Breathe, Baby, Breathe

Posted by Deborah McBain on

I really try to watch Call the Midwife as any other person and just let the drama unfold. But inevitably the midwife inside creeps out, and I find myself talking to the characters like an armchair quarterback. “Trixie, put that baby up on Mom’s chest!” I directed toward the TV during the birth scene in Episode 6.

Modern midwives have access to research showing the myriad of newborn benefits of keeping skin to skin contact with mother. Henry Ford midwives have worked hard to promote this practice among our staff with satisfying result. I suppose Call the Midwife era midwives did not have the advantage of this evidence, fair enough. But then when it was revealed that this new baby boy was having some respiratory difficulties I really clicked into nurse-midwife mode. “What is that baby’s heart rate? Where is the oxygen tank? Don’t you have an ambu bag?” I mumbled as I helplessly tried to figure out how I could effect the outcome from my living room couch.

Who can blame my clarity of purpose since I just finished renewing my credential with the neonatal resuscitation program. This is a requirement in our institution to be done every two years for everyone attending births. It requires a text book review, nine tests and a two-hour resuscitation simulation exercise. In addition to basic implementation of resuscitation, the program covers advanced procedures like intubation and umbilical vein catheter placement. Now understand that within my hospital setting, I can have a whole crew of neonatal specialists to the birth room within seconds of a call. So the likelihood of me needing to perform any advanced procedures is near nil. However, like I told the resuscitation class instructor as I successfully intubated the neonatal manekin, “I am now prepared for the zombie apocalypse.” You never know.

So Trixie and Cynthia did not have the advantage of the Neonatal Resuscitation Program, but they did listen to Mom and get that baby back in her arms where he needed to be ,and they called for both physical and spiritual help as they needed to. Good midwives. And we got a happy ending. Good writers.

 


Deborah McBain (CNM, MS, BSN, RN)Deborah McBain (CNM, MS, BSN, RN)Deborah McBain (CNM, MS, BSN, RN) is a nurse-midwife who has practiced in Metro Detroit for nearly 20 years. McBain received her Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing Science from Wayne State University-Detroit, Master’s Degree from the Case Western University-Cleveland and midwifery education through Frontier Nursing Service.
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PBS and Detroit Public Television have partnered with experienced midwives to discuss their role in modern obstetrics and how things have changed in relation to Call the Midwife, which takes place in the 1950s and 1960s. Learn More