Thursday, 26 July 2012

Catching Babies by Sheena Byrom

What's it about (from Amazon)

"From her very first day as a nervous student nurse in Blackburn to the dedicated completion of her nursing qualifications and her training as a midwife in Burnley, Sheena Byrom has never once looked back, enjoying a thirty-five-year career with the NHS.

Catching Babies is a moving account of an extraordinary career. It reveals the unique experiences that filled Sheena's days as she looked after overwhelmed mums and dads and helped to bring their precious babies into the world.

At the forefront of evolving medical practices, she was the first midwife to oversee a home water birth in her area, but also found herself at the centre of a traumatic delivery that resulted in a nine-year litigation case and tested her to her limits.

Yet, whatever has come Sheena's way, ultimately, there are the strong mothers who taught her so much and the little miracles who have made every single moment as a midwife truly magical."

Did I like it?
I worked as a Nursery Nurse in a maternity hospital in the seventies so I relived my memories reading this book. I remember how strict Matron and the ward sisters were. The rules of the ward had to be obeyed by all and women didn't really have a voice or birthing plan like they do today. Sheena speaks of breaking into the chocolate cupboard on the ward, this was where all the gifts of boxes of chocolate were kept instead of being handed to the nurses. How I laughed at this as the exact same thing happened to me when we broke into the cupboard and made ourselves sick eating all the chocolate before sister returned.

This book is a real document of  social history, it tracks the changes in midwifery and how along the way sometimes there was one step forward followed by two steps back.
Every woman should thank Sheena for her efforts in enabling women to have a choice in how they want to give birth. For the many hands she held and babies she safely brought into the world.
 I had my children in 1981 and 1984 and had no choice and had to lie flat on a bed which goes against all your natural instincts, how I wish I had had Sheena as my midwife.
The book starts from Sheena's stay in hospital as a child which I could also relate too. We are with her through her nursing and midwifery training to meeting her husband and having her own children and being involved in litigation case which nearly broke my heart as I read about it, and her case proves, don't believe everything you read in newspapers as things aren't always as they seem to be.
 I think I cried all through this book as Sheena recounts some of the births that she attended and women she met and helped. I love how she says that being a midwife is not about delivering babies but catching them as it is the woman who is giving birth does all the work. What a lovely sentiment.
Sheena has been awarded the OBE for her services to midwifery.
I absolutely loved this book and five stars is just not enough. *****

Catching Babies is in your bookstore or on Amazon and kindle
Sheena Byrom can be found on her blog Five Girls or on twitter @SagefemmeSB

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