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Midwife communication...long!!!

(69 Posts)
steakchipsandfriedeggs Fri 21-Jun-13 10:46:32

I went to what should have been my 34 week midwife appointment this week. Unfortunately I was a week late as they were so booked up the week before. Nonetheless, at the appointment before, the midwife told me we would be going through birth plan, place of labour, basically all things that the NHS website explained would be discussed, as well as the guide to appointments in my mat notes. As I am extremely anxious about labour, I had really given myself a good talking to, and had a list of questions that are weighing heavily on my mind, hoping I could be reassured at the appointment.
I went in to my appointment and explained that I had forgotten to do a urine sample and could I quickly nip to the loo now (previous midwives have ok'd this) she said I probably wouldn't need to give one if my bp was fine, plus I hadn't had an issue before with protein in urine etc. I was a bit skeptical about this, but as she is the professional, I didn't query. She then gave me my blood results from 2 appointments ago, which we had already gone through, despite me explaining this. She then measured me and checked heartbeat. At no point did she tell me my measurement and I had to read this from my notes after the appointment. It seems I'm measuring a week smaller, although I'm not sure if I should be concerned as at my last appointment I was measuring a week larger. I just would have thought she would have explained what this might potentially mean?!? Anyway, I keep telling myself that if it was anything to be concerned about she would have said. She then asked if I had been experiencing any back pain, to which I replied not really, only if on my feet for long periods of time (work in retail, can't avoid at times). She then told me to try swimming as an exercise as I was carrying the baby in my back and this might help bring him forward. She also mentioned this at my last appointment as I was concerned that I was appearing 'small' for how far along I was. She said this was because I was tall (5ft11) and was carrying him further back. There was no mention of issues with positioning, she even told me that he was head down, although not yet engaged. I assumed everything was fine and normal.
She then insisted that I attend an 'early pregnancy antenatal class' that evening, it would be beneficial to me, although didn't explain why. I thought she may have mixed her words slightly, and perhaps meant early labour class and what to expect etc. She then ended the appointment briskly and said she didn't need to see me until 3rd July. I felt confused that we hadn't discussed birth plan, labour etc, but also like i was being rushed out of the door, so didn't protest. I wish I had, but i just left feeling rather deflated! When I got home and rang to confirm my attendance to the class my midwife had insisted I go to, the lady on the phone asked how far along I was, I said 35 weeks and she laughed. The class was for ladies in very early stages and how to cope with first/second/third trimesters, all of which I'm a bit late for. I was baffled by this.
To add to this, I have been reading through my notes, and have had to resort to the Internet to decipher what she has written, and it turns out my baby is back to back. I am terrified by this. The pain I can take, but I have severe anxiety issues about giving birth and privacy and going by everything I have seen so far on the Internet in terms of NHS, it seems that doctors prefer to intervene with forceps much of the time. This is not what I wanted, I really can't handle the thought of being on my back, legs in the air with forceps being used. I wanted privacy, to be active and to have at least a shred of dignity to be left intact after all this. I feel my midwife has failed to explain to me my options or at the very least what to expect with a back to back baby. Am I wrong to feel that my appointment was rushed and insufficient? And if she doesn't want to see me until the 3rd of July when my baby is due on 23rd, does this leave things a bit late? What if he turns up before then? I'm so worried that I'm just going to have to do what everyone else wants me to do, and I feel so let down that as this is my 1st child, I'm not being kept very well informed of what is going on? I know the midwives are stretched and I'm not the only woman giving birth, but I've never had any of this happen to me before, and I feel so alone with it all.

Sorry it's so long, but I relying on advice and the experiences of strangers at the moment, instead of from my midwife. Any support/advice would be welcome!

Thank you xxx

magpieC Fri 21-Jun-13 10:58:34

Have you got a way of contacting her outside of appointments (Ours had a 24 hour answerphone so you could leave a message and get a call back)? If so, give her a call asking her to give you a ring and explain your concerns and see if she can either discuss over the phone or whether you should make an appt or home visit in the meantime.

Failing that just make an appointment anyway and explain that you have some things you want to discuss.

WipsGlitter Fri 21-Jun-13 11:05:11

I remember coming out of appointments disappointed. Third of July isn't that far away and I think you need to be a bit more proactive then and now allow yourself to be rushed out.

I think you might need to try and address your privacy issues. Your baby, all being well, will come out your vagina. People will be looking at you legs akimbo/arse in the air/squatting or whatever.

steakchipsandfriedeggs Fri 21-Jun-13 11:18:23

Thanks for the sensitivity wips, I was trying to appeal for some kind words and advice regarding my issues, not someone stating the bleeding obvious.

parttimer79 Fri 21-Jun-13 11:57:40

I don't think Wips was insensitive but understand that you are feeling a bit emotionally bruised by the whole thing at the moment.

I would call the central midwives number for your area and ask about classes which focus on birth prep. I'm due 2 weeks after you and will be attending these mid July so I'm sure that it won't be too late but I realise provision varies massively from area to area.

You can also try your local children's centres - they run antenatal classes which will also cover this and other aspects such as feeding and I found this quite a supportive environment.

If you were unhappy with this midwife you may also find the local midwives do a drop in clinic and you can see someone different. If you are not happy don't leave it til 3rd July and get more anxious.

As for the anxiety, it may be a bit "woo" but I've been using the natal hypnotherapy CD and find that this is pretty good for relaxing, and anecdotally people have said they found it helped when in labour.

Hope this helps

steakchipsandfriedeggs Fri 21-Jun-13 12:15:04

Unfortunately I have found that my midwife appointments are on a 'who you see is what you get' basis and as they cover a large catchment area, it is impossible to pin one of them down other than at the weekly clinics. My midwife this week was perfectly nice but as I said, I felt rushed and kind of ended up on the other side of the door after the appointment thinking 'well what happened there?' My appointment was less than 10 mins, during which she had found the baby was back to back and hasn't even informed me of this.

Perhaps my original post was lacking somewhat of the question I was hoping to be answered, what does it mean to have a back to back baby? I've read all sorts of scary things online and I'm now very very scared of what may or may not happen. I so badly wish that I could have a 'shut up and get on with it' attitude that I feel some women on MN have, but certain things in my past mean that I have some big trust issues, some of which involve the NHS. I don't want to go into them here as it is something I am trying to work through, however I don't feel I am being given an adequate amount of time to ask my questions or voice my concerns at my appointments, and it isn't really something I wish to discuss on the phone.

Regarding wips comment, I understand the point they were trying to get at, but my original post wasn't about who would be looking at me down there, it was whether my midwife appointment was adequate and what to expect re a back to back baby. However the rather blunt last sentence read to me as 'people are going to see your vagina, get over it' Not very helpful.....

Laquila Fri 21-Jun-13 12:15:42

I do sympathise, OP (but I don't think Wips was being insensitive either - you did say "any support/advice would be welcome").

I have also been a bit disappointed by midwife communication, or lack thereof, and in fact more so by lack of consistency. I don't think I've seen the same midwife twice, and have no idea which one will be at the actual birth.

At my last appt (28wks), I asked whether we'd be discussing the birth plan at the next appt, and she said that the birth plan wasn't really something that would be discussed during antenatal appts, it was more something that me and my husband would do amongst ourselves at our antenatal classes. We have our first antenatal class next week, so I'm going to go along to that with my husband and see how we feel after talking to other parents there, and the lady running the classes (who sounds v on the ball on the phone). If I still have any fears or anxiety about continuity of care and the like, I'm going to properly look into using a doula. Have you considered this? I asked for advice in these boards about positive experiences of childbirth and getting a doula was suggested again and again, and no-one had anything bad to say about theirs.

Other than that, I'd also suggest reading Ina May Gaskin's book Spiritual Midwifery - it is unashamedly hippyish, but also very interesting and I've found it quite empowering rather than annoying/scary so far (and I am a bit of a cynic, to say the least). I'd also consider a pregnancy yoga class, or getting a DVD that you can use at home. I wish I'd started a class early on in my prgnancy, but it hasn't been practical, so I now have the Buddhabellies DVD to try at home, although having done a fair bit of yoga before, I feel relatively confident about breathing exercises and ways to try and keep calm during labour.

Have you started your NHS antenatal classes, and if so, how have they been so far?

holidaysarenice Fri 21-Jun-13 12:21:16

tbh i think wips had it to a t.

you are anxious - did you tell the midwife that and let her help you. No it doesnt sound like it. If you dont want to leave until you have asked your questions dont leave. You cant come on here and complain cos you didnt ask.

My honest advice, ring the midwife, tell them you are anxious and have a few questions/need some advice, can they give you an appt to do so or would they have time to speak over the phone/call you back.

you are one of thousands giving birth, and 'NO your vag is not something new' hcps have seen many more. they will not be discussing you over their cup of tea in the staff room. More exciting things happened last night.

mamachelle Fri 21-Jun-13 12:22:40

i know its late in the day but is there a diff midwife you could see? if not, phone the midwife and make another appointment to see her soon and take with you a list of things you need to say or ask. could you also take your dp or a friend for support? they could back you up and be firm with the mw if you feel like you are being rushed out again.

dont worry about the measurements, i have been measuring 2cm smaller than dates for a while now (36 wks with dc4) and my midwife said upto 3cms either way is nothing to worry about.

as for the back to back labour, i have had two of them and both babies turned before they were delivered without intervention. There are numerous ways to encourage baby to turn, crawling around the floor etc

if you google search anything, do so with caution. there will be a horror story or 3 for every situation but it wont necesarily mean that is the outcome you will have.

as for your privacy anxieties, i have two bits of advice. firstly, regardless of how you feel now or even at the beginning of labour does not dictate how you wil feel or react in labour. i have had an instinctive reaction to take my clothes off with my 3 dds and i dont expect this baby to be any different. many women feel the same! perhaps you could be selective with your labour clothes? mayb take a long thin nightie to cover up in with you.

2ndly, maybe learn some relaxation techniques to stop any anxieties that may start to creep in as the time gets closer? or, try and find a therapist that is experienced in antenatal therapy?

just a few of my baby brained thoughts there.

good luck to you. you will be fine and all wil be forgotten when baby is with you.

Laquila Fri 21-Jun-13 12:25:12

I was just coming back to make the point that there is every chance your baby will move into a better position before the birth, and yoga may even help with this, but Mamachelle has pretty much covered it and makes some additional very good points!

steakchipsandfriedeggs Fri 21-Jun-13 12:30:34

Haven't started my antenatal classes yet because there was a miscommunication regarding how to attend. One midwife said to just turn up from 32 weeks onwards (1st and 2nd Thursday of the month) but current midwife said this week that I have to book in and gave me a telephone number that is only manned from 8.30-9.30am mon-fri, and so far no one has called me back. So because I was informed to just turn up, there is a chance that I may not be able to get in at all, especially if no one answers my call.

Regarding a doula, I don't think it's an option for me, all I want is me, my husband and midwife in the room. Plus cost issues, and its just one more person I have to explain my issues to.

I know I'm probably appearing negative towards all suggestions, I really don't mean to be its just I have spent the whole pregnancy so far not bothering my midwives or having any medical issues etc which I have been incredibly grateful of. But now when I really need to talk to someone, I feel 'brushed off'. My family live far away, I don't have any friends that I can discuss this sort of thing with and I get one chance a week to have a face to face conversation with a midwife.

I am grateful for the advice, I suppose my situation is a little more complex that how I am describing....

lightrain Fri 21-Jun-13 12:42:56

Have a look at the spinning babies website, lots of tips on how to encourage the baby into perfect position. But don't worry too much - lots and lots of babies are born back to back and it doesn't mean forceps are inevitable. Babies can turn at the last minute too. You should still very much be able to have the active birth you're wanting!

3rd July is less than 2 weeks away, so why not write a nice list of your questions and a draft of your birth plan, and take these to your next appointment. If you're feeling rushed at that appointment, be assertive and let the midwife know that you have been feeling anxious and it would really help if all your questions were answered before you left. Feel confident about that - its important that you feel you deserve the midwife's time IYSWIM.

parttimer79 Fri 21-Jun-13 12:44:24

I don't see why you can't try and see another midwife and this time be honest about your anxieties/trust issues and do not leave that room until you feel satisfied.
I had terrible antenatal anxiety and depression in my 2nd trimester and ended up weeping copiously over at least 1 midwife. She talked me through what could be done and kept me there til I was much calmer and never made me feel that I was rushed or that I was bothering her.

I think you will find them very willing to help but you need to ask, MWs are not psychic. You also need to get away from this idea you are bothering them, your wellbeing is part and parcel of their job. If you ask for help and it is not given then you need to complain about that but give them the chance first.

I would also gently suggest the internet is not always a great place for health information and often scares the bejesus out of people!

steakchipsandfriedeggs Fri 21-Jun-13 12:55:07

For what it's worth (and probably not much seeing as I have been ripped apart by some posters, not all but some) I wasn't coming on here to complain, I feel I was asking for advice on what was 'normal' with regards to my midwife appointment. If that didn't come across, then I apologise. I'm grateful to everyone who gave advice, I will take most of it on board. Thank you

As for the comment regarding whether the midwives will be discussing me during tea breaks etc,I still think thats insensitive,given that I have a history of abuse. I didn't want to say because I didn't think I would need to or would have to and i just (perhaps naively!) honestly thought that coming on here would mean a little support in what is a traumatic situation for me without having to literally spell out my past. No wonder I feel I can't discuss my concerns with my midwife if I get this kind of reaction from people. sad

ThatsHandy Fri 21-Jun-13 12:57:36

Of course you are worried- you don't know what to expect and that is understandable. Obviously, you have your own reasons why you are unnerved by certain things which other MNers shouldn't judge you on, as it is perfectly obvious you have come on here for support.

Firstly, I would contact a different midwife- we have a 'hub' system in my area where you can ring them up anytime for advice. If this isn't an option for you, ring up your normal midwife at the GP practice where you are registered and book an appointment as soon as you want- you do not have to wait till 3rd July.

Please sort this out today, to stop yourself worrying another day and night- once you have talked to someone and ironed out your birth plan/ concerns, you will feel so much better about everything.


parttimer79 Fri 21-Jun-13 13:01:01

steak I think people have been supportive and you must be very stressed if you are reacting like this.
I really feel for you, please do not feel I am belittling your concerns/past or trying to "rip you apart" but please try to talk to your midwife, if you feel you can trust her with this very personal subject. Late pregnancy and birth is not the time to feel alone and unsupported.

LadyMedea Fri 21-Jun-13 13:14:56

Going by the schedule of appointments on the NHS website at your 34 week appointment you should have had the following:

'Your midwife or doctor should give you information about preparing for labour and birth, including how to recognise active labour, ways of coping with pain in labour and your birth plan. "

Sounds like they didn't do what they were meant to do.

Ring them, and ask for an appointment to discuss labour and your birth plan. It is part of their job. Babies can turn up early, don't leave it until 3rd July.

Gwlondon Fri 21-Jun-13 13:17:10

I am sorry you are having a crap time. I can understand that you feel very vulnerable and unsupported. Big hug from me.

I don't have much I can tell you about but my friend used the spinning website (mentioned above) when she couldn't go to pregnancy yoga classes. I went to an active birth class. Does anyone near you do that? Perhaps they will do a one off private session? Babies turn and you can sometimes help them by certain moves.

What do you usually do to relax? Massage? walk? music? Singing? Could you fit something in over next few weeks? Be good to your self. It is hard when you don't know what to expect.

Good luck.

steakchipsandfriedeggs Fri 21-Jun-13 13:20:34

On the whole, yes most people have been supportive, and I have taken this advice on board, however there have been some choice comments from other posters that have upset me, as they seemed to have missed my point entirely, I don't think about what medical staff think of me down there, I do however think about feeling exposed and vulnerable and how I am going to deal with that. I am only reacting badly to these comments, I am grateful to all others. I only wanted advice on what to do next.

LieweHeksie Fri 21-Jun-13 13:32:43

The bottom line is that everything in that appointment would have been completely fine for most people (except for the issue about the extra class). The only reason that it was not fine for is because of your anxiety. So you need to arrange an additional appointment in which you tell them how anxious you are feeling and get them to go though each point in the notes that is making you anxious. As someone posted above, MWs are not psychic and you need to tell them that you need extra support right now.

Good luck flowers

Fairydogmother Fri 21-Jun-13 13:33:18

OP I'm sorry you're feeling like this - especially so late on in pregnancy.

My advice would be to make an appt with your midwife and tell there that you need enough time allocated to you so that you can adequately talk through all the items that you need to. My hospital runs a service whereby expectant mothers who are needing extra emotional support can access one to one help sessions - does your local hospital do something similar? That might also give you a chance to fully allay any fears you may have plus give the medical staff a chance to record any specific requests that you might have with regards your care during labour and afterwards. I know you said you didnt want to discuss any past issues with lots of medical staff but maybe if there was one dedicated person who you could confide in that might help?

I'm pregnant with my first so I cant offer any advice on back to back babies other than I've heard lots turn of their own accord.

Just my thoughts. But dont let this eat away at you - the medical staff are there for both your physical and emotional needs and dont forget that or feel that you are a burden. flowers

PoppyAmex Fri 21-Jun-13 13:40:50

Steak no one "ripped to shreds", I think you're just a bit sensitive at the moment.

Just a quick thought; I agree giving birth isn't always the most dignifying thing in the world and sometimes you don't get treated the way you'd like by HCPs in general.

This is why I think it's important that you think about how to handle appointments and interactions with HCPs in a more proactive and assertive way (much like you did on this thread) grin

Hopefully next time you'll be prepared, can speak up and won't leave until your questions are answered.

Good luck!

mamachelle Fri 21-Jun-13 13:52:05

steak- from any advise above do you feel like you have found what the next step should be?

re the feeling exposed and vulnerable, do you mean in labour or opening up and telling a trusted health care professional of any worries?

im not trying to be nosey, i may have a few other suggestions but dont want to advise if i have got my wires crossed if u see what i mean?

Christelle2207 Fri 21-Jun-13 14:03:32

Sorry you've felt this way. I had my 34 week app earlier and have lots of questions as do you and have been assured that I have a proper 30 minute "birth talk" at the next appt - 36 weeks so crossing my fingers that all is covered then and no emergency beforehand. She said "do you think you'll need it given that you have NCT classes in the next couple of weeks" and I stuck to my guns and said yes.
I would call them back and say you have lots of anxiety and questions and want another appointment next week. Be firm if you have to.
If still no joy I would contact the supervisor of midwives at the hospital who's job it is to deal with ladies who are unhappy with their care.
All mw appointments I feel have been a bit rushed. That said is it possible that the mw didn't "get" your anxieties? I do think you probably need to be more vocal about your concerns.
PS I wouldn't worry about them not taking the urine sample - this has happened to me on a couple of appointments and I was assured that it's very unlikely there would be anything wrong with it unless I had other symptoms like soreness down below.

learnermummy Fri 21-Jun-13 14:03:55

OP, as others have said try to get another appointment to discuss your anxieties, but even if baby remains back to back it doesn't mean forceps are inevitable. My first was back to back and delivered without turning and whilst labour was long and I needed an epidural I did deliver him on my own, and it wasn't a bad experience.

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