Wednesday, 11 May 2011
One of the good things about the second time around is that you get to learn from the mistakes you made the first time around.
When I was pregnant with Alfie and each “mini crisis” came up, Keith and I would go to our appointments in the belief that we would have a reasoned discussion with the consultants and that they would be impressed with our knowledge and delighted to engage in some in depth discussion.
Important Lesson: Consultant appointments are not a forum for open and well researched discussion. Consultant appointments are an opportunity to be talked at and for you to listen and do as you are told.
So this pregnancy there is a slightly different approach.
As with Alfie I have buried Keith and I under a mound of research to be reviewed and digested: Research on VBAC risks and benefits, on hypnobirthing, refresher research on my blood condition, the whole shooting match. Armed with that I feel very comfortable that we are able to make a decision that is right for us, and Keith feels comfortable that he just needs to do as he’s told.
So this different approach means that we are happy to go forward with midwife led care and can’t see anything new or positive that a consultant can bring to the debate. I don’t feel the need to “prove” my knowledge to anyone this time, and Keith has assured me he has no questions he would like to ask a consultant, so we have no need of the visits on offer.
Today the letter arrived to inform me of my first consultant appointment on 20th May. A very kind offer and a reassuringly prompt turnaround so full credit to the hospital for their efficiency.
I thought it only fair that I call to let them know of our decision because I wanted to free up the slot for a more needy woman. In hindsight, I should have saved myself the trouble and the jovial tone of voice:
“Good afternoon maternity department, how can I help you?”
“I’ve just received a letter inviting me to a consultant appointment and I’m calling to let you know I won’t be attending”
“Right can I take your details please”
“Certainly my number is xxx”
“Mrs Batsford? This is an ante natal appointment, they are going to want to see you.”
“I won’t be keeping the appointment”
“Are you sure you want to cancel?”
“Right, I’ll do that for you know then”
Sounds like a very polite conversation doesn’t it? Except that there is no font to illustrate the open animosity in this lady’s voice; the utter contempt that I would be phoning to decline an appointment with the consultants.
If there had been subtitles to her words they would have been:
“THERE ARE WOMEN BABIES DYING ALL OVER THE WORLD BECAUSE OF A LACK OF OBSTETRIC CARE AND YOU ARE WASTING THE CHANCE THEY WOULD LOVE TO HAVE. YOUR SELFISHNESS IS RESPONSIBLE FOR POOR DEAD BABIES. ARE YOU HAPPY NOW?!?”
Yes lady, yes I am. Oh and this? This is your dummy, would you like it back?