Saturday, 27 February 2010

The latest arrival!

Say hello to Isabela - 5 lbs 12oz, born at 3am on Thursday morning. If you’ve been wondering why I’ve been quiet on the blog for a while - she is the reason.
A certain amount of trauma surrounded her birth and it all ended in an emergency caesarian in a theatre full of obstetricians, paediatricians, anaethetists and midwives, but both mother and baby are now doing well.
It’s the first time I’ve been present at a birth (apart from my own children) and it was a very emotional experience. There were two of us - my daughter’s best friend was also present - and in the early stages we played medical scrabble (I won the triple point bonus with vagina!) and card games. Salsa music and some hip swinging definitely helped the process along.
When everything went critical, I went into theatre with my daughter and held her hand during the caesarian and was the first to see Isabela as she was hauled off to the special care baby unit by the paediatricians. Fortunately she was quickly reunited with Mum.
These last few days have given me an inside view of the N.H.S and the conclusion we have all come to is that the health service in England is stretched to breaking point.
This west London hospital is an ageing nineteen sixties building, draughty, leaky, and crumbling. It has a welcome message in the hall in twelve languages. When I attended an anti-natal clinic with my daughter, it was running 3 hours behind schedule. My daughter and a young Irish woman were the only women in the waiting room who didn’t need a translator and we counted fourteen or fifteen different nationalities from eastern Europe through the middle east, Asia, Africa and China. The staff were coping as best they could, with considerable patience.
The maternity unit where my daughter gave birth was similarly over-subscribed. It was the second night in a row that the staff had worked through a 12 hour shift without a meal break. Most of the staff confessed to being exhausted and several said they wanted to leave. It doesn’t make a happy ship and it doesn’t ensure good patient care (more of this later). Individual members of staff are really nice, but they are worked off their feet - one told my daughter (who was linked up to tubes and drips and should have been in a high-dependency unit) that they simply couldn’t give her the support she needed because they didn’t have enough staff.
Fortunately her best friend and myself have been able to operate a shift system to look after her and the baby. We were awed by the quality and compassion of the people who worked there, but shocked by the conditions they are expected to work under. I’ll be writing more about it later, but now I’ve got to go back and do a bit of baby-gazing!
I thought this was an interesting bit of creative signage. Penal Dialysis sounds painful though.

3 comments:

  1. Congratulations Kathleen.
    You must be over the moon!

    The neglect of public health in OZ is nearly as criminal.
    I am sure it is all driven by a desire to drive those who can afford it to private health care. The "user pays" mentality has a lot to answer for.

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  2. I'm sorry that things are bad in Oz - I'd always thought you had a fantastic health service over there. Here, very few can afford health care privately - the chaos is just down to too much demand and too little money. Far too much of the NHS budget goes on management.

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  3. But the outcome of all this is this lovely baby and her Mum who are now doing well. And your daughter had you and her friend's support throughout. She is a lucky girl and you too are lucky to have a new baby in your family. I have the merest twinge of benevolent envy at your new launch.
    A good life for Isabela, I say...
    wxx

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