So here is a 'Born Before Arrival' from my point of view.
It started, as is becoming increasingly common, with Dispatch putting out a general broadcast over the radio to see if there were any ambulances available to deal with a baby about to be born at home. We were at the hospital just finishing off our paperwork so we offered up for it – paperwork can normally wait.
Whizzing round there we were first on scene and were met by the husband of the patient at the front door, he was looking a little bit stressed. He directed us upstairs where the mother and child were laying on the bed. The baby was wrapped in a blanket and was being held by the mum.
The calltaker was still on the phone, but hung up before I could say what a sterling job they had done. I would later contact Dispatch and tell them to let the calltaker know how things had turned out (something I probably wouldn't have even thought of doing were it not for Nee Naw's blog).
A quick chat revealed the mum to be a lot more chilled out than the father. I congratulated her on making it all look so easy while checking the baby out. He was happy, breathing and had all the required fingers, toes and other items of anatomy. The fluid on the bed was nice and clear, so it seemed that the child had not become 'distressed' during the delivery. A check of the mother showed that she was also in good health.
A second ambulance crew turned up, and as one of them has only been out a year, we let her deal with the final stages of the birth. She offered the chance to cut the cord to the father, but he was still a bit scared and refused, so she had to do it. I advised her as to the best way to do it without getting splattered in blood.
In cases like this we get the hospital to send a midwife to the house – if everything is fine then the mother and baby could stay at home. While home births are riskier to mother and child than hospital births, if there is a chance to avoid going to hospital it's a nice idea to take it.
The midwife arrived, and this is where I started to grind my teeth in anger.
She walked upstairs and didn't even say hello to the patient (or to us). The first words I heard from her were, “I'm going to inject you to deliver the placenta”. We confirmed that the baby was fine and the mother hadn't even been torn by the delivery.
But the midwife still wanted her to go to hospital. I asked her why and she told me that all home deliveries had to go to hospital because of policy. I'd never heard of this before, but I'm not about to argue with someone who is supposed to know what they are doing. So we took mother, father, child and midwife to hospital.
We settled the patient into the delivery suite and was just about to leave when another midwife grabbed me and said that she 'recognised' me. I always wonder what I've done wrong when someone says that to me – guilty conscience I guess.
It took a while to remember, but I realised that I used to nurse with her when I was an A&E nurse. We had a little 'catch-up' and I asked her why the other midwife had felt the need to drag our patient to the hospital.
There was no need I was informed, no change in hospital policy and no good reason why there should be any concern for the baby or mother. She had no idea why she had been forced to come to hospital.
Then the first midwife came out of the delivery room, sucked her teeth and told us that she was, 'going on her break'.
Suddenly I had a motive for her bringing the patient to hospital.
Of course, this is all supposition. I can't prove anything – even the rudeness of not introducing herself would be hard to claim as both patient and midwife are Nigerian, and so it could be a cultural thing. If I did complain I could be accused of not being 'racially aware'. Any complaint would have to come from the patient.
Normally when midwives come out to a BBA, they are lovely and we get on really well. In my area a lot of them have huge chips on their shoulders while the midwives from outside of my area are much nicer – but all of them have always acted with courtesy and professionalism. It's a shame this one had to spoil it.
But still – it was a good job with a happy ending. And we can do with as many of them as possible.
UPDATE: A slight change to the post due to the discussion in the comments to this post.