Sunday, November 21, 2010

The dreaded child health nurse!

As part of the homebirth Service, the usual post natal care when your baby is born at home is that your midwife will come and visit you every day for the first week, and then once a week until your baby is 6 weeks old.  Even though Joshua ended up being born at the hospital, my midwife Josie was a huge support to me.  She came and visited us many times at the hospital and was always calling or texting to see how things were going.  And when we came home, she visited us once a week just as she would have if we'd had a homebirth.  She'd check my blood pressure and make sure things were ok with me, and she'd weigh Joshua and see if we needed any help with feeding etc.  All the normal things.  I love Josie, she is the best midwife ever.  

When you have your baby at the hospital, they send your details to the Community Child health nurses.  (They also take over from the homebirth service once your baby turns six weeks old).  They obviously got something as soon as Joshua was born, because we got a phone call asking if they could come over and see how we were going.  Rod informed them that our baby wasn't even home from the hospital yet, so they said they'd call back in a few weeks.  The very next day after we got home from the hospital, I got a call from one of the nurses, asking if she could come to our house.  I thought "Really, you have to be kidding me, he has just been in hospital for 12 days, the last thing I want to do is see another nurse!" so I said "what for?" and she said they come and weigh the baby etc and so I told her that I was with the homebirth service and that I was still seeing my midwife until he was 6 weeks old.  So she said she'd be in contact with us then, would I call her or she should call me?  I told her either one, and she said "I will call you then" and I thought "Good choice, because I don't think I would have called you!"  Sure enough, when he was 5 weeks old she called me back to make a time for the following week when he was six weeks old.  She came over with another nurse, and they came in and sat down on the floor in my loungeroom with me, where I was with Joshua.  And then she started with the 20 questions.  I was was wondering why she was asking me all these things because I thought they just weigh the baby and see how the baby is, and not go nosing into the Mother's business, but apparently that is also their job.  She was asking me things like "Was this your first pregnancy?"  And I said "No, I had a miscarriage before this one" and she said "What year was that?" And I said "Last year" and she writes it down and says "And how do you feel about that?"  and I was thinking what kind of a question is that?  What does she expect me to say?  "Oh it was really good thanks, I am glad I had one?"  so instead I said "Um fine".  And then she starts on Joshua.  "So, Joshua had a rough start didn't he?"  I said "yeah" and she hands some paperwork to the other nurse and said "Here is Joshua's history" for her to read.  Which I found kinda rude actually, like it was some secret info, and I wanted to snatch it off her and read it myself.  But anyway, then she says "So, how was the birth?" And I said "Pretty crap" and got all teary.  She then says to me "Why are you crying, is it just because you are tired?"  Are you serious?  My baby is six weeks old, was in intensive care because he is brain damaged and probably isn't going to be normal, pardon me if the emotions are still a little fresh!  She kept on questioning me, asking me if my husband abuses me, what kind of support I have blah blah blah.  And then moved on to measuring Joshua.  Not only do they measure them, but they also do a "developmental check".  She says to me "Does he make eye contact with you?" And I said "Yes".  But do you think he would look at her?  No.  Not at all.  So she says "I need to come back and see you again because I am just not getting that mutual gaze with him,  I will come back in 2 weeks and when I come back I am going to get you to do this depression survey, here is a copy of it so it won't be a shock to you" To which I told her that I had seen it because I had already done the survey a couple of times because the homebirth service has you do it during your pregnancy.  She said "Oh and how did you go?" And I replied "Fine, I said I was happy" and she said "Oh so did you just lie then and tick any box?"  WHAT!  I was pregnant when I did it, I had no reason to be upset then!  So needless to say, this nurse annoyed me a great deal.  After she left, I emailed Rod and told him how much Joshua weighed now and how long he was and said "I think that nurse thinks I am a basket case because I got upset when she asked me how the birth was!"  No sooner had I sent that email when my phone started ringing.  It was Meryl, one of the midwives from the Homebirth Service (Josie had that week off).  She said "I just had a phone call from Jane, the health nurse that just came and saw you, because she is worried about you"  I told Meryl I was fine, and she said she thought it was strange because she checked Josie's notes and  Josie had said I was doing well.  I said "Yeah, I am, everything is fine" and she told me to call her if I needed to talk and wanted to talk to someone that knew what had happened and that Josie would be back next week and would be in touch with me.  I thanked her and said personally, I am not sure what she was expecting by asking the questions she did, and that I would be more worried about someone who had been through what we had, if they were NOT emotional, because at least I was getting it out!
So not only did this nurse do that, but she also made me paranoid for a good week about Joshua and his eye contact.  I was sure he made eye contact with me, but after he wouldn't do it with her, there were all these times that I would try and get him to make eye contact with me and he wouldn't!  So I started freaking out.  Though I googled it, and it said that it was a 6 to 8 week milestone.  Well, he was dead on 6 weeks so maybe he was just a little young.  And sure enough, within a week he was doing it ALL the time.  When she came back to see us when he was 8 weeks old, he gave a big smile to the silly cow!  She had also had a big chat to Josie over the phone, and Josie told her where to go for me (nicely I am sure!) so the nurse decided she wouldn't be bothering me anymore, unless I called her.  No chance of that!            

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