Thursday, April 10, 2008

My Statutory Rights are Violated

Today I was informed that the higher up powers-that-be in Yarnton Manor have decided they don't want me having a home birth after all. Since we're renting from them this basically means that now I'm stuck with a hospital birth. I think it's because the bursar (the one I would have to appeal to) thinks that it wouldn't be safe, and then if an ambulance had to be called, and couldn't arrive in time, bad things would happen. Although statistically, if you have a healthy pregnancy, a home birth is as safe as a hospital one. And yet, like Mr. Bennett, they are unmoved.

After being told this (I was called into the offices this morning), I came home and cried. I'm just grateful that I didn't cry in front of the registrar, although she was very sympathetic. She was the one who gave me permission in the first place, and she still thinks there's no problems with having a home birth. And after my endless extra ultra-sounds, the last one occurring today, I'm set to have a healthy birth, too. Elisheva is right on track for size; in fact, her stomach was even a little fat, compared to her head. And she has hair; the ultra-sound technician commented on it (I must admit, I just thought they were shadows, but then ultra-sounds are almost unintelligible to me; especially when at this size you can only look at one small piece of her at a time, like the femur, or the top of her head).

On all the food boxes here, along with other areas, they're always prating on about protecting your rights, and all food companies have care lines you can call and talk to about your rights (and how their food interacts with them, I presume). Avram and I both feel like our rights are being violated, but who has a care line for people against their landlords? And I'm not the kind of person to like making fusses over things, either. This isn't the first time we haven't seen eye to eye with them, either. First, we wanted to take down the baby gate at the top of our stairs, because Lydia was becoming so good at climbing up and down them that it didn't serve its purpose anymore. They didn't want us to do this, but we forged ahead anyway (although I was the one in the first place who asked for it, so to me if I want it off, it's my business). Then when my parents were coming to visit, they didn't want them to stay in our apartment with us, because they were worried that it was too many people for a one bedroom apartment, and if there was a fire or something while they were here....

The only problem was, for them to stay in another room in the house that isn't part of our apartment it would be 45 pounds a night, versus 20 pounds a night, which is what they had planned on paying. For this occasion I had Avram come in with me, and we were very emphatic, well, as much as I can be when confronting people, which is not very at all, and told them point blank that that was too much money for my parents to pay, and that if they could stay in the other room for only 20 pounds a night that was fine, but otherwise they needed to stay with us. We won that one, although I did feel like a cheap American doing it. Partly it bothered Avram and I that they had to pay at all to stay with us; granted the manor provided fold up beds for them to sleep in and bedding, but otherwise it's our apartment; do you have to ask to have people stay with you, where you're already living? You do here. It's like living in dorms sometimes.

I'm sure that they're not used to married couples as much, and so for the rest of everyone it really is like dorm life, with the accompanying more rules and regulations, but for Avram and I it can seem very constrictive sometimes. I don't know if this is general British attitude about renting, but I suspect it's much more just an attitude about renting to college studies, since we live in on-campus housing, essentially. On the plus sides, we do have our maids come every week; a perk not usually associated with even single dorm living in America. I would gladly trade cleaning my own toilet for having more say in what happens in my own home, though.

At first I contemplated appealing to the powers higher up (the bursar), but then as I've thought about it more, I've decided not to, partly because the registrar didn't think it would do any good to, and partly because I know that I'm not forceful enough to demand my rights, or privileges or whatever. I'm not even sure what rights these are; after all our housing contract never mentioned allowing or disallowing home births in general, so there isn't an outline for this situation anywhere.

Okay, I've decided to be done ranting now. At least about the permission side of things. Now we have to find a way to get to the hospital; the suggestion made by Yarnton Manor was to call an ambulance once I'm in labor (but wait, wasn't having an ambulance come the whole reason they didn't want me to have a home birth? Whatever.). I know that here Ambulances function almost like specialized taxis to the hospital, but in America you don't call an ambulance unless someone is basically dying, or already dead (which reminds me, who do you call when someone dies? The Undertaker? The Ambulance? I've never known.), so the thought of calling one when I'm simply labouring seems ridiculous to me. Also, now we need to find someone to watch Lydia; before we were going to keep her at home. The midwife didn't mind that at all, and in fact said that there would be two midwives there, and one of them could watch her so that Avram could still be with me in labor (poor Avram; he was hoping to get childcare duty to avoid being involved in the labor).

And I re-wrote my birth plan, from a nice friendly talk about how I want to labor, to a strict list of don't do this, don't do that, I won't allow anything against my birth plan without my husband first agreeing to it, etc, so that the hospital can just leave me alone and let me labor without interventions. Not that I minded going to a hospital in America, not at all in fact. I had a wonderful and supportive experience in Orem at Mt. Timpanogos hospital with Lydia; they respected my birth plan, never once mentioned pain relief like an Epidural, and let me stay when I came in although I was only 2 cm dilated (because I was actively in labor), which is a good thing, because Lydia was born only 2 1/2 hours after that, and if they had sent me home she probably would have been an unplanned home birth. Here, perhaps because of the socialized medicine that doesn't go in for frills that American medicine does, since people are willing to pay for it.

Frills like personal rooms, or visitors whenever, or husband being able to spend the night. Avram can visit from nine in the morning to nine at night, and other guests can visit from three pm to nine pm. Lydia can visit during the latter times, but only my children are allowed to visit; no other children allowed. Also, only three visitors at a time. Hmmph. I plan on leaving the hospital as soon after birth as possible, so hopefully this doesn't even become an issue.

Okay, now I'm really going to be done kvetching. On the positive side (for me at least) Avram will still be allowed in with me. And England only has a 16% c-section rate, as apposed to America's 30% rate. That really is a positive thing. And the sisters of the ward are holding a baby shower for me tonight; especially positive because since this is my second girl I didn't expect a shower at all, not to mention I'm new here. I love this ward, though. And I know that I'll be able to find someone to watch Lydia in the ward, and even a list of people we can call to go to the hospital; I'm just grateful that we do have this Church (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) to depend on; otherwise it really would be an ambulance as my ride to the hospital. And Lydia would be coming too, I guess.


  1. well since you labor so quick cant you just 'accidentally" have a home birth?? :) I am sorry to hear they are being so anoying about it. And how frustrating to have to find a person to watch Lydia now. How did they know you were having a home birth anyways? its always easier to ask forgivness than permission you know.. lol...

  2. Land Lord and tenant relationships are different state to state and I imagine country to country. I can understand how difficult this must feel. However have no fear I'm sure all will turn out from the best and now you have even more reason to hurry home from the U.K.

  3. So sorry this abrupt change of plans. I am glad you had the shower and the church is there to help you through this. I am going to try to call you.

  4. I'm already looking forward to reading the chapter on the visit to hospital in your memoir on England.