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Marella Falat

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What are the challenges you’re facing as a midwife practicing during the pandemic?

Initially it was trying to keep up with the frequent updates, trying to adapt practice to meet those requirements and secure enough personal protective equipment (PPE) to keep us and our clients as safe as possible. Now that we have secured PPE and I have adapted to the new way of doing things, the challenge is to figure out how to provide the best of midwifery care, in spite of the restrictions on our face to face practice.

How has your midwifery practice changed since the pandemic?

I see people a lot less face to face, more video and phone calls. Births are still wonderful and intense but I miss being able to have someone see my face through it. It makes me a bit sad that all they see are people behind gowns, glasses and masks. And the cleaning. SO much cleaning of all equipment between people.

Can you please describe a snapshot of a recent workday?

Woke up around 8:30, paged at 8:52 by Family A with a query about leaking fluid. Planned to meet her for assessment at 10:00. 09:00 got paged by Family B with 3x2x1 contractions. Planned to do a home visit for them at 10:00 instead. Rescheduled Family A to 10:45 assessment at clinic. Ate, packed lunch and headed out. I have a whole system now for cleaning so imagine that anytime I touch anything outside, or any person or my own face that I wash my hands or use hand sanitizer - because that is what I am doing even though it isn't recorded! After home visit for person 1cm dilated in early labour, gave and taught them how to use TENs machine for pain relief in labour. Cleaned assessment equipment. Met other family, unable to confirm if her water is broken but she is starting to get crampy, so likely it will progress into labour. Cleaned assessment equipment. Answered some pages about a baby's breathing, a person's planned Cesarean date and a person's nausea medication. Took a brief moment outside to take some deep breaths of fresh air. Made a phone call to Family C on Day 4 postpartum to ask all my questions and answer theirs before doing a home visit for a quick baby exam, weight check and mother's blood pressure check. Before I left to do their visit got paged back by Family B at 13:17 who feels labour has picked up, plan to see them in 1.5hrs after doing 2 home visits. 13:55 arrived at Family C, as getting out of car paged by Family A who reports they are now contracting 3x1x1. Since they were not in labour at 11am plan to go to their house right after for assessment. Quick visit w/ Family C, cleaned equipment after visit. 14:45 at Family A home, mother is in rocking labour. On exam she has an anterior lip only, +2 station, planning hospital birth! Discussed quick transfer or stay home for birth. Makes decision to stay home. I go to get my equipment out of car. Call second attendant midwife (tried 4 midwives) to come to birth a.s.a.p. Called another midwife to go assess Family B who is expecting me in 15min. Put on gown/mask/eyewear/gloves for birth. It is hot. I think about how home birth is going to feel this summer in head to toe PPE. Have a sweet home birth at 17:17, family thrilled. I am at the house 3 hours after the birth as it takes an extra hour to clean my equipment after the birth. Meanwhile other midwife has taken care of Family B and admitted them to hospital for an epidural and augment. I get yet another midwife to help me do a Day 1 HV I will not have time to do because I have to go to hospital. Then I go home to quickly eat, shower and change. All my clothing goes immediately in the laundry on arrival and I wash up before touching anything. I spoke with Family B's nurse who reports family doing well and the Obstetrician is doing the next exam so will page me to come after that. I answer another page about a baby and then climb into bed for a 1.5 hour nap. Paged at 23:04 that Family B is 9cm! Quickly head to hospital. On arrival change into scrubs/eyewear/mask. At 12:45 we begin pushing and by 01:07 I've caught another baby! I head home about 2 hours after the birth (enjoying the fresh cool night air) to repeat laundry/eat/shower routine and then go to bed!

What, if anything, is helping you get through this crisis? 

My team, they are the best! My partner and sister who live with me are wonderful, they are making more food because I am extra busy with work right now. Video calls and games nights with friends. Online yoga and exercise classes. Being able to cycle to work. Fresh air! It's so amazing to come out of the hospital or someone's home after wearing a mask for hours and to smell delicious fresh air and scent of cherry blossoms.

Is there anything else you’d like to add?

I am so grateful to have a job that still contains so much joy even though life is difficult for so many right now.