A couple frustrations with the NZ maternity system so far…

I should probably preface this by saying: my complaints are fairly minor. They’re pretty First World. But it’s my blog, and I’ll complain if I want to…

Finding a midwife

There’s been a lot of news coverage about the shortage of midwives in NZ lately. About how our system functions, how midwives are paid, and what needs to change. (I like The Spinoff’s series on this.)

And so pretty much the week I peed on a stick and got that positive result, I set about looking for a midwife in a suitable location (ideally close to home, but not too far off my commuting route, etc). At first, the choices seemed overwhelming! So many beaming headshots. And then I started to eliminate the ones who weren’t available in October. The ones who didn’t have birthing arrangements with both hospitals and Birthcare. And then it was about reading their profiles and getting a feel for their style and approach.

In theory I think they say you should meet with a few, almost like interviewing them, and then make your decision. Yeah, that didn’t happen.

I narrowed it down to a couple of midwives and fired off emails. No go on the first (she was only available in the first half of the month and I’m due at the end of the month). The second, thankfully, I got a great feeling about. I’d sensed a good vibe from the beginning (I swear) just from seeing her profile online. She responded with enthusiasm and emoji and basically welcoming me with open arms. I wasn’t able to get an appointment with her for a couple of weeks because she was travelling and I was on deadline at work, but she arranged some prescriptions for me and dropped them off in my letterbox, since she lives not far away. And so, I guess I landed myself a midwife before ever meeting her!

You can change midwives at any time, but luckily I liked her in person as well. I feel good about it and their particular practice seems to have rave reviews from lots of other women.

That worked out perfectly for me, and let’s face it … I don’t do well when faced with a lot of choices anyway.

But what if your limited choices of midwives in your area aren’t great? Finding one available for your due date, one whose location works for you, one who you click with…. It’s a real possibility.

Setting up scans

Sonographers, man. They’re up there with property managers. Remember all the dramas I used to have trying to get to view rentals during the work day (because rental viewings are only ever held during business hours? Whilst open homes for sale are only ever on weekends?!) It’s like that, all over again.

T can literally be anywhere in the city (or even beyond it on the outskirts) in any direction at any given time during the work week. He won’t know until the day of where he’ll be going. And so he just can’t commit to any appointments – not even at lunchtime – short of taking a leave day. Obviously, however, we want to save his leave for the birth so he can take time off then.

I went to the dating scan alone, but we both wanted him to accompany me to subsequent scans. In order for that to happen though, we needed appointments after 4pm. Which I thought would be fine… surely there’d be plenty of slots available  between 4-5pm?

How wrong I was!

Clinics may be open to 5, 6, 7 or later – but that only seems to apply to X-rays. If you’re needing an ultrasound, you can only get those done up till around 2-3 at many places, at least the ones in areas that worked for our needs. I respect sonographers’ valuable time but as a patient, this SUCKS. I literally cried at work on the phone trying to book a scan and being unable to get a time that I knew T could make.

After a lot of frantic emails/calls, I found that Auckland Radiology in Avondale offers evening scans on a Wednesday. That’s now our go-to, and if you need flexibility with your appointments, that’s one place you can definitely try.


5 thoughts on “A couple frustrations with the NZ maternity system so far…

  • Reply SP June 7, 2018 at 04:48

    I’m glad you were able to resolve these issues, even though it sounds like it was stressful at the time!

    Overall, I’ve been happy with my care so far. It is a totally different system and varies depending on what insurance you have, but I’ve liked mine.

  • Reply Laura June 7, 2018 at 22:16

    We’re going start trying in a couple of months (we’re in AU) and just wondering – any suggestions in the early days of trying to prep financially and physically for pregnancy?

    • Reply eemusings June 8, 2018 at 09:53

      Probably nothing novel! I’d say get up to speed on entitlements (whatever you get in AU, and anything your employer might offer) so you can do your budget projections, BNZ has a baby costs calculator that I used. Physically if you’ve got an exercise routine going KEEP IT UP, you don’t want to start anything new after getting knocked up. Because I got sick (cold/flu that dragged on) early in my pregnancy I fell off the wagon for quite awhile and then by the time I was ready to get back into it, I just physically wasn’t really up to it. That first jog was agony! Mainly just walking lots these days and the odd plank for core strength. Oh and can’t hurt to start those pelvic floor exercises, they always used to feel so dead easy and pointless for me then a few months in I got to a point where they just … weren’t anymore. After my first sneeze/leak, I get why they’re so necessary now!

  • Reply Dr. McFrugal June 10, 2018 at 15:35

    I hope pregnancy is going well for you. Any interesting symptoms? Food aversions?

    • Reply eemusings June 12, 2018 at 11:07

      So many aversions! Dizziness has probably been the most ‘interesting’… I’ve got a running log of symptoms which I’ll publish at some point…

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