Shocking as readers may find this, feedback from the audience is quite rare for most journalists.
So it was with glee that I heard the online version of my recent columns musing on the mysteries of maternity care had attracted some reader comments.
But joy turned to disappointment when I saw the longest of the comments, in which a reader took me to task for a) turning up at a maternity unit without an appointment (asking if I would do the same in labour), b) opting for a "medicalised delivery" over a home birth and c) calling phlebotomists and midwives "medical" staff.
Everyone is entitled to their opinion, of course, but I had to sit down when she accused me of sounding like a Daily Mail writer.
I have not been going into too much detail about my maternity care because I am aware that - fascinating as this stuff may be to me - readers may not be remotely bothered. But the Daily Mail barb was too much, so read on for the case for the defence.
First, on the occasion I turned up without an appointment I knew I would have to wait but I wanted to find out if I was anaemic and knew I would get results of a blood test faster at the unit than from the GP. Yes, I was playing the system but there are worse crimes.
Second, it is really no one else's business what kind of birth I am planning but for those with an interest in choice, I chose the hospital I did because its facilities include a midwife led unit and because there are some things, birth included, that when doing for the first time I would rather do surrounded by people who have a clue as to what is going on. (I am well aware home births come with two midwives but it would be unfair on the neighbours too.) And of course I won't turn up without ringing first: I don't live in an episode of ER.
And on the final point, yes, I was interchanging the words medical/clinical and I do know phlebotomists are not medically trained. But they are part of a medically based team.
As for suggesting that the highly trained workforce of midwives is not part of a medical team, well, you are on your own on that one.