Friday 11 December 2015

Baby Baker Friday - This Week, I Hated A Health Care Professional...

So as you know, I decided that Friday's on the blog would be dedicated to my pregnancy and now, new mummy status.

I know it's not something everyone wants to read about but it is something that I really wanted to do - so I'm doing it - after all, being pregnant and having a beautiful new baby is a huge thing to be happening in my life and I really wanted to share bits and pieces of what is going on amongst these pages.

So here we go

~ Baby Baker Friday ~

A few days ago I never thought I'd be writing this up as a post - I was far too upset and worried about my little lady to imagine I'd be sharing things with the world.
(it's nothing serious - no panic needed!)

But after a lovely conversation with a very understanding doctor yesterday I decided that I would write it all out after all because, whilst there is nothing to worry about with Baby Baker, I am more than a little bit put out by some (one) of the health care professionals I have met this week.

She has made me realise that, whilst not intentional, sometimes you have to just go with your gut instinct and realise that not everyone has the skills needed to offer advice in a tactful way.

Even people who really should posses such skills.

Let me explain...

Earlier this week I decided that because I hadn't had Baby Baker weighed in a while I would make an appointment with my health visitor and pop along to see how my little lady was getting on.

And there was nothing wrong there at all - the little fattie is now a very healthy 9lb 5oz.

Whilst I was there, health visitor at my disposal, I decided to raise a few things I wanted clarification on - well, we all know how hard it is to get appointments these days - may as well use the time I had with her productively.

One of the things I mentioned was the fact that over the past week or so I have noticed that when in her chair or lying down, Baby Baker has started to prefer having her head to one side.

She can, and will, move her head from side to side but holding her head to the right is certainly her direction of choice.

I wasn't too worried though - she's happy, is always cooing and smiling, is sleeping through at night now (woohoo!), is putting weight on nicely and is generally a very happy little lady.

But being a Mum, I wanted to double check, just to make sure everything was one hundred percent OK.

And I really thought it was...until the health visitor said she wanted to "speak to her colleague" about what I had said...and then when the other lady came in they began whispering in the other room to each other...

Never a good sign.

...and then the original lady decided to tell me that she had "noticed her cheeks weren't aligned properly"...


What does that mean?

What's wrong with my baby's perfect cheeks?

Obviously now I was beginning to worry.

To be honest, I had noticed myself that the back of Baby Baker's head was changing shape a little bit and this was partly my reason for mentioning my concerns over the head turning situation...but her beautiful little face...

...become "unaligned"?

That was something I hadn't noticed.

What was going to happen to her?
Would her whole face be affected?
Would her speech be affected?
How could I help?
What could I do?

But I was told not to worry (you're joking right!), to "keep the pressure off of her head" and to "come back in the New Year".


I left that doctors surgery in floods of tears with all kinds of thoughts running through my mind.

I was trying to think of ways to let her sleep, to change her nappy, to let her play, without her head touching anything to stop the pressure making the situation any worse.

For the next 24 hours that little lady spent the majority of her time up on my shoulder, in a sling, on her tummy, sat up with us supporting her neck - you name it I tried it.

And she was exhausted with it all.

And so was I - exhausted and worried.

So I made an appointment to see my doctor the next day - I needed a second opinion and there's no way I could "wait until the New Year" - I'd have been a shattered, nervous wreck by then.

The doctor I saw was so lovely - she is really understanding and friendly and what a difference it makes when there is someone there who is willing to take the time to help you properly.

The doctor listened and explained that "Plagiocephaly" is very common in babies - more so now than ever with the need for babies to be positioned on their backs to sleep to try and prevent Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.

She told me that once babies begin to sit up unaided their still soft skulls will begin to move back into the correct position and the condition no way at all will impact brain development.

But she also understood my worries and realised that because I had words related to facial distortions thrown at me with no real explanation it was bound to set off a whole catalyst of concern.

Don't get me wrong - my baby could have three eyes and tentacles and she would still be perfect and beautiful and amazing - my little princess - but the way in which things were said to me was bound to make me worry.

I wouldn't want something to happen to either of my children and there be a way in which I could have helped them but didn't because I didn't have the correct information - I would never forgive myself.

I'm a Mum and I'll help my children with anything, any way I can.

The doctor found me a leaflet and promised to speak to a physiotherapist to make sure the things we were doing to help the plagiocephaly not become worse were all correct.

She was wonderful and really helped to counteract some of the worry and unease caused the day before.

That's all the situation needed really - someone to tell me that, OK there could be an issue, but here are the ways to help make it better, rather than worry me half to death and send me on my way.

And I know from speaking to my friends that it's not just me either...

One of my close friends was told, again by her health visitor, just on a hunch that her baby may need a hip operation.

There was nothing wrong with her little girl's hips, but that one comment set off a whole load of unnecessary worry and concern for my friend and her partner.

And then another friend of mine who has recently had a baby but had to stay in hospital for a few days, in her own words, has said she "felt pressured to breastfeed" even though she was in terrible pain - so much so that it was making her poorly.
She felt guilty even considering switching to a bottle and formula.

Is it fair?

No it's not.

But I do know that it isn't everyone - I have met some amazing midwives during my pregnancy and one of my health visitors is fantastic but it really frustrates me that during such a life-changing time there are some people who obviously offer up their own versions of advice, maybe with a few of their own opinions slotted in without thinking things through first.

They need to remember that whilst they are doing their job, for the parents that they speak to, it is their lives that the advice affects and not one of them will go away and "do no thinking" on the things they are told.

Their precious little bundles are the only thing the parents will be thinking about.

I just wish people would consider the things they say a little more sometimes...

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