Saturday, June 30, 2012

The Gifts of Adversity

I grew up in adverse circumstances - my parents were not well off, they divorced when I was young. For most of my childhood we were poor. My father struggled, went back to school and earned a diploma - I was 9 at the time of his graduation. My mother struggled, went back to school and earned a degree - I was 15 at the time of her graduation. There were new partners, remarriage and redivorce. We moved. Money was tight even when things were better in my late childhood. There was no money for post-secondary, although it was clearly expressed how important training beyond high school was. I put myself through university and graduate school. Despite such adversity, what mattered was always there - we were loved and supported in the ways that mattered most - and my childhood homes were free of abuse and neglect. We had what mattered.

There were gifts of growing up in such adversity - insights into who I am and the world around me, that I might not otherwise have. And while, I want my children to gain many of the same life lessons and insights, I do not want them to know the same struggles - I want life for them to be a bit better yet again. I know I am in a better position than my parents were, and for that I am very thankful, however, I still hope that my children will find themselves in an even better position and will be thankful for the privileges they have and would hope that they'd hope for better for their own children.

There will and have been gifts from my current struggles, I know this, and I am thankful for them. However, I do not want to squander the opportunities that my experience might yield - for doing so is to let the anger and hurt overwhelm, to do so is to let others suffer when they do not need to. I do not want my daughter to know the same struggles, nor to have the same experience. I want better for her - I know better is possible.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Planned Vaginal vs. Planned Cesarean: Research Spotlight

One of the things that comes up again and again when discussing modes of birth, is the idea that planned vaginal delivery is better for both mother and child than planned caesarean delivery. I remember when I was preparing for the birth of my daughter and looking into the research to help me decide what I should plan to do, that there was scant little that looked at planned mode of delivery and outcomes. Much of what existed at the time was retrospective in nature and lumped in emergent cesareans with elective cesareans. Logically, I knew that the risks varied depending on the type of cesarean it was (pre-labour, post-labour but non-emergent, and emergent caesarean) and I also new that most emergent cesareans were the result of planned vaginal births.

In the nearly two years since her birth, that seems to have improved a bit. The research that is out there is much better than it was then - and includes a very comprehensive book Choosing Caesarean by Pauline McDonagh Hull and Dr. Magnus Murphy. As well as a variety of other pieces of research that have been published since July 2010.

One of those pieces of research is the work of Geller, J.; Wu, J.; Janellie, M; Nguyen, T.; and Visco A. (2010) “Maternal outcomes associated with planned vaginal versus planned primary caesarean delivery” American Journal of Perinatology, Vol. 27(9): pp. 675-83. This paper came out after my daughter was born, but its results are interesting because of the prospective approach that was use. The paper examines the outcomes of 3868 planned vaginal deliveries and 180 planned caesarean deliveries. The paper found that planned caesarean had less chorioamnionitis at 2.2 percent versus 17.2 percent (a bacterial infection of the fetal membranes), less postpartum hemorrhage at 1.1 percent versus 6.0 percent (massive blood loss), less prolonged rupture of the membranes (2.2 percent versus 17.5 percent) but a longer hospital stay (3.2 days versus 2.6 days). There was no difference in transfusion rates. It was noted that laboured caesarean delivery had increased risks to the mother compared with either vaginal delivery and pre-labor caesarean delivery.

I note that the sample size of planned caesarean delivery in this study is quite small - this would mean that the confidence intervals would be larger than ideal (ie. there could be a lot of variability between this group of women and another group of women – larger sample sizes lead to smaller confidence intervals and greater certainty about the values that are reported). However, at first blush, this research seems to fly in the face of the generally accepted wisdom that planned caesarean is somewhat riskier for the mother than planned vaginal delivery. Previous research has indicated that its somewhat more risky for the mother, but less risky for the baby. I also note that the increased hospital stay for planned caesarean delivery is not substantial at about a half a day of increased length of stay compared with planned vaginal delivery.

I will also note that this study does not look at longer run risks and benefits of caesarean delivery or vaginal delivery - and those should also be carefully considered among mothers who are planning their mode of delivery.

Friday, June 22, 2012

BC, Southern Vancouver Island still lagging in epidural access - are women continuing to be denied access to pain relief in Labour?

The Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI) released new data for 2010/2011 on childbirth in Canada on June 21, 2012.  This data shows that British Columbia continues to lag in the provision of epidurals to women in labour and delivery.  While more than half of women (56.2 percent) experiencing a vaginal delivery in Canada received an epidural for their delivery, fewer than one in three (32.5 percent) British Columbians received an epidural for their delivery.  This was just slightly more than the 30.3 percent who received an epidural in 2009-2010.  Among all provinces in Canada, British Columbia had the lowest epidural rate among vaginal deliveries in 2010/2011.  In Quebec, about 70 percent of women having vaginal deliveries received an epidural – the highest rate of epidural use in Canada.

Within British Columbia the rate of epidural use, by place of residence, varied significantly.  Those who reside in Vancouver were by far the most likely to have received an epidural for their vaginal delivery with 49.7 percent having one 2010/2011, up from 48.9 percent in 2009/2010.  The lowest rate of epidural use in British Columbia was among those who reside in the Northwest at 17.4 percent followed by those residing in Fraser East at 17.9 percent.  Among residents of South Vancouver Island – those most likely to be served by Victoria General Hospital – the use of epidurals for vaginal deliveries was 34.8 percent in 2010/2011 compared to 34.1 percent in 2009/2010.  At the current rate of growth (2 percent per year) in epidural use for vaginal deliveries among residents of Southern Vancouver Island it will be 2036 before rates of use will match the 2010/2011 Canadian average.  Women giving birth on Southern Vancouver Island and many other parts of British Columbia are a generation or more behind in terms of access to epidural use for vaginal deliveries than other residents of Canada.

Of course it should be noted that the data available is not sufficient to conclusively say that there is and continues to be an access problem to adequate pain relief for many women giving birth in British Columbia – nor is it sufficient to say that there is an access problem to epidurals specifically.  The data that would be needed to draw conclusions about the adequacy of access to maternity care simply does not exist at this time.  There is no way to know how long those who received epidurals waited (often in agony) from request until placement.  There is no way to know how many women wanted access to an epidural and simply could not get one at all or the reasons why they could not get one.  There is no way to know how many women found alternate methods of pain relief adequate.  There is no way to know whether or not those labouring off hours (during evenings and weekends) experienced less access to these services than those who had the good fortune of going into labour during regular operational hours.  In short, in terms of truly measuring the quality of maternity care services, the statistics fall short.


However, given the huge disparities, both between British Columbia and the rest of Canada – and within British Columbia, and my own experience and the conversations I have had with other moms – I believe that there is an access problem to quality care, at least as far as residents of Southern Vancouver Island are concerned that needs to be addressed.  How long must many British Columbian mothers suffer?  At current rates of improvement my daughter will be 25 before the use of epidurals in Vaginal deliveries on Southern Vancouver Island match the 2010/2011 Canadian average – a whole generation will have been born potentially without reasonable access to what is currently considered the ‘gold standard’ in pain relief for labour and delivery.


For more information, please go to CIHI’s website (, click on “Quick Stats,” select “Interactive Data” under “Type” and “Hospital Care” under “Topic,” then select from the “DAD/HMDB Childbirth Indicators by Place of Residence” or “DAD/HMDB Newborns Born in Hospital” statistics.


Thursday, June 21, 2012

Why minimizing childbirth pain and improving birth experience matters

One of the things that made my experience particularly traumatic, to me, was the degree of pain that I had experienced.  I had some pharmaceutical pain management techniques offered to me, specifically, Fentanyl and Nitrous oxide gas – but I still recall being in more pain than I had ever been in my life up to that point and in more pain than I ever care to be again in my life.  I had given some thought to the management of pain that I could expect after a caesarean delivery and how to mitigate and cope with that pain – in fact I had some fairly realistic idea of what I could expect having had an open gall bladder surgery 13 years prior to my first pregnancy.  Needless to say, though such strategies are useless for coping with the circumstance that I was facing.  I had not given any thought as to how I would manage the pain of labour and delivery, because, I had not planned on ever having to manage the pain of labour and vaginal delivery.


There is some evidence that suggests that the circumstance I was in, being unprepared and completely lacking control over it, likely made it much more painful than it might have been otherwise (see:  Tinti, C. Schmidt S., & Businaro N, (2011) “Pain and emotions reported after childbirth and recalled 6 months later: the role of controllability,” Journal of Psychosomatic Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Vol. 32 (2), pp. 98-103).  This suggests that adequately preparing women for what they are likely to experience and providing them with some degree of control over it might mitigate their experience of childbirth pain.


I also have little reason to believe that the memory of the pain I experienced is likely to fade over time.  I know that now, nearly 2 years after the event, I still remember it as being extremely painful and distressing.  One longitudinal study has found that the memory of labour pain among those with negative birth experiences tends to remain negative over time – with little change even 5 years after birth (see: Waldenström, U., & Schytt, E., (2009) “A longitudinal study of women’s memory of labour pain – from 2 months to 5 years after the birth,”BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Vol. 116 Issue 4, pp. 577 to 583).  This suggests that efforts to mitigate the experience of pain among childbearing women and efforts to mitigate the risk of negative birth experiences are worth it as pain in birth is not something that women generally forget about, particularly when their experience has been negative.


Further, there is some evidence that severe, unrelieved pain may contribute to the development of Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) as a result of childbirth (see: Reynolds, J.L. (1997) “Post-traumatic stress disorder after childbirth: the phenomenon of traumatic birth,” Canadian Medical Association Journal, Vol. 156 (6), pp. 831-835 and Denis, A., Parant, O. & Callahan S. (2011) “Post-traumatic stress disorder related to birth: a prospective longitudinal study in a French Population,” Journal of Reproductive and Infant Psychology, Vol. 29, No. 2, pp. 125-135) .  There is also some evidence that unexpected events may also contribute to PTSD after childbirth (see: Leeds, L. & Hargreaves, I. (2008) “The psychological consequences of childbirth,” Journal of Reproductive and Infant Psychology, Vol. 26, No. 2, p.p.108-122).  While I am working with a psychologist, I have not been officially diagnosed with post-natal PTSD, however, if it looks like a duck, walks like a duck and sounds like a duck – it is in all likelihood a duck or at the very least a duck-variant and no amount of “putting up a good external show” is going to fix it.  This evidence also suggests that the provision of quality maternity care services might prevent serious psychological morbidity.

Given this evidence – it appears that:

*minimizing unexpected events during childbirth,

*improving childbirth education to accurately portray the realities of childbirth,

* improving the information given to women about their realistic options for pain relief in labour,

* improving access to a broader range of pain relief options in hospitals that serve women during labour and delivery,

* improving facilities that serve childbearing women during labour and delivery – particularly with a view to improving access to pain management techniques, and improving the physical environment of these facilities;

*and, improving the ability of women to exercise personal autonomy during labour and delivery by respecting an informed decision making process whenever practical -

Would likely result in a much higher quality of care and would likely mitigate the risk of adverse psychological and physical outcomes for mothers and their babies.  What is particularly shocking is that none of these suggestions have anything to do with decreasing the rate of caesareans or increasing the numbers of women who attempt to VBAC – both of which seem to be the only measures of quality maternity care that the BC government seems to care about at this time.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

You have a healthy baby, why sue?

One of the reasons I have decided to litigate is that the idea that the principles of informed consent and patient autonomy could be wilfully frustrated in favour of achieving other specific goals (reducing c-sections and increasing the rate of VBACs) and saving health care dollars, is really disturbing.  When such things are done in the context of pregnant women and their foetuses, people who are vulnerable and very dependent on the healthcare system - it is even more disturbing to me at a foundational level.  It sends a message that people, pregnant women, can be violated and abused if it results in achieving other objectives - even those that are just held by an individual care provider or hospital.   It makes me cynical.  On really bad days, it is down-right depressing.

I believe it is a reprehensible breach of the fiduciary duties that are owed by the state, hospitals and healthcare providers, to their patients and that such actions result in significant emotional and physical harm.  I believe it is an abuse of power and amounts to nothing less than battery and assault – state sanctioned torture, if it is not addressed and corrected.  I feel as though a stand needs to be taken – and there needs to be a strong disincentive to frustrating a person’s right to life, liberty and security of the person and the right not to be deprived thereof except in accordance with the principles of fundamental justice .


I believe the system, and those who work in it have an obligation to facilitate informed consent and to respect patient autonomy – to remember that healthcare should be a service that is done for people and not to them.  Further, I do not believe in modern day Canada, that there is any legitimate reason why a woman should be restricted in making medically legitimate and reasonable choice regarding the management of her pregnancy and the delivery of her child.  Caesarean birth has a long history and is a proven method of delivering a child, its risks and benefits are known, it is a medically legitimate option.  Epidurals also have a long history and are a proven method of managing the pain of childbirth, and similarly its risks and benefits are known, similarly it is a medically legitimate option.  Vaginal childbirth and other methods of pain relief are also options for the delivery of a child and the management of labour pain and also come with their own risks and benefits and are also medically legitimate options.  I believe a woman is entitled to know what her options are, to be provided accurate information on the risks and benefits of those options, to have access to professional advice and that her decisions regarding those options should be respected and facilitated.  I further believe that these services need to be reasonably available, and that access to them should not be arbitrarily withheld where they are available. I believe excellent care providers and hospitals understand that this is a critical element in providing quality care to the mothers and babies they serve - and that hospitals and care providers who do not understand this, need to and that they need to understand it now.


I believe what happend to me needs to be held to account and prevented from happening to other women and their families. Maternity care is not an exception and cannot be an exception.


That’s not to say that the sustainability of the healthcare system isn’t a concern and that endeavours should not be made to save health care dollars, it is and efforts most definitely should be made to save health care dollars – however, that should never come at the cost of misleading patients to make choices that are not in their own best interests and it absolutely should never come at the cost of quality care.  

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Healthcare Paternalism and Obstetrics in Canada

I have no doubt that in some way the care I received during my last pregnancy, labour, and delivery was the result of generally held belief about the superiority of 'the natural birth process' - and an utter disregard for the consequences of failing to respect patient autonomy and provide access to the caesarean procedure in a timely way. I think in some way, someone thought it was 'ok' because what I had asked for wasn't based on the generally approved medical indications for a caesarean. That because 'it was my choice' it was okay to impose their beliefs about childbirth on me - delay and deny. The chances are overwhelming that she will be fine and her baby will be fine, so what she 'wants' doesn't really matter.

Examining the guidelines produced by the Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada, and the material produced by the Ministry of Health, it is clear that there is a strong preference for vaginal childbirth. I know that "the state" doesn't approve of my choice in childbirth - I knew that when I was pregnant with my daughter - I also know that many members of the public do not support maternal request Caesarean. However, I also believed then and believe now that the state must respect choice in childbirth and that forcing a particular mode of childbirth on a woman would be / is reprehensible because it violates a woman's right to determine what happens to her body and to make health care decisions for herself and her baby. It's misogynistic and misguided.

The thing is that what mothers want does matter, and respecting maternal choice cannot be a one way street. The system cannot bend over backwards to accommodate natural childbirth, but completely ignore those who would choose to medicalize their births. The system cannot assume that those choosing natural childbirth are doing so as an informed choice, if indeed no choice is actually available. Nor can the system assume that those who would choose to medicalize their births are doing so from an uninformed position - and that their choice should be ignored. To do so is to perpetuate a paternalistic provision of healthcare in obstetrics when it has been long abandoned in most other fields of medicine. To do so, says that it's okay to violate a patient's autonomy, if that patient happens to be a woman who is seeking maternity care.

That is what is wrong and needs to change. It's not about csections. It's not about vaginal births. It's not about epidurals. It's about enabling women to get the best information about their choices, and actually supporting whatever choice a woman makes having been provided that information. It's her body and her child at stake - who else could have a better perspective on what their best interests actually are? When the state and care providers fail to provide for women during childbirth - it is an affront to quality care and often is an unjust enrichment at the expense of mothers and their babies.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

At a loss for terms: Affronts to Birth and Sex

There are a lot of parallels between birth and sex.

Sex between two people who have chosen to be intimate with each other - is an important part of many people's lives - for many people their sex life is a critical part of their life from which they derive much enjoyment and fulfilment. It is part of being human. It is respectful and both people have their needs met. It is intimate and trusting. It is a willful sharing of self with another human being. It is respected. It has the potential to have lasting reprecussions for the individuals involved and should not be entered into lightly. The decision to have sex should be well informed and an act of free will. Consensual sex is empowering and satisfying for both parties to it. Under the best circumstances, sex is one of the most beautiful and intimate experiences a person can have.

Similarly, pregnancy and birth are an important part of many people's lives. It is part of being human. It involves making oneself vulnerable and having to trust others. It is an event which many people plan and prepare for well in advance. It has the potential to have lasting reprecussions for the individuals involved and should not be approached lightly. The decision to become pregnant, continue with the pregnancy and give birth should also be well informed and an act of free will. Under the best circumstances, birth is also one of the most beautiful and intimate experiences a person can have - it can be both empowering and satisfying.

Both birth and sex are parts of being human that are considered sacred and both are deserving of the same degree of respect and protection at law.

Sexual crimes are well defined and understood. They are considered to be among the most repugnant, unconscionable, and reprehensible crimes that an indivdual can perpetrate on another. When a person uses the term "rape" it is well understood the seriousness of the violation. Calling rape, "non-consensual sex" sanitizes the act, it is effectively "the same" but it does not conjure up the same strong feelings about the degree of the wrong done to the person subjected to it. Similarly, calling rape an assualt is also technically correct, rape is a type of assualt - but when a person says that they have been assaulted, there again is some ambiguity about the wrong that has been done to that person. When a person says they've been raped, it is understood that they have been aggrieved in a most serious way during one of the most intimate acts - rape is a violent deprivation of personal autonomy. The victim is given support and understanding, and the perpetrator is subject to being accountable for his or her actions. Sex is protected, certain actions during sex, particularly those that are non-consensual or take advantage of the vulnerable are considered criminal and are subject to sanction - the limitation period for prosecuting "sex crimes" is often extended in light of the emotional toll these crimes take upon their victims.

Despite having many strong parallels to sex, birth seems to be a part of being human that is still subject to abuse and grave violations of personal autonomy - it appears to enjoy a lesser degree of respect and protection at law. Most violations during birth are not criminal, and many are not subject to sanction. The limitation period for prosecuting violations during birth is often limited, despite often having a similar emotional toll on victims. The violations perpetrated during pregnancy and birth are poorly defined and understood and in many ways the protection at law given to birth is much like the protection of sex, decades ago - back when blaming and shaming the victim for the crime perpetrated on them was still considered the norm, back when it was thought that a husband could never rape his wife. Back when holding the perpetrator to account was much more challenging. Back before the laws and jurisprudence evolved. Many victims never came forward, shouldering the burden of the abuse alone - ashamed and fearful of what others might think of them should they come forward and speak out about what they had experienced. Back when only the most egregious violations were ever prosecuted.

Currently, there is little language that adequately describes the experience of many women and the deep feelings of violation that have been experienced by those women. They are left with the terms of "medical malpractice", "medical battery", "breach of fiduciary duty", "medical negligence" - all while technically correct are lacking in describing the significance of the violation experienced for many women. Women who have experienced what is nothing less than maternal assault, abuse and neglect - are left even without adequate language to uniquely describe their experience, and so many have adopted the language that has long been associated with sexual assault and abuse. It is an understandable adoption - and in no way are they meaning to discount the experience of rape and sexual assault victims. Rather they are merely trying convey the grave seriousness of the violation of personal autonomy that they may have experienced, one that may indeed be on par with those who have survived sexual assault. Many of these women have been violated by those who they trusted most deeply at a time in their life when they were at their most vulnerable and some have had their own health and safety or that of their children threatened. I do not wish to use the term "birth rape" in describing my experience - however, I find myself at a loss for a term that adequately describes what happend to me. If I were to define it, it would be as follows: an intended or negligent violation of personal autonomy that threatens or is reasonably perceived to threaten the physical or emotional health and safety of an individual or their fetus during partuition."

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Don't Ask, Don't Tell

There's a critical difference between this time around and last time around.

Last time around, I was pretty open about my plans for delivery and had gotten pretty use to explaining why I was choosing cesarean. Often, my plans were met with "but recovery from a vaginal delivery is so much easier" or "that's what epidurals are for", or even "Are you nuts? Birth is a natural process.". To which I'd usually respond with, "my decision is not about the recovery or labour pain" or even "no, I'm not nuts.". Perhaps they were just defending the childbirth plans that they, themselves had had and were in someway threatened by a woman who would make a plan that was different from what they, themselves had chosen. Planning to deliver vaginally is the norm - it is nearly seen as a right of passage into motherhood, one that is perceived as being only justifiably avoided if there are clear "medical indications" for a cesarean birth. To be planning a cesarean birth in absence of any clear "medical indications" is taboo, and perhaps that is something I failed to appreciate then. I naively believed that it was my body, that there were risks to either birth plan, and that deciding which birth plan to persue was my choice and my choice alone.

By the end of my last pregnancy I was tired of defending my choice and was just looking forward to having my birth plan realized and meeting my child.

And then it didn't happen. And, as well meaning as many family, friends and acquaitenances have been, many of their comments have been unintentionally hurtful and fail to recognize the travesty of what has happend. Glass half-full, look at the bright side.

The fact it didn't happen remains a somewhat sensitive issue for me (putting it mildly). If anything I have become more defensive about a woman's right to choose a birth plan that best meets her needs - and I am particularly sensitive to moms who for whatever reason, would choose to deliver by cesarean section.

So in real life, I'm a bit reserved when it comes to what my plans are for this pregnancy. I'm in no mood to defend my choices. I'm just quietly going about making them, and hoping that this time it will be different. And if anybody asks why, I leave it at "I don't want what happend last time, to happen this time."

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

What are you afraid of??

Everybody has fears. Being pregnant is a state that perhaps makes one more fearful than they might otherwise be. The first time around, a lot of those fears are based on the unknown. If a first or previous pregnancy resulted in a good outcome, I think a lot of the fear in a subsequent pregnancy is mitigated. Being pregnant after a previously negative experience - means that instead of being fearful of the unknown, of the possible, a lot of those fears have very legitimate grounds.

Last pregnancy, I had very rational and logical reasons for wanting a planned cesarean at term. I remember fearing that my request would be denied - and I remember the relief I felt at finding an OBGYN who I thought had agreed to my request. I remember fearing that I wouldn't make it to the surgery date - and feeling relieved the day I did. I felt that even if I went into labour, that a cesarean would still be the way that my child would make her way into the world. I was comfortable with that idea. I trusted my care providers, I had no reason to believe that they, the system, would fail me. I believed in informed choice and patient autonomy - I believed that it was my body and that I was entitled to make plans regarding how my child would be delivered, it seemed so basic. I never imagined it could unfold the way it did. I never imagined that despite having my wishes known (repeatedly), and the resources available that I would be forced to undergo a vaginal delivery, unprepared and terrified and without access to epidural anesthesia. And then, it happend - and logically I know that it wasn't the worse possible outcome (I have a healthy baby) - but it was substantial portion of what I had sought to avoid and in many ways was worse than I had thought would be likely.

This pregnancy there's a whole new set of fears and I know that a lot of what I'm doing this pregnancy has a lot to do with what happend last time.

If things had gone as expected, I would have been a lot more at ease with news of this pregnancy.

If things had gone as expected, I would be comfortable accessing prenatal care locally and planning a delivery at Victoria General Hospital. I would be open to the idea of having my pregnancy 'co-managed' by a GP and an OBGYN.

If things had gone as expected, I wouldn't be terrified of the idea of going into labour before my surgery date - and being unable to get to the hospital of my choice in time or unable to access adequate pain relief. Note: I'm thinking a relocation for a few weeks prior to the surgery date might be a good strategy if the anxiety of being unable to access the hospital of my choice in a short time frame proves to be too overwhelming.

If things had gone as expected, perhaps I wouldn't be so guarded around family, friends and acquaintances this time around. Perhaps, I wouldn't seek to avoid certain situations.

If things had gone as expected, perhaps I wouldn't wonder whether or not peeing when coughing or puking could have been avoided. Perhaps, I wouldn't miss the way my vagina used to be or be afraid of what another childbirth might do it. I might worry less that at some point I could become incontinent or suffer a pelvic organ prolapse. I might not wonder whether or not the aches and pains I feel after mowing the lawn or going for a long walk during this pregnancy could have been avoided.

But things didn't go as expected, so I'm dealing with it as best I can and while I'm thankful that I've found an OBGYN/hospital that has put my mind at ease as best they can - I know I will breathe a huge sigh of relief if and when things actually go as expected.