Hard Pushed Book Cover Hard Pushed
Leah Hazard
memoir, medical, science, nursing
Hutchinson
May 2, 2019
304

No sleep for twenty hours. No food for ten. And a ward full of soon-to-be mothers… Welcome to the life of a midwife.  Life on the NHS front line, working within a system at breaking point, is more extreme than you could ever imagine. From the bloody to the beautiful, from moments of utter vulnerability to remarkable displays of strength, from camaraderie to raw desperation, from heart-wrenching grief to the pure, perfect joy of a new-born baby, midwife Leah Hazard has seen it all. Through her eyes, we meet Eleanor, whose wife is a walking miracle of modern medicine, their baby a feat of reproductive science; Crystal, pregnant at just fifteen, the precarious, flickering life within her threatening to come far too soon; Star, birthing in a room heady with essential oils and love until an enemy intrudes and Pei Hsuan, who has carried her tale of exploitation and endurance thousands of miles to somehow find herself at the open door of Leah’s ward. Moving, compassionate and intensely candid, Hard Pushed is a love letter to new mothers and to Leah’s fellow midwives – there for us at some of the most challenging, empowering and defining moments of our lives.

A true memoir by a Canadian/English midwife about her work in the NHS. Her book shows us just how underfunded, understaffed, under waged and under resourced midwives are. They are perhaps the least recognised area of nursing for its strains and difficulties that come from being there at the time of birth – literally your babies’ lives are in their hands – and they are overworked. There aren’t enough beds now that just about every birth is in a hospital.

Home births are now a rarity (except perhaps in very rural areas of Scotland where getting to a hospital is tricky). And yet, given the right circumstances, and assuming that the birth is not expected to be difficult, a home birth can be much less traumatic for all, including the baby. The next best thing is what was offered when I was pregnant. The GP ward. Where you are quiet and attended by your GP and a midwife rather than the high tech version. And you can easily move into the high tech version if needed. Giving birth can be hazardous for some and unexpected occurrences happen quickly. Which bis where the poor midwife is on hand – hopefully, to sort the issue out.

Though I did appreciate the high tech version when I had to have epidurals and caesareans.

I found this a genuine and moving book. I know a young midwife and met her several times as she was training, and know how hard it was for her and what long hours she worked.

Leah told her story in a very accessible style. Her words were clear and not flowery – but compassionate and truthful.

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