This week, a news story hit that the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland has begun to use a robot for educating their students on the physical elements of childbirth. The news video included some (debatably creepy looking) footage of the robot in practice. Lucina, Ireland’s only “birthing mannequin”, has been purchased for €75,000 to benefit the surgical education of the future doctors taught in RCSI. The reaction to this news story has been mixed, to say the least. Some are horrified at the idea of a robot being used to teach doctors how to work in a childbirth setting. Others find it a genius idea which will likely improve outcomes for future patients as the educational tool will prove beneficial to the doctors in their training. So, what exactly is the reasoning behind the robot, what is it likely to teach that our current system doesn’t have, and is it all a bit of space age nonsense?
My heart is sore. I’ve just finished listening to an incredibly brave woman, Siobhan Whelan, talk about her pregnancy in an interview on Prime Time. Prime Time never gets the good news stories from maternity wards, and this interview was no different. Siobhan, who was pregnant at the same time as I was in 2013/2014, was treated in Cavan General Hospital. This hospital has been in the news quite a bit over the past few years, home to numerous tragedies caused by medical misadventure. Pregnant women have entered and left empty handed, mourning the loss of their babies, believing in many cases that it was their fault. This isn’t the first Prime Time interview I’ve watched with women who were treated there, not the first I’ve welled up to. It draws little surprise, even though the topic is heart-wrenching. The lack of shock about the conditions is what hurts my heart most of all. It’s not exactly the only example of pregnant women losing their voices in the course of pregnancy as far as the medical profession is concerned. Bodily autonomy isn’t something afforded to those with child here.
These days I’m the mother of a rather adventurous, loud, mad-as-a-hatter 14 month old boy who I can’t really get away with calling my baby anymore, he’s the light of my life and the reason I’m driven insane all in one fell swoop. However, when I started this blog I was heavily pregnant and for the most part a bit clueless about the whole process of becoming a parent and the changes it would bring to my life. I’ve written before about the things motherhood has taught me here and here, but all of that skips over the whole question of getting the baby out of me, a thought which absolutely terrified me (I don’t have much of a pain threshold and an addiction to One Born Every Minute really wasn’t helping).
As I’ve documented a few times on this blog, I am a c-section Mama, my bubs was evacuated via the sunroof, no natural birth here. It wasn’t something I had planned (not that the Irish system allows first time mothers to do that anyway, in my experience), but having not planned for anything I feel that it was definitely an experience less traumatic and mentally punishing than that of women who had hoped and wished for a natural vaginal birth. It’s something I’m happy to talk about; as I see it, my birth experience was no different to that of anyone else. It’s got the drama (monitors beeping madly), the long waiting (24 hours for a bloody gel to start working), a hazy blur of things going on (everything from the lovely gas and air stage) and the ending, where a rather tiny orange little person emerged from where he’d been growing inside me and became my son, the boy prince who could have guest starred on Geordie Shore, such was his lovely orange jaundice. Read More