Friday, February 29, 2008

    Visit from the Health Nurse

    I knew i'd had a bitch in here about the Maternal, Child and Health Service in here before, so it was interesting to go back to that post and read and compare.

    So they pop around a week after you get home from hospy, just to make sure you're not smothering or abusing your child, or living in squalor, i'm sure. It's free, they come to you, and I was like "sure, why not, come over"

    And spent the rest of the 'meeting' smiling at her tightly and answering her questions with 'good' and 'fine'.
    I mean, I left the hospital thoroughly happy to not have to endure any more questions about any of my bits and their various stages of healing. I'm not usually one to happily chat to strangers about intimate details of my anatomy.
    I accepted her brochures on controlled crying, clinics and I dunno, a million other things that didn't interest me the first time.

    I wondered why I invited her.
    We breed 'em mean over hear I think.

    I met a lovely Maternal Child and Health Nurse in hospy that does the Ballarat ( country Victoria ) beat and she was so lovely.
    We seem to get the cold, pinched variety of nurse in my area.

    So anyway, she arrives, we greet her at the door and my son proudly tells her about the new baby and how it came from mummy's tummy and something, something else. I ask him to show her to the lounge.
    He does this in his usual animated, sociable, engaging way.

    People skills I don't really possess, God Bless Him ...

    So, I go to get the baby.
    "Does your son have a hearing problem?"

    Me "wha, huh ?"

    " I noticed it as soon as I walked in. He doesn't close his words properly. I was wondering if he had a hearing problem ?"

    "Um, no...."

    She chats about my body, all the formal stuff - how was your pregnancy, birth etc.
    "So he doesn't have grommits ?"

    Me: "no"

    "Have you seen a Speechie to check him out ?"

    Me: "Yes. The last maternal health nurse scared the bejesus out of me and made me take him at 18months. The Speech Pathologist wondered why we were there ?"

    "Perhaps you should get him checked out again"

    By this stage, i'm thinking 'are you going to freaking check out the BABY, or harp on about my son ?', but I continue to smile tightly and suffer her interogation.

    She deviates again back to my stats briefly before:
    "I'm surprised the kinder hasn't called you in for a meeting about it"

    WTF ?

    I say "well, he's only been 4 times - i'm sure it's a bit too early for them to be calling conferences with me. All they've told me so far is what a delight he is ..."

    "It's just that I see a lot of 3.5yr olds and..." (trails off)

    So she weighed my baby and left...
    ..left me to call and email other mothers to ask if I had my head in the sand and my 'mummy-ears' on in regards to my son's speech ? I mean, of course there are better speakers out there in his age group, even in my Mother's Group, but he certainly seems to be to be on par with others.

    Perhaps he attracted her attention because he talks so much - he loves to chat, to show people around the house, to show off his baby, his bedroom etc

    I know a few other boys that speak well, but they never say anything, rarely speak.

    Which is better ? Is either even comparable ?
    I don't think so.

    So now I feel obliged to follow-up - again.

    I've booked in for his 3.5yr old assessment in a couple of weeks time, and that is with another nurse, so i'll see what she says and do the right thing by him, for sure.

    But still, I wonder if they EVER say to ANYONE:
    "Gee, you're doing a great job!" ??!?!?

    My g/f thinks they just have a black book of sins they like to add people's names against.
    Keeping mothers in fear keeps them employed.


    BTW - behind in blog-reading, answering emails, you name it ... the newborn's eating habits are keeping me chained to the couch at the moment.... i'll get there ... ;)


    Gina said...

    He's absolutely stunning. No baby here yet...can you believe it? But you look amazing. Congratulations!

    Kirsty said...

    Sack her - I hardly went to any with number 2 & I think only had the home visit with number 3. Maternal (I think not) Witch.

    Anonymous said...

    my belated congratulations! What a cutie pie :)
    As for the Witch...
    You know, you're doing a great job! I'm sure they train those cows in "nasty".

    Stacey said...

    I hope you spat in her tea / coffee.
    I was really lucky with the nurse I went to. An absolute gem.
    A few times I got the horrible nurse from hell who tried to tell me my child was underfed and skinny. Just what an anxious first time Mum wants to hear!
    You could go down the route my sister in law took - "either make yourself useful by hanging out the washing for me or piss off back to your office." Nurse chose the latter.

    Anonymous said...

    I'm certain that there is a personality test with the job application of maternity nurse. If you have a personality they don't accept you.

    SadieandLance said...

    What a silly beatch your MCHN is. I'll lend you mine if you like, she always told us how great we were doing 'good girl' etc. She's a cack real straight down the line etc.

    Enjoy your boob time on the couch!

    Melody said...

    Urgh this post has made me all angry H&B! Bloody Maternal Nurses!!! I can't believe she said that about your son. I think you'd know if your son had a hearing problem. My bestest mate up here, her son has speech difficulties and you can tell, so I imagine you would know!

    My maternal health nurse in Sth Melb - oh how I dreaded seeing her. Made me feel soooo guilty about everything....terrible.

    I reckon it sounds as if you're doing a terrific job, well done.

    meggie said...

    My daughter is right with you! She only had the woman for the home visit, & carefully avoided all further contact. I am sure there is nothing wrong with your delightful MC & he seems a perfectly lovely child.
    Why are these people so damn negative?? GGRRRRR.

    muser said...

    You need to move you rcomputer next to the couch. ;)

    Yeah, I think it must be your area. The home visit nurses we've had have been lovely. Particularly the most recent one in country NSW. Maybe it's about being in the country? They're more laid back. Can't say the same about the "nurses" at the Pharmacy though. They *are* panic merchants.

    I think your mummy-instinct would have rung alarm bells by now if there was a real issue with speech and hearing.

    Holly & Scolly said...

    Sorry you've had such a hard time with your MCHN. Here in Geelong most of them are great. Although the first one we had did nothing but talk about herself, so I switched to another one close by. She then retired so I switched back. We've had nothing but good experiences with the MCHN's here (apart from the 1st witch). Recently had the 3.5yr check up and they were really supportive. I think once you've had one, you're pretty clued up and probably don't need them as much the 2nd or 3rd time around. Do what feels right for you, and not what they tell you. It's fantastic that you have a son that's chatty and outgoing, I bet he's going to have loads of fun with his little brother.

    Mikhela said...

    I thought I was missing out - the MHCN system in Qld is very laissez-faire - I didn't even know they had them until recently. But reading this, I'm glad I'm just figuring it out on my own.

    I'm sure your son is fine, too. Could you trust a friend or your mother to be honest and tell you if his speech is weird FOR HIS AGE and let that guide you about whetehr you need follow up?

    bluemountainsmary said...


    Just what you don't need at the moment.

    Surely friends and family would have commented by now if they thought there was an issue.


    Kim said...

    So you know that as the mother of a child with a profound speech disability I'm going to side with her don't you.


    Note what she said FIRST - have you had his hearing checked.

    Mum - as a teacher - gets a kid on every couple of years who ends up having a hearing problem, but is so cluey/bright they've taught themselves to lip read and just deal with it.

    In the early years we got Oscar's hearing checked every six months. Sometimes it made me suicidal I was so 'surely we're DONE with this' but I kept doing it because I'd play it out to the end point of not being able to live with myself if his hearing ever came back as an issue. Of course, it took about five years but eventually they were all 'oh no, his hearing is FINE'.

    Get his hearing checked.
    Make an appt with an ENT.
    Go to a DIFFERENT speech - a private one if need be.
    Just explore it.

    If it comes back - 'oh no, he's age appropriate' then excellent! If it doesn't, then you are in the process of dealing with it.

    Something very very slight at 3.5 can be very very major by 6.

    I'm just saying.

    Correct, wrong time to be saying this to you as you're home with a newborn and hormones are raging, boobs and bits are throbbing and sleep is minimal, but she was right to raise it. She just could have done it better.

    You can hate me ... now.

    h&b said...

    Kim - that's fine to say what you did - I appreciate all opinion and a rant is merely a rant - doesn't mean i'll head-in-the-sand over it :)

    As for the hearing - yep, all clear, and even today ( because now i'm paranoid, natch ) I was trying all manner of little whispers from all angles, especially when he wasn't even aware I was there.

    Annoyingly at times, he can hear a pin drop.

    Still, like I said, he's due for testing, with another nurse, so we'll see how it goes .. and follow up .. as you do ;)

    Louise said...

    I have had lovely health nurses but I did meet one who used to run our mother's group that was really mean. It's the constant undermining in a sweet kind of way that makes you feel like an enormous failure. I was told by a paediatrician that Daphne probably had a hearing problem because she wasn't joining words at the age of 2. This was after walking in and sitting down - all of about 30 seconds worth. I haven't had her checked yet as I thought I would give it a few months. Sure enough, the words are pouring out of her.

    Anonymous said...

    I know what you mean. My friend had a baby last week and when the nurse went to her home she said "I hate to say this darling, but your particular breasts really aren't cut out for breastfeeding" What a complete cow!! Luckily my girlfriend is 100% wanting to try and not give up despite cracked nipples, scabs and lots of pain. I told her to completely ignore her comments, but I thought the same thing, a few words of encouragement wouldn't have gone astray!!!!!!!!!

    Heather said...

    I think they just feel like they need to say something that your doing wrong so they feel like they did something. Although I think saying "wow, you're really doing well, congrats" would be more helpful.

    dottycookie said...

    Evil, evil woman. I'm sure someone else would have already mentioned it if your little man did have a problem, even assuming you hadn't realised yourself. Not helpful At All.

    We had similar ones here - there is the odd good one but overall I wish they'd just leave people in peace. When I needed them to help and send me to the doctor to get some happy pills first time round they told me to just draw smiley faces on the calendar on my "good" days (what good days?!) and not to worry because they thought "your baby is quite safe with you". Excuse me? Needless to say, second time round I had an alternative support network in place.

    dancingmorganmouse said...

    Do what Stacey's sister-in-law did. You're an educated middleclass woman who's managed to bring up a lovely boy just fine. Just don't let her in the door next time.

    Kris said...

    I can't believe that still happens! Which is what I said almost 24 years ago when I took my first born to the child nurse and was told to put her on the bottle because she was too skinny and too demanding. Needless to say I successfully breastfed her (& the other 7 children I had after her) and never saw one of those nurses again! Most of them don't have a clue, and very few seem to have any social skills at all. Whatever happened to being nice?

    Aunty Evil said...

    Sorry, can't comment. Got the shits about that woman criticising your son.

    shula said...

    Don't you bloody dare.

    My daughter didn't close her vowels till she was 6. I endured no end of grief from pompous, opinionated women like this for years.

    I hope she blows a blood vessel and DIES, without closing the vowel on her last word.

    And at what point did family services abandon the policy of emotional support?

    Stomper Girl said...

    I remember feeling pissed off with the MCHC nurse whenever I took Cherub to see her. Ended up never getting the poor child weighed because I resented being treated like a first-timer every visit. Unlike the first-born who got weighed and checked religiously! But I think that was only that particular woman; I have had plenty of nice experiences with other nurses.

    I didn't notice anything amiss with his speech when I met him :-)

    shellyC said...

    I would have told that nurse to F f f f f f f f f f u u u c c k off!!
    Which child was she there to visit anyway. The nerve!

    I say good on your son for being so chatty! I am sure she would have identified my very shy children as having very delayed speech.

    My float said...

    ShellyC put it most succinctly.

    I'd have bopped her one. (The nurse, not ShellyC! LOL)

    My float said...

    Speaking of stupid medical experiences, you've just reminded me about the time my doctor insisted - INSISTED - my son was showing signs of ADHD because he was running around his surgery. Sure the kid was off his tree, because the damn doctor had kept us waiting for 1.5 hours. Much as I like my doctor, this turned me off him a tad. My son is a 'normal' (inasfar as anyone is normal!) boy, much gentler than others and very very chatty like yours.

    Stupid nurse.

    jorth said...

    Ooooh, I feel your pain.

    When Grumbles was born, what with all the horror that happened etc, the whole breastfeeding thing didn't really take off. Which was completely understandable, I thought, considering she didn't even get near the bosoms until I'd gotten out of HDU two days later.

    Anyway, she was a bit of a chucker *understatement* and when the MHN came around to our place, she was of no help whatsoever, and kept telling me firmly that "all our problems would disappear once I got my baby on the breast". Um, hello? Will it make my uterus magically reappear? I DON'T THINK SO, YOU DAFT, RUDE, THOUGHTLESS WOMAN!

    Thankfully we moved a few weeks after that, and our new MHN was so amazingly fantastic that I cried when she left our little suburb. Yep, she was that good!

    Melissa said...

    There are some biatch ones out there. Sorry you got one of them. We are really lucky with the ones we have even if they do like to make stress about weight gain (and did appear to miss what was an actual problem...).

    Anyway... trust your mummy instincts!! (btw thanks for the comment letting me know my site wasn't showing up properly - it seems fixed now. I hope!!).

    nutmeg said...

    Yes - like Melinda said (but much better then me!) - "go with your gut!" Whether something shows up or not it was certainly THE MOST innappropriate time and place to be taking this issue up with you - an informative and fully explained reasoned argument in an email would have been more appropriate.

    summer pickles said...

    Bloody hell! What is it with MCHNs putting fear into the hearts of mums?!? What?!? Great that she was so unconcerned by your parenting of new bub that she felt she didn't need to comment... where is the flood of compliments?!?

    I am fuming on your behalf lovely :)

    On the other point about big bro's speech... drop me an email if you want me to informally check him out (am a paeds speechie by trade).

    Can't believe how quickly you got back into blogging, good on you!

    Chat soon x

    Damselfly said...

    Don't they say that Albert Einstein didn't speak until he was three?

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