Tuesday, 12 April 2011

A very pregnant sort of posting.

I have a bit of a problem with my midwife. 

The woman is driving me insane. I appreciate she sees a few people like me. Perhaps, she even sees a few foreign looking pregnant women, even though around here, that would be unusual. 
Okay, I don’t expect her to memorize everything about me. But please, please, please, just do me a favour and glance through the notes before you see me! Surely, that must be part of your job?

Every time I visit her, which is normally once in four weeks, she is polite and pleasant. In a very British way. She smiles and asks how I am, and then pulls my maternity notes out. 

'Now...', she says . ' I need to ask you- How are you planning to feed your baby?'

When it happened the first time, I told her the whole story. How hard it was to breastfeed the first day, and how the postnatal ward staff forced me to give my baby the bottle...how stressful we found the transition back after a few days...How after that we had no problems and I was hoping to breastfeed this time, too.

-Oh, lovely! (Midwives are very pro breastfeeding in the UK so the story made her very happy) 
How long did you breastfeed your first child for?

-15months, I say and she writes it down.

Four weeks later, we are back in the same room.

How am I feeling, thanks, do I have any questions, no....

'Now. I need to ask you. How are you planning to feed your baby?'

I started telling her again, thinking that, as it sometimes happens, she might recall the story once I mentioned some of it.  Maybe the part about the trauma in the hospital, where a big fat nurse squeezed my nipple so hard I felt I was being abused... Maybe the part about working hard to move the baby from the bottle back to the breast...But, no. She looked at me, her blue eyes wide in shock; and there was nothing that indicated she might have heard any of it before. Nothing at all.

Last time, I decided not to bother. 

'So...' she smiled as I sat down and after she had checked my blood pressure. 'Today, perhaps, we could talk about benefits of breastfeeding?'

Sure, why not? After all, we only talked about it three times in the last two months.

Yes, I said, I breastfed the first one, no problems whatsoever, for 15 months, and will plan to breastfeed this one, too. 

But never mind the breastfeeding part. 

I asked her whether the hospital had private postnatal rooms. It is not my idea of fun to be sharing the room with 3 other women and their newborn babies. Oh, she said, they do but those are too expensive. But, the good news is,  the ABC centre is quiet and you get your own room afterwards. 

That is good to know, I said, but why would I want to know about the ABC centre?  

You see, the ABC centre is a midwives-led section of the hospital. Natural birth. No pain relief. No epidural. No doctors. Dimmed lights, big beanbags and birthing pools.  Somewhere you would be very happy if you are one of those mothers who want to enjoy and treasure the experience of pain. Perhaps even do some yoga stretching while in labour.

'Oh!' she smiled her lovely smile. 'I have put you down as an ABC birth.'

Why? Why, why, why would you put me down as the ABC birth, I wanted to know.  Why?

-Well, did you not say you wanted a natural, drugs free birth?

No, I replied calmly. I never said I wanted no drugs. In fact, I told you I loved drugs. I told you I had an epidural the first time and it was great. Just like I'd told you about my breastfeeding about four times by now, too. But I did not say any of that, of course. I just laughed nervously and asked her to change that, please. 

So really, I don’t know what to expect. I just hope the midwives at the hospital are a little more interested, and pay a bit more attention, otherwise I might as well deliver the baby at home. Or go to Baku...hmm...Okay, that would be taking it a bit too far.


  1. Next time she asks how you plan to feed your baby you should flash her an evil smile and say 'With your blood' (kidding of course). That ABC centre sounds scary...

  2. And what about a change of the midwife? Is it easy to do?
    By the way, when is the birth taking place? I hope you won't forget your readers after the happy event.

  3. I didn't know you were one of THOSE! That's awesome! No wonder your midwife has trouble paying attention; she probably painted fake pupils onto her eyelids to prevent herself turning to stone when she looked at you.

    I'm surprised you're not more up on this whole natural birth idea, though. I'd be afraid some Greek hero would arrive to kill me while I was drugged up. In fact Wife does not use epidurals to give birth for that very reason.

  4. @Vicki: The other problem with her (possibly because she just is not paying any attention, so she is not listening) is that she does not get any jokes either. I told her last time, when she asked (again!) if I smoked; that, because we had recently put the dog down, it was such a stressful time I wished I smoked! As a JOKE. But she made big eyes and said 'Oh, no no! We dont want you to start smoking!' I despair.

    @Gabriela: She is a local point of contact, she comes to our village once a week and I dont think you get to choose, alas. Since it is a temporary pain in my backside, I will probably manage to cope. I think?...Fortunately,there are other midwives at the hospital, where I will be giving birth. DD is 25th of May.

    @ Mark: Trust me, a Greek hero or semi-God or whatever he was, is the last thing on my mind to worry about right now. :) Midwives sound a lot scarier to me.

  5. @Vikki: Oops, sorry I misspelled your name, I actually thought it was another blogger with a similar name. I need more coffee. :)

  6. Greetings from a fellow London alien - just stumbled on your lovely blog.

    So difficult to actually get a midwife who really listens - I had some similar issues with my community midwife. But I had a wonderful, empathetic midwife once - she delivered my second kid, and it made all difference. I went the ABC route both times - it was awful the first, and surprisingly great the second (but I guess second babies are often a hundred times easier).

    Good luck - there are some really lovely NHS midwives out there - most of them seem to be on maternity wards, not in GP surgeries.

  7. I just noticed: why do you depict the pregnant mom as a Medusa?

  8. @ Gabriela: Because that's how Scary really looks! (And she's not "a Medusa;" she's a Gorgon. Medusa was one of three Gorgons from Greek legend. Perseus killed her, and then used Medusa's head to turn a Titan to stone and make millions in movie theaters.)

  9. @Manana Mama: Hi, Rachel, thanks for stopping by.
    I already realized that the midwives at the maternity ward are really good, so I hope it will be okay. The one that visits us at the surgery needs a good slap though. :)

    @Gabriela: I don't know why, just thought I needed to express my furious internal mood somehow? :) Also, was hoping to scare some of the crazy men away.

  10. Interesting story... Hope she will remember NO ABC!!! Remind her every time when you see her ;)