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Wednesday, August 01, 2012

If there's one thing which keeps you going through twenty-four long and painful hours on the labour ward...

... it's the knowledge that behind that curtain, there's a woman drinking a placenta smoothie and holding a baby called Olympia.

No, seriously. To be honest though, I'm not sure it was her idea. Having heard them put in the request to have her placenta blended with some fruit and served up for breakfast, the husband had to keep encouraging her to drink it. I don't think she was that keen. Without him egging her on, I'm not sure she'd have got it all down. Mind you, it was served to her with the words "Any lumps you find are fruit; I've liquidised the placenta really well", which does kind of make you lose your appetite. As for Olympia, I'm sure they'll have fun and games with her.

Sadly, Lisa turned down the chance to eat her own innards, and for us, yesterday was a day of frustration as prisoners of Her Majesty's midwives. Toby had been checked regularly throughout the night (meaning that Lisa got no sleep at all), and his temperature dropped a little at 2:30am. We'd packed plenty of baby clothes, including a tasteful white cotton hat, but the nurse felt that what Toby really needed was a hideous blue woollen balaclava, knitted by a volunteer. She even forced him into a matching cardigan. It's no wonder he was crying.

Not surprisingly, Lisa put in a request to leave first thing in the morning. They were quite happy with Toby, and agreed to the request, so I arrived at 9:20am, expecting Lisa to be waiting in her coat next to a suitcase. Unfortunately she wasn't. Despite being seen every couple of hours, the person checking Toby was a nursery nurse, not a doctor, and like all newborns, he still needed to be given the once over by a paediatrician before leaving.

So we waited. And nothing happened. Until 10:45am, when I decided my time would be better spent going to Asda for a few essentials. Like a changing mat, which we'd suddenly realised we didn't have. Nine months isn't long to prepare, you know. I ended up going to Argos too, and by the time I got back, it was 12:15pm. And still nothing had happened.

Fortunately, knowledge is power, and whilst I was away, Lisa had been empowered with the information that there'd been a mix-up somewhere, her computer records hadn't been completed properly, and as a result, Toby had been left off the paediatrician's list for that morning. They assured us they were sorting it out. Which was just as well, as Lisa had refused lunch on the grounds that she wouldn't be there.

At 1:40pm, a midwife came round to complete the paperwork, so that as soon as the paediatrician arrived, we could leave. She was then grabbed by Olympia's parents who, despite only having arrived in the night, said they'd like to leave too, and claimed they'd already been seen by the paediatrician. Bearing in mind that Lisa had been sat in the next bed all morning, and seen neither hide nor hair of a doctor, we assumed they were bluffing, and would be found out when the midwife checked their records.

But apparently not. An hour later, they were handed their discharge forms, and left. I felt like Tim Robbins in the Shawshank Redemption. Only more victimised. I'd have started a tunnel, but we only had plastic cutlery, and they'd already broken my spirit. We'd been assured a few times that they were trying to track down the paediatrician, and were very sorry for the delay, but when nothing had happened by 3:30pm, I decided I'd had enough. Lisa was on the verge of parachuting Toby out of the 12th floor window and making a break for it.

So I had a strong word with the person in charge on the desk. She told me she'd find out what was happening, and then come straight down and tell us. Twenty minutes later, a different midwife strolled into the ward with a breezy manner, apologised for the delay, handed Lisa her discharge forms, and told us we were free to go. Lisa and I looked at each other hesitantly, unsure whether to mention that we hadn't seen the paediatrician yet, but terrified she'd say "Really? Well, you've missed his afternoon rounds, so you'll have to stay till tomorrow". So we said nothing, and left.

I still think they'll come after us with a gun and a stethoscope, and I have no idea why we waited eight hours to see no one, but frankly I don't care. We just wanted to get home. And here we are, relaxed and well rested...

I stopped the film at that point, before it all ended in tears.

We've got the midwife coming round at some point today, so I need to make the place look less like a hovel. But if you want more photos, you'll find them on


Bursnell said...

He's just lovely. Congratulations to you all!

Zed said...

He was hungry.