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.