Friday, 17 June 2011

The importance of the right midwife

I just had to blog a follow up to my previous post. Yeah, I know two blog posts in one day, what's wrong with me... lol.

Seriously though, I have to get this off my ample chest, so be warned this may be a little ranty. And I feel the need to add a disclaimer too, lest my midwife friends disown me. I have the greatest respect for midwives, they do a wonderful job in sometimes difficult circumstances, they are underpaid, overworked and drowning in red tape, but really!!!

Like I said earlier, Markus has been giving me a few issues over the last week and I was looking for a friendly chat with my midwife just to put my worries at ease. Not that I am *really* worried, reassurance is what I needed. What I got was a lecture and being talked to as though I was a teen mother, not a mature, intelligent woman in her forties with eight healthy pregnancies under her belt. There isn't much I don't know about pregnancy and labour and I am very in tune with my own body and a firm believer in my instincts.

I should add here that this was not my regular midwife, who is lovely! And that was without doubt half the problem. This lady didn't know me, I didn't know her and quite frankly should I encounter her when in labour, I might just sock her one ;-)

Now this a bugbear of mine, but for starters is it not common courtesy to at least introduce yourself? I didn't see a name badge, she may have worn one, but is it so hard to say,"Hello Doris, I'm xyx."
Doesn't take much, does it now. I have no idea what this lady was called and she was no newbie either, so should have known better really.

Anyways, I sit down, list my concern, namely that I have been niggling and I think I may have sprung a leak last week, which is normal for me. This is what I do in the last few weeks of pregnancy, but I'm only 32 weeks so a tad concerned. I know Markus is fine, he has been wriggling as usual, but should I be concerned?

She completely ignores that question and wants to know, why I didn't go to the hospital. I again reiterate that I know my waters haven't broken, just think I may have had a leak, which has since plugged itself, cause there have been no more incidents, shall we say, for the last 48 hours. She will not accept this, just goes and on about the risk of infection setting in etc. I reassure *her* that I know this and I also know that Markus is fine and I would go in, if I thought it was warranted.

She then goes on to ask about pelvic floor exercises. Ooookaayyyy, I do know the difference between pee and amniotic fluid, believe it or not. I manage an incredulous "Yes," at her lecturing me on the importance of pelvic floor exercises. You don't say, I think to myself, whilst smiling through gritted teeth. However I have a very expressive face, so some of my thought processes must have shown, as she is now back pedalling fast.
"Clearly you must know about them, after all these babies and if you've had no problems before, but you know you're older now and well.."

I am still smiling, just. Ok, so now I am old and decrepit and incontinent. Cheers love.

She then glances through my notes and sees that I had raised blood pressure in the last week of my pregnancy with Tj. Cue sucking of teeth and "Oh, we must keep an eye on that." Even though my blood pressure is just fine. She does at least confirm that my iron levels are nice and healthy.

She then asks where I am going to give birth.

"Well, I am aiming for a home birth this time round, or the midwife led unit, but really am playing it by ear, because you never know what may happen."

She gives me the look and then launches into the old chestnut of the risks of haemorrhaging, because of the number of babies I had, blah de blah de blah. Again I just smile, but I dread to think what my face must have shown, because again she back pedals, and the student midwife behind her, is giggling like anything.

"Hmm, I guess you have heard this before a few times."

"Urm, yes you could say that and I am making an informed decision, besides it all depends on what happens  at the time."

"Yes, of course it does, but you need to be aware of the risks and I have to tell you."

Cue, me thinking, fine, tell me, but don't badger me round the head with it!

"Have you bled heavily with any of the others?"

"No, never. In fact, when I saw the consultant he said to me that he would be less concerned about me having a home birth, than he would be about a first time mother, due to my history."

I am still smiling, just! Actually I was quite proud of my self restraint at that point.

Eventually she does listen to the baby and the student midwife, who was lovely btw, checks on position etc. Markus is head down and doing his usual trick of wriggling away from the doppler. We can hear him, but only faintly. I reassure the student mw that this is normal for him. She measures me and I measure 35 cm, no surprise there, he's a big boy.

Cue, more mumbling and sucking of teeth by the lead midwife. I can hear her whispering to the other lady writing in my notes about how this can't be right as I'm only 32 weeks *sigh*

Clearly I am now also deemed deaf...

Anyways, you get the gist and tone of this appointment. What's more when I make it back home and check my notes she hasn't filled them in properly either. There is no mention of how many cm I measure, nor it is plotted on the chart, so I do it myself. I am over the highest centile, again no real surprise there, he is following his own curve. I am due to go back in three weeks and her parting shot is that I will have to discuss birthing options with my own midwife then. She also says, "You look a bit fed up, what's wrong."

I look down at my bump, raise my eyebrows," Now let's see. I am huge, everything hurts, I can't sleep and I have eight weeks to go yet, now why would that make me miserable, I wonder?"

"Oh you can't sleep? That's unusual at this stage. I am sure it will get better."

I may have managed a smirk at that statement.

"No it won't. I always sleep much better, when I have actually had the baby, even with nightfeeds."

"Ok, do you breastfeed?"

(Now I know she doesn't know me, but I have been a breastfeeding counsellor for the  last nine years, am listed on the hospital breastfeeding helpline etc. and quite well known for that in the area!)

Anyway, I just smile and say,"Yes," having to restrain myself from adding a sarcastic - what else am I going to do - remember Doris, she doesn't know you!

Her response is a tight,"Oh that's good then!"

I am so glad she agrees with on me with something! But really, how condescending can you be...

I seem to have written a small novel, but this really has annoyed me. My eldest thinks I should complain and I will certainly have words with my midwife when I see her next. At least I hope it is my own midwife next time, or I may not be held responsible for my actions.

Pregnancy is such a vulnerable time, and I never did get the reassurance that I needed. Apart from knowing that Markus is now head down - he had been consistently breech up till now. I was 99.9 % sure he had turned by the way he is constantly head butting my bladder and kicking my ribs anyway, but it was good to have it confirmed. One less thing to worry about.

I just wish this particular midwife had actually listened to me, instead of being so concerned with crossing Ts and dotting Is and basically covering her own back. I am none the wiser, whether all these niggles mean that Markus may make an early appearance and to be fair I guess no one can tell me that. It is not an exact science after all.

Ok rant over, if you're even still listening ;-)


  1. What *is* it about different to usual midwives?! I've seen one different to my usual one so far this time (which tbh is rather good really) but she wound me up something chronic too, and gave me a wildly differing fundal height measurement.
    I'm gearing up for my appointment next friday at which I will no doubt get the haemorrhaging lecture too which will *of course* happen if I decline a *because you're having a home birth* blood test for anaemia. *Eye roll*.

    Is it worth maybe going back next week if your usual midwife will be there? Just to get some proper reassurance from someone less vexing?!

  2. Yeah, I was wondering that. I think I will at least ring her, especially if I am still niggling. The funny thing is I was waiting to see my own mw rather than go to hospital. Would have been better off going in, at least they do listen to me when I'm there! ;-)

  3. deep breaths here. Horrible I know, but I am going to play devils advocate here.. a wee bit. Clearly there are several things very wrong.
    Name Badge-essential.
    HEllo I'm bla hbla- essential
    reason it is her not usual midwife- even more yup you've guessed it-essential
    Using her ears - yup ditto ditto...
    really listening when using said appendages- very essential
    so clearly lacking in the up to date with my training stakes.
    but, sadly, it is a fact of our times that things we take for granted have to be spoken about -again. LIke home births pelvic floor, going to mat unit if leaking etc. The sorry fact is as she does not know you, she has to cover these things, or she is jeapordising her job. As well as perhaps you. I don't know if there is a check list in anc notes these days, but if not she has to make it clear she had covered all eventualities. Even if you van recite them to her faster than she can say them
    It's many years since I was in charge of admin at the anc of a very busy mat unit in a city hospital, but even i had to have everything told to me if i saw someone different. And they al knew me!
    Having said that, she sounds as if she is not happy in her work and a wee word in your usual midwifes ear might be a good idea.
    My mantra was always tell our visitors (clients? patients) as much as possible. everyone is more amenable to changes, waiting etc if they know WHY.
    OK thats my rant... sorry you had such a crap time, but the main thing is you and Markus are fine.. xx

  4. Lol Jo, you have a point.I know she needs to say all that, it was just the way it was done and the way she so completely didn't listen to me.

  5. yup, been there with my staff in various jobs. AS i said on many an occasion. We have ears and eyers for a reason- USE THEM.
    A pity you got lumbered with someone who doesn't... maybe however, after speaking to you, she will reflect and take a step in the right direction.
    Fingers X'd..

  6. I had a different midwife once, who, on noticing I didn't have a routine induction date booked, asked why. I informed her I had declined routine induction, and she said, "well, what will you to if you never go into labour yourself?" Ummmm....... LOL, it doesn't go onindefinitly (thank heavens!)

  7. I used to hate maternity appointments. It was when they said my blood pressure was up and I used to think I'm not surprised I've waited so long getting hot under the collar. Just stay calm and please seek help if you get anymore concerned. We just want a healthy baby and mother. Hugs and good to have the rant to get it off your chest. Hope your regular midwife is there next time. Mx

  8. Michelle, sometimes they do say the daftest things!

    Morton, thanks for the hugs and don't worry I will if anything changes :-) x