Posted by: Team McSlade | June 14, 2010

The story behind the story – Part II

Part II – Ryan

Please read: The story behind the story first, otherwise it will make no sense


Written: 17 April 2010

¡Madre mía, madre mía!

[“Madre mía” literally means “My mother” and is the equivalent to “Oh my God”.]

After fighting my way through getting Jo an appointment to see a midwife by having to pedal across to Ador (a lazy 15k round trip) and organising this limited with embarazada español (‘Pregnancy Spanish’), the day of reckoning had arrived.
Would they allow us to keep the appointment, would la madrona be nice, would we get through the day happy and safe in the knowledge Jo was cooking up a little person?

As my Spanish diction on the topic of pregnancy is quite limited (Mi esposa es embarazada, así, no come foie gras y chorizo), we (wisely) decided to have Tina come along with us to translate. Proving that she had the goods in Gandía when we went to the hospital there; Jo and I prepared a few questions we wanted answered and gave Tina the heads up on them.

We turned up at the Rótova clinic for our 1.30pm appointment. A few other women milling about, Tina asked them if they were waiting for the midwife. I heard ‘doce y media’ & ‘uno’, and the confirmation came through from Tina – these women had appointments before us (at 12.30 and 1) and the midwife was running behind, way behind.
As the noon appointment rolled out at 1.45, the next woman did her best Usain Bolt impersonation to get into the midwife’s room. She peeled out fast and the 1 o’clock woman also sped into see La madrona, an ominous sign. This delay is expected in Australia (and I wouldn’t be content if they were on time, why be punctual when you can be a medical practitioner), yet as a translator costs cash, this was racking up the Euros, tick, tick, tick.

Finally, Jo’s turn to see the midwife arrived and she (the MW) was not ready to see us. She didn’t even know we were booked to see her. Also siesta and lunch at her mother’s was calling.
Asking if Jo was actually pregnant was first, (in case this appointment could be dashed fast), yep, here’s the ultrasound to prove it.
Madre mía.
Out comes the pregnancy booklet, questions about why the translator, how long are we here for, why bother her if we are only here for a short time, madre mía, from Australia, why here and the list went on.

This is where Manuel from Fawlty Towers takes over in the midwife. Frantic and wanting to bail, yet knowing she needed to fill in the book correctly, the machine gun Spanish is drilled at Tina. Understanding every third word didn’t help me, Jo was lost and when we tried helping i.e. address in Spanish, Jo’s age, weight, height given in Spanish numbers, the wheels continued to fall off.
The bearings and brake-pads were starting to come into view and this truck was going downhill fast. Now more info needed about previous pregnancies, madre mía, father’s health, mother’s health, smoking, alcohol, drugs, any issues? Nausea, vomitting, previous issues; no eating bread, potatoes..
Well, pre-clampsia toxima and ashermann’s syndrome….
oh, a few hysteroscopies and a laparoscopy, and too many
…Madre MÍa

Need to make an appointment for a 12 week scan at the Gandia hospital, what’s your blood type..? Don’t know. Madre mía, well we need to make an appointment for that. Rhesus negative, no worry, only do that later. When was your last tetanus shot? Don’t know, 10 – 15 years ago… Need one of those.

BANG. Manuela can’t get the computer to work, thus need to make appointment for her next visit later. MADRE Mía. Computer still stuffed, lunch cold, siesta blown apart, book filled in and air sucked out of the room.
So much for relaxing a pregnant woman (we also neglected to tell Manuela that Jo has had a steady diet of bread and potatoes, oh and baked beans; at least the Foie Gras was the fully cooked one.)

…and we still have to see her a few more times before we head back home…

Madrona 'Manuela' y Jo

Written: 14 June 2010

Several appointments and a few months down the track, we have now found Rosa the Madrona to be lovely, she has even slowed down on the ‘Madre mía’ calls (as we know not to make an appointment after 10am) and knows we are arriving.

Excited? Yep. Nervous? Yep, and any other questions you may have for us will be answered in both a positive light and in a timely fashion. I do need to add one proviso we have in this time of ‘with child’.

Several years ago, I said to Jo that if she was to get pregnant I would get on the tee-totalling wagon with her for support.
What was I drunk?
I don’t think so, maybe a few bottles to the breeze, but when we found out Jo had a bun in the oven, Jo asked if I remembered, I said yes and with that since early March I have had one beer (for my birthday on March 27 – an allowed beverage in our booze-free adventure). Thus any talk of beer or wine or cocktails has been a carefully constructed fabrication to mask the fact that I am not partaking in cheap beer in Europe.

After my solitary beer in Madrid for the B´day, we needed to get Jo to Valencia by 10.30am. Why you may ask? Well, due to the ordinary people of Covermore Insurance not being willing to stump up the cash for ‘pregnancy-related medical issues unless they are grave in nature’ (read: you must be dying for our help), Jo needed to get an NHS card.
Now to get that, you must go to London and with flights out of Madrid being expensive we needed to go back to Valencia.
Highways here allow for 120kph, but our rental car approached the speed of sound along the highway. Jo and the kids slept as I kept my eyes peeled for police. I don’t believe a medical insurance emergency will get you out of a speeding fine.
We made the airport just on time, and Jo’s R&R hoity-toity trip to Londres got us the NHS, then the EHIC and finally the SIP, rounding out the three card trick that has given free – I repeat, FREE – health care.

However today, Hector (the hospital penny-pincher and man of ‘no English’ except when he wants to tell us bad news) informed us that we have now overstayed our healthcare welcome in Gandia. Thus today’s ultrasound was the last one we were getting in Spain.
Tranquila nos amigo, we are leaving tomorrow with a 21-week-old-all-vital-organs-functioning-ten-finger-ten toed-muppet , muchos muchos (can you feel the sarcasm filling up the room?) gracias y de nadaaaaaa.

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  1. Fabulous news- congratulations to you all! Can’t wait to see your little minchkin when he/she arrives. Good luck for the rest of the pregnancy!!!

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