Friday, 25 September 2009

Harry's life

Life changes and specifically the one I was hinting at on my last post are important because they act as reminders (whether positive or not) that life is short and for living – changes occur to expedite movement where there is stagnation. So, two things have taken place that will move the rest of my life further along

At precisely 4.50pm yesterday my wife ended an ordeal of almost 3 hours in which she fought to push our son (her first baby) into the world. He was born at home, in our front room because there was no time to get to hospital and the midwife was on scene. I’d called an ambulance, which I swore I’d never do because normal labour isn’t an emergency and you get plenty of warning, but this was different and I misjudged it. She had been in labour for hours but it had been nothing more than a twinge or two every now and again; we both agreed that we were going to go to hospital by car, as per the original plan and the timing looked good – I was measuring the rate of each contraction and her pain score was low but it changed suddenly as I readied the bags for the trip to Maternity. She made another sound – one I’d never heard her make and it was obvious the pain had intensified. Now she needed to push.

I remained as calm as I could but I now had a problem. I couldn’t take her in the car or a taxi because it looked and sounded like she was imminent and the waves of pain were making her stand still, bend over and rest against whatever she could. I had to call an ambulance and I found myself apologising for the nature of the call. The hospital sent our Community Midwife and a young student and both arrived within thirty seconds of the FRU. The poor medic didn’t get a chance to start – the midwife took over, decided to stay put and sent him away, cancelling the ambulance. My wife was going to have the baby at home after all. Another Midwife was summoned and the five of us prepared for an expected quick delivery.

But our baby got stuck somewhere along the way and almost three hours passed as my wife endured the pain and trauma of pushing to the point of complete exhaustion. The possibility of moving her rapidly to hospital was considered over and over again but she was determined to continue at home and, despite my growing fears for the baby (and her), she braved it out and finally delivered little Harry Gray into the world. During the entire struggle his heart rate remained steady and normal, although my wife’s was spiralling and I could feel that as I sat beside or behind her, depending on which position she was trying, supporting every effort she made.

I cut his cord and forgot to keep the cutters, which still annoys me. The Midwives stayed for a while afterwards (they'd been on scene for fours hours by the time they left) and I cannot praise them highly enough. I work in London and have had, to be honest, poor experiences of some Midwives working there, so this team helped change my mind entirely and I have a great respect for the 'old school' that still love their jobs.

Harry is fine and healthy. He sleeps a lot and has yet to feed properly but that’s okay - he’s alive and well and we are both very happy to have him with us. The night ended with pizza and lots of fluids (water and coke); both of us were dehydrated and starving. My wife hadn’t slept for 24 hours and she had endured her pain without any relief – no analgesics were taken at all; no entonox, no morphine. Our Midwife called her the strongest woman she'd ever met.

My second life change will be my career. I still love my job but I have recognised that, even with the best intentions of Universities and professional bodies around the UK, at present and for the immediate future, there is nowhere to go. There’s no prospect of furthering my career unless I decide to leave the frontline, partially or fully. I had never intended to end my working life as a paramedic and quite frankly, society and the related professions still haven’t been able to recognise us as more than just ambulance drivers – even A&E nurses, with whom we are equally banded, can sometimes treat us as little more than the delivery people for their patients. I don’t blame them because all we ever seem to do is bring in one drunken timewaster after another – my God, we even have ambulances dedicated for that task alone, we call them booze buses!

I have decided to pursue my childhood ambition of becoming a doctor and will apply to study medicine in 2011. I’ll still be doing my job (hopefully) until then and I will continue to write the diary of course but I want to achieve all that I can be – I am no longer happy to settle for less because I think my age will be against me. So, it’s onwards and upwards.

This rest (I am on leave and have paternity leave as well) is doing me good. I am focussing on my novel, which will probably be late now and hope to continue writing in the future. The diary won’t disappear but it may change because I have new things to say – let’s see; it’s early days yet.

As for Harry – well, his arrival and the nature of it has reminded me to confine my opinion on pregnancy and labour and the need (or not) for an ambulance to the reality of another person’s life – their pain, their experiences. I will always have opinions but I want to base them on the balance of truth and reality, not generalisation and frustration.


Xf

100 comments:

On The Road said...

Congratulations, well done, and good luck!

JB102 said...

Congratulations mate, I wish you all the best for the future. Like all your readers I guess I look forward to Student Doctors Diary and The Doctors Diary. Shame I never did catch you on a shift.

Anonymous said...

I've read your blog from the very beginning and have never commented before but had to this time to say Congratulations to you all and welcome to the world little Harry...wish you all the best in your future plans :).....Yay \o/ !!
Kath

Anonymous said...

congratulations and good luck with change of career

Anonymous said...

Congrats! And I think it's great that you're going to study to be a doctor. Good luck with everything.

Scott H said...

Congratulations to you all!

Best of luck for applying to Uni, you've got plenty of support here!

Anonymous said...

Congratulations to you both, and welcome to the world little Harry x
K x

Toni said...

Congratulations and good look on your application to medical school!

intellileg said...

Congrats congrats congrats! For Harry and the big decision.

(From a long-time silent reader)

Anonymous said...

Congratulations - a marvellous announcement, the best of luck with medicine.

carly said...

congratulations to you and your wife on beautiful baby harry!
you will make a great doctor.

Jen said...

Congratulations!

Fee said...

Wee Harry - welcome to the world!

Congratulations to Mummy and Daddy - enjoy the baby days, they're gone all too soon.

I actually wanted a home birth with my second, but hubby vetoed that idea. He wasn't comfortable with it, in case of any problems. Both my kids arrived after straightforward labours, with no major drama, thank god. The midwives both times were fantastic, and have my never-ending admiration.

Good luck on the new direction, as well. You've got more courage than I have.

Take care, and I'll keep reading as long as you keep writing.

Scott G said...

Firstly - Congratulations to you both, and best wishes to Harry and Mum.

Secondly - I have utmost admiration for you choosing to study medicine. I've done it, but if I wasn't doing what I do, I would have trained to do what you do. It's not easy, nothing is, but it's hugely rewarding (as you know). Good luck!

Anonymous said...

Congratulations!

Anonymous said...

Congrats to you and your wife on the birth of your son Harry.
I think your decision to go to med school is very brave but also amazing - good on you i hope it all works out x

revstevew said...

Congratulations on the new addittion to the family, I've three little ones myself and it is amazing how they change your life. Well done to your wife as well, I hope she has you running around after her for a few days.

Christine said...

awwww little Harry is gorgeous - congratulations to the both of you - looking forward to reading your blog in the future as you work your way through med school

Lesley said...

CONGRATULATIONS to you both!!!

What delightful news! Welcome to Harry (My Dad was a Harry, too)

Glad you have some time at home to sort yourselves out... and I am not surprised at your decision to further your medical career. You'll be a great doctor and I wish you every success.

Glad to hear that we shall still be able to follow your exploits... you are SO readable.

Enjoy your leave.
Lesley

Anonymous said...

Congratulations on the birth of your son! And follow your dreams! Good luck in all you do! x

Anonymous said...

Hey Stuart,

I just want to say massive congratulations to you and your family.

Harry's gorgeous. :)

Vesalius said...

First of all, congrats to the both of you!!!

Second, I admire your courage in following your dreams, good luck while doing so.

Just Me said...

Congratulations on the new addition to your family! Wishing the best for all of you :) And good luck in med school, you'll be great.

medicblog999 said...

Wow, Stuart! Times are a changing arent they!

Congratulations to you and the wife on a beautiful baby boy, and good luck in decision to pursue a career in medicine. If I was young enough and didnt have three kids to support I would be there too, so I have the upmost respect for you and your decision.

I look forward to reading about your journey.

All the best!

lost-soul said...

Congratulations Stuart :) Here's to many a sleepless night!

brokenangel said...

Wow what a lovely baby - good luck with the application you will be applying in the same year as me.

Vraic said...

Many congratulations on the birth of you son

joan said...

CONGRATULATIONS!!!! to Mom and Dad on the birth of your treasured son Harry, and a 2nd congratulations on your career choice, all the very best to all 3 of you!!! Lv Joan xx

Anonymous said...

Many Congratulations to you both......and the best of luck for the future with both the new addition and the new career.

Mick Adams said...

Congratulations mate, to you and your wife. All the best from Tasmania.

Anonymous said...

Congratulations, he is beautiful.

sardog10 said...

That is absolutely fabulous news, Stuart. Congratulations to you and your very special family! And great news about your decision to go another direction in your career. Underlying any frustration seen in your writing is your compassion and I have no doubt you'll end up being the type of doctor I'd want my family to see.

Laurence said...

Hi Stuart,

I've been reading your blog for a while and read your book. You pretty much said in it that you'd like to be a doctor one day. I think it's a great idea. I can see what you mean about the Ambulance service basically meaning moving up means seeing less patients and moving into more of an office role. I would guess a lot of people who are paramedics don't want to work in an office job! It makes perfect sense then that another way to progress would be to go the medicine route.

On monday I start one of the Paramedic Science courses at uni and I have a vague ambition (very vague; bad to plan too far in advance) of one day doing medicine and going the doctor route too.

I wish you all the best with the application!

P.S. You still have 2 weeks to apply for 2010 entry ;-) haha

Andrew P said...

Stuart ! The best of congratulations :) what an amzing story of birth and i hope you and your child stay well and healthy !

I have been reading your books and blog for about 10 months now, never saying a word, but i feel today, on a day of change. I just want to say thank you for all the insights you have given me and how you have enthused me to (hopefully) study paramedic science at uni next year :D you really have made the difference in your media to help me decide !

It will be sad to see you leave this time of your life as you have brought such intresting stories anf emotions to people who would not normal understand or see these things, thank you, and im sure you will make an excellent doctor, good luck ! maybe 'The Doctors Diary' in the making ?

Enjoy your time off and look forward to your return, bigger and better now with baby harry as your partner in crime seeing as you no longer have lottie!

Thank you again mate
Andrew P

Lindsay said...

Congratulations and Welcome to the world Harry

Anonymous said...

Congratulations from another previously silent reader...... i'm sure you'll be a great doctor

thea said...

Congratulations on the birth of baby Harry! I wish you all the best in your future career and I look forward to the blogspot of a student doctor ;)

Julia Stevens said...

Congrats!! =D

Robert said...

Congratulations and all the best!!

ViatorT said...

From the sheer amount of comments its clear you'll always have an audience Stuart! Congratulations and thank you for sticking with the readers!

(good luck too!)
VT

KiwiCuz said...

congratulations

trevorpearce said...

Congratulations and best wishes to ALL the family. Good luck for the medical training - you'll be a great Doctor and marvelous to see someone have the courage to live out the dream

Anonymous said...

Congratulations all round - we had our first 6 months ago and I am going through that 'Be the best you can be' Daddy moment as well - in my case sales director to Corporate sustainability bod!

It will be a sad day when your blogs ends but I look forward to the 'Life of a medical student' blog.

Keep it up and thanks.

Tom said...

Congratulations on the safe delivery of young Harry.

I wish you the very best in your change of career, and think your insightfulness will be a useful addition to the medical fraternity.

Please convey our best wishes to your wife.

Tom and family

Little Miss Ileostomy said...

Huge Congratulations on the birth of baby Harry.

Best of luck with the application for Medical School, and hopefuly we'll be reading the blog of a brilliant Paramedic turned med Student in the future.

Sue xx

Anonymous said...

Just to say congratulations on the arrival of your beautiful baby Harry - as has been said before, what an amazing story of his arrival into the world.

Have been reading your posts for a while now as my baby (nearly 19) has just embarked on a paramedic science course, something he has wanted to do for quite a long time.

Enjoy your time off and good luck with you change of career - looking forward to your future blogs!

Anonymous said...

Just to say congratulations on the arrival of beautiful baby Harry - and has been said, what an amazing story...

Have been reading your posts for a while now - my baby (nearly 19) has just started a paramedic science course this year; something he has wanted to do for a long time now.

Good luck with your future career plans too - looking forward to those blogs!

Flossy said...

Congratulations!

kae said...

He's a serious-looking little chap, isn't he?

Congratulations. Wishing you much joy and a little sleep.

From an Aussie lurker.... via Boy on a Bike.

Oh, and good luck with the career change, Doctor... sounds good.

Bubbles said...

I've read your blog now for a while but never commented before. I just wanted to say HUGE congratulations on the birth of your new baby son Harry, your wife did so so well coping with the pain.
Good luck with your change of career, hope it all goes well.
Joanne

Button Ginger said...

Congratulations on becoming a Daddy!

Good luck with your career change.

Sophie said...

Harry's a beaut, congratulations.

Jo said...

Congratulations on the birth of your son! And very good luck for your plans for the future - I look forward to hearing how it all goes.

katiesadventures said...

Congratulations!!! Harry is

B e a u t i f u l !!!

It must be hard to change career path when you're used to what you're doing now. At least it will put you in good stead for your career as a doc. Do you want to go into A&E doc'ing... Follow your dreams Stuart...

petrolhead said...

Congratulations, he's absolutely beautiful! And I think you'll make a very compassionate doctor, go for it, follow your dreams. :) xx

Viking83 said...

Congrats, thats great news
Just on a&e nurses, when I did my placement there as a student, the triage nurse told me that while paramedics could ? what the problem is we could only write down the S&S and let a doc decide.
Also the nurse never read the PRF or spoke to the paramedics for more then a minute. In fact one paramedic seemed suprised when I asked for the prf, read it fully, and then asked him questions!

Any way congrats again, I wish you the and your family all the best

Josie said...

Congratulations! I love reading the blog too :)

I'm a graduate-entry medic at a London uni (SGUL) and most years we have a few paramedics on the course who are always extremely knowledgable and excellent at clinical skills! So good luck with your application, it can seem like a long haul but it's worth it!

Anonymous said...

Stuart,

Thankyou so much for all you have given people like me with this diary, I have been reading for several months now as I prepare to (hopefully) join the ambulance service. You have given great insight into what it is actually like and have been so very honest. Good work with Harry too, it sounds like you have an amazing wife!

Many thanks,

Dan Buchanan

Halden said...

Hi Stuart,

More congratulations from a another long term follower!

Fabulous decision to study medicine. I'm not lucky enough to (one day) have SRP after my name as well as BM BS, but I did a stint with the ambulance service before I started and it has made an enourmous difference. You'll make a superb doctor, I look forward to joining you in an orange jump suit one day!

Anything you'd like to know about med school and/or applying, drop me an email, I will do my best to help.

Best of luck!

Anonymous said...

to the three of you: joy, health, love and peace.

Fiz said...

Dear Stuart and Mrs Stuart, Congratulations and a huge well-done to Mrs Stuart! Harry is a beautiful baby and I hope his life is blessed and happy. I am glad you are changing careers - you have seemed so down, with every good reason, for the last few months that I have ached with pain for the way the "Great British Public" have treated you. I am sure your experience will be invaluable when you start as a doctor. Keep in touch and remember you have many friends and well wishers you will never know. xxx

Jess (AUS) said...

Congrats Stu!!! Harry is beautiful, and congrats on your decision to move into med - although I think England's ambulance service will be all the poorer for it!!!

Hopefully as a doc with your background, you'll actually treat ambos as people, rather than delivery drivers like most drs seem to do!!!

Good luck!!!

Anonymous said...

I've been reading your blog for months but am another silent reader, had to say massive congratulations though to you and your wife on the birth of baby Harry, and many best wishes for the future and studying medicine. I'm a second year medical student now and love reading blogs like yours to get a perspective from the 'other side' too. Many congratulations :)

Anonymous said...

Stuart
Congrtaulations to you both and wee Harry. He's a very lucky lad to have parents like you.

Great news to hear you intend to study medicine... i couldn't think of a better student to teach.

Well done you!

Anonymous said...

congratulations. Your son and I share the same birthday!

Good luck with your studies. You writing is brilliant I hope the diary will continue in your new job!

steff said...

Hi Stu!! I have a few things to say so I'll try to make it quick!!!
First off CONGRATULATIONS on the beautiful, healthy boy!!! I wish you, your wife and Harry all the very best :)
Secondly, I will admit to shedding a tear when I read that you plan to leave the paramedic life behind. You have been a huge inspiration to me and I spent countless hours catching up on all your blog entries when I first discovered you. No one has ever taught me as much as what you have, the man behind the words.
And lastly, I did my very first frontline shifts last week, the first day ended with a cardiac arrest and sadly the man did not make it. The second day began with another cardiac arrest, never in my life have I been more terrified. But as I began compressions on the ladys chest I knew that I'd found my place in the world and there was nothing else I'd rather be doing. After resusing for 15 minutes we got a ROSC. She's going to make it.
You, unknowingly, played a part in helping me to help that lady. Thank you so much for that and I promise to continue reading your blogs for as long as you continue to write.
Yours faithfully,
Steff.

Kieran said...

Congratulations mate, really pleased for you. Wish you all the best for the future, i know you'll make a great doctor,

Kieran.

harri carter said...

Congratulations on your bundle of joy, good luck with the career change x

Lumo said...

Congratulations! And good luck for the future.

pamey said...

Congratulations Stuart and the Missus on the birth of Harry. You've got many more sleepless nights now, LOL. And good on you for deciding to stay in frontline medicine and go down the doctor route. I'm just embarking on a career as a Paramedic, so have yet to experience even a small part of what you have.

Anonymous said...

'Gratz on the birth of your son, and best of luck for the future!

Anthea said...

Dear Stuart - congratulations on the birth of your son and for having the courage to train to be a doctor.

I have always had a small smile to myself when I read stories about 'maternataxis' and the like - everyone is different and when things go wrong.... My first was an undiagnosed breech which was only discovered when a turned up at hospital a few mins before the 2nd stage of labour started. 'Don't push' they told me - 'what do you mean "Don't push"???!!!' You can't!! A emergency section followed.

baby no. 2; 4 years later. Went into hospital for a check 'you're not in labour'. As we live some distance from the hospital they said we could stay to see what happened. Waters broke and shot across the room, which was rather comical and I had a second stage of 6 mins, in which I pushed about twice. Can honestly say that it didn't really hurt - the after pains were MUCH worse.

Hope the next few days are OK and that Harry starts to settle into a routine of sorts.

All the very best to you and your wife.

tinkerbellkatie said...

Congratulations and good luck in your future career.. Your blog makes for fantastic reading and is a great tonic when I have had a bad day xxx


Your Son is soo cute

Sewmouse said...

Congratulations! What a beautiful little man!

Your career choice sounds well-thought. I think it is a good idea that Doctors should have some "real life" experience before they hole themselves up in their hospital "ivory towers". Not sure how it is over there, but over here a lot of the Dr's I've met have been a bit of the self-righteous snobs.

Somehow, I feel that if they'd been out and about in the real world some, being vomited on and swung at - they'd have more compassion for those of us who just are victims of our genetic code, the micro-organisms, or our financial acumen!

Clare said...

From yet another previously-silent regular follower of your blog, I would also like to say congratulations to you and your wife on the birth of your son, and also for your career-change decision.

Matt M said...

I feel sure that you are going to be a great dad, and a great doctor someday.

I have enjoyed reading your stuff, for years. It is one of the best out there. I feel selfish for not wanting you to move on.

RandomPinkness said...

Stu, I haven't commented for a long time, much as loved your blog, the depression and such like meant I'd stopped reading a fair few, yours included. Lottie got me reading again, I also caught up on all the others I'd neglected.

Congratulations on the new addition to the family, and I wish you the best of luck with the doctoring! I'm glad to be reading again :-)

oliviascotland said...

Congratulations to you and your wife on the safe arrival of gorgeous Harry - welcome to the world, wee man!

Congratulations, too, on your decision to study to become a doctor. A hard decision at any time, but you will, I am sure, do brilliantly. I've so enjoyed your blog, and your books, and hope that the story will continue, albeit along different lines. Enjoy your paternity leave, and enjoy your new family :) Congratulations again to you all!

Harry said...

2 brillant announcements!
Congratulations to yourself and your wife on the birth of Harry (a brilliant choice of name if I say so myself!). Must have been fantastic to have a home birth.
Also great news on postgraduate medicine. I can totally understand your frustrations on not being understood interprofessionally for the very clinically advanced skills that paramedics possess, and I feel its a great shame that nurses and the such, (who are also on band 5), dont appreciate that. It just shows complete naiviety on the nurses part.
I have to confess I am another silent reader, this is my first comment, but what an amazing post to comment on, and its clear many other people think the same. Keep up the great work, you are a truely exemplary medic! Love reading all about it.
Harry

BrianW said...

Congratulations Mum & Dad. Also, I wish you all the very best in your career change. I'm sure you'll be a really positive addition to the medical profession (and please keep writing about whatever you're doing).

al said...

Congratulations Ive had a few close moments in my cab scared the life out of me

8char8 said...

Congratulations! Whatever you decide to do I am sure you will do it well and inspire confidence in your patients and colleagues alike, best of luck with the future! x

Anonymous said...

I HAVE NEVER COMMENTED ON YOUR BLOG BEFORE BUT READ EVERY POST, I JUST WANT TO SAY CONGRATULATIONS AND GOOD LUCK IN THE FUTURE WITH YOUR NEW CAREER CHOICE. SOMETIMES NEW LIFE MAKES US REALISE WE ONLY AHVE ONE LIFE AND WE MUST MAKE THE MOST OF IT. GO FOR IT.

Anonymous said...

Well Done to the Grays! I'll miss the FRU blogs, Stuart- it has been a great professional reflective tool for me, not just in the variety of jobs but the consistency of quality care and compassion. Now if UK Unis look a bit dodgy, look up Notre Dame Australia(Fremantle) or Flinders University(South Australia) for high quality Post graduate Medicine qualifications(4 year intensive). 4 years in sunshine can't be that bad!!! Best Wishes- West Australian Country Volunteer Ambo

Anonymous said...

congratulations, you were lucky we got 20 mins notice for our last one and tried for an ambulance - control room were horrible so my hubby ended up making a mad dash to the hospital 20 mins away! we only just made it.

Anonymous said...

Conratulations on the arival of Harry!
He looks a content little baby!
Good luck with your change in Career whatever you decide... you will excel in it!

Kate
Essex

flummoxed1 said...

Congratulations!! I rarely post comments but I always follow your diary and have bought your book and have really enjoyed it. Best of luck with your medicine course when you start it, I look forward to reading 'The Doctors Diary'. =D

Anonymous said...

Can't think of better post to break my comment virginity on! I'm a bit late to the party here-but congratulations on the birth of your son, and all the best for medical school and future.

Anonymous said...

Congratulations to you both!
May he sail on a sea of ambition and land on the shores of success!
(just like his father!)

Anonymous said...

Congratulations and good luck with your change of career.

Keep writing!!

Spot The Gerbil said...

Well done and all the best to you, Mrs G and the wee yin.

living_with_ba said...

Congratulations on the birth of your son! Your wife must be very strong to have deliver at home and without pain relief...I'm really have for you, all the best to you, your wife and little Harry :D

Anonymous said...

Brilliant news on both parts - having read your blog it's clear you have both the passion for medicine and compassion for people to be a brilliant doctor. If you want to read my (very occasional) posts about doing a medical degree, feel free to read my blog: http://ramblingmedicalstudent.blogspot.com/

Good luck! Hopefully see you soon ;)

Chris Norton said...

Congratulations, on your new arrival.

James said...

Congratulations :)

Jane Doe said...

Congratulations!

I guess it wasn't you I saw whilst in London last week... if any of your colleagues complain of a strange girl peering through their window, please apologise on my behalf.

Carly said...

harry is gorgeous, congratulations!

Anonymous said...

Hope your break time is great .
I am only just starting in St Johns my self , You need this break.
stay safe Take it easy

Grant, St Johns Ambulance pathway central london AND bexley south east London

Tabitha said...

Congratulations, on both accounts, and best of luck with it. I am sure you will be a brilliant doctor.

Hannah said...

Congratulations!