Sometime things happen in life that are either so funny or strange that if someone else wasn’t there to witness the event, you’d convince yourself it didn’t happen, let alone anyone else believing you! I’ve had one of those situations recently where I really do think if Hubby hadn’t been there, he might suspect me of exaggerating.
We brought Baby S home directly from the maternity hospital, and I was told her details had been faxed to the midwife team at my local hospital. I waited for a call that I was told was urgent in order for them to see the baby, particularly as she was premature and there was a higher risk as there had been no prenatal care and concerns of other possible worries. So I waited: 3 days passed and this tiny vulnerable baby still hadn’t been seen, so I rang the midwife team and tried to explain the situation. As I didn’t fit neatly into a box, I was passed from one person (their voicemail) to another person (again, voicemail) until after 7 days of having her in my care, Baby S had still not seen any medical professional since leaving the hospital.
Luckily, I have a friend who is a midwife, currently off on maternity leave, so I was able to ask her for advice and she guided me on who to harass. Eventually, after approximately 20 calls, I finally found a mobile number for a local midwife and suddenly, I was on the RADAR. Everything happened really quickly then by which I mean, passing the blame. The hospital blamed the midwife team, the midwife administrator blamed the hospital and so forth. Regardless of blame, Baby S was now seen by several lovely midwives and pronounced fit, healthy and cute as well as very small, which we knew. I was reassured that everything I’d done so far was fine and I was giving her excellent care. They also reassured me that she would grow and develop as normal.
I was assigned a Health Visitor who would make contact, and registered with my local baby clinic for a fortnightly weigh in and general checks. The surreal part of this story is my experience with the health visitor. She rang me one afternoon and, as contact with Baby S’s mum had been cancelled, I was free so she came right around. The Health Visitor was just as I’d pictured; an older lady with reams of experience and she extruded confidence and reassurance from every pore. Her lovely lilting Welsh accent was endearing and she cooed over the baby declaring her a precious bundle. She filled out the paperwork and that’s where the fun started; my answers didn’t fit into her neat tick box form and I was surprised that in her experience, she hadn’t come across a foster carer looking after a new born.
She couldn’t seem to make the information work that there was a mother and a foster carer. She kept asking me detailed personal questions about mum and her background, which I didn’t know, also didn’t feel it was my place to talk about and I felt had no bearing on Baby S’s health. I explained about confidentiality and that I could pass her details on to the baby’s social worker who, if she felt it was appropriate, would give her the information. It was all very pleasant, but she had been thrown by the disparity between her form and my answers. She started giving me pamphlets and very useful information on early days baby care, clinic information, SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) as well as breast feeding info. I explained laughingly, I didn’t need that, and she put down her paperwork and outlined in a very firm tone how important breastfeeding was.
I let her finish as she was in full flow and assuming she had forgotten I was the foster carer, I reiterated that yes, I understood how important breastfeed was, if a new mother was able to breastfeed, but as I was the foster carer, I obviously couldn’t, so I handed her the leaflets back. However, this lovely Grandmotherly Health Visitor took me aside and said I should at least try to breast feed and that’s where I started to feel as if I’d fallen down a rabbit hole. I laughingly pointed to my boobs and said, yes, breastfeeding IS ideal IF it were possible but THESE boobs were just for show as I didn’t give birth to Baby S. I felt I had made it really clear and by this time, Hubby who had come home early from work, had started to snigger on the sofa. And still she persisted, retelling the benefits, asking if I’d really tried hard enough and as she went to hand back the breast feeding leaflets to me, Hubby stood up, pointed to my breasts and said “purely ornamental!” whilst wiggling his eyebrows at me in a saucy manner.
I quickly realised I had to bring this farce to an end before Hubby was unable to control his inner 8 year old and I took the pamphlets. She said she’d be in touch for another visit and to see how I was getting on and as we said goodbye to the cheery health visitor, I had to stuff my hand into my mouth to stop myself from bursting out laughing as I closed the front door.
Her next visit is due and luckily Hubby has started his new job and won’t be there, but he’s threatening to take the day off work!