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Ocean View Verandah
I have come home from work early today - after lunch. Mostly because I burst into tears while I was talking to a midwife at the birthing centre, and just couldn't face going back to work.
We went to the hospital for a tour of the birthing centre and maternity ward at lunch time, and afterwards we went back to the birthing centre to talk to a midwife and book into the programme there. As it turns out they don't book you in for an appointment until 14-16 weeks, basically for understandable, if regrettable financial reasons.
Namely, most miscarriages occur before that time, and the programme is just not funded well enough to spend a lot of time with those people who are not going to make it through. The first appointment is a couple of hours, so they try to keep that until after the 'danger' weeks, and also after the time when they can first hear the heartbeat. In fact they have made it a bit earlier for me (about 13 weeks) because Chris is going to be in Melbourne from early October for two months, and the midwife said that while he doesn't need to be there it is nice if he can be. I definitely want him there, so that was that. She said they may be able to hear the heart then.
The reason I burst into tears, was... well, mostly that I have hormones racing around my body I think. I was telling her about the gyno saying I had a higher chance of miscarriage, and trying to tell her about the GP I saw telling me not to worry about it, but I didn't get that out because I burst into tears.
But mostly I think I have this sense of aloneness and almost abandonment by the health care system. I keep reading that as soon as you discover you're pregnant you should go see someone. But I went to see a GP, and all she really did was refer me for blood tests. She did answer a few of my questions about the options - birthing centre/hospital etc, but that's it. And then I go to book in with a midwife and they say they don't really want to see me for another 2 months or more. It's not that I want to have tests or scans or anything, I don't. I just want someone to be my primary health care person for this process, and I don't want to wait two more months to be able to ask them questions.
I must say that the midwife I talked to at the birthing centre was great. She listed several GPs in my area who other women have liked, and immediately offered to book me in with the foetal medicine unit with a doctor there she says is great. That's for a scan and a consultation at 10 weeks. Of course, that's still a month off, and in addition I'm really not so sure about having scans, but I'll talk to my GP and that doctor about that closer to the time. The midwife was reacting to me bursting into tears while I was telling her about my chances of miscarriage, which of course is worrying me, but she didn't realise that it was really just the fact that I was talking to someone sympathetic that sent me over the edge. I almost burst in to tears just when I was talking to the midwife on the phone when I called to find out about the tour. She also said not to hesitate to call them if I was worried about something. But that's hard to do when I haven't even had an initial consultation with someone yet.
I bought a book on the weekend called Babydaze, which is basically the stories of 9 woman through various parts of the process of becoming a mother. The author, Erina Reddan, says that what inspired the book was having a baby herself, experiencing the awfulness of sleep deprivation at the same time as moving from being a professional in the workforce to an amateur at home (and that in the most important job you'll ever have), and feeling like she wasn't coping. She said one of the worst things was that feeling that there must be something wrong with her, because everyone else seemed to cope fine. She did a radio interview, in which she said exactly that, which was followed by many many mothers phoning in to say thank you, because they thought it was just them.
Well! I am feeling like those mothers. There are books to tell me what to do, and how my hormones should be making me feel happy, and to eat regular snacks to fight off 'morning' sickness, and take regular naps (when?!), to avoid exhaustion. But there is no where that it says I will cry at the drop of a hat, be nauseous all the goddamn time, snacks or no snacks, and that no one will want to see me until I'm a third of the way through. The books have checklists for how to choose your midwife. Ha! That would assume you could have a private midwife. My friend, Sabine, who is pregnant in the States, has two midwives, who work together, who she's been seeing (I think) since before she even got pregnant. Here, they don't want to see me until I'm 16 weeks!
I wonder, do other people feel like this?
I forgot to say - I wrote a piece for the July Yellow Lines, which has now been published. It is in Issue 14, and called 'Cardboard Magic'.