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Archive for the ‘Homebirth’ Category

Touring the cybersphere I visited The Sceptical OB, oh yes Dr Amy Tuteur ex-The Homebirth Debate blogger, is writing away and as usual is thought provoking. Her latest offering is a scathing scribe about The Feminist Breeder who is going to be live blogging her homebirth, Dr Amy is not impressed by this concept, in fact she calls it ‘pathetic narcissism’. Is she right? Oh, I don’t know. TFB says that one of the reasons that she is doing it is to educate women on natural birth, presumably that is why she also posted a photo to Facebook of her positive pregnancy test even before she left the toilet. I just wonder though, are those women who agree to have their births aired on ‘One born every minute’ narcissistic? I have to admit that I haven’t even considered that before, I’ve just thought that they were brave and uninhibited. I suppose that all bloggers could all be accused, to a greater or lesser extent, of being self-involved and having a need for admiration but does that make us narcissistic? For me the similarity between TFB and me is that to we both hope to educate on a subject close to us via our blogging, but there the resemblance ends, I write and expect no remuneration. I have many companies asking me to promote their wares, to place links etc in my sidebar, but I always decline, in fact I generally just ignore them. If I ever mention a product it is because I have independently used it and feel that it is either worth mentioning, as it is good or should be exposed as it failed to impress, it isn’t because I have received either monies or gifts. TFB, now a quick perusal of her sidebars shows 12+ advertising widgets, how independent are her opinions, how unbiased is her information giving? She is honest though, she does disclose that her live birth blog is being sponsored by Brio Birth, a company specialising in childbirth education classes. Here I am the sceptic, what better way to increase traffic to a blog than to live blog and video stream a birth? What does TFB have to say about the financial aspect of her blog?  Running this ship comes with both tangible costs and opportunity costs. It takes real money to pay for the server space and domain registration that keeps this blog online. It also takes time and a great deal of effort for me to research, write, and moderate a blog with this much traffic and This is why I accept advertising sponsorships – but, and this is really important – I don’t just accept any sponsorships, and that’s what makes the ones appearing on this page so important.  You see, I am extremely picky about who I will let advertise here. Great, so she’s ‘picky’, really, but you then goes on to say But, trust me when I say that most businesses with an advertising budget are not pounding down the doors to advertise on a blog like mine. Hmm, inconsistencies here, there’s even a Feminist Shopper page which is all reviews and advertising, no wonder she spends so much time researching and writing her blog.  Oh, I don’t know, I’m just a grumpy old woman who is alarmed to find herself agreeing with Dr Tuteur.

So will I be logging on to The Feminist Breeder in April when baby is due? If I remember then I will, but I’m not setting up an alert.

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Christmas Day came and went. Absolutely frenetic, much wrapping paper, steam, yes steam is my major impression of Christmas Day because of all those pots bubbling away, full glass of red wine over my oatmeal coloured carpet and then peace when all the little people were asleep.

Work was busy and foggy with numerous offers of mince pies. I have been desperately trying to ‘book’ a newly pregnant woman, twice we have made appointments and she has phoned minutes before them to cancel, I almost know her phone number off by heart now as I’ve rung her so many times to reschedule but been met by her voicemail. She has left me a message to tell me that she needs to see me before her scan, I KNOW, but when I return the call guess what, voicemail. Hubby is now getting annoyed with it as I am always phoning her, yes on my days off. Get up in the morning, phone. In the car on the way to the DIY store (we are going to decorate and put down a new floor in the shower-room), phone. Cooking dinner, phone. As I was so desperate to speak to the woman I’ve been leaving my work phone on, bad mistake as I keep having to answer it. Swine flu, that is the number 1 topic. Last year I was quite reticent on advising women to have it, I gave them the info and told them to make up their own minds, this year I am swaying toward the ‘it’s probably a good idea’ stance. In my mind I feel somewhat happier about reinforcing the party-line as the vaccine has been around for a year, babies have been born to Mums who had the jab last year, and so far I have not been made aware of any adverse outcomes as a result of it. Next in the things to phone your midwife about is ‘I’ve got a cough, what can I take?’ Now, presumably these coughing ladies will have to go to a pharmacy to purchase the medications I suggest, how about asking the pharmacist? I have recollections of an ad campaign encouraging people to speak to the pharmacist and chemists now have a ‘consulting room’ for that purpose, why ask a midwife when there is a highly trained person who is far better placed to advise?  One of the phone calls was from Children Services asking me if I had seen someone, who I had never heard of, and who there was a meeting about on Thursday. Oh b****r, my heart dropped. After much questioning it turned out that they were giving me the name of her child, who has a different surname to her, my shoulders relaxed. Yes, I knew her, I had seen her, she was ‘co-operating’ with the maternity services but no, I couldn’t come to the meeting as I don’t work that day and, where usually I will attend these meeting if possible on a day off, that is one of the days when I have the boys and they hadn’t given me enough notice to rearrange childcare. Had they got a creche? No. Now I’m consumed with guilt, female thing, but they really should either give more notice or consult with ALL parties on when is a convenient time.

Homebirths are in the news again, apparently doctors are trying to put women off them. Why are the RCM and NCT suddenly getting hot under the collar about this, doctors have always tried to put women off them. When I say ‘doctors’ I actually mean G.P’s, obstetricians, well the ones locally, are supportive as long as the woman fits the criteria for a homebirth, i.e the pregnancy is low-risk. Cathy Warwick, RCM leader, calls for a ‘seismic shift’ in the maternity services and recognises that midwives are unable to offer choice. Sorry, Ms Warwick but we do offer choice around here, and the rest of the service suffers as a result. Yes, we need a shift, seismic or otherwise, but something definitely needs to happen, and soon and not just to enable more women to have a home birth but to allow that to happen without depriving other women of the care they deserve and putting midwives under so much pressure of work that they leave.

So, on this last day of 2010, I wish everyone a wonderful 2011. My resolutions? To carry on with my diet, I have lost over a stone, and lose the 3lbs I have put on over Christmas! To allocate some ‘me time’. 

HAPPY NEW YEAR

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Yep. Sitting here waiting for the phone to ring, I’m on call. On call is really a poor description, ‘in waiting’ would be more appropriate as recently it’s 90% certain I will be answering the phone and driving off somewhere at some point during the night. Last time it was because paramedics were refusing to take a labouring woman in to hospital, even though she was ‘high risk’, because her contractions were too close together! Off I went, in freezing fog, arrived 40 minutes later and discovered that the woman was in early labour. Only problem was that I then had to go in the ambulance with her to the maternity unit, then get back to where my car was, then get home. Nearly 4 hours in the middle of the night, and I’m still not really quite sure why. Then last week it was to the local Birth Centre because they hadn’t got any cover for that night, the week before it was to a homebirth. Once again tonight the Birth Centre has no cover, I wonder what time I’ll be called?

These on calls are starting to stress me out. It seems that as I get older, and perhaps wiser, I dread them and anticipate more problems, mind you, that might have something to do with more women with ‘problems’ booking homebirths. I must be the biggest pessimist as I lie anticipating the phonecall, imagining all the different scenarios I could find myself in, and then, when the electronic ring shrills out my heart leaps into my mouth and virtually flies around the room. That’s the worse bit, the waiting, the trying to get to sleep. Once I’m on the road, in action, and especially once I’ve arrived I’m in the present, no more imagining, or dreading, just a woman to help and support. Yes, things could still not be ‘normal’, but facts are easier to deal with than the imaginings of a sleepless midwife.

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I’m about to write an assignment centred around the perspectives of childbearing women, and I could really do with some input from the ‘other side of the fence’. I know what I believe is important, and the area where I think the maternity services should focus but I would really appreciate an honest snap-shot of ‘consumer’ opinion. Where it says ‘Other’ then I hope that voters express themselves and perhaps explain why they rate one aspect more highly than another. If it doesn’t have enough space, or anyone has loads to say then please leave a comment.

It doesn’t matter when, where or if you had a baby. It would be useful though if you could identify your gender in the spare box as then I can identify if perspectives are affected by this. 

Thank you for your time.

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I’m still not 100% certain but I think that I will be the proud owner of a new fridge/freezer tomorrow morning, all thanks to a wonderful man called Barry. My knight in overalls arrived yesterday, heard about my problems to date, examined the offending white goods and then reached for his phone. My latter day Galahad tore several strips off the supplier and within 5 minutes I could have the choice of a refund or a new appliance, I went for the new appliance as they said that they could deliver it on Friday. On a whim I phoned the supplier this morning to find out if it would arrive in the morning or afternoon, and thank heaven that I did, as it hadn’t been booked! Just as I was about to erupt they assured me that they were, as we spoke, pressing the necessary keys and that I could choose when it would arrive, ‘Morning, please’. Now the waiting begins, will it, won’t  it arrive?

So, now that the winter has arrived, I can keep frozen food outside as long as I protect it from the foxes and badgers. Absolutely bitter outside, not a good time to be on call, frozen windscreens and icy roads are not a good start to a call out. I did have a lovely home birth, after many false alarms and a great deal of head scratching a couple of cold nights ago. It was one of those instances where all the advice to the couple was that baby should be born in the hospital as there were ‘deviations from the norm’, they ignored all the advice. Thankfully all went well though and when I left their home they were overjoyed, and so was I!

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I’ve just finished a run of working days, hell and heaven would be the words to describe them. Heaven were the weekdays, hell was the weekend.

Heaven = Visiting new Mums and babies on their first day home, listening to their birth tales, reassuring them that baby is fine, helping them out with breastfeeding and then going back on day 5 to be greeted with a smiley face and thanks for the advice and help I had given previously. Heaven is also seeing my women at antenatal clinic, listening to their woes and then making them laugh, answering their questions and giving advice. Meeting ‘old’ patients in the waiting room as they queue for babe to have his first jabs and being treated as an old friend, even hugged by some. Heaven is feeling that I must be doing/have done a ‘good’ job, that I have fulfilled my role to those womens satisfaction and/or expectations.

Hell. Hell is the weekend, working with a truly skeleton staff, unable to provide any sort of individualised care, the women are on a conveyor belt and I am an operative. Hell is arriving at the midwives clinic to discover that 2 of the 5 midwives scheduled to be working were out at a homebirth all night so are not working that day, then the phone ringing alerting the 3 remaining midwives that another homebirth is ‘brewing’. Hell is looking at the clinic list and seeing that there are 30 women attending and then reviewing the home visits to discover that 10 women need a visit. Hell is phoning those women who are expecting a home visit to explain that this is an impossibility and ‘inviting’ them in to the clinic to be responded to with ‘this isn’t my problem, it’s yours’. To attempt to reason with the shouting woman at the other end of the phone, tell her that there is a homebirth happening, that unfortunately these take priority, and that there is now only 1 midwife covering all women requiring postnatal care over an area of 400sq miles. To then be replied to, in words containing many expletives, that she is your priority, that your job is to provide her with care where she wants it and that YOU shouldn’t put a homebirth before her (where are the decision makers at times like this?). Heaven is when 1 of the midwives who has been out all night with a homebirth turns up at the clinic and works all day with you, although it must have been hell for her, sleep deprived as she was.

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There has been a lot in the news recently about a scottish midwife, Anne Duffy who resigned from her job and is now claiming constructive dismissal by her employers. I’ve been interested in the outcome as the decision, it seems to me, will come down to interpretation of the NMC rules.

As yet a decision hasn’t been reached concerning Anne Duffy’s case, so why am I writing about it now?  Well, in the news today was a report about a couple whose baby sadly died as a result of no midwife going out to their home for the birth and the fact that a settlement has been agreed with the Trust.

In Scotland Anne Duffy was the midwife in charge of the maternity unit, which meant that she was the most experienced available midwife, when a call came in that a seriously ill, pregnant woman needed air lifting from an island to the hospital. After a discussion with other staff members she went off in the helicopter, when her actions were discovered she was disciplined and as a result she resigned. Report here.

So, on the one hand we have a case where a midwife attended and was disciplined as a result and  on the other hand, we have a case where a hospital failed to provide a midwife, a baby died, and the Trust have, I assume, admitted fault and made a settlement with the parents.

There are differences here, in one a midwife failed to follow hospital procedure, but fulfilled the professional requirement to provide care, and as a result was disciplined and in the other a hospital failed to provide care and have admitted fault. Can anyone else see the double standard here?

The Huddersfield baby death does bring up the homebirth and midwife staffing issue again though. There must be more to this though as there was already another homebirth underway, there was only one on-call midwife and she was already at the other homebirth so why didn’t the parents come into the hospital?

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