Today we had our first appointment with a midwife.
Two weeks ago, just after we arrived, we had a check with the local GP (local Doctor, Allgemein Arzt). It went well. We got registered with the NHS (National Health System – the state funded and only heath insurance in GB). He checked the baby in Charlot’s belly, heard it’s heartbeat and all seemed well.
We had to drive to Craignure Hospital to meet the midwife that is coming over from the mainland. There are no midwifes on Mull. Somehow we started a bit to late. Then there was unexpected traffic (on Mull you just have single track roads, that means, you have to wait at passing places to let cars coming from where you want to go, pass you). In short: we were late. Then we did not find it. Almost had to drive to the Fishnish ferry to reverse and speed back. At hospital we could not get in. It was closed. So we rang the bell. The door opened and someone came: „are you Charlot?“- without saying hello or a hand shake she directed us into the physiotherapy room „I’m your midwife“, she turned to the desk and drew her attention to the papers and started to go through a checklist.
„The GP said, you want to do a home birth?“- and he voice turned pale. „I’m afraid that’s not passable“. With dog eyes and stiff she complained about the conditions: too short of staff, between Christmas and new years they would have to find two midwifes who would live on Mull during that time. These midwifes are, she swearer, impossible to find. The Oban unit responsible for Charlot’s birth can’t do it, not even enough staff for Oban, nobody would want to or be able to come over – and the weather, what a risk! „You would be totally exposed to uncontrollable conditions“. With a cascade of horrible scenarios she tried to convince us that a home birth on Mull is the last that one would want. Clearly the NHS (or she and her Colleagues) are not there for a woman and a child, but rather the job is there to feed them (hello reality!) They just want to do their job, if possible, with the least effort. A birth on Mull does not make them cheer up. So they are trying to speak you out of it. She takes use of the bureaucracy and inhumane NHS system to find the easiest solution for herself, not for us. I’m sure they have enough to do. But common, thats your job! Charlot sank in her chair and all my life-forces dropped to the floor. We kind of knew that this would happen and we thought we were prepared for this news. But we were not prepared for realty. We both were so disappointed and disillusioned, I could have cried. We could hardly say a world. Well, what should you say, if you don’t speak with people but with lobotomized arms of a system that is a machine and not something to serve humans.
Then, the phone rang. „That was my manager“, she said. „You are Dutch, right“? The manger told her, that the NHS would not take Charlot into the system. She would have to pay for everything herself- if she wants to deliver in the UK. My jaw dropped. What? She did not have any answers why that is – but made sure we understood that this is how it is.
We went to Craignure to the Pub. It’s 2:15 pm. He kitchen is closed. We are hungry and frustrated. We go to the coffee shop next door. The coffee shop is closed too. The little Spar supermarket still has some out of date looking sandwiches. We take them. We shouldn’t. They spoil the last good will in us. We are on an Island!
I feel so pushed back. So unwanted, I’m really considering to give up. Or to give in.