37 weeks …..and the fun of government health care

Priv is 37 weeks this Friday, and I am petrified for her.

I have stood on my head and called as many people as I could, but there was very little in the way of her being able to get her into a hospital and confirm that if she arrives at 02h00 with amniotic fluid dripping out of her ya-hoo she can get immediate attention. or at least be in the right queue.

Basically the system is she goes to a clinic.  The clinic then refers her to a day hospital, the day hospital in turn then refer her to a hospital who can then deliver the baby.

It really is a long winded process, and it sort of explains clearly why babies are delivered on the road side or in taxi’s.

Please bear in mind she cannot go to the day hospital unless she is referred by the clinic.

Priv is 37 weeks, and she is still having to haul arse to the day clinic once a week.  I am sort of trying to understand that this is the system and everyone should wait their turn.

I am trying to be reassured by this.  That assuming there is nothing seriously the matter, she can stand in a queue at the clinic whilst in labour, and wait for them to refer her to the day hospital, and then stand there and wait until they refer her to the hospital … assuming she has not actually delivered the baby whilst standing in the queue.

Again I am trying very hard to be patient, and not get my white suburban madam knickers in a knot, but here is the part where I am alarmed.

Every time she goes to the clinic, they look at her foetal assessment scan which she had at 24 weeks, and make a judgment from there.  They have not felt her stomach, have no idea if the baby is standing on her head or doing cartwheels – no idea.

I took her to the foetal assessment centre as she only realised she was pregnant at +22 weeks and had no pre-natal care at that point.

The scan the clinic is looking at is 13 weeks old, and at this point her baby could have done a somersault, moved in furniture and gone out for a curry.

I am so frustrated with this process I want to scream.

I have tried to call everyone to try and ensure she gets some indication of proper care – I really do not want Priv to find out there is a problem after she has been in 48 hours of labour and has to catch a taxi to the hospital after being left sitting on a wooden bench at the clinic for the last two days.

There is no end to the amount of “being bounced” that is a continual theme of dealing with the government health system.

I made another appointment for her tomorrow at the foetal assessment centre – if they are going to work off an old scan, let them at least have something that might indicate the baby is in her stomach and which way it is facing, and that she is actually still in there.

Screaming in frustration!!

Leave a comment


  1. John B

     /  June 6, 2013

    not sure if it the area, but Petunia received very good care and attention at the government hospitals here. the only “hassle” was that for non emergency care she had to be at the facility early. but once it became time sensitive, all was good!

    • reluctantmom

       /  June 6, 2013

      I think as long as there is no issue, that the care is probably fine.
      She had a very difficult labour with her first child,and this resulted in intervention, and a lot of pain etc.
      I took her for a foetal scan yesterday, they said they would do it at a reduced price as they know the situation — and they gave us a great report, so Priv is relieved and so am I, that at least everything is where it needs to be, and there is no reason for concern right now.

      And now we wait.

  2. Jenny

     /  June 6, 2013

    Why not consider getting her assessed by a private midwife who can tell which way the baby is lying? I am sure there are lots in the area?

    • reluctantmom

       /  June 6, 2013

      I took her back to the foetal assessment centre, and they did a scan yesterday. They checked the way the baby was lying, the placenta, the amount of liquid, the baby’s heart beat, the blood flow and everything. A very comprehensive scan, and it was definitely reassuring to know that everything is where is should be. The chances of baby moving now is quite slim, as she is already a good sized baby, and weighing in at 3.1 kg now, with a fair head size.

  3. Ai, I do hope all will go well

  4. Where we live, we have the clinic and the local hospital. The local government hospital is actually very nice, sunny, clean and tiny. They have a bus that leaves at about 7am every morning to take day patients to the big city centre hospital about 130kms away for more specialised treatment. It drives back again that evening. They also have ambulances, should any need arise to rush any moms or newborns for post natal care to the city. It’s not an ideal situation, but 1000’s of babies are born absolutely fine.

    In fact, just this year, I’ve rushed 3 different women, at different times, into town to the hospital to have their babies. Xhosa women, well those that live on this farm, are quite happy to sit and wait out their labour in the comfort of their homes and then only go in at the last minute. Good idea or not, you can be the judge of that? I’m in absolute awe of these women. The one girl was only about 18 years old.

    I know the local clinic is quite good with pre natal care, they give vitamins, send moms for scans etc. We also sometimes phone the ambulance to fetch women in labour too.

    Good luck with the birth of Priv’s baby. It’s so exciting.

  5. Katrina

     /  June 5, 2013

    It is like we live on a different planet here in Australia. I couldn’t imagine all that running around when I had my two kids. It was all very calm and that was in the local public hospital not even the private one. I actually went into the labour ward when I was only 32 weeks pregnant and said I wasn’t in labour, the baby wasn’t moving as much and I was being a big cry baby but they just took me in and put the ultrasound on, reassured me my baby was fine and they didn’t mind I needed that bit of reassurance at nine o’clock on a Friday night!!

    Even after the baby is born they don’t rush you, they don’t ask you to leave after you have had your baby until you are sure you are ready (some of my friends lingered around the hospital with their baby for five days in fear they would get home and not be sure what to do). I had a problem baby and they rushed in ten staff when my youngest was born and none left straight after. They all asked me how I was and congratulated me on the birth of my baby.

    I wish you all good luck and good health care xxx

  6. talentpassionlove

     /  June 5, 2013

    Just read your post now and I feel for Priv and you.

    We live in Jeffrey’s bay, Eastern Cape. We actually moved here when I was a bout 36
    weeks pregnant. Had no medical aid as well. (Was in Mosselbay for a month prior to moving here, with my parents in law.) I went to their clinic there, had to wait in the que obviously. Had my ante natal visit, was then booked to see the gyne at the government hospital in Mossel Bay. On the day we arrived at 7 in the morning like every one else and are then qued in the order of arrival. Blood pressures taken, urine samples taken, we then moved to an area in the hospital were the gyne does the scans. There you wait your turn again.

    Because of my history of a intra uterine death at 32 weeks, I was told to come back for more monitoring, This said, I was moved to a high risk clinic. We then moved to Jeffrey’s Bay and I then went to the Humansdorp Government hospital and they scheduled me to se the gyne in the high risk clinic, who eventually booked me for an induction.

    Was admitted to the hospital on a Sunday afternoon and and the following morning my baby boy was born. Wonderful care in the hospital.

    Currently I am expecting again. We have a wonderful government supported clinc from our church in Jeffrey’s Bay that actually make appointments for you. We took our baby there for all his check ups and inoculations. You do end up waiting a bit as in most doctors rooms, but what a wonderful experience.

    We have been blessed to have such wonderful facilities available to us. We moved here from Durban (Amanzimtoti) and there I would not have dreamed about going to visit n government operated facility.

    I pray for Priv (and you) that everything will work out perfectly and that the experience of bringing new life into this world will fill both your lives with much blessing and that you may experience God’s wonderful love towards this baby and yourselves.

    Keep well



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