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Amanda Burleigh 

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Sarah Barker - Newly Qualified Midwife

It’s strange being qualified because you call the shots or should I say facilitate ‘things’ either planned well in advance in partnership with the family or in the moment, it’s finally me doing it and that’s taken some getting used to. Without my mentor at my beckon call I find myself making really important decisions and taking control of my own work in the way that I choose without the hand holding that I used to depend on. It’s a scary world out there but it sure is amazing too. 

I’ve had the pleasure and challenges of starting out in a huge unit as I begin my Midwifery career. I thought the small things would be brushed under the carpet and routine practices would dampen my passion for promoting normality in pregnancy and childbirth. Often in life we realize that it’s the small things that mean the greatest of all to us and I have witnessed these great things happening right in front of my eyes recently. 

A new experience for me has been preparing  expectant couples for the arrival of their babies born by elective caesarean section. Previous emergency sections have often left families and myself quite overwhelmed and reflective, but watching babies born calmly, having drapes lowered, their cords left intact to stop pulsating and facilitating immediate skin to skin contact has been heartwarming. 

When I’m out of theatre and in the birthing room on Labour ward caring for women, I love to remember the small things like keeping the lights dimmed, involving partners, encouraging active birthing and mobile CTG’s. Then birth happens and I lift baby up to meet their mummy, with their cord turning white before I clamp it, I smile to myself because I realize that small thing that I just let happen was the biggest thing I did today. 

I have been thinking how optimal cord clamping has become a very small part of my toolkit as a newly qualified midwife. I think back to 4 years previous when I listened to Amanda talk about it and it all made complete sense. I feel fortunate that to me it’s normal practice and is actively practiced where I work, I feel that not only am I the woman’s advocate but the baby’s too, each time I wait for white.