When I get up in the morning, prepare myself for the day, I have no way of knowing what lies ahead. No way to predict the lives I will change today, with shared celebration and joy, or with tears and the dark shadow of grief.
I don’t know what I will face that might seem impossible, don’t know what will arise that might appear to be a miracle.
So I put on my clothes, brush my hair, do my teeth, knowing that all I can know is that I will do my best today, that my job makes a difference, and I don’t do it alone.
Some of the things I experience:
Having choices, and not having choices.
Doing what needs to be done - right now, and prioritising in this moment.
Supporting each other over and over again. But ultimately working alone.
Being scared. And being brave.
Being 100% present, no matter what.
Asking for help when I need it (but maybe not always).
Taking the empathy and allowing it to get in the way of courageous conversations.
Putting the patient first - and putting the process second.
Working with an environment that has its limitations, and doing the best I can.
Finding a way through and being creative.
Loving my patients and their babies - even when they drive me crackers.
Knowing that more is possible, if only…
Wanting to make it ok and normal.
Holding it in - and letting it out.
Holding a first baby after 8 miscarriages.
Holding a patient’s hand as she first discovers she is pregnant and then holding her hand when she loses the baby.
Seeing the baby born at 700g growing and thriving.
Reassuring patient, after patient, after patient.
Not showing the frustration with the clinician to the clinician - but showing it to others.
Not having time to pee, or drink.
Needing the computer to work - now, so that i can admit the patient.
Hoping the phone will stop ringing for just five minutes so that I can draw breath.
Staying and staying, holding the longing for that patient.
I walk out of those doors exhausted - physically, mentally and emotionally. I simply have no more to give.
I think of the women I’ve seen, the babies and families, the lives changed forever.
And I take it all with me, their lives changed. And mine too.
By Kirsty Maynor, CEO, The Firefly Group, March 2014
With thanks to the staff of Ward 24, Wishaw General Hospital, and Ward 17 Borders General Hospital