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To expect an ETA from midwife/HV?

160 replies

smileygrapefruit · 14/07/2017 11:38

Just got home with newborn dc3 yesterday.

Was just getting out the shower and there's a knock at the door...the midwife is here. Had to answer in a towel sopping wet.

I've now remembered from the last two times how they always turn up unannounced. Am I just ment to sit in twiddling my thumbs all day? DH has taken other two dc out for the day and I was going to have a nap with dc3 but how am I supposed to do that if they could turn up at any time?!

Aibu to think they could just text to say "expect us between 10-12"?

OP posts:
SparkleMotions · 14/07/2017 17:56

I think it's rude that they they think it's ok to just turn up at any time, without notifying you first. You can't be expected to stay in all day for a potential visit, especially if you have other children and you need to do things like the school run!

Luckily with my Midwives (who were all lovely- I'd never knock this profession as all midwives do a great job) gave me a time they'd come round. I only had one bad experience with the first HV I saw after my DS was born, rang an hour before her visit to say she was coming round, and was extremely rude when I told her I was actually expecting visitors at the same time, she basically asked me if I could ask them to stay away whilst she came round, I said no and she came round anyway, proceeded into my house and started berating me about the temperature (middle of winter, but house was warm without heating on, and our thermometer was reading fine) sat there for an 1.5 hours reading every leaflet she'd bought round to me, then had a go at me because I was struggling to breastfeed, her response to this was "my DD managed to do it, so everyone should be able to YOU need to try harder" she was truly awful! Thankfully the HV's we saw after we're fantastic and very supportive!

Jane2406 · 14/07/2017 18:03

With DD1 they obv got the idea that I knew what I was doing & had enough support so they only appeared once or twice.
DD2 has cysts in her brain & they came 3 times a week until she was 3 months old, at that point I was quite frankly sick of it. You never knew when they were going to show up so we were pretty much housebound for those first 3 months 😢. As they're under so much pressure that we rarely saw the same once twice so had to explain the whole story on a fairly regular basis & the critical head measurements they were taking were iffy to say the least I ended up offering to go to the local hospital to get her checks done in the children's ward. Turns out they hadn't been reporting the measurements they'd been taking so the visits had been a complete waste of time.....

smileygrapefruit · 14/07/2017 18:39

It's really interesting to hear everyone's experiences. I was also in no way meaning to bash MWs/HVs, they do a great job and for lots of people are an invaluable support. I would just like to know a rough idea of when they are coming. Good to know that some people do get this so it's not like I'm asking something totally ridiculous. Anyway I know they are next coming on Tuesday so I will ring the office first thing to see if they could give me an idea on when in the day as I will definitely need to be out at some point and would hate to miss them as wouldn't want them to have a wasted just makes sense for all involved imo!!

OP posts:
Chrisinthemorning · 14/07/2017 18:43

I always asked what time they were coming. I didn't expect them to the minute but wanted to know to around the nearest half hour when they would be with me.
I'm a dentist though so spend a lot of time trying to run to time and failing!
I wouldn't be up for waiting around all day, that isn't reasonable. I don't think expecting an exact time is reasonable either as they don't know quite how long previous visits are going to take or trafffic.
"We'll be with you between 2 and 3" is reasonable.
I find you have to be quite assertive.

mayhew · 14/07/2017 19:00

I'm a community midwife and it makes me sad to hear some of the views on here. I spent today doing 7 visits . I organise them by postcode over a 20 mile patch.

We only have enough staff to do one initial home visit on the first day back. After that it's postnatal clinics with timed appointments.

It's hard to know how long each visit will take. I don't give eta because I might be late and people get the huff. Also they try to renegotiate times when I haven't time for backtracking. Some seem to think that it's a consumer service that they are paying for rather than a thinly stretched NHS community health service.

In addition, I'm not supplied with a phone and have to use my own. When I text, some then keep phoning me when I'm off duty even when given the service numbers.

However, all the women I saw today seemed pleased to see me . Two said they were pleased we still offer visits because the neighbouring trust is only clinics now.

TheCuriousOwl · 14/07/2017 19:01

Well I always give a time approximation.

I have had people go out anyway; refuse to answer the door because they are tired and don't want a visit then complain when they didn't get a visit Hmm; put the wrong phone number on their discharge paperwork then yell at me because nobody phoned. It goes on.

Also to the PP who said they were 'expected to entertain'- I honestly don't know where this nonsense has come from about how the midwives 'inspect your house' or expect you to 'entertain' them. No we don't care if you have got dressed. No we don't actually in the most part care if you've had a shower (whoever got that midwife before- that si NOT normal, I'm so sorry that was your experience!). No we don't care if your house is messy (genuine filth everywhere is a bit of a concern but if you've got actual filth everywhere you've got more of a problem than needing to tidy up). We come because we want to see that you are ok. And that the baby is ok. I can't think of any of my colleagues who don't visit out of care for our clients and their babies.

We have huge caseloads and no time. I get it that some people don't want the service; if that's you, please PLEASE ask if there is a postnatal clinic you can drop in to for the early days checks and heel pricks etc, that suits you. Then we can spend more time with the people who can't get out and you won't be waiting in. But again, we run postnatal clinics and people agree to come and then... don't. And all the while we seem to be fighting for a service that some women just don't want.

If we had more time and more staff we'd be able to organise more and the service would be better. And we would be able to communicate more with our clients.

This thread has ended up making me really sad actually

alltouchedout · 14/07/2017 19:15

It's interesting that most midwives posting on this thread think op was BU and that home visits in the immediate post natal period are a valuable service, and most people who have experienced these visits think OP was NBU and that the visits are a ballache.
I have mostly had good experiences with midwives (HVs less so, but still nothing to whinge about). I appreciate their work very much. That doesn't change the fact that when they are working in a system that means they give no advance notice of visits, or say they'll be there at any time within an 8 hour period, or seem not to understand that a time they want to visit is not something you can faciliate, the whole thing just becomes a source of stress and added difficulty. Mind you, I do appreciate that if there were sufficient midwives and resources they'd be able to use a system that fits with what families need and could probably plan and communicate far better.

So yes, sit there and wait, be nice and offer a cup of tea.
That's just bollocks though.

YouAndMeAreGoingToFallOut · 14/07/2017 19:15

My community midwives were fantastic. They came everyday for 10 days, were saintly in their patience helping me to establish breastfeeding, and even delivered the antibiotics needed when my section wound got infected. The midwives I encountered in hospital are another story, unfortunately...

horsefeathers · 14/07/2017 19:24

I think informing mums more about what to expect would probably help. I know the NHS is stretched but my experience of antenatal and postnatal care is that staff assume you know everything they do about how the system works, what happens and why. Especially as a first time mum, or someone having a baby for the first time in a new area, it can all be a bit baffling - and then you're told off or talked to like an idiot for not understanding, which doesn't clarify anything and leaves mums feeling a bit battered and resentful.

The midwives at my hospital got their wires crossed when I went home (for the second time, having been back with high BP) - they suggested seeing me on day one, the doctor said no, wait until the next day, and they tried to come both days. I had gone out for coffee to try and feel like a human being again, and they rang while I was miles from home. I ended up crying down the phone because they would not listen to me about the nature of the visit they were meant to be making, talked over me constantly, assumed I'd only just come home for the first time after having DS, and kept on bollocking me for not being there.

I am genuinely glad of midwife visits and wouldn't want the service to stop. But a bit more communication (not appointment times, just the reason why there can't be appointment times!) and a bit more listening to mums would make the whole thing much much easier from this end.

Jane2406 · 14/07/2017 19:34

Mayhew & curiousowl its obvious the system is under pressure & I think it's great that you still offer home visits. The difference in my two experiences just shy of 3 years apart appear to be before & after things got really tough.

The midwives were obviously surprised to see me home with a healthy baby as her prenatal MRI very much suggested otherwise. TBH I think we were a bit of a local novelty & the neurosurgeons who discharged us from the hospital nearly 4 hours away from home in a big city obviously has a very different set up to what we have at home & I think their expectations of the HVs were unreasonable. They asked for 3x weekly head circumference measurements on specific days & were expecting them to report back with some neuro obs although I only discovered that later. The HVs we saw were all lovely & tried hard to stick to specific times but as time went on I think we dropped to the bottom of their priority list as they went off sick one by one.

They've stopped drop in clinics here & now only home visit, for us dropping in somewhere would've been far more convenient even if it meant driving across town. In the end it was much easier for everyone to just go to the hospital to see the nurse practitioner & at 20 months we've only just stopped going monthly.

missm0use · 14/07/2017 21:06

Our HV always gives a time but says to allow up to an hour afterwards just encase she's running late and if we need to go out and she's running late then just to go & will rearrange for another day. Our MW is the same!

Mind you we only have 1 MW & 1 HV on the Island so they are pretty flexible.

heavenlypink · 14/07/2017 21:11

My DS is 20 so this was many years ago Blush

We'd been in hospital 10 days so missed out on the midwife visits The health visitor landed without any warning at all on a Saturday morning!

Should have known then I'd have trouble with her

Batteriesallgone · 14/07/2017 22:44

Totally agree with this

when they are working in a system that means they give no advance notice of visits, or say they'll be there at any time within an 8 hour period, or seem not to understand that a time they want to visit is not something you can faciliate, the whole thing just becomes a source of stress and added difficulty. Mind you, I do appreciate that if there were sufficient midwives and resources they'd be able to use a system that fits with what families need and could probably plan and communicate far better.

A valuable service when there are sufficient staff can turn into something hopeless when staff are stretched. It's not the midwives fault and they do a great job - there just aren't enough of them and the system is falling apart.

itsbetterthanabox · 14/07/2017 22:51

Surely it wastes their time if they travel to you and you aren't in so giving a day they will come is in the best interests of the health visitors themselves.

AngeloftheSouth84 · 14/07/2017 22:53

Obviously they cannot give an exact time, but a date would be nice, with an am or pm. Then a call when they are on the way. An understanding that people do have lives would be a bonus. Or just do appointments at the GP surgery that we can ring up and book.

Trb17 · 14/07/2017 22:54

No way would I answer the door in a towel. If anyone calls unannounced, including the HV or Midwife, I'd only answer if it was convenient for me to do so. If I was sleeping or bathing then tough as with a newborn DC you need to be able to rest/bath without interruptions.

AngeloftheSouth84 · 14/07/2017 23:46

Just don't see them. It's not a legal requirement!

Yes, but you'll end up on an unofficial 'under suspicion' list

BluetonicIvy · 15/07/2017 01:11

I'm a Community Midwife and like the other midwives who have commented I feel quite sad reading this thread. I thought it may be useful to give an insight of a typical day in the life of a CMW 😊
Today I arrived at work at 8.30 and picked up my workload for the day. I ended up with 6 visits (3 of which were 'primary' visits, so mum's who were discharged from hospital yesterday which tend to be quite long visits as we have to discuss safe sleep etc as well as do the normal postnatal checks on mum and baby) and I also had to be back at the hospital for 1pm as I had a booking clinic to do. My first visit was to a first time mum who had been discharged from hospital after 6 hours, much to my annoyance (at the hospital who were busy and needed her bed) as she was really struggling to breastfeed. She was crying, the baby was crying and I spent an hour and a half with her showing her how to latch baby on discussing feeding cues, positioning and attachment etc and basically going through everything that should have been shown to her before she left hospital. In that time I contacted the local breastfeeding team and arranged an urgent home visit for her and went away reassuring her we would be back tomorrow to see how she was getting on and giving her the 24 hour emergency contact number in case it was 3am and she wanted to speak to a Midwife, she could. My next visit was to a high risk antenatal lady (38 weeks) who informed me that she hadn't felt her baby move for over 12 hours and then added that her movements had been reduced the previous day. She didn't phone the hospital as she knew I was coming in the morning! I referred her into delivery suite for monitoring and later found out that the baby was, thankfully, fine. I hurried around the rest of my visits, conscious that I was rushing and feeling guilty about this, and arrived for my booking clinic 20 minutes late. I hadn't had any lunch or even time to have a wee and my First Lady was (understandably) annoyed with me that I was late and that she had to wait as she had to get back to do the school run. I got through as quickly as I could but the last lady I saw had quite complex social problems and I had to do the appropriate referrals before going home. I finished at 5.30pm, an hour later than I'm supposed to.
I do always try to give the women I see an approximate time so am or pm but it's not unusual for me to be asked to cover a clinic at the last minute if another Midwife is off sick or has been called out to a home delivery. Sometimes I'm given the incorrect or no number at all for a woman who has been discharged. If the day 5 visit for the heel prick test falls on a weekend and I'm not working, I genuinely have no idea at that point who in the team will be coming so can't give a time. All this being said I absolutely LOVE my job and consider it a great privilege that I get to care for women and their babies in this way. Getting to know a woman and seeing her all the way through her pregnancy and then at home with her beautiful baby is imo an utter joy. To hear that a lot of people view me as an inconvenience is quite sad really. I don't care if you're in your pjs, I don't care if you haven't had a shower or if your house is a mess or you have visitors. I don't even mind if you're not in because I know if you're out you're probably well and doing ok. Sorry for the rambling essay. Congratulations on your new baby OP XXX

AngeloftheSouth84 · 15/07/2017 01:17

I thought it may be useful to give an insight of a typical day in the life of a CMW

Perhaps it would be useful for the NHS to have the insight for a new mum. Or the NHS should learn to communicate with each other or patients.

BluetonicIvy · 15/07/2017 01:43

Yes I agree that would be useful.. but then I don't run the NHS, I just try my best to work within a system that clearly in a lot of ways is failing and is not what women want or expect from the service.

If you have any suggestions how we could improve things then I genuinely would love to hear them.

BluetonicIvy · 15/07/2017 01:49

Oh and I've been that new mum. I known it's annoying waiting in for people. When I had my first DC I was told off by my battle axe of a cmw for not being in when she came and I swore I would never be 'that' Midwife 😊

Batteriesallgone · 15/07/2017 05:51

I don't know why this thread is making midwives feel sad (not just you, Blue, others earlier too). The perception from patients is that they are understaffed. The accounts from midwives on here is that they are understaffed. Yet midwives are taking statements about the system failing - primarily due to being understaffed - as a personal attack. We are allowed to both value midwives and be pissed off that they are often so busy only the basics get covered.


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228agreenend · 15/07/2017 06:00

I agree. It's not difficult to say that you wil be there in the morning or afternoon, or even rpearly or late morning.

I came out of hospital with my first born on Christmas Eve so my first visit was Christmas Day. I was tired, and had been poorly during the birth (heavy winter cold) so feeling anxious and bewildered. My mil also was cooking my Christmas dinner. We eventually had to chase mid wife who reluctantly came about 1pm It made it a stressful first day at home.

aurynne · 15/07/2017 06:21

I am a midwife in New Zealand. I have my own caseload and do postnatal home visits. Although for reasons already explained by other midwives in the thread I cannot be exact with times, I always arrange visits with women and text them to inform them of any changes, or when I am on my way to them. It is just not acceptable to expect anyone to be home all day, for weeks at a time, expecting a visit any time.

I also have the occasional woman who is not home when she said she would, or who is still sleeping when I get to her house and makes me wait 30 min, but they are the minority. The majority of my women look forward to the visits. But this is because I have a reasonable caseload, a lot of time tom dedicate to each of my women, and I truly love what I do, which I am sure shows. I genuinely enjoy visiting the women, especially as I have got to know them since they were 5-6 weeks pregnant.

The NHS in the UK seems to be collapsing which is completely unacceptable.

Lules · 15/07/2017 06:57

I had one visit from the MW. She gave me an approx time. After that we had an appointment at a clinic so both were convenient. Attending the drop in HV clinic on the other hand was the depths of hell.

One of my friends though got really shouted at by her MW for wasting her time for not being in (not having been told a time) because she was taking her older child to nursery. Not surprisingly after that she found it hard to discuss things that were bothering her.

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