The NHS can be a beautiful thing, but it can also be a right pain in the arse. For example, we got back from Spain on Saturday and I developed a nasty ear infection. I couldn’t get an appointment with the GP so I called 111 to see the out of hours GP. I called at 1845 and by 20:00 I had seen the Dr, collected my prescription and was back home tucking into a Big Mac….which by the way was cold. I’m half way though the course of antibiotics and have started to see an improvement. I could not fault the service. On the other hand Mummy Hew had a number of appointments with the hospital last week and what a shower of shit they were.
I think it’s fair to say that Baby Hew No2’s pregnancy has not exactly been text book. Whilst both Mummy Hew and Baby Hew No2 are fit and healthy, this pregnancy has given us challenges which we didn’t have to deal with when we had Gracie.
We had a birthing plan appointment with the Senior midwife at the hospital on Tuesday. You may recall in my earlier post, Birth Options, we had a more positive experience with the hospital who agreed to allow Mummy Hew use the Midwife Led Unit (MLU) to birth our baby, rather than the consultant led ward. There were a number of reasons we wanted to use the MLU, there was the option to use the birthing pool, dim the lighting, to have a more relaxed environment, ensuring that if the baby needs monitoring it can be done using a wireless machine and, most importantly, we wouldn’t be stuck on the consultant ward with Mummy Hew strapped to the bed, unable to move. We thought we were in a good position to use the MLU and had agreement from the Senior Midwife to use it. That was until the appointment on Tuesday.
We had a great long weekend having returned from our holiday. Mummy Hew was in a good position to talk with the Midwife about her preferences on the day. We had written down some of the Hypnobirthing techniques we wanted to use and those which we weren’t too concerned about. We arrived at the appointment and the Senior Midwife took Mummy Hew’s notes to review. Her face dropped. She took a deep breath. She started by saying she was really sorry. She told us that the hospital trust has appointed a new head of Midwifery since our last appointment and anyone who is VBAC, cannot use the MLU. She explained that she was aware that she had previously agreed that we could use the MLU but there was nothing she could do. We were so frustrated. The Senior Midwife was really pleasant and delivered the message so eloquently. She was only the messenger, there was no point getting cross with her. But we were fucked off. We thought we were in a position were we where in control of what we wanted but yet again the hospital trust have taken that away. Throughout this pregnancy I feel we have been let down by the trust and they appear to be more concerned about their statistics rather than the choices of the mother.
The Senior Midwife said she would escalate our concerns. We talked through the options available to Mummy Hew and we were told that a home birth or C-section could be an option. I find it really strange that they would support a home birth for a ‘high risk’ case but would not support a birth on the MLU. It’s bloody backwards. Anyway we left the appointment being told that a meeting was happening on Thursday and she would call us with the outcome of her escalation.
We had our routine 36 week appointment on Wednesday. We were meant to be discussing the conversation we had with the Senior Midwife with our regular midwife. We told our midwife the conversion we had and expressed our frustration. I asked if we could transfer hospitals, as we understood it was too late. She was really helpful and advised us that the other hospital we were considering would allow a late transfer and we could use the birthing pool on the consultant led ward. We just needed to complete a self referral form. This felt a little more positive. Although the hospital is slightly further away from home, Mummy Hew would be able to deliver Baby Hew No2 in an environment she felt comfortable with. The Midwife then did the regular checks on the baby and said she thought the baby was still breech. We would need to book a presentation scan at the hospital to double check.
The process of booking the presentation scan was simple, the hospital called us and confirmed there was an appointment at 8:20 on Thursday morning. Mummy Hew told them that the Nursery didn’t open until 8:00 but we would be there as quickly as possible. It was confirmed that it wouldn’t matter as her appointment will be fitted inbetween two appointments, rather than have a slot of it’s own. I had a couple of meetings in the diary and asked Mummy Hew if she minded that I didn’t go with her…..we understood it was going to be a really quick appointment to check the position of the baby. Mummy Hew was fine to go on her own…..I’m really annoyed at my past self for not going. I have a really reasonable employer and understanding manager, in hind sight I should have just moved my meetings around. I never missed a single appointment for Gracie and this is the only one I missed for Baby Hew No 2.
Mummy Hew arrived at the appointment and the dragon on the reception desk barked that Mummy Hew was late. She explained the situation, as above. She was ordered to sit down and someone would come to see her. Mummy Hew was getting frustrated, she was clearly anxious but was left in the waiting room for an hour without any update. Don’t get me wrong, Mummy Hew is a big girl but you would expect a little bit more compassion… especially on the maternity ward. Anyway, she had her scan, she told me the sonographer was a nice old chap and very caring. He confirmed that Baby Hew No2 was not only breech but a footling breech.
Mummy Hew met with the Dr on duty who told her that a footling breech is a breech baby who is feet down, rather than bum down. I had just assumed that a breech baby was always feet down but apparently this is reasonably rare. A footling breech, on nearly all occasions, is born via C-section. And that’s exactly how Baby New No2 will be born.
We have been given a date for a planned C-section…. ironic, we had asked for a c-section right at the beginning but were told is wasn’t an option. We got ourself in a really good position to VBAC. Even reviewing the more negative statistics of a second C-section to try and make the VBAC more appeasing……that was a bit stupid wasn’t it.
It does mean we can plan child care for Gracie and write a birth plan for a planned C-section, stating our preferences in advance. Although we had decided that a C-section wasn’t for us, we now have a few weeks to get onboard with the idea and can start to feel a little bit more in control…well, until Baby Hew No2 decides it doesn’t want the date we have been given and decides to come earlier.