The Midwife System

I called in at the doctors today to register my pregnancy.

I filled out the forms with a mild feeling of resentment for past grievances, and then went about my day without giving it a second thought.

It usually takes a few days for a midwife to ring and arrange a booking appointment.

Four hours later I had a midwife on the phone, asking if I could go into hospital TODAY (remember, this is the NHS – who make you wait weeks for every appointment you need), to get booked in because I was “already at 15 weeks!”

Er, no. I’m afraid I couldn’t just drop everything to go to hospital. Why the sudden urgency?

She seemed distressed that I had missed my nuchal fold and dating scan. I told her I had already had a harmony test. She said:

“But your nuchal fold scan is to assess your risk of Down’s Syndrome…”

When I asked if she knew the test I’d had done she didn’t answer and instead asked where I’d had it.

Sigh. 

I got the impression she didn’t know what I was referring to.

Then she booked me in for the next available appointment (two weeks time – that’s more like it), and proceeded to explain in great detail that it was vitally important I got a set of maternity notes and I must text her urgently if the hospital wanted to do a dating scan before the standard 20 week anomoly scan. She also seemed distressed about them even being able to give me an appointment in five weeks time “because we have a lot of ladies and the appointments get booked up well in advance.”

I remained friendly, relaxed and patient throughout the call. I’m sure my 20 week appointment will be scheduled in time. And even if it’s a week or two late, that’s okay. I know my own due date, so I don’t need someone to tell me that. In fact, I felt totally calm despite how panicky the midwife was about it all.

I gently suggested she might want to allow slightly longer at my booking-in appointment because of my history of recurrent miscarriage (the one I had last year ran over so long I felt really sorry for the women waiting behind me that day), so she’s booked me some extra time.

All in all, for the first time in all the pregnancies I’ve had, I feel happy and in control in dealing with the midwife team.

And that’s one of the benefits of all the miscarriages I’ve had. I am more certain of what I need, more adult in my approach to asking for it, my boundaries are clear and defined, and I know that I am not at the mercy of the system because I have already put my own care first, even if it has cost us more than is ideal.

It’s a sad thing that seeing a midwife and getting a scan in early pregnancy, when you need it most, is so difficult, yet if you show up outside their schedule, you can get a same day appointment offered without even lifting a finger.

So, Vanessa and I (this lady will be my midwife for the duration), will meet in two weeks, but it is highly unlikely she will be present when I give birth. 

Sigh. 

In a way it would make more sense for my GP to see me for my midwife appointments. At least he knows my history and who I am. Instead I’ll spend 5 months with someone I’ll never see again after I go into labour. Crazy.

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