Many years ago I was wandering round the Labour Ward, at rather a loose end, if the truth be told. It was a Sunday and we had no patients.
We had restocked every cupboard to within an inch of its life and had had several cups of tea. Midwives survive almost entirely on tea, and cakes and biscuits are generally available.
On this memorable day there wasn’t so much as a packet of Rich Tea (generally looked upon with disfavour by midwives, but supplied reluctantly by the hospital’s catering department.)
Very possibly the Rich Tea are for the patients, not the midwives.
I spotted a pregnant woman and her (I assumed) husband, and approached them to offer my assistance. She told me that she was in labour – with her eleventh child.
Despite midwifery textbooks always advising that midwives should be diagnosing labour, not mere patients, I assumed that as she had had ten babies previously she was going to be correct with regard to knowing if the eleventh baby was starting to make its appearance.
Reader, that woman was right and that baby was nearly there. Despite the fact that she did not appear to be having contractions and was not in any distress, her cervix was 9 cm. dilated.
About three minutes after I had established that fact, she gave birth to a son.
It was a very easy gig for me, I have to say. I daresay the woman herself regarded it as such.
Anyway – after giving the baby a quick suck on the breast, she asked me to hand her her holdall – then she extracted a massive box of very expensive chocolates.
“For you,” she said. “I always like to thank my midwives when I have a baby. You work so hard.”
It brightened up my Sunday, I can tell you. And the collective Sundays of the rest of the staff. We always share booty like this.
Someone made another pot of tea and the Labour Ward returned to its previous state of Nothing Going On.