Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Survival - #dosomethingyummy

#dosomethingyummy has been running this month to gain awareness for CLICSargent.  I first became aware of CLIC in the late 1980s, raising money through a drama group I used to attend.  It's a very deserving children's cancer charity, who have done a huge amount of good work over the years.  March 10-18th is the week that they're attempting to raise money.  This follows the prompt of 'Tell us your story of survival.  What did you overcome?'

Rising at 4am, I pad down the corridor.  It may be summer, but my room is freezing.  The nursing staff raise an eye.  I should be in bed they say.  I should be resting, asleep.  My breasts ache, heavy with milk.  How can you rest when you're the only mummy on the ward without her baby?  How can you rest when you know you need to express, to increase your milk supply, for the little one who is still so dependent on you, despite the umbilical cord being cut.

Little Miss was born during my medical studies.  Ironically enough during my paediatrics block.  She was strong at 34+2 but my body rejected her placenta.  I was seriously ill with pre-eclampsia.  The only treatment for me, was for Little Miss to come into this world.

My first night of not being pregnant was in a different hospital to Little Miss.  I begged a transferal to the same hospital as her.  I was transferred the next day, released from HDU.  Midnight I arrived.  Midnight I got my second cuddles.  Midnight my parents and parents-in-law met their first granddaughter.

My mind whirled, what next?  Destination post-natal depression?  Into action my brain sprang.  I couldn't sit and drink tea all day at home without Little Miss beside me.  I'd sob into it, and tea is too precious.  I couldn't get the bus to Little Miss, that would take hours, my milk would never survive.  That was it, I'd go back to uni.  I continue my studies (fortunately a week of lectures then shift work).  My brain was addled, but it was the best that I could reason.

It worked.  I successfully breastfed Little Miss, and continue to do so.  I have a fantastic relationship with my daughter; and a medical degree, completed less than a year after Little Misses dramatic entry into the world.

I survived.  Little Miss survived.  Daddy survived.

Saturday, 18 February 2012

A long week

How many days did your week have?  Mine had 12.  Yup that's right.  I worked 12 days in a row.  4 of those I wasn't home in time to put Little Miss to bed.  8 of those I was.  One of which I returned to work to complete a task I'd managed to miss.

By today (day 12) I was exhausted.  I was worn down by the hours put in and by my seniors 'attempts' at support.  My usual happy-go-lucky self disappeared.  I cried. 

My relationship with work is a complex one.  Ever since I can remember I've wanted to be a doctor.  I'd also never considered not having a family.  I'm a doctor because I want to 'help', because I care for people, but also because we have bills to pay, just like the next person.  I work because I want my daughter to have the best.  But part of the best is being at home with her. 

Tonight I finished work at 8pm.  3 hours late.  I was lucky that Little Miss managed to stay up late.  I was lucky that her daddy was there to pick her up from nursery, when that should have been my job.  Part of crying was that I just wanted to get home to see Little Miss, and there was too many jobs to do, that couldn't be put off until Monday, to know that I would never get home on time.  Every day this week Little Miss has stood at the door and cried as I've left for work.  She's never done that before.

I am lucky that the nurses on the ward I work on, are fantastic.  They are the ones who supported me today.  They are the ones who asked if I was ok, as they saw 'me' disappear; as they saw me crumple they gave me hugs, they brought me the most appreciated glass of juice possible.

Today it is the nurses who need thanking.  Always supporting the doctors, always there for the patients, always underappreciated.

A start

My life seems dichotomous at times.  I'm a health care professional and a mummy.  A junior doctor trying to find her way in a new career, and trying to balance this with my family's, particularly my daughters needs. 

Not aiming to chronicle life, I aim to consider writing about what I struggle with at times.  Work, work-life balance and bringing up a little one; as well as the potential for little ones at any point in the future.

If you like the idea, read on.  If you have an idea for a post, let me know.