Sunday, September 4, 2011

Medical quesionaire

Recently I received a letter in the mail asking if I wanted to participate in a medical questionnaire relating to maternity services in NZ and in particular when I had Grace. I was a bit taken aback by the letter, for one thing the timing....opening this particular letter in May and the other thing was weather or not I wanted to go through the questioning. I debated the pro's and con's, talked to B about it and even discussed this with 'P' and listened to her thoughts and decided that I would go ahead and do the survey. I made the decision based on providing feedback that was mostly positive but also some issues that I wanted highlighted.

So anyway got the phone call last night and after locking myself away from the loud children and taking some deep breaths the questions began and bam....straight away was hit with a biggie and had to suck in my breath and carry on...."So did you terminate your baby or did you have a stillborn baby"?....OH F*** is all I could think and I had to answer honestly....."medical termination" I said and felt like shit saying it!

All along through this time, the fact that I had a medical termination is something I hate, something I hate living with and something I will forever feel guilty and shitty about. The other day a conversation came up at work about some new law relating to during a pregnancy and it is discovered that you are carrying a down syndrome baby, should the right to terminate be taken away. Now I struggle with these conversations as I now know how terrible it is to go through something you know you have to do, but something you feel like you cant live with what you have done. I am not going to comment on the new law as I could go on for ages, but reality was I tell people (well those that know me) that I delivered a still born baby, she was STILL BORN and I choose not to talk about the medical termination part.

So anyway the questions kept coming and they were straight to the point...when did you find out there were issues with your baby...rate your midwife 1-5.....rate your medical care.....did you have enough time to make decisions....were you supported enough....who supported you....who was there during the birth.....what would you change (sorry but dumb F'kn question to someone in my I would change the fact I dont have a baby!).....and I basically had to answer questions and rate the maternity services of both my midwife and the hospital staff before, during and after we gave birth to Grace. I felt that my midwife and some of the hospital staff were supportive and did everything that they could to guide us through this time. I was fortunate to have understanding and caring people around me and I know that is does not always happen this way for other people. So therefore I made sure my answers reflected this.

I choose to do this survey so perhaps some things could be improved for other ladies who have to go through this for whatever reasons so I put forward some things I thought would be of benefit:
*Have a nice receptionist who can relate to people on a caring level and not one that was rude, uncaring and not nice to deal with like we had on several occasions.
*Don't make 'people like me' wait in the delivery suite with pregnant mums and newborns while the paperwork is completed and at a time of day that inducing etc is happening so all at one time we are in the waiting room. There should be another room where we could have waited or taken straight away to the delivery room. Or else build 'people like me' a separate entrance and exit!
*Have a social worker or support worker from SANDS contact the families regarding what the hell to do in these circumstances...financially, burial, cremation, funeral homes etc and also available counselling services. We were fortunate enough to have both T and my mum busy doing 'behind the scenes investigating' on our options and I was also very active in what I wanted to happen, but some families would not have that help and would not know what way to turn. It is all very well the hospital being involved in the medical side of things but to me and to other mums and families, a baby is being born and a baby still deserves that respect and care that any other baby gets when they are born.
*Oh yeah and dont stuff up the placenta results...when you are given the chance to receive confirmation and final results from the placenta autopsy...then make sure that the hospital ensures this happens!

So hung up the phone, burst into tears, shaking, and looked at my beautiful little angel Grace in her photo frame and all the special treasures around her. Walked out to B and asked for a hug. I hope that some good will come from my answers because I sure as heck did not do that for no reason!

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