You may recall from much earlier in the life of this blog that, during our first visit to our obstetricians’ clinic, we had a reasonably unsatisfactory session with one of the clinic’s midwives.
I’m pleased to report that our subsequent contact with the clinic’s midwives has been fine. And today we spent an hour with Judy, who is both a midwife at the clinic and a community midwife (which means that she’ll take care of the babies and me and visit us at home after we’ve been discharged from hospital). If we’d chosen to use an independent midwife as our Lead Maternity Carer that person would have provided our post-birth care, but we’ve got Judy instead.
It turns out that this is an excellent result for us; Judy’s lovely. We went to see her primarily to talk to her about breastfeeding, as she’s got form as a lactation consultant. I really want to breastfeed the babies, at least for a few months (although I’m also entirely realistic about the possible challenges of feeding two babies, and have absolutely no issue with the prospect of doing formula top-ups if it is necessary, or switching exclusively to formula if that works best for us), so we thought that it would be useful to hear the ‘theory’ of it, before having the opportunity to try it out when the sprogs arrive.
Judy was really helpful, and reassured us that we’ll have access to lots of support and advice while we’re in hospital (which will probably be for five days after a c-section, assuming that there are no complications). She acknowledged that we’re likely to get different tips and advice from every hospital nurse and midwife we meet, but said that we should just tune into the people that resonate with us and not let ourselves get stressed out.
We ended up chatting about all sorts of other elements of life with new babies as well, which was great. If I had gone the midwife route Judy would have been exactly the kind of person I would have wanted to support me: she’s really pragmatic and realistic, and doesn’t buy into the idea that she should toe a party line and usher me towards any particular way of doing things.
She did also tell us something fairly noteworthy: there is a huge shortage of maternity hospital beds in the Auckland area at the moment, which could mean that women have to be transferred to other hospitals quite some distance away in order to deliver – hospitals like Waikato Hospital (more than two hours’ drive away from Auckland), or Wellington Hospital (at least eight hours’ drive, or an hour’s flight). Even more extreme than getting shipped to another city would be the prospect of getting shipped to another country: apparently it may even come to pass that women could be sent to a hospital in Sydney! Imagine that! At least we have lovely friends in Wellington and Sydney (and Wellington would be very handy for my family, given that it’s only a couple of hours’ drive away from where they all live, compared with the six hour drive to Auckland). We don’t know a soul in Hamilton, so I sincerely hope that we don’t end up there.
Actually, what am I saying! I hope that our babies stay put until the bed shortage is resolved, so we end up in the local hospital ten minutes’ drive away from our house, as planned!