Sunday, December 21, 2014

I survived the semester

So I'm mostly here to tell you that I survived the grand catastrophe known as clinical skills, reproductive physiology, and pharmacology. I did it. Passed. Done. Over. Survived. It was truly the most work my brain has ever done, and I say this as someone who has been in school since the dawn of time. I learned so much about fetal heart beats, placentas, and the use of medication to control postpartum bleeding (in addition to about a billion other things) that my brain is ready to explode. And explode it shall when I begin my first clinical placement in two weeks!

That's right. In two short weeks I will begin a little less book-learning and a lot more hands-on baby catching! Can you even believe it? I know I can't. I have my stethoscope at the ready, my pager is warming up, and I'm (sort of) ready to go. Do you want to know all the feelings I have about starting placement? Here's a sampling: giddiness, panic, trepidation, delight, anxiety, and exhaustion (that's a carryover from this past semester of superwork).  I think more than anything I'm excited that I'll be able to use my hands. I remember my own midwives' hands on my body, on my baby, and I want my own hands to learn that skill and attention. My hands are always warm, so that's a start.

Life is about to get real in an entirely new way. I will be on-call 24 hours a day, with only a handful of days off each month. I will be called away for births and appointments at moment's notice. Did I mention I have a family, with two young children? How will this work? Will they miss me? Will they feel left out of my new life? Will the girls be cared for in all those times I'm working? (Of course they will be, is an answer to that last question.) To this point I've been busy and chaotic and overwhelmed, but all of that has taken place within a framework of regular schedules and flexibility. But last I heard, birth with a midwife is unscheduled. I've known about this part of my student midwifery life for years, but now, now it is here. I'm talking to my children and to Matt, explaining how I think life will be for the next 18 weeks, but who are we kidding? I have no idea. Mama will sometimes leave in the middle of the night and only time will tell how that impacts the girlies.

Can I tell you about how nervous I am about this transition? I think I'll make a good midwife one day, but am I ready for this? Will my hands learn? I am an anxious sort by nature and I'm having to work really hard to just keep breathing. Am I strong enough for this? I really do think so.

In these last two weeks before placement I plan to have the girls help me to prepare for all these big changes. We're going to make notes and drawings to carry with us, to peak at when we're missing each other. I'm going to ask them to make a sign for my bedroom door that says "Mama is sleeping!" for those days I'm catching up on sleep from the birth. I also feel the need to plan everything at home, which of course is pretty ambitious considering the next two weeks are filled with holiday dinners, marking, preparing for placement (translation: taking everyone's blood pressure). But I also want to wash my floors, sort my clothes, write up a meal plan for Matt and the girls, make food to keep in the freezer, and sleep. I'm nothing if not eager.

I also want to blog. What are the chances?

Be well!