I don't remember where I left off in the blog, but I'm blogging today as my first day off call and technically unemployed. I was on call for the past 48 hrs and it was long. The past couple of weeks have been long but nothing short of what can be routine midwifery care around the clock- vaginal footling breeches, uncomplicated pregnancies becoming complicated, demises, severe immediate and delayed postpartum hemorrhages and required-to-attend meetings where complex cases resulting in unusual/unfavorable outcomes are discussed for the purpose of all to learn. Add in required weekly meetings where I'm told that I'm horrible each time in varying ways (the midwifery administrator called it "the witch hunt" this week) and ... I'm toast. It's not the first time I have thought of leaving inpatient L&D when the burdens outweigh the benefit of wanting to help others (no matter what happens).
While also suffering, I kept coming to work as scheduled to care for women & families. My last birth was a beautiful unmedicated and uncomplicated birth. The L&D manager pulled me aside the day before yesterday to tell me that she's sorry I am leaving and that there are many things she wished she had done differently to integrate the midwives. She wanted me to privately know that I have left a legacy on the unit. It's a compliment to me when the L&D manager cries and the staff I have worked many hours alongside also cry as a genuine expression for the hole that will be left behind when I leave. It shows me that, possibly, I'm not the sadist I was called.
I left this position rather quickly, as a victim of a witch hunt by the very midwife who self described herself as the person who "pushed" to hire me a year ago but who never worked alongside me once I was hired. I was told, harshly & meanly, that I didn't belong. I have tried not to recall all the details again & again, because they aren't true and I was made to withstand the abuse regularly in addition to the unreasonable excessive workload. I wanted to improve and be accepted by her, but it was impossible. She made it her mission to see me off before she reduced her hours to part time this year. In fact, the way I feel and my withdrawal from the position simply reflects how poor the support is. No matter whether I was a good fit or a poor fit for the group, I didn't deserve that treatment. The morale is currently suffering in the service, as the relatively new centering coordinator (< 6 months) and the midwifery RN are also looking for other jobs as a result of the harsh management style. The centering midwife oversight was turned over to another midwife who told me this week that she's overworked (she's worked there about 6 months) and that she has "no choice but to cut back as soon as possible."
Derek and I both looked at each other this morning and said, "this is the first time in our marriage when neither of us is working ... at the same time." We both nervously chuckle. We both know how I have suffered this past year and we both know this had to end.
A month ago I was intensely suffering. I'm suffering less because I've removed myself from the abusive environment. I find myself revisiting those meetings again and again because they were so mean and targeted and I was so fatigued from working so many hours. I was vulnerable. I know that it's a sign of abuse when I find my mind involuntarily back in the meeting rooms even though I made the decision to leave the position and move forward. I left with all of my PTO (all 8 weeks) because there was never an opportunity to use it while working.
Part of me moving forward is debriefing the experience in my private blog. I feel a little bit of a post traumatic stress and the only way I can move forward is by giving the experience less and less power. I must also make good decisions moving forward so that I don't put myself in a similar situation with another employer.
I'm tired today, on the 4th of July, because I was up part of the night for my last call night. I'm slowly wrapping my mind around a less stressful and intense work life. I look forward to having the ability to engage in leisure activity, without residual fatigue & unrest. I do my best to serve women and be engaged in their process, but it's impossible not to worry about being sued as a midwife. I always served with best intentions and gave my all, but there will always be a woman who wanted something different or something more. I am going to try and leave inpatient L&D and, instead, work outpatient only. I see this as potentially successful because I will have a < or = to 40 hr scheduled work week, be able to count on my days off, engage in daily exercise & self care, cook meals for my family at home, spend more time with my kids and always be off at night and for holidays. I have decided that if I want to consider entering L&D again someday in some fashion, that I can consider doing so as a L&D nurse.
These decisions are pivotal in my career and were created under distress in the working environment I was in. I'm nervous about that a bit. I feel intensely grateful for all the goodness in my life - my forgiving husband, my children who love me and my family & friends who look forward to my return to the area. We are also fortunate in that our house is in a seller's market and we stand to profit if we are able to put in a little effort.
The good news is that I met with a group who wants to hire me as an outpatient midwife. I await the contract that should be delivered about Wednesday next week. Although this opportunity seems promising, I won't invest so much into my career ever again. Time will tell if it works out and I'm happy. I'm happy that I am given an opportunity to help women in a different setting and maybe I'll feel valued & supported. Despite all that I have been through, I still have a desire to help people. I have considered how I can help people in other ways than as a practitioner - should I volunteer my time at a homeless shelter? Should I volunteer in a no-kill animal shelter? Can I volunteer to help people I know with their projects?
How can I become passionate and make a difference without fear of being sued and degraded for doing so?
As I begin to shake-off and let go of this harsh experience and welcome more sunshine in my life, I look to what brings me joy. I want more joy in my life. That comes from people and experiences. It comes from within me, actually. I just need to pick myself back up from the floor and start again. I cannot yet say that I am 100% grateful for what I put myself through, but that is my goal.
The first step is getting some rest and engaging in self care.