Illustrations, London, Mummy stuff, Pregnancy

No midwife when you need one – and vice versa

upset_sketchWhat is it with the NHS and midwife shortage in this country? How come they abandon you when you could need a little advice and hold you in their tight grip when you just want some peace and quiet?

When I was about 20 weeks pregnant, my midwife cancelled my appointment with neither substitution nor explanation. I was scared, sick and had accumulated a list of questions that quadrupled daily. The next time I saw her (about four weeks later), she rushed me into her office, peering on my – meanwhile physical – list, trying to answer my questions and poking my arm with a thick needle at the same time. Needless to say that neither extracting blood nor answering my burning questions has been accomplished to a satisfying extent.

I came to understand that low risk means low priority and took things into my own hands, i.e. I equipped myself with as many books as I could find and actually bore reading, as some literature just makes you regret getting pregnant in the first place. Who really wants to read that all you are inevitably in for is a fat ass, stretchmarks and broken veins on your face?

A few good books, an NCT class and 20 weeks later, and I feel like the well informed, confident and serene mum-in-waiting I wanted to be in the first place. Not for long. Turns out, there has been an error with my appointments, and my midwife booked me in to see me today. Out of the blue, completely unnecessary, for the 2nd time in two weeks. NICE recommends 10 antenatal appointments for first time mums with uncomplicated pregnancies. Dear Midwife, let me tell you that we are not going to make it to 10 before birth, unless you want to see me daily and little L decides to hang in there for a little longer. I am at the end of my pregnancy. You haven’t been there when I needed you, and now I do not want to see you anymore. I am fine. I am still quite active and agile (for the initiated: I painted my toenails today; two layers plus top coat without fainting). I am a good girl still attending my yoga classes. I am taking my vitamins and slab oil on my outstretched tummy, daily.

I called her to tell her I am doing all right and offered to skip the appointment. But she insisted to see me to talk through what would happen, if I went overdue. At this point, I just wanted to lift my hands up and place them over my ears. ‘Lalalalalalalala’. I know what would happen. Sweep – prostaglandin – drip – epidural – caesarean. My birthing nightmare would get threateningly closer. I don’t need that now. What about ‘cross that bridge when you get there’?

To make matters worse, today is the only appointment to which I cannot drag Big M with me. I just feel better when he is with me, and the midwife is much more empathetic and less pushy when he is there, too. Coming to think of it, this is a very sad thing to say.

Too upset to sit quietly and paint a picture, hence only a sketch of me earlier today, before the dreadful conversation and at ease with me and the universe. Although I admit that my facial expression wasn’t exactly that relaxed thanks to bump/legs/flab rivalling for space.


  1. Reasons to be Cheerful 1,2,3 said…
    Oh how exciting! and what a great blog. It’s a shame about your experience re. midwives – I had two of my babes in Canada and it was great, less demands on the system I guess, but here, similar experience to you.

    Hang in there, all will be well! We don’t all get varicose veins and stretch marks! Can’t wait to hear more and see your sketches of your new baby when it arrives. x

    19 MARCH 2009 10:28
    Really Rachel said…
    Aww poor you re midwife. My experiences with midwives have been great, actually – maybe they’re less busy ‘up north’!
    SOOO impressed that you painted your toenails!!

    19 MARCH 2009 10:48
    Tara said…
    I’m really sorry you are suffering at the moment.
    I propose I cheer you up. How about I write a post with you in mind? That is exactly what I am doing right now and came over here to check out your URL and find the Blues are in town.
    Chin up my dear, you are doing a fabulous job.

    19 MARCH 2009 21:38
    Cat said…
    All my siblings were delivered by a midwife. I was the only one delivered by a doctor. I love your illustration. Despite of all the frustrations, you managed to keep calm.

    20 MARCH 2009 02:06

  2. I was two weeks overdue, give or take, with all 3 of mine. But I did have to hold out against pressure to be induced. Good luck!

    Hope you find a bit more sympathy in the NHS as the day approaches.

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