Diagnosis of Early-Onset Pre-eclampsia

I was let down by my local hospital’s antenatal and fetal assessment unit by the way they failed to recognise or take seriously enough my symptoms, or take the urgent action required when I presented with pre-eclampsia at 20 weeks gestation, quickly worsening with mine and my baby’s life becoming in danger over a period of around 2 weeks.

It was my first pregnancy, achieved through IVF after trying to conceive for 3 years. My baby already had growth restriction at this point.

Prior to this stage I’d had 3 severe bleeds, threatened miscarriages during my first trimester, and despite this was still labelled ‘low’ risk.

Ultimately my baby boy was stillborn at 25+1 weeks – an event that is sadly associated with pre-eclampsia.

Whilst I was in hospital, having been in for a month; I spent 2 weeks in this hospital and then I was transferred for specialist fetal-renal obstetric care – which was excellent – at a Women’s hospital who are more used to looking after mothers-to be in similar situations to how I was.

I feel that the staff at the first hospital (my local) did not have the awareness that pre-eclampsia can develop even at this early stage. It seemed to me that they refused to take it seriously, and so correct diagnosis and proper treatment/care was delayed until I finally saw an out-of-hours GP at my local hospital, who immediately understood the severity of my condition; my blood pressure had peaked at 170-180/ 100 by then, and proceeded to get me admitted that night.


Recent experience at Homerton antenatal unit

Yesterday I had my first midwife appointment and first scan for my first pregnancy.

The staff were extremely knowledgeable (in particular a younger trainee working with the midwife to ask me questions, on every point I raised she was able to provide useful extra information, about nutrition, mental health, when to come to hospital, other sources of support) and caring (in particular the way the nurse dealt with my fear of needles while taking blood).


Labour experience at St Thomas hospital

I was treated very well with the exception of a couple of people who I saw. When I went for my 12 week scan, I saw a sonographer – I can’t remember what she said to me but I didn’t like the way she was towards me or her attitude. When I went for my 20 week scan, I remembered I had a bad experience during my 12 week scan so I came prepared and took note of my sonographers name. She was so rude – because of her, I started missing all my hospital and GP appointments as I felt very uncomfortable. When I went in, she didn’t even say hello or give me any eye contact – she just told me to get on the bed. She didn’t let me see the scan of my baby until towards the end. When I told her I couldn’t see, she just ignored me. She didn’t even explain what she was doing or measuring or anything. My partner asked her if we could know the sex of the baby and she just looked at him and ignored him.

She then told me to walk around because the baby was in an awkward position. I told my partner to help me up as I was feeling faint and she started shouting at me. She said, “Can the two of you stop talking and do as I say? It’s after 4pm and I don’t know about the two of you, but I want to go home. So can you hurry up?” I was shocked and upset and sick. I wanted to walk out but my partner convinced me to stay.

Before we left, she asked us if we wanted any pictures and I said “yes please”. I don’t think she heard me say ‘please’ because she said “Yes what?!” My partner repeated what I said. I felt as though I was having to beg for a photo with the way she was talking to me.

When we were going to pay for the photo, she demanded the money form us and because my partner had gel on hid right hand, he gave her the money from his left. She gave him a dirty look and said “I don’t want the money from your left hand, I want it form your right” I thought her behaviour and attitude was very rude, unprofessional and uncalled for. A lady like that should not interact with sensitive patients like myself in that manner. If I had the time, energy and confidence then, I would have immediately made a complaint.

Also, while I was asleep, my contractions started at 4am. By 9am, they were every 5 minutes so I made my way down to the hospital. When I got there, as there were a few people in front of me, I did not get seen until 4pm. By then I was in so much pain but I tried to keep myself under control as I was previously suffering from panic attacks.

When I did see someone I was upset because she said, “There are a lot of people waiting to be seen and, no offence, you don’t look like you’re in pain so I’m going to send you home.” I was so disappointed it brought tears to my eyes and the pain felt worse. I had travelled two hours on a bus just to get sent back without even being examined. Not only that, I was on my own and I had never been to an antenatal class as the hospital did not contact me for any classes.

She was about to discharge me when a doctor came and told her to examine me before I left. I felt dizzy and started to throw up. When she examined me, a doctor came back and told me that I was a few centimetres dilated and I would not be going home.

After that, the treatment I got was fantastic. I fell asleep and was comfortable.

In the evening I was transferred to a night nurse. Although she was quite nice to me, she was very rough and heavy handed – I felt more pain every time she touched me than I did when I felt a contraction. When I told my partner, he said that he could see that.

I also did not like the way she was getting angry and frustrated with me during the delivery. I did not know what I was doing and she kept telling me to do what I practised in the antenatal classes. I told her many times that I have never been to an antenatal class and I could she that she was getting annoyed.

In the end, when she gave me the baby, I saw he had a big dent in his head. My partner told me the midwife did not wait for me to push the baby out (she dragged him out) and that the dent was from her finger print. That also showed me that she was heavy handed and I wasn’t just imagining things.

After that, the care and treatment I got was so amazing I don’t think it could have got any better. I would also like to mention the care I received from the trainee midwife, as this was so fantastic.


Better treatment for pregnant women needed

I found the antenatal care at RBH really awful. I was contacted by phone to attend an appointment with the consultant regarding test results. Thinking it was important given that it was for the same week they phoned me, I made sure I was there on time. They kept me waiting for 2 hours before I was even called in. At 37 weeks pregnant, I found this very uncomfortable making both mine and my partner’s patience wear thin. When we were finally called in, we felt the midwife was very abrupt and the antenatal checks were not what I would call up to standard. We were then left in the room for a further 20 minutes.

The consultant finally turned up and did not seem to know the reason for us being there (I had to remind the consultant) and in response to our complaint of the wait, we were then advised to go to a different hospital. That I can assure you we will be doing.

As for the scan department, if you want pictures make sure you take coins. If you go with a note and need change, the only place to get change is back at the entrance.

As a whole, in my opinion I felt they treated me, as a pregnant woman terribly.

definately not happy

Triage is dreadful

Im having a very complicated pregnancy and have to had to visit the triage department many times. The midwifes are over run and you can feel this when there, everytime i have been seen by a midwife within reasonable time but then put back in the waiting room for 5-7 hours for a doctor! You feel rushed and alot of the times i have been there the answers to what is going on is usually “we dont have an answer to why this has happened”…they are the qualified doctor and midwife and cant explain why im having theses complications!! Its shocking! …. I must give it to the Antenatal Assessment unit, most midwifes are amazing and understanding and do try there best to make you feel reassured. I just hope i get answers soon to my complications as this is adding to the worry. Also this is my second child and my previous child was born prematurely you think theyd be more determinded to find out whats going on.


Antenatal care

I want to share my story on antenatal care at North Middlesex Hospital (NMH). Unfortunately, I had two late miscarriages there. My experience was mixed; I think NMH has some very good consultants that provide high standard of care and advice. But it is very difficult to get to see a consultant and I felt I was left to deal with midwives who were careless and clueless.

I still don’t understand, why you can not have your scan and midwives appointment on the same date to save you going there twice for example?

You can not go to day unit until 20 weeks and if you have complications you have to go to A&E. I know that some hospitals in London accept patients to day clinics from as early as 14 weeks. I had dreadful experience where midwives day unit wouldn’t accept me as I was 19.5 weeks, even thought my consultant made me an appointment there. The midwife would insist on sending me to A&E and it took 15 min of what I felt was an embarrassing argument to persuade her to call the consultant and confirm that I was in the right place indeed.

I felt that probably 95% of my appointments were at least 30 min late and in one case I had to wait for 2 1/2 hours to be seen. So I would naturally ask the question, why do they give you time slot in the first place? It is different for ultrasound appointments, where the longest I ever waited was 20 min.

I felt that all my appointments with midwives were a waste of my time, they fill in a form, which I think I can easily do myself. I would only recommend the consultant lead care in NMH.


Very good care at QMC Antenatal Clinic

I was a patient at the Queen’s Medical Centre’s Antenatal Clinic during my pregnancy. The standard of service I received was very good – I was given very prompt treatment, as I met my consultant within 30mins of arriving at the hospital. All staff were very kind and considerate.

Thank you to all in the Antenatal Clinic.


Ante-natal too long waiting at Royal Hallamshire

I’ve been several times now for different appointments and found that you are not given enough information. On most visits i’ve been told to sit somewhere and wait without being told what it is that i’m supposed to be waiting for! I have found this quite annoying, as if i am just a piece of meat for them to inspect at their convenience! I have also found that they don’t tell you anything unless you ask specific questions, I am glad that i’m not a first time mom and know a little about what to expect otherwise i would not know anything.


I had a horrible postnatal time at St George’s

I wanted to share my story as I’d read one that was very similar. My son was born at St George’s almost two years ago. I was never very happy with my ante-natal care, but it appeared to be about par. I was very overdue and was made to feel by the midwives that I was putting them to some inconvenience. I spoke to one consultant during that time (the only time during my entire pregnancy!) and he was really good.

I was in severe pain by the time I went into labour. I suspected that it was because of a UTI I contracted during the cervical sweep because the midwife didn’t use sterile gloves, but I don’t know that for sure. At any rate, the pain was bladder pain and pain during urination not labour pain. I had to beg to be admitted to the hospital and get some gas and air after my water broke again not for the contractions but for the bladder pain. I did eventually get some, but was left to labour in a room unattended a whole night because I hadn’t reached their threshhold of dilation.

I then had to move to an official (and not as nice) room. My labour was very slow progressing so even after I officially got there, I went through three full shifts of midwives. The first was ok, although she pressured me into having a drip to intensify my contractions (which I hadn’t wanted). The second was very nice. The last one was awful, spoke about me, not to me, cold, rude and neglectful. She couldn’t even be bothered to take my blood pressure but put it on the automatic cuff without telling me.

Eventually I had to have an emergency c-section.

The postnatal ward was awful. It was extremely hot, noisy, I hadn’t slept in three days at this point and was beyond exhaustion. It didn’t seem very clean. I was in a bay away from a window and was really suffering from the heat (this was during a particularly hot few days in June 2007). I was tired and in pain, uncomfortable and lonely after visiting hours.

When the postnatal midwife refused to give me another dose of painkillers (I understand why that was) she suggested I have a dose of morphine instead. I agreed. But then I thought, if I’m knocked out in this chaos, who’s going to look after my baby? And I had wanted to breast feed and was worried about the effects of the morphine. So I told her I had changed my mind.

She was very put out by that because apparently that would cause her all kinds of paperwork difficulty (!). So she brought the ward sister round who screamed at me for having the curtains closed after I told her it was hot and I reminded her that I couldn’t even get out of bed to close the curtains. The sister also used foul language at me and I was seriously scared that they were going to inject me with morphine against my will. Which fortunately they didn’t. But I was frightened and worried the whole night. And I was shocked that I’d been sworn at by a health care “professional”.

This troubled me for a long time and eventually I complained about it to the hospital. I recognise that some time had passed before I complained, but the hospital accepted my complaint and I received an acknowledgement. Since then I have heard nothing, although I followed up with a visit to the PALS office and a follow up email.

The reason I’m sharing this now, even though it happened two years ago, is I saw that St George’s offered another patient the opportunity to complain about her labour and postnatal experience (which was of similar poor quality to mine, but different things happened).

I would encourage the other patient to complain, but don’t hold your breath. They clearly don’t respond to complaints and they clearly haven’t tried to make any changes in two years since this other person’s story was on a level with mine but only happened a few weeks ago.


A very poor impression of maternity services at Ormskirk and District

In a nutshell ..I didn’t think much was good!

I experienced poor antenatal care in my opinion, I never saw the same midwife twice. My baby felt small and I shared my concerns several times with the different midwives. One actually commented on how ‘tiny’ my baby felt, but didn’t act upon it. None the staff I saw seemed bothered!

Labour ward.. well all I can say is that I’m glad I am a fit and healthy woman who was fortunate enough to have a body that just does what it was designed to do!

The buzzer didn’t work when I needed to call the midwife back into the room, my partner had to go and find her! She left me for long periods of time on several occasions, I wouldn’t mind but I was actively labouring on admission and wasn’t asking for anything other than for them to please stay as I thought my baby was coming out, she looked and it was a bit like ‘oh yeah so it is’!

I was left afterwards for 4 hours before i was given a drink and toast. No help was given to help me breastfeed. Needless to say a 6 hour discharge was the option I argued for. They told me as a first time mum I’d need to stay in… what for? I could imagine being dumped in a bed and left to miss home and sink or swim in caring for my new baby. I went home!

Community midwives were a bit better, at least they gave me some info that I understand should have been given to me when I was on delivery suite.

The health visitor hadn’t been informed so there was a bit of a delay in her initial visit.

oh yeah and to finish off, baby wasn’t correctly weighed at birth, nor her measurements documented.

All in all, my general opinion is that the care was poor… homebirth next time I think!