Midwife Diary 1

Midwife Diary 1

The Thermometer trick

It was 3 hard years of training as a midwife.

In the east part of this country in times behind the wall 30 years ago.

In the delivery room there was a harsh tone and a tight regime. We were driven, had hardly any breaks, yelled and mobbed.

Hard times for young Ladies

It was hard and connected with many doubts and tears. Some of us midwife students were suffering more than the other girls and 4 of them left the school quickly.

If a midwife didn’t like you, it was really hard to please her.

In short, it was impossible.

If you crossed the corridor of the delivery room and had nothing in your hands, they shouted at us that there is no way without something in your hands.

They checked our hair, makeup, nails, gowns, jewelry. 

It was a nightmare.

We had to line up in a military formation at the beginning of the service. A nightmare for my biological clock inside of me and I was always sleepy at this time, because it was never my time so early.  Nothing has changed and i promise i tried very hard. We still had to wash and iron the coats ourselves. Not the slightest wrinkle was allowed to be in them.

I had a particularly hard time because my father was a well-known and senior doctor and well, not very popular.

The Missy thing.

Then I often heard: ” Oh, you are the daughter of…. …well, fine. …but there’s no special treatment for you here, missy.”

We had to be in the corridor at exactly 5:45 a.m. when we went to the morning shift, dressed.

Not a second later. Then we had to clean up.

“Kroh: ” You clean delivery room 1″!

I was lucky today.

It was the small delivery room. I first cleaned with soapy water, then with disinfection, then with clear water and then I polished.

All surfaces, of course. 16 square meters of delivery room in about 2 hours.

I managed that, of course.

The worst part was the final inspection from the senior midwife.

The midwife came in, smiled at me, went to the swab place and  very, very slowly took out a snow-white swab and walked straight to the radiator.

Well, I thought I’d wiped it off.

A small triumph came up inside me.

She walked extremely slowly with the swab behind the radiator and wiped back and forth with the swab.

My triumph passed.

I became uncomfortable. The tiny triumph passed. 

She approached me with the swab in her hand and showed me a small grey stripe on it.

“Well, Fräulein Kroh, you’re going to do it again. „

I went with my little blue bucket towards the heater and wanted to start cleaning the heater again.

She yelled at them: “Did I say the heater? You are cleaning it all again. “

I’m a punker lady.

The little punk in me woke up and I wanted to start jumping on her. She stopped me before I could make a sound.

“Do not argue with me. One more time, but hurry up. We don’t have all day.”

“And take off your gloves, we’ll have to economise here and your fingers won’t get bad.

In the night, when it was very quiet in the delivery room, we were allowed to sit for hours in the delivery room and roll swabs or cut paper. We had to look into our study books.

When the midwife came in, we had to stand up for her.

We weren’t allowed to talk to each other.

Two of my classmates came from a pastor’s family and were rather very tender and sensitive beings.

They no longer understood the world and often cried. 

The freedom of the walk to the LAB.

 There were many conflicts and we struggled to get into the lab to get out of it at least once in the shift, just to have a minute of peace.

And the walk to the lab could take a while, of course.

Sometimes the thermometer trick helped.

Just sit with a hidden thermometer under your arm on the always too hot heater, very close to it. Then I went with the thermometer, which showed a clear fever, to my midwife and was allowed to leave.

The others had other tricks.

In the three years we learned a lot about midwifery. It was a solid professional training.

We stuck together.

Things got better.

By year 3, things got better for us. We were almost ready to be a midwife.

There were the new students.

And some of us joined this silly game. And no one had helped us either.

I met a trainer who was particularly very rough on us years later at a congress.

She remembered my name. How is my father doing?

She gave a talk on mindfulness.