Monday, 23 February 2015

From Student to Midwife Part 4: First week in Midwifery Units

Hello all!
Lately I have been thinking about this little blog and have been itching to get back to writing again. As always, I've been thinking about the direction this blog is taking and I'm pleased to say that as of right now, you'll be getting a lot more midwifery information from me along with this little "diary" of my studies. Of course you will also be getting the odd personal or "lifestyle" post as well, but that part of my life is almost non-existent right now compared to the midwifery stuff, so you'll have to bear with me there a little bit! It's funny, isn't it? When I named this blog Little Foal I had no idea I'd ed up studying midwifery, or writing about it for that matter, but the name sort of fits, doesn't it?

Midwifery is one of the most rich, fulfilling things to study. It fills your soul and enriches your life. There is no one in the world as privileged as the midwife, for she is able to witness those very first, sacred moments of life. I feel very blessed to be equipping myself for a future in such a wonderful profession. I truly think there is no better job in the world, even if the study is gruelling and occupies all of my time!

Last semester was a stressful one, but I pulled through in the end. Where I last left you, I'd just finished my first round of assessments for Summer Session and was a little bit worried over how I would go with the tough anatomy and physiology subjects that I had to study for over the Christmas break. Well, I am pleased to tell you I actually ended up with a Credit in anatomy as well as my research subject, and scraped a pass in physiology as well! You wouldn't believe how relieved I was when I found out!

This week is my second week studying at the Gold Coast campus, and I'm so elated to finally be studying midwifery-specific units! This semester I'm taking Primary Health Care Midwifery, Midwifery Foundations and The Australian Health Care System. These units are designed to ready me for the practical placements I'll do next semester, and I'm really enjoying them so far! Midwifery has such an interesting history, and is a profession which is changing rapidly and asserting itself as a stand-alone profession in it's own right again after many years of being considered "subordinate" to nursing here in Australia. To be educated on these changes, and a part of the changes myself as a student and future professional is really exciting! I really believe in women's right to choose their care provider and have access to the best care that suits them, especially case-loading and continuity models of care which we are taught about at university, and I really hope to be the change we need in Australia to deliver that to women, both in my capacity as a student right now and my future as a midwife.

Right now, my studies consist of a lot of background stuff about midwifery and how it fits into the Australian health care system, and as of next week I will start learning practical skills in the lab, ready for my practical placements next semester! I've also started putting together my documentation for my placements, including my police checks and immunisation records. At the moment, all of that feels a little overwhelming, but I'm sure that I'll be feeling more settled soon.

Socially, I've made a great group of friends already from my local area and we had our first meeting for our group assignment today. We are all from totally different backgrounds, but we get along brilliantly and are all so passionate about midwifery. It's really nice. I've never had this at uni before! Our whole school of midwifery is like one big family. The lecturers are absolutely fantastic, knowledgable and approachable women, the second and third year students are lovely and helpful and there is a real sense that we are all in this together. No competition, just a sisterhood of women (unfortunately there are no men in our cohort!) who all have a singular passion and goal of becoming the best midwives we can be. I feel so supported and safe in my degree, which is really lovely!

Anyway, that's all for now! I hope you're al well! I'll try and check in on all your blogs soon! xx

Friday, 19 December 2014

From Student To Midwife Part 3: Summer Semester

I honestly intended to post so much more than I have in the past few months, especially about my midwifery studies. The fact that I haven't attests to how crazy and busy this semester has been. In my last update, my first semester in the Bachelor of Midwifery had just drawn to a close and my marks had not yet been released. Turns out I got credits in Nutrition and Health and Indigenous Australian Peoples, and as expected, failed Human Physiology. Failing Physiology is something that I really couldn't help due to my health last semester, so I decided that rather than wait to sit it again next year, I'd get stuck in and do it while the content is still fresh in my mind, which meant putting off Pharmacology until the end of next year and doing Human Physiology, Systemic Anatomy and Research and Evidence Based Practice this semester instead. 

I had no idea what I was getting myself into signing on for three units this semester. Let me tell you, it has been CRAZY!!! Summer semesters, being optional, are a condensed semester in which you "breeze through" up to three topics in each subject per week. All the lectures are online and labs are three per week. The assessments are constant and intense. The exams are terrifying. The workload is ginourmous and leaves you with very little free time. When you do have free time, your brain is so full of big words, you just want to curl into the foetal position and watch mind numbing TV. Or cry. I alternated between both all semester. 

Despite the intensity, I've actually found classes this semester quite enjoyable. The practical aspects of anatomy have been so much fun - we have done quite a few dissections and I enjoy working with the models until those dreaded things appear in the exams! The above photo was taken as I attempted to study in the revision lab. I was alone and bored and found myself playing with the body parts more than studying them. I've also made a few friends this semester, who are nursing students, which means that while I won't have any classes with them in the future, I've really enjoyed their company (and having people to study with) for the past few months. Also, because they're local, they are friendships that might just last!

Today I finished my first round of assessments/exams for the semester, just in time for my 21st party tomorrow night. My last exam was for anatomy and was a 50 question practical test on models. It was so intense and I walked away from it trembling a little because I found it so hard - I was not very well prepared! The good news is that I passed my midsession physiology exam though, which puts me in a very good position going into the final exam week on the 23rd of January! Between now and then, I don't have any more classes, but I do need to dedicate time for study, as I need every mark I can muster in those final exams and also have a research report due on the 5th, leaving little time for leisure following Christmas!

I still can't wait for this semester to be properly over. It's been a long 10 weeks and still four more to go! I'm really, really looking forward to starting classes at the Gold Coast campus next semester, where my subjects will all have a strong midwifery focus.

Thursday, 18 December 2014

Salt Water Fixes Everything

Long, hot Australian summers are best spent at the beach or with a cider in hand. As the past few months have shown for me, salt water fixes everything - whether it be tears, sweat or the sea. I've had a tough time with uni this semester, feeling completely overwhelmed by my workload and experiencing anxiety over my exams. I have had assessments almost every week this semester and have more than once been brought to tears just entering the classroom. It's been very difficult.

My health has been worse for wear as well, and I've had a few relationship troubles peppered through the past couple of months - all those little obstacles life throws in your way to have you wishing for the fresh start brought by a new year.

If one thing has pulled me through these difficulties, it's my proximity to the beach.

The ocean has been a constant source of calm and comfort over the past few months, and I've found myself heading for the seaside, alone, quite often and not just due to the heat. The ocean offers me a calm like no other. It cleanses my soul and purges me of the negative thoughts and energy I'm carrying day-to-day. I'm not a very spiritual person, but I've never felt more close to the gods than when I'm in the sea.

The power the ocean has over me is awe-inspiring and goes back as far as I can remember. Running away from home as a kid always had me pelting towards the south wall, where I would perch atop a rock and let the spray of the ocean and ebb and flow of the tide wash my angers and upsets away. I would return home a different kid, the sparkle of the sun reflected off the ocean in my eye, and my heart full again just from watching the waves crash on the rocks as I curl my toes in the sand.

I posted the above picture to instagram the other day with the caption "I have sea foam in my veins, I understand the language of waves". The quote comes from the French film Le Testament d'Orphee - a film I have never seen, whose poetic lines have captured my imagination and spirit like no other. I find myself repeating it to myself like a mantra to get through hot and difficult days. The effect is soothing - I can sit back, chanting to myself and imagine the ocean wash over me, bringing with it a sense of calm that fights away my troubles and anxieties. I temporarily soothe my soul with these words as I eagerly await my next opportunity to head towards the ocean and replenish my calm and quietude in the foamy chaos of the sea.

Monday, 27 October 2014

Life Lately// Taking Stock

My study buddy napping on my lap

I've been a crappy blog reader lately, and for that I apologise! I must admit, I hit "mark all as read" *gasp* after about 10 posts today because it is simply too hot to be bothered with reading ANYTHING and I have plenty of uni stuff to read when it cools down this evening (will it ever?) and don't need to be distracted. The posts I have read, I have been pretty slack at commenting on too, and again I apologise! I just don't have the patience to type in this heat AND IT'S ONLY OCTOBER, GOD HELP ME!

SO, that is why I am bringing you a sorta lazy blog post today that I found on Laura's blog. Although I did actually really enjoy reading hers, as I hope you do mine!

Making: Bunting for my friend's wedding
CookingBetty Crocker's Gluten Free Choloclate Fudge Brownies *drool* 
Drinking: WATER! Seriously too easy to dehydrate in this heat. Plus, it cools you down for about 0.05 seconds.
Reading:The Night Circus for Sam's online book club!
Wanting: Spare time to go to the beach. And money, please!
Looking: For inspiration for my blog, and life in general, and motivation for uni and my business ventures.
Playing: The Kim Kardashian game. FML. 
Deciding: On putting my heart and soul into my business ventures. I'm a pretty half-arses kinda person, so this is tough for me, even though it will pay off.
Wishing: The weather would be a bit cooler while I'm getting uni work done.
Enjoying: Days at the beach and time spent with Jake
Waiting: For my pay to go in
Liking: The jacaranda trees in full bloom.
Wondering: Whether I have what it takes.
Loving: Jake.
Pondering: My life choices.
Considering: Giving up some things and taking on some more
Watching: New season New Girl and Bones, season 9 of Criminal Minds
Hoping:I pass all my subjects this semester
Marvelling: At how our bodies work.
Needing: Money.
Smelling: Like strawberry essential oil
Wearing: As little clothing as possible.
Following: my nose
Noticing: all the little things I love about my hometown
Knowing: How to classify epithelial tissue (how useful)
Thinking: About the future
Admiring: Amy
Sorting: Out my finances.
Buying: Arbonne. All the Arbonne. Oh, and a new bikini hopefully!
Getting: fitter. I joined touch football and am learning to surf and doing yoga!
Bookmarking: nothing much.
Disliking: wearing a lab coat in sweltering heat.
Opening: textbooks
Giggling: so much this morning that the water I was drinking came out my nose
Feeling: uncertain and unconfident
Snacking: On frozen berries.
Coveting: A complete make up kit and a new car.
Helping: My cousin build her business.
Hearing: Anatomy and Physiology podcasts, mingled in with jack Johnson and Sticky Fingers.

What have you been ding lately?
Thanks for reading along xx

Thursday, 23 October 2014

Weekend Fun// Sticky Fingers at The Northern

Ever since my sister turned 18 in August, I've been excited over the prospect of going to a gig at our local venue, The Northern with her. Yeah, we went clubbing on her 18th, have been to all ages events before, and have had drinks together elsewhere since then, but nothing compared to my excitement of finally going to a licensed, over 18 gig with my little sister at my favourite venue, and the chance to do this finally came on the weekend!

I had umm'ed and ahh'ed about buying tickets to Sticky Fingers for weeks before Shoni brought it up. The show sold out. Then the second show sold out. There, that was it, I thought. No tickets, no go! Until Shoni saw that one of her friends was selling two tickets to the Saturday night gig, that is!

When Saturday night rolled around, we were pretty damn excited. We ate dinner nice and early, and got ready together with Sticky Fingers blasting in the background while we sang along. I drove to the gig, again with Sticky Fingers blasting in the background and we got some drinks at the bar upon arrival, waiting for the doors to The Backroom to open. Being a sold out show and Rugby Union grand final night, the crowd at The Northern was huge. We met some real characters before the doors opened, and were totally surprised that we managed to make it to the front of the stage when they finally started admitting people to The Backroom, even with another stop at the bar along the way. Shoni was elated. The Northern is a pretty small venue that hosts some pretty big names sometimes and for some reason or another, it's the only venue left in our area that doesn't put up a dicky barricade a metre or so back from the stage.

The first supporting act was a two piece band who's name I forget, but who really made a great impression! They knew how to get a crowd going and the sound of the electric guitar and drums was sweet! We were right in front of the drummer and Shoni managed to catch his drumstick at the end of their set. The second supporting act was a one man band who cracked Shoni and I up with his hilarious tippy-toe dancing, but he was pretty good too.

By the time Sticky Fingers hit the stage, we were well and truly ready to get dancing! Their set was so full of energy, and we danced like crazy ladies, singing along to the words we knew and making things up for those we didn't! They played all our favourite songs, and Dylan even stage dived at one point, which was awesome! At the end of the night, Shoni and I trudged back to the car tired, but still buzzing from the music. Paddy's guitar pick in my hand (I complimented his awesome mullet and I like to think we struck up a friendship of sorts after spending an hour dancing at his feet!), and the first band's drum stick in Shoni's. 

If you've never heard of Sticky Fingers before, you should definitely check them out! They describe their sound as "a melting pot of reggae, psych, pop and bourbon. Hypnotising you into a swaying trance, then punching you in the face for dancing like a hippy." I'll leave a couple of youtube clips below for you to enjoy! 

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Book Review// Baby Catcher by Peggy Vincent

It's been a few weeks now since I read this book, and it since has been borrowed by a friend, but the passionate stories within have imprinted on my mind as if put there by a branding iron! Peggy Vincent's captivating storytelling combines with a seemingly never-ending supply of interesting life experiences to make this book a quick and pleasant read - one that I finished in a single afternoon on account of walking around with it glued to my nose, unable to put it down. 

You may have guessed by the title that Peggy Vincent is a midwife, but she is not just any midwife - she is one of the pioneering midwives of America's recent natural birthing movement, and this book is a series of short stories which capture beautifully her career. It talks not just of beautiful home births, but also the challenges that faced midwives in the early days, battles against obstetricians and hospital policy, the challenges of setting up a birth centre, legal problems and birth complications, all done in a captivating way. 

It is a book that has reinvigorated the passion within me for natural childbirth. It has lifted my spirits in a time of struggling with university, despairing my choice to switch degrees into midwifery, and restored my faith that being a midwife is my calling. It awakened me to the stark differences between Australian and American birthing practices, and it left me swelling with pride for the profession that I have chosen to enter into. Having said all this, I do not think this book's magic is reserved for midwives or midwives-to-be. I think that anyone who loves a bit of riveting adventure would love this book, especially if you happen to enjoy non-fiction and be even just slightly partial to medical dramas (who isn't, amiright?). 

All-in-all, it is a compelling light read and I cannot sing it's praises enough. Amidst all the heavy medical textbooks and terminology I'm forced into reading for university, I really enjoyed this little reminder of what midwifery is all about and the magic of childbirth! 

Sunday, 5 October 2014

From Student to Midwife: Part 2 - Reflection on my First Semester

So, last week was a little quiet on the blog because I had exams. Incredibly hard exams. My first exams for my midwifery degree. In the above picture, I am procrastinating on the day before my physiology exam, with a terrible head cold and wearing a smile to mask the cold lump of fear in the pit of my stomach. As I've mentioned before, I've found this semester quite difficult. Going from an Arts degree to a Health degree is a huge transition, and so I'm a little out of practice with exams, having spent the past year and a half writing essays instead.

I found out last week that I have passed one of my subjects, however our marks aren't officially released for another couple of weeks yet. I'm fairly confident that I also passed nutrition, and fairly convinced that I failed physiology and will have to repeat it next year.

Right now, I have a few blissful weeks off before starting Summer Semester, which I opted to do this year to speed up my degree a little. It starts on the 20th of October, and I'll be doing Anatomy, Research and Evidence Based Practice and Pharmacology, the last of my generic health units before I start my midwifery units in February next year. Apparently Anatomy involves some viewing of cadavers, which both repulses me on one level and has my inner freaky, science nerd screaming "COOL!"

While I haven't enjoyed this semester quite as much as I was hoping, I have learned a lot and I'm one step closer to achieving my goal of becoming a midwife. I'm looking forward to a few weeks break and getting through a little more of my extracurricular reading about midwifery in the meantime. One semester down, seven more to go!