Sometimes people make up new rules and no one stops to ask why? No one has the courage to say to the rule-maker: this is utterly stupid, or this is a waste of peoples' time or a waste of money.
What in particular am I ranting about this time? The NHS of course.
As you all know I am not exactly what would be classed a spring chicken on the childbirth front, so it (sadly) came as no great surprise when the ante-natal blood tests came back telling me I was fairly high risk for Downs and other genetic problems. Although I have had one amnio before, I can easily say it is one of the most stressful experiences of my life. It isn't overly painful having a needle the length of a knitting needle stuck through your abdomen into your womb without anaesthetic but the risk of miscarriage coupled with the waiting for test results and of course the knowledge of the decisions those results may engender are heart-stopping.
My appointment was made for Tuesday at 11am. I left Anna with mum explaining I expected to be back within the hour. On arrival at the Queen Mum's, the doctor announced I could only have an amnio after they took a blood sample to determine my blood group as anti-D would be necessary if I was rhesus negative. She was holding my notes, stamped in pink on the front: Patient is Rhesus negative! Problem solved... we pointed out I had had four babies at that hospital over the last 12 years. She leafed through my notes and sure enough page after page mentioned my B negative blood group and every time over the years I had been given anti-D. It mentioned their testing of my blood type every pregnancy and the fact that (funnily enough) I seemed to always be the same blood type! However the new hospital policy is to check the blood type on the day of an amnio so I had my blood taken. I had a half hour scanning and amnio procedure at 11am followed by a wait till nearly 2pm in the waiting room, starving while the lab checked my blood type so they could authorise my anti-D. And you'll never believe it... at 2pm the lab confirmed I was indeed B negative! So glad my tax money is being put to such good use!