The 50th centile


“Any guesses what she weighs?”
The health visitor from the Family Nurse Partnership is here, measuring Mia on the baby scales.
“She’s massive on them now,” says Frances.
“She’s 9lbs 9ozs,” says the health visitor who, until I have her formal approval, I am calling Jane. “That’s wonderful. 436 grams.”
“So, she’s put on how much?” asks Frances.
“She’s put on 1lb and 3ozs. So she’s put on 19ozs in two weeks which is absolutely wonderful. Look at her now,” says Jane.
Mia is looking straight at me, as if she know she is being photographed, enjoying it.
“She’s not camera shy, is she?” says Frances.

Before the weigh-in we’ve all been downstairs, at a meeting to discuss Frances. There were three professionals: her social worker, her support worker from this place – accommodation for vulnerable young mums – and Jane. Frances has been asked to invite some ‘supporters’ so as well as her and Hassan (and Mia) there was Ruth from the Reclaim Project, and me. I’d never been to one of these meetings before. Are they called ‘case conferences’?

I’d promised everyone that I’d not blog about what we talked about but, I have to say, the idea of all these people discussing the future of this 16 year-old young woman made me feel uncomfortable. I compared this to my own 16 year-old daughter, absorbed in her A-levels, supported by her family, her future her own.

Upstairs Jane is explaining that Mia is doing well, she’s on the 50th centile which means she’s fine, she’s bang on average. Straight off, I like Jane. There’s a positive in everything she says. She’s on Frances’ side, on Mia’s side. Everything is focussed on getting a good outcome for them.

There’s lots of advice, lots to consider. And with Jane it comes thick and fast. I can’t help thinking it’s because she has an overflowing caseload and she needs to be somewhere else. Within ten minutes she covers the heel prick result (it’s normal); GP registration; immunisations; the wheel of healthy-eating, (“…first class proteins can be expensive… how are your finances?”); baby communications (“Look, she’s talking already with her eyes, mouth and arms,”); feeding patterns; and now whether or not the baby is too warm. Phew.

There’s a ‘How-do-you-know-if-your-baby-is-unwell-quiz’, but that’s saved for the next visit.


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