Birth of 1st Child

My waters broke on the morning of my due date and was confirmed by the Clarendon Wing. I was sent home with instructions to return in 24h if natural labour had not begun.

It did begin overnight, but not enough to return before early morning.

There were some delays before induction finally began at 1pm (I was monitored and sent for a bath despite having showered before arriving!).

Eventually, because of the delays we couldn’t wait to see if a pessary worked so went straight for the drip, and hence had epidural also (had been awake 30h by this point).

Our delivery midwife was v good, newly qualified, and had a student with her, and they stayed with us at all times. Both were very reassuring.

Labour progressed quite quickly and by 5pm I was ready but advised to rest for an hour. We turned down the epi and waited until 6pm to push. Unfortunately after an hour of pushing the baby was becoming distressed, and eventually was brought out by forceps, with two consultants and three midwives helping.

TBH it wasn’t pleasant but as good as it could be given the circumstances. All was well after delivery, however cuts and tears weren’t very well stitched and did cause problems for many months after.

My only gripe was the postnatal ward and the breastfeeding advice. All MW had a different opinion and sent us into a spin. We were grabbed and squeezed however not equipped with enough experience to go home and do it alone. Shame. There just wasn’t enough MW to go round all the new mums.


Midwives at the Royal London Hospital

After spending one night in the labour ward and five nights in the postnatal ward we had the experience of being treated but many of the Royal London Hospital Midwives.

Some of the midwives were very nice but unfortunately the majority that we were treated by were rude, uninformative, poor listeners, unapproachable, slow to respond to calls and acted as though the patients were being a nuisance.

It was very disappointing especially as it is at a time where mothers and babies are going through so much.

New Father

Having a baby at Jessop Wing

I attended hospital for a planned caesarean section and stayed for three nights.

In terms of the caesarean section itself I cannot speak more highly of the theatre team. In particular both myself and my boyfriend found the anaesthetist to be excellent. He talked to us throughout and explained what was happening in a reassuring manner.

The issues started once I was transferred to PACU. Our baby’s cord had been clamped too short and part of his skin had also been clamped. As such the paediatrician had to be called to look at him, which meant he had to be taken away from me for some time whilst the issue was resolved. Given the time in PACU was the only time we had with our baby in a relatively private setting (at least until he was 2 days old) I found this very upsetting.

We were then transferred to Norfolk ward and where women who have just had surgery are placed on a shared bay with three other women and babies in the same position. This arrangement is not at all conducive to either bonding with your newborn baby or recovering from surgery. The sections of the bay around each individual bed are pitifully small. My boyfriend had to spend 12 hours a day for the next two days sat on a small, uncomfortable office chair, crammed into the corner of the room. In addition, my baby’s cot kept being banged by any movement in the bed space next to mine.

There was also no privacy whatsoever. The curtains can only provide a limited amount of privacy, but were constantly being opened and often left open by staff, regardless of what you are doing. This included an occasion where I was using a breast pump and a member of staff left the curtain open. This was during visiting hours and a visitor of one of the women opposite me was blatantly watching me whilst I expressed milk. In addition, the curtains make confidentiality impossible as they cannot allow for any sound proofing. I was incredibly upset at numerous times during my stay and I did not particularly want other people to hear this – yet this was inevitable in the cramped and overcrowded environment I was in.

During the afternoon I suffered from a migraine which hugely affected my vision. Thankfully because of the painkillers I was already on I was not in any pain, but I was hugely distressed that I could not see my baby. In addition I was trying to breastfeed my baby, but because my vision was disturbed I could not see what I was doing. I know from many years experience of having migraines that the only thing that will resolve this loss of vision is for me to sleep. In a shared bay this was impossible. It was the middle of visiting time, so there were a huge number of people around. The fluorescent strip lighting was also incredibly unhelpful. In addition the bay was incredibly hot. Together, the light, noise and heat in the room made it impossible to sleep.

I became very upset that I could not see my baby properly, therefore my boyfriend reported the issue to staff and we asked whether I could be moved to a single room. The response from the member of staff concerned was wholly unsympathetic. She did not seem to understand what the issue was and kept offering pain relief, even though I kept saying that was not the issue. She said it was not possible to move me to a single room, but she did not explain why.

I struggled through the next few hours and eventually my vision returned to normal. Unfortunately at around 7pm I then had a second migraine and my vision was disturbed again. I became even more distressed as again it was impossible for me to get the sleep I needed. Again the response from staff was unhelpful. The member of staff concerned again focused on pain relief, despite my explanation that it was my vision that was the problem and not pain. We asked again about a single room so that I could get some sleep, but we were told that this was not allowed on the first night after a caesarean as they needed to keep a close eye on me. I then asked how I was supposed to sleep and the member of staff misunderstood again and seemed to think I was asking her to take my baby away from me so that I could sleep! I was disgusted and made it very clear to her that I definitely did not want my baby taken away from me, I just needed to be somewhere quieter to sleep. The only concession made was to turn off the strip lighting in the room. Not one member of staff asked about my migraines after this and I noticed on my notes that it had been noted that I’d had a headache (inaccurate, they were migraines) and that I had been very demanding – which I feel is grossly unfair. It was also implied in my notes that the migraines were due to me having a lot of visitors (and therefore by implication my own fault). This simply is not true as the only visitors I had other than my boyfriend were my parents, who only visited after I had had the first migraine.

I also had huge problems trying to establish breastfeeding with my baby and I feel that some of the responses I received from staff on this issue were unhelpful. I also feel that some of the information I was given was inaccurate. During my pre-op appointment I asked whether having a caesarean would affect the initiation of lactation. I was told that it would not make any difference. I was surprised by this as I understood that the hormones released during labour helped to start lactation. I specifically asked if this was the case, to be told it was not and that it was all triggered by skin to skin contact and the baby suckling. What wasn’t explained however was that the opportunity for skin to skin contact would be delayed due to the surgery. Skin to skin contact was something both me and my boyfriend were looking forward to – however this was limited as I was not able to hold my baby until after the surgery was complete and even our time in recovery was interrupted. In addition it was difficult to have skin to skin contact once we returned to Norfolk ward because of the lack of privacy. There was also no opportunity for my boyfriend to have skin to skin contact with our baby because of the lack of space and lack of privacy on the ward.

In addition I soon learned after the birth that there can be a significant delay in lactation commencing after a section. Because I had gestational diabetes I was told that it was essential for my baby to feed within 2 hours of birth. Unfortunately I was only told this approximately 2 hours after he was born – not in advance. We were then faced with a midwife insisting that our baby had to have some formula because he was not able to get any milk from me. This came completely out of the blue for us as we had not been informed of the delay we could expect in me being able to produce milk, or the need for our baby to feed so soon. We were then asked numerous questions about what formula we would prefer, which we did not have any answers to as we had not even considered formula feeding. I found it very upsetting that my baby was being given formula when he was only 2 hours old and that because of the delay in me being able to produce milk, this formula feeding had to continue throughout the first day.

I spent much of the next two days struggling with breastfeeding. The help from staff was inconsistent. It didn’t help that each time I asked for help breastfeeding it was a different member of staff who came and each of them had completely different advice to offer. It was only the day after he was born that I was finally able to produce a few millilitres of colostrum. By this stage my baby was used to having milk poured down his throat from a pipette. I was assured numerous times that this would not affect his ability to breastfeed, however I would disagree with this. Over time my baby latched onto the breast well, but he would not suck. This continued for the first week of my baby’s life – he just expected the milk to flow without him having to do anything, something which he must have learned from being fed through a pipette. This meant that the first week was a very frustrating and emotional experience for me. Breastfeeding was a constant battle and it was clear my baby was not getting enough milk from me, simply because he would not suck. Every midwife I asked for advice informed me my technique was fine, it was just that my baby would not suck. Eventually I dreaded the prospect of feeding my baby and the amount of milk I was producing was hugely affected by the stress of this. I feel overall I should have been provided with better advice in advance about how breastfeeding can be affected by a section and about how important it is for a baby to feed so soon after birth when the mother has had gestational diabetes, so we could have at least prepared for the prospect that we would have to formula feed our baby.

The support I received on my first night in hospital was appallingly bad and contradicted the assertion that I had to remain on a shared bay so that staff could keep an eye on me. Other than the routine obs, the only time a member of staff came near me was when I buzzed for help – both of these could have just have easily been done in a single room, therefore I do not understand why I could not have been moved on that first day when I became ill with migraines.

At around 10pm on the first evening my baby needed feeding. The midwife came to get him out of his cot and assist me with breastfeeding. When it became apparent that he was not sucking she showed me how to hand express – however this failed to produce any milk. She then said that she would leave me to keep trying with my baby and return in 10 minutes to see how we were getting on. 30 minutes passed and I had made no progress with breastfeeding my baby and the midwife had not returned. My baby was increasingly frustrated and I was very upset. In addition, the noise of my baby crying must have been very intrusive for the other women in the room. As the midwife had not returned I rang for help. A second member of staff appeared and I explained I was struggling to breastfeed. Her response frankly astounded me. She offered no help and bluntly stated that I would just have to formula feed him. I would seriously question how this fits with encouraging women to breastfeed their babies. I became very upset and told her that I did not want to feed him formula, I wanted to breastfeed him. The only solution she could offer was to get me a breast pump. She therefore went to fetch one.

Another 30 minutes passed and the second member of staff also did not return. By this stage I had been trying to feed my baby for over an hour with no success and no support. I therefore rang for help again. A third member of staff arrived. I explained to her that the midwife and second member of staff had failed to return as promised. This third member of staff replied by asking what I expected the staff to do about it! I explained to her that if someone said they would return to help then I expected them to do so. She replied that there was nothing they could do because they were understaffed. It was clear there was only three members of staff on duty at night, but I believe this may be the established staffing level at night, because the two subsequent nights had the same number of staff on duty. I therefore question whether this member of staff was being honest with me about being understaffed. I would seriously question however whether three members of staff on a ward full of women who’ve had sections is enough. Surely the other postnatal wards do not run on any fewer staff than this at night, yet Norfolk ward has more dependent patients.

Anyway, this third member of staff did eventually return with a breast pump, however I was still unable to express any milk and the midwife eventually returned to give formula to my baby. Overall I was very upset at the lack of support I received that night, and particularly the blasé attitude shown by staff towards my desire to breastfeed. I noticed that the other women in the bay were formula feeding their babies and were being attended to much quicker that I was whenever they buzzed for formula to be brought to them – each time it was brought to them immediately, whereas I was just left to it, even though the staff knew I was struggling. I can only imagine this was because it was easier to deal with women who are formula feeding.

That night I did not sleep at all. The room was too hot and too noisy. I even had earplugs in, but still failed to get any sleep. I cannot see how anyone can sleep in a shared bay, where there is generally at least one baby crying, or at least one buzzer going off, or at least one member of staff in dealing with a patient. I’d be very interested to know how the hospital feels this environment is at all suitable to people recovering from surgery.

The next day generally the support from staff was better, however there were still some issues occurring that caused me concern. I was assisted in getting up for a shower at around 6am that morning. The staff member who helped me placed a sheet on the bathroom floor and gave me towels to use. She advised me to leave these items on the bathroom floor as she did not want me to bend to pick them up. Needless to say, as this was less than 24 hours after having a baby, the towels and sheet were stained with blood after I had used them. I left them on the floor as instructed only to find that they were then left there for the rest of the morning. Each time I went to this shared bathroom, the towels and sheet with my blood on them were still on the floor. This was unpleasant enough for me, never mind anyone else having to use the bathroom. In addition, there was a jug full of urine left in the corner of the bathroom for much of the day, which was frankly disgusting. Also, there were no sanitary disposal bags in which to put used pads, so they were put in the bin without being wrapped, which meant they all stuck together. As you can imagine this was very unpleasant every time I had to dispose of a pad. I cannot understand why a postnatal ward does not have an adequate supply of sanitary disposal bags. The bathroom was finally cleaned at 1pm that afternoon, however the jug of urine was still there for the duration of the afternoon.

There were also some other incidents that were of concern. We had been asking for our baby to be bathed on the day he was born, but were told because he had a low temperature he would have to wait until the next day. The next morning I asked again only to be told very bluntly that the nursery nurse was very busy and I would have to wait until the end of the day. Less than 10 minutes later the nursery nurse arrived in my bay and one of the ladies opposite me asked if her baby could be bathed. The nursery nurse bathed her baby there and then, which left me upset about why I had been so rudely told my baby would have to wait. I therefore asked the nursery nurse myself and she confirmed she would bathe him. She then got tied up somewhere else, but thankfully another member of staff bathed him for us.

A member of staff also brought a clean pair of stockings for me to wear that day. She told me not to struggle trying to put these on myself and that someone would come and help me put them on. Several hours later I was still waiting and eventually I had to tell a member of staff that I was still waiting. Finally a member of staff came to ask me if I had passed urine into a jug. I informed her I had not and asked if I needed to. She asked me if anyone had asked me to pass urine into a jug and I informed her they had not. Shortly afterwards I was changing my baby’s nappy and found a jug next to his cot. Obviously someone had brought it to my bed but had failed to inform me that they had even brought it, never mind what it was for.

All through the day me and my boyfriend were asking about being moved to a single room. We were consistently told that I would be moved to a room that day as because I’d had my section first the previous day I would be first to be moved to a single room. These promises continued throughout the day to as late as 7pm, after which we heard nothing. It was only when my boyfriend asked when leaving at 9pm that we were informed that a room was not available after all. This news left me distraught, to the point where I could not stop crying and was even on the verge of asking my boyfriend to return so that I could discharge myself and return home immediately.

To make matters worse, a women was moved into the next bed space who was incredibly noisy. She was constantly either on her phone or eating crisps. In addition, the other two women in the bay were watching two different television channels. The noise in the bay was therefore worse than ever. At around 10pm the midwife on duty came to give me my medication and she then spent a considerable amount of time with me trying to calm me down. She was the first person to explain that I had not been given a room because some emergencies had come in, but that I should get a room the next day. I highlighted that I would be going home the next day as I had been told I would only need to be there for 2 nights, however she then informed me that I would not be allowed home the next day because my baby was not feeding properly. Not one other member of staff during the day had informed me of this and it upset me even more that not only would I have to stay in the bay, but I also was now being told I would not be able to go home as expected.

I explained to the midwife that I had felt completely unsupported during the previous night and she promised this would not happen again. I also explained how difficult I was finding the bay environment and that I had been told all day I would be moved to a single room. She spent much of her night shift with me and supported me hugely with trying to feed my baby. She managed to calm me down and encouraged me to try and get some sleep. Unfortunately again I found this impossible because of the level of noise (even with earplugs in) and by 1.30am I had to get up because of backache and have a bath. After my bath I spent much of the rest of the night with the midwife in the patient’s lounge either trying to breastfeed my baby or expressing milk to feed him by pipette. Unfortunately because I was still not producing very much milk, my baby still had to be topped up with formula. The midwife encouraged me to go back to bed to try and get some sleep as she felt my staying awake had become a kind of mania. I went back to bed at 7am and I did manage to fall asleep from the sheer exhaustion of not having had any sleep for 48 hours.

When I woke up just over half an hour later I felt dreadful. I felt weak and nauseous and unable to get out of bed. The senior midwife on duty came in shortly afterwards to give me my medication. I burst into tears because I felt so tired and she acknowledged that I was suffering with exhaustion because I had not slept again. I told her this was to be expected as I could not understand how anyone could sleep in such an environment. She told me that a single room would be ready for me that morning however I highlighted to her that we had been told this several times the day before and a room had not materialised. I told her that I would therefore be going home that day. She informed me that I would end up being readmitted if I went home, but I explained that I simply could not bear to be in the bay any longer and I did not believe I would get a single room after all the promises. She assured me she would sort out a single room for me and thankfully at 10am that morning I was finally moved to a single room.

The difference was like night and day. We finally had the privacy and the space to bond with our baby and I had the peace and quiet I needed to get some desperately needed sleep.

Overall I found my stay in Jessop wing very upsetting. As such I made a formal complaint to the Trust. The complaint was handled very badly. They ignored my initial email, even though it was later proved they had received it. After my second email they stated they would investigate my complaint and arranged to meet with me to discuss the investigation. When I met with the Matron it was clear they had not conducted any investigations. Although they were very apologetic I explained that I wanted assurances that actual changes would be made to ensure others did not have similar experiences.

In particular it had been highlighted to me after my discharge, that if you have a planned caesarean on a Friday then it takes longer to be transferred to a single room. This is because the shared bay onto which new patients are admitted does not need to be vacated until Monday morning and as such I believe that some staff leave the women there all weekend as it makes their jobs easier (rather than transferring women based on their care needs). It was admitted in the meeting that if I had had my baby on Monday – Thursday I would have been moved within 24 hours. The Matron stated that this may have been to another shared bay and she did not accept that patients having their babies on Fridays have to wait longer to be moved to a single room. However the ward manager then admitted that they always try to avoid moving patients from one shared bay to another shared bay.

At the end of the meeting they agreed that they would put together an action plan and they would update me on this after another 2 months. This never happened. I ended up referring my complaint to the health service ombudsman and it was only after they became involved that the Trust then followed up the action plan, which had clearly not been completed.

wheres spot

Upset by lack of care in St Thomas’ post-natal ward

I underwent an emergency c-section at St Thomas’s hospital in London last year. My experience of post natal care was so bad I have had to undergo counselling and I am reluctant to try for another baby. It took me 10 months to bond with my daughter.

In summary:

– I was given a sponge bath at early one morning by two women who did not introduce themselves or explain what they were doing. I was so roughly handled I felt like an animal.

– I had to beg for pain relief – at one stage I went 6 hours before someone brought me some paracetemol (and this was 18 hours after a c-section)

– I couldn’t pick up my baby when she was crying and there was no response when I pressed the bell.

– When I asked for help breastfeeding the midwife shrugged and said “try whatever you like” and walked away.

– I couldn’t walk but no one brought me any food at mealtimes.

– I had no water within reach (despite asking many times).

– I received no advice on caring for my baby, looking after my c-section scar or general recovery.

I am crying just thinking about how awful I found the midwives who treated me during my stay. It was the worst experience of my life and it devastates me that the rude and uncaring staff I met have left me resentful towards my daughter and reluctant to set foot in an NHS maternity ward ever again.


Ante -natal and Post natal care at Leeds General Infirmary

I was booked into be induced and told to phone delivery suite at 8am, which I did, they passed me over to ward 57 who didn’t have a bed at the time but we were to keep phoning. Eventually I was told to arrive at ward 57 later that afternoon. The staff were helpful and pointed out where most of the facilities were. I was then given the pesary to get things started. I stayed then on ward 57, my waters broke the following morning and I was told that delivery suite were aware that of me. My pains kept on for the rest of the day, I kept getting told that delievery suite were aware of me. Day 3 of being on ward 57 I was eventually taken to the delivery suite, where I was made comfortable and the staff were very good.

My labour progressed very slowly and after 24 hours of what turns out to be pushing on an undialated cervix, I then ended up with an emergency section due to myconium in my waters and the fact that the baby was not in a position to come out.

My after care on delivery suite was again very good, I was taken to ward 57 were the midwife assistant was fantastic. It was my next few days were I was left to be made to feel bad as I was asking for help with breastfeeding. One midwife in the early hours of the night, I felt was rather abrupt and rude about how did I know my baby was feeding, distressing myself and the baby. I eventually asked for formula milk which then helped. By this point (day 6 of being in hospital) my baby had lost 11% body weight and needed to see a Doctor. Again made to feel like a failing mother.

By day 6 I had to ask to have my bed changed as it was blood stained from when I had got on the ward after having the baby.

The midwives were lovely with the baby but didn’t seem to know how to care for the mothers.

Two weeks after leaving hospital I had an infection in my wound, eventually I was taken to hospital by ambulance as my wound had burst and there was no way my husband could drive and care for me as I was anaemic after the c section. The nurse on MAC where I was taken seemed put out that I had come by ambulance and that she only expected to put a few steri strips on the wound. When I was examined and it was realised the I had an infection things changed. I then had to walk down to ward 56 with an oozing wound with a student midwife who was on her observation week and didn’t know her way around the hospital. At ward 56 I was in a side room and looked after well, apart from the canualar for my iv drugs being inserted in my arm, when I pointed out that when the antibiotics were hurting, I was told that was natural, it turns out I had flubitous in my veins, so it was a good job I was on oral antibiotics when I left. Again the midwives were lovely but they could only seem to deal with babies and not mothers who were unwell.

I feel the postnatal care when discharged is even worse, having had a c section I was not told what I could and couldn’t do i.e driving, I was expected to make my way to clinic even though I couldn’t use my car or carry the baby in its car seat. Nobody checked my wound after the stitches came out. I have been for my 8 week check up today and basically because I looked ok that was it, I was asked about contraception. Surely some checks should be carried out on the mother? I feel very let down by the postnatal care or lack of care given to new mothers or any mother. My experience of ante natal care wasn’t that good but at least I was checked on but I feel that postnatal care is non existant. It should be an area that is looked into, as it has made a special experience in my life with a very bitter aftertaste.


Promoting normality? Cascade of interventions more like…

Six years after having my child at Whiston Hospital, I still have emotional scars from what I consider bad care from midwives and medical staff.

The antenatal care was good, I had the opportunity to attend parentcraft classes, and had regular appointments in my GP surgery with the community midwives. These usually ran to time, and I came across some lovely student midwives. Unfortunately the attitude from the community midwife could, at times be patronising, and upsetting. One particular memory which stands out, being told I would cut the air supply to my baby by wearing jeans that were too tight. As a 17 year old, who was spending every last penny I earned on items for a home for me, my partner, and my baby, I didn’t have money to spend on maternity clothes, so chose to adapt the clothes I already had. Aside from the fact that she is completely incorrect (you simply can’t cut the baby’s oxygen supply off, since it comes from the placenta, and through the umbilical cord) it showed her lack of understanding of more vunerable and younger clients.

Other than this, my antental care ran smoothly. I attended for my term +10 appointment, in the early stages of labour (although I wasn’t sure at the time). I was examined, and told I was 2cm dilated. The previous day I had attended with a hindwater leak (SROM not confirmed on speculum, but positive liqu-a-tec). I had planned to spend early labour at home, in comfortable surroundings, with the freedom to eat, drink, take baths, and spend time walking around. Instead I was told I was being transferred to the antenatal ward. Once on the antental ward, I spent more time on the CTG than off it. More time in bed due to said CTG than off it, and not a bite to eat. The only positive was that I had use of the bath.

Clinically, I was fine to be at home – despite the hindwater leak, I had no temperature, no signs of infection at all, and an active baby. Was I given the choice to go home? No. Instead, I was told that it was my age that I was admitted for.

So, there begins the cascade of intervention. After being on the CTG several times over the course of an evening, I was told to ‘go to sleep’. Eventually, after hoping in and out of bed, wanting to be upright, I was re-examined, and sent to Labour Ward.

At 17, scared and alone (partner had been sent home earlier) I entered LW. At first, I thought how lovely the midwife seemed. She had an aura of understanding about her. Quickly though, I realised that she was either having to care for more than one labourer, or she couldn’t be bothered offering support to me. ‘If you are in that much pain at just 3cm, you are going to need an epidural, I would recommend you have one now’. Those were her exact words. Seed of doubt planted in my mind, I agreed, despite not actually wanting an epidural. I thought she must be right, I am creating a fuss, and obviously not coping.

I am sure what follows is no suprise (its not to me anymore). Epidural, synto, continous CTG, failure to progress in 2nd stage, off to theatre, failed ventouse, emergency c/s.

So, having come in a low risk primip, I left with a scar to my uterus, and a feeling of utter failure to follow my instincts. Who knows if I hadn’t of had the epidural, what may of happened. I suspect this story would be different, even if the outcome remained the same – at least I would be intact in my mind, that I tried to achieve a normal birth. Instead, I feel that I let my child down, and let myself down by heading down the cascade of interventions. So, from the minute I stepped foot in the hospital, I was not supported to achieve normal birth – which surely should be at the heart of a midwives philosophy.

Breastfeeding failed (no suprise), bonding took a long time (no suprise) and my relationship with my partner suffered for a long time. Infact, to this day he feels that he let me down.

Postnatal ward was even worse. Having my c/s scar split in 3 places and a haemotoma led me to endure pain which was worse than contractions, and then be totally disbelieved that there was a problem left me an emotional wreck. It took 5 days for a sympathetic midwife to actually remove the bandage from my scar, remove the staples, and recognise the problem. Once it was diagnosed the care was excellent (even down to the previously not so good community midwife) but to be in pain for 5 days and be told ‘oh its probably a UTI’ when I knew it wasn’t (having suffered from UTI’s for years, I knew what the pain of a UTI felt like!). I couldnt walk from C bay to the toilet. I collapsed twice in pain, once on the way to the toilet, and again on the way back. I dropped my baby after picking him up, and then feeling the searing pain shoot through me, collapsing to the floor, unable to do anything else. I was ‘forced’ (you won’t be going home ’til we have seen you do it) to bath my baby, in such incredible pain… what a nice thing to experience… bathing my baby with tears running down my face, holding on to myself feeling I was being torn apart (actually, I was!)

All the time, it was made out to be my imagination, over reacting ‘you just need to stop sitting down, get out of bed and walk around’. All very helpful comments…!!

Breastfeeding support was limited, I did meet the breastfeeding co-ordinator, who at least tried various techniques with me. But the one thing she didn’t have the ability to do, was to stop midwives and healthcare assistants undermining her efforts.

Contradicting advice from midwives was another problem. Now I am older and wiser, more self assured, I can cope with this. But as a young girl, I was afraid that if I didn’t follow all the advice (swaddle your baby, don’t swaddle your baby just one example) that somehow I would get criticised. I left after a 5 day stay, completely traumatised, in pain, and a shadow of my former self.

It took years of rebuilding to believe in my body, and my ability to birth. I am now well on the road to recovery, and am able to recount my story without too much heartache. This is all just the tip of the iceberg, and there is far more to this story than I have time to type. But it gives an idea of the standard of care.

It may be obvious to some who read this, but I am now a midwife myself, and would like to think that this story has made me the midwife I am today. Luckily I have been able to put my experiences aside when caring for women, but its always there as a reminder to me, to treat others as you would like to be treated yourself.


Maternity care

My experience is one related to the hospital being short staffed in my opinion.

My first booking appointment was scheduled for 3pm but I was not actually seen until 7pm, although the midwives kept coming out and apologising after 5pm as all the other departments staff had left at that point.

After that I was told my baby was small and that I would have to come in for additional scans, although every single doctor, midwife etc mentioned that I should not worry since I was quite slim so should not expect a big baby; yet I was constantly sent letters to have more scans. My baby was very healthy and her birth weight was heavier than both myself and my husband’s birth weight.

Once I went for a scan and after met with a consultant who decided to admit me to the hospital to check on the baby, which I felt was completely unnecessary and was released the following day after being told by the midwives on the ward and another doctor that baby was completely healthy and I should not have been admitted.

When my due date finally arrived, I was told that I would be induced since the baby seemed small. I went in on Friday and was told that the delivery suite was extremely busy and they were only admitting emergency cases. All the other women in the room had also been induced and were waiting to be taken down to the delivery suite but had been told to wait since they were not a priority, One such women had been waiting since Wednesday to go down to the delivery suite and finally went home on Saturday since the situation was so ridiculous.

After a very long labour, on Saturday night there was only one midwife on the ward and she was very busy. Whenever she came around to see me she would be extremely negative telling me that the pain I was going through at the moment was nothing and I wouldn’t be able to take the pain at the end. She completely scared me.

In the early hours of Sunday morning, I was contracting once every ten minutes. I was told that the whenever I had a contraction the baby’s heart was dipping so they would constantly get me on a machine, but couldn’t get a result since the contractions were so bad at this stage.

Then in the morning, whilst still trying to get readings unsuccessfully, I was telling the midwife that I have an urge to push, she kept saying that I had to keep calm when there was a contraction since they needed to find out what was happening to the baby, but I kept telling her that I needed to push and I was told not to push.

Finally my waters broke, the midwife took my pad and I was told my waters hadn’t broken. Since they still couldn’t get a reading they decided to take me to the delivery suite. I got up and the midwife said ‘oh look your waters have gone’, and asked if I could manage to walk or wanted a wheelchair, then she said ‘you can walk in order to get this labour on it’s way’.

In the lift I had a big contraction and pushed and i could feel a weight moving down. In the delivery suite, another midwife came and they tried to get a reading on the baby’s heartbeat once again, which was unsuccessful; at this stage the only reading was my heartbeat.

I said to the new midwife, ‘I have a strong urge to push’; she said ‘ok, I better check how far along you are then’, next thing I hear is ‘That’s amazing isn’t it, (then speaking to me) you just take a breath of gas’. She could see the baby’s head and delivered the baby.

My husband and I kept asking how she knew to check, she was saying that she had seen a case before where a women delivered whilst contracting once every 10 mins, and said that she will express her concerns to the previous ward since they should not just follow the textbook. Also that I should have been checked on the progress of the labour since it is normal for the baby’s heartbeat to dip during contractions in the later stages of labour.

My experience of the post natal ward was similar to the previous user’s review. I was not shown around the unit and had no idea I could get help with bathing the baby until an hour before I was going to leave.

My husband was not allowed to come and go as he pleased which would have helpful when changing the baby etc.

Also we had visitors and were shouted at for having too many people when the women opposite had more visitors and it didn’t seem to be a problem.

The midwives were very good with breastfeeding advice though.

Overall the postnatal ward was not a nice experience at all, when I was told that I had to stay an extra day due to some minor complications, I was in tears since I was so desperate to get home and to give the baby time to be with her father.

anony mous

Loss of bladder control after the birth

My daughter had her first baby in October 2009.

Before the delivery she was in a lot of pain so she asked for a epidural. They got a young student to try and insert the tube to the spine, after so many attempts she could not get it right, my daughter was in agony, so they went and got a senior anaesthetic from the theatre to insert the tube. When it was inserted they could only numb one half of her body, so what they had to do was to keep topping the serum up.

Since that day my daughter’s bladder has not returned to normal. For the first few months she had to have a catheter inserted as there was no feeling that she needed to pass water, apart from her tummy swelling and she was in constant pain and I mean pain.

Then my daughter and myself had to be shown how to insert a catheter. She had a constant infection even to this day she needs medication.

Then they decided to give her a minor operation to have a pubic catheter inserted into her belly just above her pubic bone. With this she had to turn a small tube on just like a tap when she thought she needed to go to the toilet.

My daughter is 25 years old.

She is always on antibiotics. She had the pubic catheter removed after about six months, but to this day she still has the same problems. The registrar told her she would never be able to have a epidural again. I really think the problem started with the student not being experienced and not being supervised. When my daughter asked was the epidural the cause of the problem, she said she was not certain.

She still has to wear pads. When this first happened my daughter and myself had to sit in the antenatal ward all day drinking a jug of water and then what she passed had to be measured then have the catheter inserted to relieve my daughter’s bladder. There was no one there to help us, we were left on our own right up until the early evening, this went on for quite a few days. And you must realise she had a baby to look after.

The staff do not seem to communicate with each other. Plus some of the staff we could not understand, which is very frustrating.

I know this story is not as upsetting like the other poor girl’s, but I think these stories must be told. My daughter is in constant pain and she now has the bladder of an old lady.


Mixed experiences of maternity services at Tameside

Antenatal Care: Excellent, cannot fault it one bit as i had blood pressure problems near the end of my pregnancy although i did get forgotten about once! I even stayed on the antenatal ward for a few days and the care i recieved was good.Thank you Dr Mahmood for keeping such a close eye on me and my daughter ๐Ÿ™‚

Labour and Delivery: My midwife who delived my baby was amazing, really kept me focused on the job in hand and helped me through it when i felt like giving up. The only thing that annoyed me was when i rang up the labour ward to tell them i was in labour i was spoken to by quite an abrupt midwife who told me that as i could speak through contractions i obviously wasn’t “far along” and to expect disappointment if i went to the hospital. 40 mins later i arrived at the hospital fully dilated. If i had waited any longer i would of had my baby at home!

I also had a severe tear and the surgeon was great, if only i could remember her name to say thankyou!

Postnatal Ward: Horrible. Was put onto the antenatal ward with my daughter at 5am, which can’t have been very nice for the pregnant ladies, me waking them up as they had no room anywhere else.

I then got moved to a postnatal ward where i constantly asked for help with breastfeeding which i didnt get, water which i didn’t receive, tips on how to bath my baby – again no help recieved. It felt like i had just been left alone which for a first time mother can be quite daunting.

The overall cleanliness of this ward was bad. Toilets had blood on the floor for quite a few hours. I discharged myself in the end, i was that unhappy. I knew i would be more comfortable in my own home with more support from my friends and family.


Horrible Experience at St Thomas’s Postnatal Ward

I had a maternity experience at St Thomas’s Postnatal Ward. My daughter was born in early August, 2012. She is now three months old and I am still struggling to come to terms with how badly we were both treated in the ward. The worst part was when they told me to wait until the morning for help with breastfeeding. I called them again around 3 am for help, only to be scolded for not doing it correctly. In the end, I never was able to breastfeed and I am nearly positive it is because I didn’t get the help I needed when I needed it most.

Then there were the other things that added up – after a 36 hour labour, I was chastised – even brought to tears – for not bringing the right clothes for my baby. (Turns out, we saw the next morning, they simply couldn’t find them in the bag – and I wasn’t able to get up to help).

They never showed me where the bell was to ring for help – and again, because I had a catheter, wasn’t able to get up to search for it. After crying out for help, I had to wake up the other mothers in my room to have one of them press the bell. No one came for at least a half an hour. And when they did come, they were rude and impatient, making me feel as if I was doing something wrong.

Like the another mother who wrote in, I feel scarred by the experience. Like her, I feel scared to have another child. I know it sounds ridiculous, but it’s true. I think about it all the time.

For a hospital that prides itself on its cutting-edge care, it should be absolutely ashamed at what happens inside their postnatal ward. If I ever do have another baby I can assure you, I will not be going back to Guy’s and St Thomas’s.

another sad mother