Thursday, February 18, 2010

One Born Every Minute

I can't keep away from programmes such as One Born Every Minute, which is about the everyday life of a maternity ward in Southampton.

I just have to see the title and my fingers are pressing record as fast as they can, even though I know that watching such programmes may perhaps not be such a good idea.

It took me a while to discover this series so last night's was the first episode that I saw. It featured nineteen-year-old Chavette (that wasn't her name but I can't remember what it was so am being cruelly descriptive) and her pleasant though puddingy boyfriend and her tell-it-like-it-is mother.

Puddingy Boyfriend was trying to find a job, but with little success. He quoted us his GCSE results which were Ds, Es and Unclassified. I felt they probably weren't helping him. He had had a sad-sounding upbringing and, as he put it, was angry with everyone.

Chavette, as Sister explained, was one of the very young mothers who have never experienced real pain before - and it came as a bit of a shock. Some women, said Sister, are very stoical throughout. Chavette wasn't one of them. She yelled, screamed, swore and generally created merry hell until they gave her an epidural. Finally the baby's heartrate dipped and they did an emergency Caesarean section and produced a baby which - we in the audience knew - was really not going to have the best start in life. Puddingy Boyfriend, who had looked nothing but puzzled throughout, smiled.

At the same time, we were following the story of the hilariously-ironically named Joy and her husband. Joy was perhaps the grumpiest woman ever to have a baby. She was diabetic and was having her labour induced. It was her first baby, at the age of forty, and really she didn't sound too keen. "I've never been maternal".

The hospital was having one of those glorious mix-ups that hospitals do so well. She had ordered her lunch upstairs on the ward but had now been brought downstairs to the delivery suite. Upstairs had been told she had gone home. It took an hour and a half to find someone and persuade them that she still existed and needed some lunch - - and she was diabetic for goodness' sake! At one point she got the receptionist to ring through to upstairs and ask where the lunch was. Joy asked what would happen now.

"I've done all I can," said the receptionist with a dismissive wave of the hand.

If I were the receptionist's manager, that wave on its own would have been a sacking offence.

It was on occasions like this, during the worst bits of my own gloomy hospital experiences, that I realised that no kind of reasoning would work. If I'd have been Joy I would have given up the grumpiness and turned to the Loud and Prolonged Screaming, because it's the only thing that makes some staff realise that you need attention NOW.

And actually, of course, her grumpiness could well have been a sign of low blood sugar, and I think that the staff were positively negligent in leaving her without food in this way. She did have a Vague Husband but he didn't seem to think he should help - his role seemed to consist entirely of pacing the floor and looking a bit blank.

We'll find out how Joy's story continues next week. Though she did finally get her lunch and cheered up a bit.

How did I feel about it all?

Well, I have had two experiences of childbirth. The first one was of premature labour at 25 weeks of pregnancy, where everyone denied that I could possibly be in labour until exactly two minutes before my baby was born. He died three weeks later and I was ill for nearly a year.

So that was, without any trace of exaggeration, a total nightmare.

The second time was when I went into labour with Olli, at 36 weeks pregnant. I was not too worried as I was pretty sure that this time the baby would be okay.

But because Olli was the wrong way round - - sideways!!! - - I had an emergency Caesarean in the middle of the night, under general anaesthetic. Olli was in the Special Care Baby Unit - though fine - and I was on the floor above. And because the consultant was away somewhere, and nobody else could authorise it, I couldn't possibly be taken to see my baby until the consultant came back, late in the afternoon of the following day.

And this, I tell you, was WRONG.

So how did I feel, watching poor Chavette screaming the place down? Envious, as a matter of fact - strange though it may seem - and please, if you had a horrific childbirth experience don't think I'm making light of it. But she was given her baby immediately, and at least she felt involved in the whole process.


Anonymous オテモヤン said...


6:11 pm  
Blogger Jennyta said...

II'm tempted to say I agree with the above comment!) I feel as if I have 'grown out' of watching maternity and parenting type programmes but, after reading your post, I think I might catch the next episode.

7:53 pm  
Blogger Yorkshire Pudding said...

"...and her pleasant though puddingy boyfriend" This is slanderous! I have never even been to Southampton. It's so slanderous I am going to tell オテモヤン !!!

8:44 pm  
Blogger mark moran said...

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9:23 pm  
Anonymous Mark Moran said...

I am a moron. Delete anything that I post on unsuspecting blogs. All that I am interested in is money.

12:24 am  
Blogger Silverback said...

I'm not sure why such a serious and personal post has attracted the nutters (well not Jenny & YP of course !) but at least the first one gave me a chance to try out my new Chrome page translation feature.

I wish I hadn't bothered !

Thanks for sharing that glimpse into giving birth NHS style - past and present. I'll give it a miss.

3:51 am  
Blogger Katherine said...

I do understand why you were envious. I understand completely.

6:46 am  
Blogger Daphne said...

Oriental Sex Pest - kindly go away and trouble me no more.
Jenny - it IS interesting and worth watching.
YP - Apologies. Some puddings are better than others.
Mark Moron - I'm so glad you explained that you're a money-grabbing idiot. Kindly go away now.
Silverback - I'm glad you translated it, so I don't have to, and I'm sure it was as sensitive and poetic as I guessed it wasn't.
That Chrome translation feature sounds a Good Thing though.
Katherine - thank you.

9:36 am  

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