One day, I was wandering aimlessly round the Labour Ward, wondering if anyone was going to take the trouble to give birth. As a midwife of many years’ experience I am always alert to this possibility.
Imagine my surprise, therefore, when Mrs. X. appeared, in the throes of a contraction. She had been my patient in the community so she approached me with confidence. (This may have been misplaced but hey-ho.)
Mr. X was trailing behind her.
We assembled in the Admission Room so that I could assess how far on Mrs. X was.
Quite far, as things turned out. 5 cm. dilated with a thin cervix, baby’s head low and this was Mrs. X’s fourth pregnancy.
Peeling off my gloves, I told Mrs. X my findings and started to walk to the Labour Ward proper.
Not so Mrs. X. Apparently, she had to get the weekly shopping in, and the small matter of her being in labour was not going to stop her. I suggested that Mr. X should be sent to Tesco’s with a list, but Mrs. X. strongly vetoed this advice. Her view was that husbands are all very well, but they cannot be relied upon to get Everything On The List when asked to apply their superior male intelligence to this task.
I was forced to agree with her. Mr. Mhor has form for disregarding The List, too.
Mrs. X shuffled off to Tesco’s and I shuffled off to the Midwives’ Office, where tea is always available, and cakes too, sometimes. It is always worth checking, just in case. Forty minutes later, the door porter escorted Mr. and Mrs. X back to the Admission Room, where I joined them. Mrs. X was screaming that she was pushing and Mr. X was spark out on the floor
My professional training told me that removing Mrs. X’s underwear would be a matter of some urgency, so I performed this task immediately and delivered a baby girl before I had had a chance to put on gloves or shut the window.
I told Mrs. X that she had a daughter and her response was:
“Don’t wake xxxxxxx up, Mustress. We’ve got four girls already.”
Fair enough, I suppose. I pressed the emergency bell with my elbow and picked my way over the inert form of Mr. X.
Mrs. X was very pleased indeed.
“At least I know we’ve got the toilet rolls and the right biscuits”, she said. “THEY” (indicating her unconscious spouse) “always forget.”
It was difficult not to agree with her.