I had the luck to live in Ireland long before getting pregnant. My experience, with the pregnancy and later on with the birth, was a nice one, I didn’t spend too much time in the hospital, I didn’t need to, usually you could get the next appointment details at the end of the current one, they tried to call you in time or even earlier, all these were happening in an Irish public hospital.
I’ve been attending A&E (emergency department) too, in different circumstances, you cannot anticipate the time you’ll be out of there, usually that’s a busy place to be. I met here, in the hospital, people that love their jobs, that take care of you and most of all that are there if you need someone to help you. And I didn’t even pay a cent for that. Maybe the wages are satisfying , but they work a lot too. The care for patients is one of the many advantages of the public health system.
Another advantage is the preference for the vaginal birth if everything goes well. Obviously, as it happened to me, all that matters is the well-being of mother and baby. If C-section is mandatory, they won’t hesitate. Even if I was sometimes concerned about the way they use to monitor your pregnancy, now I realize I can’t complain.
I was hospitalized for 4 days, after having an emergency C-section, they recommend 3-5 days. When attending the ante-natal classes the midwife told us to make sure that the moment we decide to go home with the baby is the right one, because in the hospital you have permanent help if you need and is wise to take advantage of it. Robert was next to me all the time and this is another big advantage: they encourage the bonding through permanent contact with the baby.
Another precious aspect of the Irish medical system is the fact that they send a PHN (public health nurse) at home to check both mother and baby and who’s there for everything you might need. It’s like your best friend after giving birth. That was the moment when I met Fiona, a great nurse, a wonderful woman. I could look into her eyes and with only a few words she would understand the way I was feeling. Thanks, Fiona! Her first visit was the day next to discharge. As a first time mom (even if you can find lots of information online, you need to pass it through your own filter and adapt them to your current situation, was hard to do that while sleep deprived) I had lots of questions, but she was there to give me answers, to give me a priceless advice.
I thought that I couldn’t be affected by PND (postnatal depression) because I wanted my baby so much that it would be impossible to suffer once he-s here. Unfortunately that wasn’t true. I found out that PND is more frequent than I thought – dads can develop it too – and it’s not linked to the feelings you have for your baby. The circumstances (always on my own, at home with Robert, breastfeeding challenges, lack of sleep, very low support – physical and emotional -, far away from home and without having a proper face-to-face speech with another person) and all the changes I was facing in my new life as a mom, they all led me to depression. Fiona’s help was accessible, she always encouraged me by saying that it’s a stage, that will pass, that everything I do is right and we, mothers, are super-humans. I’m very glad I met her at the very beginning, she was transferred after 3 months.
I feel like we’re fine today, both me and baby. I hope dad is alright too. Men usually don’t show feelings, but they are overwhelmed too, they can hardly cope with the new life. They are like grown-up kids, Fiona used to tell me that they are like this forever, they feel excluded. We learn a lot with each passing day. I think that Irish people rely on proper information regarding the life with baby, you can find support if you need it, you can attend classes and support group meetings, you are not alone in this.
I found out that writing on the blog feels like some kind of therapy. I like it, it’s like when you have a problem, recognition is the first and very important step towards recovery. When we are low, we must think about 5 positive things which cancel a negative one. As a mother we know that we have more than 5 in a day, so we’re fantastic! Be well!