It’s 09:30 in the morning. I’ve been awake since 05:00. I’ve just handed a brand new baby to brand new parents, all before my morning cup of coffee. Not bad eh?
Hello! I’m Róisín. I’m 20 years old, I honestly don’t think you’ve lived until you’ve experienced the sheer exhilaration you get from doing something that you love. For me, it’s waking up at ungodly hours, to do a job that makes some people queasy, but I can’t get enough of, yes, I’m a midwifery student!
The Midwifery and Nursing courses in UCD are structured in such a way that you spend half of the year on campus, in lectures (I’ve filled so many ring binders with notes it’s not funny), Tutorials (Mostly consisting of me saying “I have to touch WHAT?!”) and patient role-playing where one student takes on the role of the midwife, and the other takes on the role of the pregnant/labouring woman. They help us imagine what this scenario is like in the hospital setting. Sometimes when we do them we get to use props like this:

Pregnancy suit


The other half of the year is what I live and breathe for, we go out on placement and practice all we’ve learned about firsthand. We get to experience maternity care, from the antenatal clinics (where women come before they’re in labour) to delivery ward (pretty self-explanatory what goes on there I think) to the postnatal ward (where the women and their babies come before they go home). Although I admit, the first few days are nerve- wracking, it’s amazing how quickly you pick up skills. Seriously, I couldn’t change a nappy the first time I walked into the postnatal ward, now I can change triplets, write notes on 5 patients and congratulate someone on their new arrival simultaneously. Ok, I may be exaggerating slightly, but you get the idea!

We also get to experience the more specialised areas of maternity care. For example, we have the opportunity to go to the neonatal intensive care units, where the ill and premature babies are nursed and cared for, and to go into the operating theatre to observe doctors perform surgery on  patients, something I’m very much looking forward to experiencing during my time there in the coming  year.UCD Midwifery 

Don’t worry, I didn’t take this photo in theatre, it was my Halloween costume last year,I just think you should  all marvel at how well I can pull off the mob cap and mask.

Image 3So, why did I want to become a midwife? Truthfully, I didn’t. I wanted to  do medicine, and become a surgeon. I had visions of  myself running  around a hospital saving lives as soon as I looked in a patient’s direction,  all very Grey’s Anatomy you know? Hmmmm………maybe not.

The Leaving Cert however had other ideas, and I found myself not in  medicine, but in midwifery, not learning how to cure, but to empower  and support. And I couldn’t be happier.

The beauty of midwifery is that it opens so many doors in the world of  healthcare. If I do choose to do medicine, I have a solid experience base behind me. Should I choose to do children’s nursing, I have the knowledge of the fetal and neonatal anatomy to draw on and if I simply choose to continue  practising as a midwife, I have a well-rounded degree, from an international university with ties across the globe, in an area where I’ll always be needed.

After all, babies are always being born, and every labouring woman needs someone to support her. My mother has a close friend who is a midwife, when I told her I was entering into the course, she told me “A midwife must possess hands of a lady, eyes of a hawk and the heart of a lion.”

Look, I’m working on it, the lady hands are proving more difficult than I thought to develop, but for the meantime, I’m happy where I am, splitting my time between UCD and the hospital, delivering everyday miracles.
UCD midwifery