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I need to get back into the habit of writing ‘to-do’ lists. I keep starting the day with a mental list of all the things I intend to do that day and then I end up getting busy and distracted and it’s only when I then get to the end of the day when it’s too late to make phone calls and things like that, that I suddenly remember several things that I’d intended to do that day. So I make a mental note that I will do them tomorrow. Only when tomorrow comes, the same thing happens once again.
Discovering you have a flat tyre on your car when you’re already running late for work is not exactly the best way to start the day. Mind you, it could have been worse – if it hadn’t been for the nice passerby pointing it out, I might have had a blow-out on the motorway. I do know how to change the wheel myself (I get a flat about once a year on average) but can never seem to loosen the wheel nuts – they’re always done up so tight! Thank goodness my lovely father-in-law came round and changed the wheel for me!
Until a year ago, I was still using my old Nokia which I’d had for about five years (it made calls, sent text messages and only needed charging once in a blue moon – what more could I ask for?) Michael has a smartphone and I hate it. My heart sinks when he hands me his phone and asks me to call someone on it. It takes me ages just to work out how to make the call. It is nice to get a new phone though. Even if I do stick to the basic models that I still can understand!
Sometimes I think it would be nice to go back to university and live the student life again for a bit. Although without having any debts or assignment deadlines to worry about. Just the social life would be nice. Being able to wander into the union bar and know that you’re pretty much guaranteed to bump into a few friends to chat to. Arranging to meet up with friends at the last minute rather than having to ‘book’ them weeks in advance. Having most of your friends living within walking distance. The huge variety of potential social activities on offer.
I’ve been feeling a bit out of the loop socially recently so it was good to finally get out of the house and have a night out catching up with friends from our university days and celebrating one of our friend’s 30th birthday. Now that I’m almost permanently on call (other than holidays and a very occasional day off), it means that I’m always going to be the designated driver – not that it makes very much difference though as Michael rarely has a drink even when he can and even then it only tends to be a couple of beers.
I’m beginning to come to the conclusion that if Michael continues to be this busy with event work for the foreseeable future, I’m going to need to start learning a whole host of DIY skills myself. There are just so many little things that need sorting out around the house – towel rings to put up in the bathroom, a radiator to be mended in the study, bookcases to be put up, boxes to be moved. The trouble is, some of these things I still couldn’t do all by myself even if I did feel more confident with a cordless drill.
The date of the tap exam has now been set and will be on 6 March which less than four weeks away. I’m not entirely sure I feel ready to do my exam so soon, but otherwise we would have to wait until November and so March it is. I can’t make this week’s tap class which makes me even more nervous but am determined that unless I am at a birth and really can’t be there, I won’t be missing any more until the exam. Just got to find time to try and get some extra practicing in now!
I’m now almost six weeks into my new midwifery venture and I have now attended my first home birth as an independent midwife which was lovely. Of course, it wasn’t all that different from attending home births before – I still have a colleague at the birth for back-up as I did before and the midwifery side of things hasn’t changed – but it was special nonetheless, particularly as I haven’t been at a home birth for a little while. I realised all over again just what an amazing privilege it is to be there watching a new baby enter the world.
There are few things more frustrating than missing a train because when the doors open you are faced with a solid wall of people leaving no room to get on the train and then discovering when the train pulls away that there was plenty of space inside in the carriage and if the morons surrounding the doors had showed a little bit of common sense and moved down inside the train, you’d have been able to get on quite easily. Instead you’re left standing on a platform in the cold with 30 minutes to wait until the next train arrives.
As an English person, I suspect I’m not alone in using ‘England’ as a generic term to mean Britain as a whole without realising that I’m doing it. Which no doubt comes across as English arrogance – after all Scotland and Wales also form part of this island (I don’t tend to use ‘England’ if I mean Northern Ireland so that doesn’t cause confusion). So apologies to my Scottish and Welsh friends for all the times that I have unconsciously done this in conversation, thank you for bringing it to my attention and please feel free to correct me in future!
The last few weeks have been fairly unproductive outside of work – lots of little jobs needing to be done around the house, all waiting to be done ‘later’. Phone calls that needed to be made during the day that only got remembered about late at night when it was too late to do them, paperwork that needed sorting out, things that had been on the to-do list for days. The trouble was, I’d get home in the evening and be too tired to feel like doing them. Thank goodness for productive days off – the to-do list looks much better now!
Having decided that I wasn’t going to miss any more tap lessons between now and the exam, it has just dawned on me that next Tuesday is the mother-in-law’s birthday and we are going out for a meal. Which means that I will be missing another tap class – thank goodness for all the extra ones that have been scheduled – I would really be panicking now otherwise. Tonight’s lesson went well though – apart from the occasional moment where my brain decided to switch off without warning mid-routine, the steps were mostly there and the routines are mostly staying in my head.
Thank goodness that we have got several extra tap lessons arranged for the next three weeks. Tonight was the first of the extra classes – we have managed to get a rehearsal in the dance studio where the exams are held and it was so nice to be dancing on a proper sprung floor again. Since losing our tap studio last year, we now have our classes in the upstairs function room of a social club with a lovely (not!) solid floor which is not pleasant to dance on at all. Although I can’t blame it for my lack of co-ordination.
It’s been a very quiet Valentine’s Day. That’s not too unusual – Michael and I never go out on Valentine’s Day itself – mainly because everywhere seems to use it as an excuse to up their prices for one night – but this year he is away working on an event for a few days and so my Valentine’s evening was spent in the company of yummy Ben & Jerry in front of the TV. Cookie dough ice-cream, mmm. There are far worse ways to spend an evening. And I did get a very nice soppy mug and equally soppy card from Michael.
Another fabulous evening spent visiting friends who live about an hour’s drive away from where we do. When I was doing my old job, I had to wait for a night off to visit them as I was always supposed to stay within about an hour or so’s drive away from work. The one time I chanced it, I got called out and panicked about the fact that it was taking me longer to get back there than it was supposed to do. Now I’m always on call anyway and I only have myself (and my clients) to answer to.
My husband is notorious for running on his very own time system with a Michael-minute being an undefined unit of time that is always considerably longer than a minute in real time. Sometimes I wonder if he has any concept about measuring time the same way as the rest of us do – or was he absent the day in primary school when they taught about clocks and time? After more than ten years, I have grown used to the fact that 10 Michael-minutes mean anything between 30 minutes and 3 hours but it can be a little frustrating at times.
Had a lovely evening out for pre-wedding drinks with two friends of mine who are getting married next week. Since getting married myself, I find I get more excited in the run-up to friends’ weddings (there have been quite a few of these in the last couple of years) – I think it is because I remember just how excited I was in those last few days before my own wedding and I’m just so happy for my friends when they are about to get married. I’m looking forward to being there at their wedding in just under a week’s time!
After a few reasonably productive days, it seems that today I have come down with an acute case of can’t-be-bothered-itis. Maybe it is just as well that Michael is away working, because I don’t then feel guilty about lounging on the sofa, eating rice pudding instead of cooking a proper dinner (although if Michael was home, then maybe he could be the one cooking dinner anyway!) At times like this I am thankful for dishwashers – the kitchen looks tidy without me having to do any washing up! Ah well, it’s good to have a lazy day once in a while.
One of the things I love about my job is having the time to really get to know my clients and to witness their journey sometimes from very early in the pregnancy through to the birth of their baby and then seeing their transition into parenthood and those early days with a new baby. It’s always nice when people stay in touch after I have discharged them and whilst it is not possible to stay in touch and meet up with everyone I look after, it is nice to see a previous client again and see their baby growing up.
The strength of a labouring woman is something which never ceases to amaze me. This is something which is often most evident in a calm, serene birthing environment (usually when women are birthing at home and are therefore in the environment in which they feel most relaxed). Often the woman will retreat completely into her own little world, focusing all her attention and energy on bringing her baby into the world whilst those of us who are privileged to witness this miracle sit and watch in quiet awe, ready to offer help, a back massage and encouraging words where needed.
Another tap rehearsal and the exam is looming ever closer. I think the routines are pretty much in my head by now, although sometimes I’m not sure whether my brain is actually communicating with my feet or not because even though I know that I know the routines by now, my feet don’t always seem to want to do the steps or my feet and brain decide to get a little out of step with each other! There’s still a couple more lessons to go until the exam so hopefully I will manage to get it right on the day!
Out for Michael’s mum’s birthday this evening. We went to a lovely Nepalese restaurant which has great food (although was a bit intrigued by the description of ‘fresh sea bass from our doorstep’ – given we are quite some distance away from the sea and whilst there is a canal which runs fairly close to the restaurant, I would be quite surprised if there were sea bass swimming in it!) Michael was in the doghouse a little for not calling earlier to wish his mum a happy birthday but we had a surprise birthday present arranged and he was quickly forgiven!
Now that I’ve attended the ‘official’ study day on independent midwifery, I can start the process of registering with IMUK and getting my details on the website which will help potential clients looking for a private midwife in my area find me. The study day was mostly attended by midwives who are exploring the option of going independent so focused a lot on the practical side of setting up which myself and my colleagues who attended have already been through but it was still useful to go and find out about how to access mandatory updates and things like that.
We are in Dublin for our friends Bryan and Nicki’s wedding and it has been a lovely day – the sun came out and it was reasonably warm (for February anyway!) which was fabulous – it is always nice to have good weather for a wedding. As always, it is such a joy to be able to share in our friends’ happiness and celebrate with them. The wedding reception was definitely one of the best out of all the weddings I have been to – very lively and from the minute the band started, there were lots of people on the dance floor.
I have managed to take a couple of days off call and so we had another day in Ireland. Michael and I have been to Dublin before and visited most of the typical touristy sites (such as the Guinness storehouse – although have to confess I preferred the Jamesons’ Distillery!). We’d hired a car so decided it was worth seeing something outside of Dublin. We went to Howth, just north of Dublin on the coast and then to Malahide Castle (which we nearly didn’t find as the sat nav took us to a timber yard about 10km away from the castle!)
Tonight’s church concert got a very mixed reception. The first half featured a jazz singer and a local student choir, both of which seemed to be quite popular with the audience but the second half, which was best described as “vocally experimental” was perhaps a little too experimental for the type of audience which we usually have. It didn’t help that the concert went on much later than usual and by midway through the second half, half the audience had already left leaving me to wonder if we would still have any audience remaining by the end (fortunately we did!)
One of the things that people often worry about when planning a home birth is potential emergency scenarios and how long it will take to transfer to hospital if there is an emergency. The research shows that for low-risk pregnancies home birth is as safe, if not safer, than hospital birth (because labour is ‘allowed’ to progress normally without interference). Fortunately emergency situations are not that common and midwives are trained to deal with most of these until transfer is made but most of the time hospital transfer is due to lack of progress or the mother requesting an epidural.
This entry marks the completion of my 30th 100 words batch and I have some exciting news to announce. Michael and I are expecting our first baby, currently nicknamed ‘Sprout’, who is due at the end of September. We have already seen our little one a couple of times thanks to early scans and heard his/her heartbeat and I’ve managed to pick up the heartbeat on a Doppler as well which was very exciting. Over the last few days, we’ve started announcing our news to friends and family – it has been very hard keeping it a secret for this long!
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