Punctual, Proud and Peeing…


The Girl has started school. The school do a very gentle induction of half days for a whole week. Which is of course a total nightmare for childcare and for my child who is used to 10 hour days at nursery. It is somewhat painful all round.

Anyway, accepting this, Phil rose to the parenting challenge and took some annual leave. As did I, as I wasn’t missing the first day of school obligatory photo shoot either! But on the Friday I had a course to go on.  

So I swanned out of the house at 7.30am being a strong and independent woman, going to work and leaving Phil to have the Stay-at-home-dad experience. As we have long established, time keeping is not Phils’ strongest point so I left him fully briefed and and crossed my fingers. 

But I needn’t have worried. Phil is a new age independent man. He’d got this. And he really did. He dropped the girl off. He fed The Boy, he returned at lunch time to collect The Girl. He told me with great delight that he spoke to lots of the mums at the school gates, he tells me he was a proud dad and he didn’t stick out like the only dad at the gate, he did the school run and enjoyed it. In fact he was so on time that he managed to collect The Boy’s prescription milk (because cows milk makes his insides bleed) from the pharmacy before he went to the school. 

The Boy’s milk supply comes as 7 tins of formula. Which they kindly put in a box to make it easy to carry. 

So Phil went to the school gates and mingled like a pro with a huge, bright purple, clearly labelled, Tena lady incontinece pads box under his arm. 

Now when I realise that this has happened I have mixed emotions. 

Firstly I’m mortified that every parent at the school gates is going to think that I have incontinence issues. I’ve had two children, including a 9lb 1 chunk of a boy so it’s not entirely unreasonable that people would think this. But I actually don’t. I’m lucky enough to have a husband who is a urologist and therefore kindly offered frequent reminders to do my pelvic floor exercises. Which to date have proved very effective in maintaining my ability to pee on demand. 

But then again. Why should I be so distressed that people are thinking my husband is collecting my incontinence pads? I mean what a guy to do that?! 

And, so what if I do need incontinence pads? What’s the big deal? It’s a common problem, why should I be embarrassed? Why shouldn’t we say it loud and proud “I carried 2 children and popped them out of my fanny. My body is amazing. So let’s cut it some slack and forgive it for being a bit leaky.”

Maybe Phil proudly chatting away with the Tena Lady under his arm will make someone else think. Maybe it will normalise this. Maybe it will encourage someone else to seek help. Maybe us ladies should stick together and breakdown the stigma. Maybe we can help each other out. 

And maybe we should all just do our pelvic floor exercises now. 

Right now!!! 

But maybe, just maybe, nobody noticed the Tena Lady box after all….

Fitbit Failure…


Unfortunately Phil picked up on my very subtle hints regarding my desire for a Fitbit and as such I was the lucky recipient of one on my birthday. Alas, Phil had forgotten how target driven I can be. And had not considered how irritating that would be for him. 

For those unfamiliar with a Fitbit it is like a watch which records your activity. You can then check on your phone how active you have been and see if you are meeting the suggested targets, like 30 mins of exercise 5 times a week, 250 steps an hour and 10 000 a day. When you hit such targets the Fitbit will flash and vibrate on your wrist and you feel an enormous sense of well being and pride.

So, in order to hit my 250 steps an hour I frequently jump up at 10 mins to the hour to pace on the spot or run a lap of the kitchen (I should point out the kitchen is not large it adds about 17 steps, max, and subsequently I get quite dizzy trying), I have been known to cycle rather than drive and there have been occasional evening constitutionals to get my step count up. So it appears to encourage some healthy changes. There have however been a few moments when I have questioned such a device…

1. Marching on the spot in the lounge while eating a packet of crisps. 

2. Deciding to take a smaller portion of chocolates from the naughty cupboard, thinking that at least I will get some extra steps in when I return for my second helping. 

3. The Girl having a tantrum on the walk home because I was walking too fast and I genuinely wanted to make her understand that I had targets to hit otherwise the tiny computer on my wrist won’t flash and vibrate to reward my success. 

4. Realising that it had taken me over 2000 steps to put the kids to bed. This was confirmation of a tough evening and legitimised a large glass of wine. 

5. Realising that when my alarm went off at 6am I had already managed 267 steps since midnight simply by attending to my snotty little darlings. 

6. The one that has really made me question my commitment to such a device and wonder if in fact the Fitbit is the work of Satan. It flashing up on the screen to tell me……”The average Fitbit user wakes up 23 mins later than you on a week day and 1 hour 10 mins later than you on a weekend.”

1 hour and 10mins. Why? Why would I need to know this? I know I haven’t had a proper lie in for 4 and half years. I know I get woken up every morning by a not-so-small-anymore child, (who has seemingly spent the night sharpening her elbows and knees) clambering over me to get in to my bed. I know that any time after 5 am is fair game for The Boy to start hollering for his morning milk and stand in his cot shouting at me until I deliver him his cup of milk, and good god if I don’t get there quick enough I know he is going to throw his little self around that cot in a hungry rage. I know that even when the day starts with an S, I still get up and have a full of day of “work” ahead of me. I know that there is no option of rolling over and going back to sleep. I know that I am permanently sleep deprived. I know how much I would love to sleep for an extra 10 mins, never mind 70 mins!

So why, oh why, does my phone need to tell me how crappy my sleep is and how everybody else does it better? Damn you stupid Fitbit. You can take your statistics and shove them where the sun don’t shine. I’m done. I’m out. 

Although I do quite like the party on my wrist when I do 10 000 steps… 

We Are So In Love …


Yet another Facebook baby announcement – “We are so in love”. Are you? That’s great. I wasn’t. I wasn’t depressed. I wasn’t a crappy mum (I don’t think). I was normal. My child was normal. 

I was of course delighted that The Girl had arrived safely but in those first few weeks, were we “in love”? No. 

The Girl arrived in a hurry, meaning she got a bit stressed (so did I – just a tad) so the crash alarm went and 40 ppl arrived in the room and I was consented to be knocked out and the baby delivered by c-section. Someone started to list all the things that could wrong…

 “Do whatever you need to. I’m medical this is informed consent!!”

Phil, looking like a bunny in headlights backed me up “Yep just do it”. 

On my arrival in theatre, I was greeted by the anaesthetic consultant who a week before had been supervising me giving spinal anaesthetics for elective sections. “Don’t worry I’m staying at the head end” he might have been but the rest of the crowd weren’t. 

As a medical student I saw a lady have a 4th degree tear and another with a placental abruption who nearly died. Those were the only births I ever saw. I remember telling Phil that we would adopt as I couldn’t go through it – and genuinely meaning it. Then I spent the next 4 years ignoring anything childbirth related and another 9months pretending that Dumbeldore would arrive and magic the baby out when the day came. 

Well, if Dumbeldore is an obstetrician and his wand is a ventouse then it all came true. 

So having literally crapped myself in a room full of my colleagues in a terrifying whirlwind 1 hour labour to get The Girl out, in the most traumatic event of my life, my primary emotion wasn’t love. 

I’m not sure what was. Relief perhaps. I was alive and so was The Girl. This was my mission accomplished. Job done. 

But then there was the baby. Tiny. Beautiful. Perfectly formed. With tiny toes and fingers. Lucky. I definitely felt lucky. 

But the baby had a tiny mouth. A mouth which constantly opened to scream and cry or to grab my nipple and gnaw on it for hours. This tiny little thing which was entirely dependent. For everything. Watch a baby elephant being born and before you know it it’s running around, feeding and meeting its own needs – not a human baby. This baby was 100% relying on me. Me and my body. Day and night. For the foreseeable future. Overwhelmed. I was certainly feeling overwhelmed. 

The baby was like the worst ever bleep – it went off constantly, it had no off switch, not even a volume control and couldn’t be passed on after a 13 hour shift. It would stir from its sleep and scream, the sudden noise would trigger an adrenaline rush to course through me. Anxious. I was definitely anxious.

It’s one thing being responsible for a ward full of patients but another being responsible for this tiny little being. This tiny little being that was my passenger for 9 months was now there. What if I do it wrong? What if she hasn’t eaten enough? What if I fall asleep and drop her? What if I smother her with one of my huge milk filled baps? But then again what if it’s not milk filled? What if I’m starving her? Scared. I was definitely scared. 

Then there was my mummy body. I had to sit on a donut cushion and people would ask how sore I was. They were asking about my vagina. Now, I’m medical and so this should be matter of fact (I would chat about a sore head or leg) but discussing my broken lady garden with every Tom, Dick and Harry took a bit of adjusting to. Embarrassed. Smothered. Awkward. A combination of all three.

I recall coming out of a rare shower to be met by Phil holding The Girl, hungry and screaming. I sat on the bed wrapped in my towel and latched her on. She fed. Milk came out of one boob…and the other….my uterus contracted and something else starting coming out of there…and I cried and laughed all at once. I had stuff coming out of almost every orifice (I wasn’t crapping myself on this occasion) and couldn’t have resembled the front cover of a parenting magazine any less. There isn’t a word for this feeling, even 200 words couldn’t sum it up. But it’s definitely not “in love”. 

But does it matter? 

I met The Girl’s needs. She was fed, cleaned and cuddled. I responded to her every need. I did everything I possibly could to nurture her and help her thrive.

People kept saying “enjoy every minute”. I absolutely did not. Some bits were bloody awful. In fact some bits were the absolute worst. But I survived. The Girl not only survived but blossomed. And Phil didn’t leave me. So actually it was a raging success.  

In hindsight I can see it, but at the time I questioned myself. Do I not love her enough? Why am I not enjoying EVERY minute? Why am I not updating Facebook with how totally in love we are? 

Why? Because I’m normal. Because I’m honest. Because I’m me. 

So, in this week of maternal mental health awareness I want to highlight a version of normal. 

I want to say it’s normal to just survive those first 8 weeks. It’s normal to not be “totally in love”. It’s absolutely normal to NOT enjoy every minute. 

And for the record, now, I couldn’t love The Girl more, or The Boy. I didn’t know it was possible to have so much love for these little pests with their mucky faces, their whining voices and their constant unreasonable demands. Despite this all consuming love, there are also occasions when I just want to list them on eBay- for free. But you know what, I think that’s normal too. 

The Working Week: Part 2

Thursday : A smooth start to the day. I’m now a pro at making breakfast in the lounge with the make shift kitchen I fashioned, and my mother has dutifully maintained and stocked. The bags were packed the night before, lunch is in the fridge, the car has fuel, we are out the door. I’m snotty, in a big way, I’m coughing at all the wrong times during the practice meeting and I’m 100% more ill than some of the patients I see today. 

I opt for a take away instead of another microwaveable meal. My dad – part of the 4th emergency service – declines. He spends the evening in the bathroom, not in the recreational sense. He takes to his bed and we don’t see him until I am summoned to his bedside to answer his medical questions regarding throwing up his tablets. I make up a sensible answer, shout it at him (as he has taken his hearing aids out) and steer clear- a cold is enough for me just now. 

Friday: Phil is on Call. Again. But I don’t even notice. I have no work, I survived and more importantly so did the kids. So now with a genuine sense of joy I get to go in to full mum mode. Nappies, snot, tantrums, swimming lessons, food slinging, and being mauled are all welcome. 

The grandparents don’t depart until the evening as my dad wanted to ensure that his tummy upset has fully passed before they set off on their 2 hour drive. Unexpected faecal incontinence is not desired by a man who insures his wife on his car but won’t let her drive it for fear of her “disrespecting” it. 

Whist still feeling thoroughly crappy and full of cold I’m doing good. I finally have a kitchen sink, the men are all leaving today and after nearly 3 years of living in the most dysfunctional 1980’s kitchen, I now have most of a modern-currently-still-dysfunctional-but-at-least-no-longer-with-a-1970s-serving-hatch kitchen. 

I head to bed with slight feeling of contentment, possibly achievement (and some blocked sinuses). But we have been here before, I know when I’m feeling like this, it’s too good to be true. This is when a child is going to shatter my world. 

Enter, The Boy. 

Vomiting.

All over everything. Cot sheets, teddies, sleeping bag, jammies, him. All need washing. I eventually faff around, get him cosy and snuggle him up all clean and dry.

For about a minute. And then round two commences. This one getting all of the above and me. Despite being a medical professional I have never been great with vomit so whilst I’m retching away I decontaminate myself and him, as quietly as possible, and pray that The Girl doesn’t wake up. 

Once again we get ourselves sorted, we are clean and dry, and shattered. The Boy is trying to drop off to sleep again. Realising I only had one sleeping bag left I decided not to put him in it just yet. Which was just as well. 

He hurls again, splattering the bed we are sitting on, him, me, anything else near by… The vomit is also bright red thanks to jelly he demolished at tea time, it’s starting to resemble some sort of a horrific crime scene in his lovely pastel coloured nursery. Where was he storing all this? There is definitely more volume being projected from him than could possibly be stored in his tiny body. 

Fortunately at this point I hear the front door shut. Either we are being burgled (in which case I’m pretty sure they are going to turn right around when they see this) or by some sort of divine intervention Phil has actually come home, and his timing is perfect. I text him. 

“HELP”

There is a momentary delay in his reply so I continue. 

“NOW” ….. “PLS” 

I have never been so pleased to see him. Together we deal with the devastation and pop the first of several washes on before he heads to bed. He is still on call and will be for the weekend.  

Saturday: The wash didn’t flipping work. The machine is full of water so I can’t get the door open. 

I google like a maniac and conclude that my waste pipe is blocked. I proceed to drain the washer via a tiny tube at the front like the Internet told me to, which involves filling a frying pan and then tipping it in to the drain and repeating about 400 times. The frying pan is not the ideal tool I recognise that, but due to the upheaval of the new kitchen I can’t access a more appropriate receptical.  

Eventually, I’m able to move the washer forward to find a kinked and now (thanks to me trying to straighten it out) cracked waste pipe. I’m up to my knees in vomit covered garments and no functioning washing machine. 

Someone get me a mangle and a bar of soap – I’m gonna do this old school style…..Actually, no. No, I’m not. There are still chunks of sick and it smells horrid. 

So I attempt to, whilst trying to entertain and feed the kids their breakfast, attach a new waste pipe. To my untrained eye, it appears to work. So prior to stepping outside to burn my bra and perform a victory dance, I pop a wash on. 

…..It wasn’t quite the raging success I was hoping for. Turns out there is a reason that we have washing machine repair people. The waste pipe connecter I fashioned failed, so the washing machine leaked all over the floor. On the plus side once I wade through the foamy ocean spreading even further as I watch, at least I can open the washing machine door…Which enables me to discover the the new pillow case from The Boy’s bed has turned the whole entire wash a lovely teal colour. Yep. Of course it did. 

So, in true GP style as per my eportfolio requirement, here follows a reflection summary: 

What happened? 

A Sh*t storm hit. 

What happened next? 

It carried on. 

What did you learn? 

How to drain a washing machine, and, incidentally, what bullnose architrave is. 

What will you do differently in the future? 

Buy a lottery ticket. 

The Working Week: Part 1

My first week back at work happened. It’s complete and it was a joy. Now I’m back in the throws of being a GP trainee it’s only right I should reflect on what happened. 

Monday: Following on from a rough night I wake up with a sore throat and raising anxiety levels. The day is tantrum central thanks to The Girl, well thanks to me really, I mean why would I insist that she wear knickers?! Phil is on call, he like the rest of us had a cold. We waved him off from our lounge-cum-kitchen at 7am. The table at the back of the lounge is set up with toaster and the kettle and a box of food, all positioned as centrally as possible as apparently The Boy has grown his arms for the occasion and can now reach all but the very middle of the table. 

The kitchen men arrived at 7.45am and are greeted by me in my snot stained leisure wear and directed to the 1980s kitchen to rip everything out. I’ve packed the biscuits away and don’t have much sugar in the jar so I appear to be providing a little a health promotion to my rather rotund kitchen team. This is not well received so I ferret around and manage to dig out a box of chocolates from Christmas and allow them to indulge themselves. Their type 2 diabetes isn’t my problem but the cost of this job is and the bill is in their control…

The self proclaimed ‘4th emergency service’ AKA my parents arrive in the afternoon. Noise, mess, dust, disease, no kitchen sink and a house full of men requiring infinite tea rounds welcomes them. I could tell they were delighted. 

My evening is spent digging around to find various proofs of address and photo IDs, as the little darlings at the Deanery have lost all the documents I sent them months ago. They only thought to tell me the day before I return to work despite my 5 enquiries prior to this. 

I also appear to have lost my stethoscope. Fortunately being married to a urologist means there is a spare unused one to thieve. I’m prepped. I’ve eaten take away and I’ve laid out everything I possibly can. All I need now is a good nights sleep….

Tuesday: Phil is on call again. He did come home at some point after I had gone to bed last night so it can’t have been too bad. I have had 4 hours sleep in preparation for my first day at work, thanks to a, presumably, teething boy and an ’emotional’ girl. 

We do however, against all odds manage a successful departure from house involving single handedly getting both children dressed and out the door in time to arrive at work which is quite the achievement. There were times in the past when my achievements were getting a central line in or placing a chest drain successfully, now it’s leaving the house….Cheers kids. 

The Boy cries as he is abandoned with strangers (albeit with full DBS checks) at nursery, I keep it together and at the risk of looking uncaring I promptly turn my back and walk out, with a smile on my face and a nauseous, guilty, heartbroken feeling on the inside. The Girl wants to know why we are leaving her baby brother in tears. I ignore the question and bundle her in to the preschool room. 

Wednesday: I woke up alone. Inconveniently some chap had a testicular issue over night so as a result Phil left in the small hours and once the task was complete he opted to catch 40winks in the on call room. 
I tell Phil later that I wish I had an on call room to go have an hours kip.

“It’s a plastic mattress in a cold room, of borderline cleanliness – you don’t”

I explain it’s preferable to a memory foam mattress covered in snot and being shared with 2 huge, bony starfish with a soundtrack of screaming. He doesn’t reply and we continue in our marital bliss.

Anyway, hearing that we are a man down The Boy kicks off the day with a vomit at 6am secondary to the mother of all coughing fits. It’s everywhere, so an early bath is required. The Girl is waving around a vomit stained stuffed panda shrieking about the fact that HER panda was in the cot and fell victim to the spew fountain (to be fair she has a point but The Boy loves it and when he was throwing a wobbler in the small hours I gave it to him). Granny was called into action, this was not a one man job.

I decided once we were all sorted that I would offer him a bottle – huge mistake. He is at this point starving and guzzles the bottle (he’s a newbie to the bottle as time pressures mean I’m claiming the baps back – in the morning at least) so subsequently he vomits all over him, me and the sofa. Last minute costume changes are required. We eventually get out the door, leaving Granny to deal with the vomit and the washing. Grandad hasn’t put his hearing aids in yet, so he is entirely oblivious to what waits downstairs for him.

I drop the kids off (The Boy continues to try and break my heart with his distraught cries) and get to work.

 I complete yet more paperwork and get told for the 4th time in two days how lonely being a GP can be. 

Compared to home this week, ‘lonely’ is actually a bit of welcome break. At one point today I heard genuine silence. Just for a moment – while I tried desperately to find the right icon to magic a prescription, but it was there, pure silence. 

Pretty sure the patient didn’t appreciate the silent (possibly long enough to be a little awkward) delay to their day, but I certainly did. 

Family, Flights and Flipping out…

We love my family. So much so, that we decided to spend the last couple of weeks of my maternity leave visiting my brother and his family in Texas. This was a decision we rushed into without too much thought. Because if we thought about taking a stroppy nearly 4 yr old and a hyperactive 11 month old on a plane…we wouldn’t. 

The Girl had been informed that if you misbehave on a flight you get chucked off the plane by the pilot. She had taken this literally, believing she would be evicted mid-air never to experience the joy of aviation again. As parents, we took the executive decision to not correct this slight misunderstanding and as result she was golden. She had a split second where she looked like she just might flip into a world famous tantrum and I whispered into her ear the words:

“The pilot is watching you”

She immediately, silently, stood up from the aisle floor where she was prepping for the mother of all meltdowns, got into her seat and put her seatbelt on. 

The Boy was happy as he had a few hundred faces to look at and shout “hello” to. 

Which he did. 

Repeatedly. 

Fortunately when anyone acknowledged him he would give them his biggest, cutest, nose wrinkling, toothy smile and people would forgive him for the preceding racket. 

The return night flight of 9 hours involved some sleep (for everyone but me, as The Boy was asleep in my arms, being that the bassinet would barely fit a newborn in – never mind a 20lb mobile, chunk of boy) but this meant I watched a whole film. The whole thing! 

Admittedly I also spent 2.5 hours busting for a wee but unable to go as I couldn’t risk waking him up, but I found my continence 11 months after birthing a 9lb baby quite an achievement.

In fact what I thought was going to be a huge nightmare was actually almost a pleasure. There were several genuine high points to our journey. 

The Boy at the gate was in my arms while our passports were inspected. He had just had a large drink. He was leaning over, out of my arms to shout hello in the face of the remarkably glamorous lady waiting to direct us towards the tunnel (which was right in front of us). He managed to get himself really quite close to her and she then leant in to speak to him. At which point he did the loudest burp I have ever heard him produce. It was like that of a grown man after a couple of pints. It came from deep down within him and had projection that Pavarotti would have envied. People in the surrounding area (which was a lot as we were waiting in line) turned to look, some too polite to laugh, others giggling quietly and others doing the silent shoulder shake laugh with tears in their eyes. This poor lady’s perfectly made up face recoiled in disgust as The Boy belly laughed hysterically. 

I was temporarily mortified and speechless as I watched this beautifully presented woman pause and try to regain composure before reacting in the professional manner expected of her. And she did it: 

“Well isn’t that just the cutest thing y’all ever saw?” 

No. No it was not. It was smelly, it was right in your face and when all you were trying to do was demonstrate your child friendly approach to young flyers, it was rude. But you, you lovely Texas airport ground staff lady, are exceptionally good at your job. That was a great recovery. In fact you should probably be in healthcare the way you brushed over that bodily function demonstration. Because despite Phil and I being medical professionals we cried with laughter all the way on to the plane. 

The second highlight was courtesy of another passenger. He had been sat next to us for the entire 9 hour flight and as we went our separate ways at the end of our brief but friendly acquaintance he said: 

“Y’all have a beautiful family there. What well behaved kids, I would love this to be me in a few years.” 

Hello parenting success! 

This was a big win, we couldn’t have been more proud of our little people. We managed to take two children on a long haul flight and not only did we not get evicted from the plane, we didn’t irritate the people next to us and in fact appear to have made a fellow passenger broody! We didn’t even have to drug the kids- just instilled the fear of death by ejector seat and it was a breeze! 

There was a moment, just a little moment when, for the first time ever we thought ‘We’ve got this, we are doing ok’. We were feeling ever so slightly smug. 

And apparently The Girl got wind of this and wanted to make sure that this feeling of knowing-what-on-earth-we-are-doing-in-this-bonkers-world-of-parenthood, was a fleeting one. 

I write this at 2am having been back in the country 16hrs while The Girl is throwing a tantrum about the fact that when she shouted Daddy, I went to her room. The much awaited meltdown has occurred with constant screaming punctuated only by requests of ‘GO AWAY MUMMY’, ‘DON’T LOOK AT ME’ and other such gems being shouted in a manner reminiscent of The Exorcist. The Boy has then been screaming because he heard it was a good idea and now I can’t put him down until The Girl pauses for more than a second or else the whole cycle will start again. 

Meanwhile Phil is trying to get enough sleep, in between negotiating with our 3yr old monster and googling ‘what the flip to do with a flipping out 3 yr old’, so that he will be functioning tomorrow for his 24 hour on-call.

Well, at least The Girl has achieved some consistency. We are back to having absolutely no idea what we are doing…

Doctors, Defecation and Death…

It’s 6.45pm. We haven’t heard from Phil.

The Girl : Is Daddy going to be home in time? 

This is the question I get asked about 25 000 times a day and what it means is “Is my favourite person in the whole world going to read my bedtime stories, or will I have to make do with you reading them while The Boy gnaws on your nipple because Daddy isn’t home on time?” 

Me: Not sure, let’s give him a call. 

So we do. It’s goes to voicemail and we leave a message: “Helloooooooo Daddy! Are you going to be home on time?” 

Clearly Phil is still in clinic- the one that’s meant to finish at 5pm and is taking place an hour away from home. So no. He won’t be home on time. 

10mins later he calls back. 

Phil: I’ve just had a man arrest in clinic. 

As crude as it sounds I’m just praying this didn’t happen while Phil was examining him (urologically) – it would be a pretty undignified way to go and I’m not sure how Phil would cope if he thought he had killed a man by putting a finger up his bum. 

I take Phil off speaker phone and we chat. It turns out the chap didn’t make it to his appointment, he collapsed in the waiting room and was brought to a clinic room where he had a cardiac arrest. The nurses shouted for help and Phil responded, he did what he is trained to do and tried to resuscitate him. As Phil is telling me this I know he needs to talk about it. It’s not very common as a urology registrar that you have to actually resuscitate someone. Talk about it yes, make decisions about it yes, but not actually do it. So he is a little out of practice and he needs to debrief. He needs me to tell him that he did everything he should have done. He needs me to tell him that he wasn’t the stereotypical surgeon floundering around in a resus situation. He needs me to tell him that it’s ok that he had a moment of uncertainty when he wasn’t sure if he could feel a carotid pulse (which it is- it doesn’t just switch on and off- it can be there, then it’s thready and weak and then it’s gone). He needs me to tell him that that the lady who went to her husbands routine hospital appointment and is now going home a widow, is going to be ok, and that he couldn’t have changed that. 

Phil needs me to be his wife and his friend and also his colleague . He needs me to understand what he has just been through, he needs to not have to explain it in “laymans terms” he needs me to just get it. Which I do. I really do. Which is good because most of all he needs me to tell him to get over it and deal with the next patient. Which I do….sort of.

The problem is that whilst Phil needs a wife, a friend and a colleague, our children need their Mummy. I’m attempting to get them in the bath but The Boy has done an enormous poo so I’m trying to take his nappy off – he is covered in poo from his nipples to his knees and he won’t lie still for love nor money. He is smearing crap all over the bath mat, the side of the bath, my hands, the toy he is holding, absolutely everywhere. This is causing The Girl to freak out. She doesn’t want to get in a bath with The Boy covered in crap. Which is fair enough. But she is shrieking it right in my face while grabbing my shoulder, whilst I’m trying to talk on the phone, it’s past 7pm and my patience is running thin. So I snap, and I shout. 

“For goodness sake I’m not going to bath you in poo. Now take your clothes off and get in!” 

The Girl is now crying. The Boy is still covered in faeces and The Husband has gone pretty quiet. 

“Phil, I will call you back” 

Moments later the kids are both in the bath. I’ve apologised to The Girl and eventually been forgiven. It’s all slightly calmer. 

The Girl however is not happy that she thinks I will have missed a bit and there will be small bits of poo under the bubbles. Again this is a fair point, if I believed in homeopathy there is probably enough poo in that bath to perform a faecal transplant. 

But then she scales it up again. 

The Girl: Mummy there is poo in the bath!

Me: There isn’t poo, I’ve been through this, I’ve wiped his bum…and everywhere else!!

The Girl: Mummy there is!!!

Hysteria is setting in. And I’m close to flipping out – again. But then, once again she is quite right. Clearly the boy hadn’t quite finished, as peaking out through the bubbles is a sneaky little partially formed log. 

“EVERYBODY OUT!!!”

…..So I’ve failed today. I couldn’t be the wife, the colleague, the friend that I needed to be. Because, I was trying to be the Mummy I should be, and unless you class bathing children in excrement, I didn’t exactly succeed on that front either. 

Welcome home Phil, the bathroom is full of poo, part of your dinner is in a pan (the rest is still in the freezer), the kitchen looks like a bomb site, your tutor has informed you that you need to work over your holiday, your best mans speech for the wedding at the weekend isn’t finished, your wife is hiding in the office trying to revise for an exam (which due to her maternity pay running out, you get the honour of paying for), your several hours late home from work ….oh and a chap unexpectedly died on you today. 

So yep. Just another day as junior doctors, living that ‘Moet Medic Lifestyle’ the media go on about. 

But after a day like today, especially, after a day like today, we are just grateful that we get a tomorrow, to do it all over again.