Thursday, August 23, 2007

Legs up ladies

Last night Lovergirl and I went on a devastatingly disappointing tour of the Mater Mothers' Hospital, where our ob. practises (we don't really want to change obstetricians so we're stuck with it).

We had to pay $16 for the tour, which consisted of sitting in a room watching a slideshow, while the most patronising midwife you can imagine talked to us in a slow, high pitched voice as if she was instructing a roomful of intellectually disabled people.

She referred to partners as 'hubbies' and the potential offspring as 'bubbies'.

'Now, then, are there any question?' she asked at the end of the slideshow.

I said, 'Yes, do we get to see a room?'

She said, 'Yes, well if you'll let me finish we're just going to do that'.

As someone's hubby said to me as we filed out, 'She didn't really want questions, did she?'

Lovergirl had been telling me not to worry, that when she supported a friend at a birth five years ago in country-town Lismore at a public hospital, the birthing suite had been like a hotel room, with a double bed and a deep bath. We are in a capital city, in a private hospital, five years later. And that really all my images of medicalised birthing rooms were completely outdated.

The room was, unfortunately, exactly as I'd imagined it. A single narrow hospital bed, in the middle of a lino room, with lots of machines and plugs along the wall. Stirrups at the end of the bed. Horrible little hospital bathroom, with that ubiquitous grey speckled bathroom lining that comes halfway up the wall, and no bath. Fluorescent lights everywhere, although there was a lamp plugged into a socket. Vinyl recliner chair for 'hubby' to rest in. A TV on a grey metal arm high up on the wall. 'And hubbies, no watching the footy!' said our nurse gaily.

Why do hospitals have to be so horrible? Another friend said, quite sternly I thought, 'You're not having a birth, you're having a baby.'

The problem is I'm reading all these empowering books about creating a beautiful birth environment, with birth plans, and choices about positions and pain relief and so on, and baths, and calm lighting, and welcoming baby into the world, and actually I'm going to be in a hospital bed with my legs up (facing the door!) and nurses & medical staff coming and going. And Sister Fucking Unbelievably Patronising as one of my midwives, doubtless.


ThirdCat said...

You had to pay for the tour?

Mikhela said...

Yes I was pretty stunned too. Admittedly they did give us a free parking voucher worth $14 but I was expecting something more than a slideshow, and perhaps with a little supper and getting to know the other Mums.
It wasn't a good start to our relationship with our care providers.

Debstar said...

Sounds like the midwife that was in my hospital 20years ago has transferred to Brisbane.

Have you read New Active Birth Book yet? That was the best book on childbirth that I read.

Debstar said...

I forgot to add that when we sat through a video I fainted so created a huge kerfuffle which is why no doubt she obviously didn't like me after that.

Mikhela said...

Attention seeking, aren't you?
No I haven't read that book, I'll track it down.

suszoz said...

I was planning a water birth in the birth centre and got a labour-ward-with epidural-then-caesarian. While I was pregnant, my sister-out-of-law (who *had* had a water birth) advised, "See the birth as just a means to an end - getting the baby". At the time I couldn't see what she meant, though I appreciated the attempt to put it in perspective. Looking back now, the look of the labour ward room itself was of no consequence at all. What mattered on the day was the relationships with the staff and because we had a private obstetrician, the midwives all bowed down to her. So if you like your ob and can communicate with them, that's the most important thing.
All that 'hubbie' stuff is very annoying though - even if you were straight.

Mikhela said...

I think that is true. Because I am anxious about the birth, I am trying to be too controlling and have it exactly as I would like, all women-centred and caring - but really I need to learn to let go and focus on the babies. Or, as my mother said, 'I'm sure the doctor knows what he is doing.'(words that always move me to some sort of scornful exclamation)