Less midwife appointments second time around. Yay or nay?
Twenty one weeks in with foetal passenger number two and I can’t help but feel a bit disappointed. Perhaps disappointed is the wrong word. Unsure. Bloody terrified. With baby number one my midwife was attached to the doctor’s surgery, I saw her monthly at the least. Her mobile was in my speed dial, she made bad jokes and I felt safe.
Every pregnancy is different?
That’s what everyone says right? Repeatedly. The exception being, that if you successfully incubated and squeezed out one mini human then seemingly everything the second (or more) time will be simple and you will be able to produce a new-born like a pro. After baby number one you automatically become the female equivalent of a childbearing Yoda, a walking Bounty app, all-knowing.
For example, Google says labour will be faster after your second child because your pelvic walls are shot. Anything faster than 30 hours will be grand.
Granted, you may have previously had a good pregnancy and/or labour experience and yes medically there may be evidence to suggest consecutive pregnancies will then go well. That there will be less complications. Some mums are happy to have minimal contact.
But what happens when they aren’t and they don’t?
First time round the most dramatic occurrence during my’ surprise pregnancy’ was that I started sucking on bath sponges. Like a crazed hormonal Labrador. I have a son, made it full term, and we both survived birth, just about. Am I now an all knowing Zen mama, relaxed and knitting booties? No. It’s been six years and all the challenging bits of carrying a child (and, for shits and giggles Mother Nature has thrown in some new ones this time) have been forgotten.
I forgot how hard it can be.
This time I have experienced severe morning sickness, have tachycardia, am being pumped full of iron supplements and any exercise causes haemorrhaging thanks to a geographically confused Placenta. I have seen a midwife three times on the minimal scheduled appointments, and a different one each time. I don’t know anyone’s names. Bouncing between professionals I feel like a ping pong ball.
Now I am not clingy. Or a stalker type.
But the diagram on my maternity notes says if they are worried about you they will give you more appointments. I wonder how worried do they, or you have to be to qualify for these extra visits? High risk is jotted everywhere, but what is the level of risk that qualifies you. Answers on a postcard people.
Are all expectant second timer mother’s rainbows and sunshine happy?
Mentally with baby number two, I have the emotional functioning of a sandwich. Courtesy of brutal PTSD and PND previously partnered with the physical uncertainty this time, I am a hot mess. Literal hormonally induced, sweaty mess whose worries keep her awake in the dark.
Experience has given me the confidence to be more assertive, or the idea that I will be. So if this time in recovery a nurse tells me off for bleeding on the floor when I am numb from the neck down I can kindly tell her then she’s a dick and then film her on FB live. But that’s ALL it has given me, that and a downstairs mix up that looks like Frankenstein courtesy of a traumatic labour.
This is not an NHS bashing session. But expectant mothers, whether 16 or 40, first timers or not, need support, Me? I feel alone. I feel like an idiot when I build up the confidence to asking a question to another stranger on the phone. They are all sweet and kind but advice changes from person to person and I feel rather lost at sea in an ever shrinking boat with cankles.