To begin with, let me copy and paste my latest Facebook status to explain the title…
This morning, I had the delightful task of booking in to the hospital ‘out of courtesy’… I walked in and was asked who my Dr was. I told them, “Actually, I have an independent midwife as I’m having a home birth.” *Death stare* “Ah one of those hippies, huh?”… Here we go. And so it went on:
Midwife: “Just sign here to consent to your baby having the vitamin K shot at birth.”
Me: “I haven’t discussed whether we will be doing this with my husband. How about we sign the form *if* we actually do decide to have it when the time comes.”
Midwife: *sneers at me* “I should have predicted that answer.”
Midwife: “So you had a heart problem with your daughter?”
Me: “Yes, paroxysmal atrial fibrillation.”
Midwife: “Oh my God! Have you seen the cardiologist this pregnancy?”
Me: *by this stage, finding her visible and audible judgements quite humorous and predictable* “Shit! What’s wrong with me right now?”
Midwife: *raises eyebrow at me while I beam a smile at her*
Midwife: *seeing my cardiologist referral letter* “Well, I’m glad your GP has brains, when are you seeing them?”
Me: “If and when I have a problem.”
Midwife: *wide-eyed stare* “Huh?”
Me: *big smiles at her again* “You know, when my heart has a problem, then I’ll go see them. Isn’t that the concept of primary health care?”
Midwife: “So I suppose this Hep B form is pointless then?”
Me: *another lovely smile* “Actually, I’m all for immunisations, but please, continue to make judgements about me.”
Midwife: *clearly rushing to get rid of me* “Do you need any booklets, pamphlets, information at all? I suppose you know it all by now…”
Me: “I’m fine, but thank you for your offer.”
Midwife: “Are you sure? Contraception perhaps?”
Me: “Contrary to your rudely and incorrectly perceived opinion, all my husband’s and my children were PLANNED, but thank you again for your humorous display of ignorance.”
Yep. This all happened this morning. I had a referral letter from my midwife to book in at the hospital, out of courtesy. A nice thing to do, really, if you ask me. I mean, we are covering our bases, ensuring that the hospital has all my up-to-date scans and blood tests and results on hand in the event that I turn up there. Because, let’s face it, if I do turn up there, it’s likely to be with a problem, because I’m having a home birth if there are no problems. Home birth = no problems. Hospital = problems. Sounds obvious, right? It would be clever and intelligent, and possibly even responsible to make sure that in the event of a problem, the hospital has all the information it needs regarding me, my history, my current pregnancy, etc. Sounds imperative to my care and all that jazz. Anyway, blah blah blah Liss, stop boiling. So, I turn up to maternity bookings, where I have an appointment. I was very clear from the get-go, even telling them on the phone when I originally booked, that I was booking out of courtesy, that I was having a home birth, that’s all folks. Apparently in this day and age, if you have something nasty to say, you go right ahead and say it out loud to the person’s face ***sarcasm***.
I’m currently ‘zen’ about everything that happened… being calm about all that was said. I’m not sure that I would have gotten away with speaking so plainly to any of my patients as an emergency nurse, but I guess some people just don’t have a social, moral or ethical mouth/face filter.
The above excerpt of my conversation with the hospital midwife is exactly the reason why I refuse point-blank to step into hospital this pregnancy. I’ve had to do it today out of courtesy, and now that’s it, no more. How am I supposed to have my birth intentions fulfilled during labour and birth by a midwife who tells me her opinion of MY educated choices the instant that I walk into hospital, ‘their hospital’, as it would seem? I can see it now, how it would all pan out… I would turn up in labour and be allocated to a random midwife – a midwife who I’ve never met before today. It would be completely counter-productive to the natural progression of labour (and the effect it would have on me as I labour) to try to argue with that particular midwife on the day that I want delayed cord clamping, or don’t want monitoring, or vitamin K for my baby. I’ve tried it before!!! Just like others have messaged or called me telling me of how they asked for something to happen or not to happen, I have, in my past birth experiences, had opportunistic vultures dressed up as health care providers who completely ignored my written birth plan and my thrice-explained wishes to have delayed cord clamping (cord was clamped immediately while I was staring at my newborn baby for the first time… Opportunistic much…), to be able to eat and drink during labour (I was bullied by a midwife who told me that the sandwich and juice was for my husband, not for me, and I was NOT to eat it), to be allowed to walk freely to assist in pain relief (again bullied and told I was now a falls risk due to hypotension that was probably caused by not being able to eat or drink, was ordered into bed and had a hand placed on my shoulder when I tried to get up), and to not have an epidural offered before any other pain relief (the midwife actually asked me if I wanted it, did not even mention a single other method of pain relief, and had an anaesthetist in my room literally minutes after I broke down and begged “yes”). If you have a midwife who disagrees with you, all of a sudden, you’ll find a brand new, only-made-up-today rule against whatever you want. Or you’ll just be ignored.
I just think there was no point arguing with her, when she obviously had her opinion formed the instant I walked into her office and started talking, and nothing I presented to her as factual, evidence-based knowledge was going to change it. I knew there would be no point on God’s green earth to asking her why she thought it was necessary for me to go and see the cardiologist, because I knew her answer would be proverbial baloney!!! If her answer was ‘because you had a problem before’, I’d just ask her why a year’s worth of cardiology tests that cleared me weren’t good enough. Perhaps I missed the memo where you apparently now go to the doctor when you’re not sick just to see if you are sick. Or not sick, for that matter.
For the record, I am insanely happy with the care that I’m receiving from my amazing midwife. I have never felt healthier. I’ve never felt better in any pregnancy in my life. I love the fact that my midwife makes me feel healthy instead of ‘high risk until proven otherwise’. That’s not how pregnancy should be. Pregnancy is not an illness. These days, pregnancy is made out to be ‘a condition’, it’s way too medicalised…
Anyway, I just laugh and smile, because honestly, does her opinion hurt me? No. Am I going to change her opinion in an hour’s booking time? No. Does her opinion of me have any bearing on my life? Change my life? Make me want to birth in a hospital that she works at? Awww hell no! As a nurse myself, I don’t understand why a person in her profession and position would think it’s even remotely ok to disempower a pregnant, soon-to-give-birth mother. She is certainly fulfilling her holistic, empathic, caring role as a nurse/midwife in respecting a woman’s educated choice *sarcasm*.
6 months bump with my baby boy!