometimes I Am Interviewed All Over Again

Sometimes it is not an unspoken appraisal; a lot of time people ask me upfront questions about my qualification and experience when I take over their care.

Which I don’t mind and happily tell them about myself and put them at ease.

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Do you have any questions about Midwifery?

Ask Brenda questions below

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And as the professional relationship develops I can sense when the trust and approval have been achieved and the family is reflecting their acceptance and appreciation of the fact that I am competent and they will be safe and well looked after.

Unspoken Trust

Sometimes it’s not until after the delivery of the baby or towards the end of my shift that I am sure about the family’s thoughts towards me, as some couples like a very quiet atmosphere and only the bare minimal intervention from the midwife and other staff.

I like to please people, so I always establish with them what their preferences are so that I can tailor the support that I give, to their needs.

Listening to The Women Improves Communication

A patient who has a need to talk, never find me competing with them ‘to get a word in’.

And the woman and her support person who wants to converse and needs entertainment or other distraction, are usually spoilt for choice as I am just as happy to talk about current topical issues, offer suggestions for a DVD player, a radio, TV, magazines or any number of games.

Educating Patients and their Partners

During complicated labour and even antenatal admission episodes I also enjoy the challenge when a patient requests explanation of a medical procedure, a process, diagnosis or concept.

This sometimes happen when a women needs to have their labour induced. Of course there are leaflets with information that the hospital provide for us to give to women.

But not all the concepts are easily grasped by everyone. I am not a show off, but I do really love engaging with the women and their partners, especially to educate and inform them in order to facilitate informed choice.

Obviously I refer to colleagues if the question is about a specialist procedure like an epidural. Then I usually say “I will get the anaesthetist to have a chat with you”.

Giving A Crash Course On The Labour Process

Sometimes I get women who are convinced they can never have a natural birth, usually first time mums.

And although most of the times they are not fully convinced until after the delivery, they do express a great deal of appreciation for a crash course I give them on the amazing and dynamic features of the female reproductive system especially during the labour process.

The Hormones That Make It All Happen

At the later stages of pregnancy when we discuss the labour process with first time mothers I explain the role of pregnancy hormones such as prostaglandin, oxytocin, oestrogen and relaxin.

They ripen the cervix and soften and relax the cartilages and tendon in the joints to increase the flexibility and capacity of the pelvis to enable the passage of the baby through the birth canal.

The levels of these circulating hormones increase and peak during labour and delivery and essentially make the birth process possible.

Midwifery Is Really Wonderful To Me

Some people think that midwives only deliver babies but we are there for women from their first contact with the maternity services to, up to 28 days after the delivery of the baby.

I have to admit that I love supporting women through the labour and birthing process and that it is one of my favourite parts of my job.

An Example: I Advocated For My Patient To Exercise Her Right To Choose

I also feel very protective of pregnant women and find myself advocating for some of my patients who are less assertive.

On one occasion a doctor was recommending an intervention to speed up the labour of one of my patients.

The patient and I had built up a good rapport and trust and she had disclosed to me her fear of hospitals and medical interventions.

So, when the doctors were doing the ward round and telling us that the plan was to break the membranes, I waited for the patient to say what her feelings were… and when she didn’t.

I waited for the doctor to finish writing his notes and then shared with him the discussion that took place before he came into the room.

The doctor was not happy but agreed that as she was making good progress in labour they would give her time.

The woman was so glad that I spoke up for her.

Within three hours she progressed and had a quick and intervention free delivery.

Next day I learned that she took early discharge home later the same day.

She couldn’t get away fast enough.

That felt like such a massive achievement for me.

Breaking the water can speed up the labour, but it is not a risk free procedure as the umbilical cord can come through with the waters, necessitating an emergency caesarean section.

It also makes contractions more painful with less amniotic fluid to cushion the pressure of the descending head of the foetus against the cervix.

There is also the risk of ascending infections such a group B Streptococcus that is not a threat to adults, but can be deadly in the new born baby.

That is just one of many experiences of advocating a normal labour and birth to avoid unnecessary intervention.

Midwifery is a great profession that makes me look forward to getting out of bed everyday.

It is really very rewarding and has many, many more benefits than draw backs. But that is my personal opinion and I could well be biased because I feel it is one of the best jobs/careers in the world.

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Do you have any questions about Midwifery?

Ask Brenda questions below

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About the author

  • Brenda Walcott
    Adult Nurse & Midwife

I work as a Midwife and an Adult Nurse. My current role is in a community hospital that specialises in rehabilitation of adult patients who have become dependent. My Adult Nursing career spans over 20 years to include Adult, Medical, Surgical Nursing. My special interests include women's health, diabetes, public health and Midwifery.

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  • Brenda Walcott
    Adult Nurse & Midwife

About the author

  • Brenda Walcott
    Adult Nurse & Midwife

I work as a Midwife and an Adult Nurse. My current role is in a community hospital that specialises in rehabilitation of adult patients who have become dependent. My Adult Nursing career spans over 20 years to include Adult, Medical, Surgical Nursing. My special interests include women's health, diabetes, public health and Midwifery.

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