Last week, for the first time so far in my training, a woman named her baby after me. What an honour! That is memorable enough on it’s own, but there’s more.
I’d been looking after the woman on a night shift on the antenatal ward whilst she was having an induction (where we artificially try and start the labour, because there is a medical reason it is felt the baby would be better off out than in – or sometimes just because the due date has passed). Once we start this intervention, we monitor more closely to ensure the baby is coping ok. One of the ways we monitor the baby is using a CTG – a cardiotocograph – to monitor both the baby’s heart beat, their movements, and the pregnant person’s contractions. And the CTG reading was telling us this baby was very distressed, so the decision was made to have an emergency delivery by caesarean section.
As students, we are taught in an academic setting, and we complete training sessions, but (cliche alert) the real learning happens when we are in practice. I had learned what to look out for on CTG readings to indicate the baby might be in distress, but it’s not until I someone in my care was being monitored, and the CTG started throwing up distinctly un-reassuring features that I really learned what I was looking for, and how quickly you need to act. That’s not something you forget.
Especially when the baby is named after you.