I am now officially on maternity leave. It's a strange feeling, and will only feel stranger as the days go on. And I'm not the only one who isn't going to work tomorrow. Actually, enormous numbers of day-care workers, nurses, and, most importantly for me, midwives, will also be on a leave of sorts. Which is to say, on strike.
It's been a question that keeps coming up, about what I will do if I go into labor during the strike, so it seems logical to write about it here. Of course, there's no guarantee that the strike will still be on when my daughter decides to make her grand entrance into the world, as there's no knowing how long the strike will last. In the past, I've heard, such actions have been ended after hours by parliament passing a law ordering the striking workers to go back to work. But there seems to be a sense that this will not be what happens this time, though I suppose we'll all find out for sure tomorrow.
The strange thing is, that although a strike has been rumored and talked about and now planned for a while, we can't seem to find out all the things we'd like to know about what this all actually means for me. I know that I can forget about the tour of the maternity ward which I had hoped to go on this week, and that my midwife appointment for next week is cancelled if the strike is still on (which I assume it will be). Any emergencies or urgent questions, there is a hotline set up, or I suppose I could make an appointment with my regular family doctor. I know that, or at least I assume (I haven't heard anything one way or the other) that I can go to the hospital when I'm in labor, and have my child there. Everything else is conjecture, and assumes that all hospitals will follow roughly the same procedures.
I must confess, I think everything will turn out o.k. The one issue might be the length of stay after the birth. The one hospital in the greater Copenhagen area which has issued what seems to be a full statement (or fuller than the one my hospital has on its website anyway) indicates that (of course barring complications) women having their babies there will be sent home four hours after giving birth. Some women would probably want this anyway, but many women choose to take advantage of the opportunity to stay for two nights, with their partner and of course the baby rooming in. I'd like to do this, too, and it will be very disappointing if I have to go home so soon. Not the end of the world, but not the way I'd like to do things. Though it seems logical; medical supervision for birth is an essential service, giving new parents a chance to get to know their babies before taking them home clearly isn't.
So, in short, what else can I say? I sympathize with the striking workers. I'd prefer they carried out their strike in, oh, June? But of course that has everything to do with me, and nothing to do with them.