Upsetting experience after 1st trimester screening

On a Friday in April 2012, I was really excited to have my first scan on my first baby. This turned to absolute devastation, when I found out that my baby had anencephaly (skull hadn’t formed properly).

Then the nightmare rollercoaster started. From the scan room, we had to wait in the Quiet room for a doctor to explain what exactly all this meant and to weigh our options. He explained that an abortion would be the best option. So we were referred to St Mary’s Ella Gordon unit, who would ring us in an hour.

They rang us to say we had to wait 4 days to see a consultant and then we would have to wait to get an appointment to actually have the abortion, which we wouldn’t be able to have in Portsmouth where we live as QA don’t do abortions if you are 12 weeks or over. We had to travel to Bournemouth.

3 days later went to my doctors, who weren’t informed on anything! Then, a couple of weeks later, midwife got hold of us to say we had missed an appointment.

I am absolutely disgusted and angry at the way we were treated and have lost a lot of faith in all these people that call themselves professionals and still to this day we have had no help to get through this devastation.

Friday 13th

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.

angelbaby

Good labour care, but felt let down afterwards

I gave birth to my son at Worcester Royal Hospital in July via forceps delivery. I was 41 weeks pregnant exactly and my labour was induced as I had become increasingly worried about reduced movements even though looking back on it I am pretty sure he would have been absolutely fine to stay inside me until he was ready!

I had been anxious the whole of the pregnancy as he was an ICSI baby (Intracytoplasmic sperm injection) due to my husbands low sperm count and some issues with myself.

After The BMI The Priory Fertility Clinic told us we were pregnant I had some bleeding for a few days and ended up in Worcester Royal Hospital in a lot of pain. The Lavender gynae ward where I stayed looked after me really well that night although I had to wait a really long time to see a Doctor.

I then had some other small bleeds during the first trimester and due to this was referred twice to the early pregnancy unit for scans at 6 weeks and 8 weeks. I found this unit extremely helpful and reassuring as when I was concerned I could just phone up and they would book me in for a scan.

During the labour itself I found the staff on the delivery suite were fantastic and for the most part reassuring. I had an epidural which didn’t really work that well and due to the extra fluids I was given because of the epidural I swelled up and baby couldn’t come out after 1.5 hours of pushing. I was then taken to the surgery room and given a spinal block as they said I would need a c-section. At this point I was terrified of having a c-section and frustrated that after getting to 10cm dilated on my own that I would need surgery. I just wanted everything to be ok and luckily they were able to get my son out with forceps. I had an episiotomy and was sewn up quickly and the surgeon did a fantastic job of sewing me back up.

I had to have antibiotics during labour as I had heard about Group B Strep causing illness in newborns delivered vaginally so I got myself tested during the end of my pregnancy which came back positive. I wonder now whether I really needed the antibiotics and if they did more harm than good?

Worcester Hospital was let down by the care in the post natal ward. After my baby was born I couldn’t really move and was disoriented by all the drugs. As my husband was told to go home at 10pm (he was exhausted anyway!) I felt alone and confused and nobody was really around to check I was ok.

One of the nurses made me feel really stupid because my baby was crying and I didn’t know why. I asked to be discharged the next day as I figured I would get more support at home than in the hospital and it is a shame that I felt like that.

It was far too early for me to be going home and I struggled at home since then until I developed post-natal psychosis 3 months after my boy was born. I am recovering well now and know that in time I will be myself again. Throughout all this our son has been just fine and a wonderful bundle of joy which makes everything worthwhile!

I just wanted to write my account of the treatment I received in hospital so the staff can understand how I felt about it.

Cat Lover

I had my son at Jimmy's in …

I had my son at Jimmy’s in November, and can wholeheartedly say every midwife and nurse I dealt with was fantastic, and although we were left for hours at a time we always felt they were in control of the situation, even at 3am there was a lovely sense of lightheartedness amongst staff and patients – plus they made sure my partner was completely up to speed with what was happening as well as me – I would like to especially mention the pediatrics and neonatal unit team – all I dealt with were so lovely and really took care of both us and our new baby.

What could be improved

When the doctor who was later to assist in delivering my son got involved the communication dwindled and he only seemed interested in speaking with the midwife. He consistently left the door wide open with no curtain pulled across whilst I was at the most undignified point in my labour – staff and patients were walking past and able to look right in – and I was told my delivery would be assisted by ventouse and half an hour later a pair of forceps appeared as there was actually no ventouse in the room. My son was in the NNU for 24 hours due to foetal distress, although we were told several different stories over the course of the 5 days we were in hospital for. I was also told the doctor would prefer it if I would move the the antenatal unit due to only being 3cm dilated – even though I had been using gas and air for my now extremely painful contractions and none is available in the antenatal ward, and I would be moved back to the Del.Suite later subject to a bed being available – which I was – nearly 11 hours later, after being given morphine which I didn’t want but would have taken anything to make the pain go away. (It didn’t) I was left alone for hours in an immense amount of pain, in a silent ward of women in their early 3rd trimester trying to rest on a day assessment. The doctor gave me the option of being induced, then talked me out of it, insisting i move to another ward.

Although I had a particularly traumatic stay in hospital, I cannot fault the midwives or nurses on duty on anything. They were completely professional and seemed enitrely committed to whatever they were doing. This encounter will not prevent me in any way to returning to St James’ for any babies I have in the future, and I would recommend it to anyone, although I may next time, unless completely necessary to my baby’s wellbeing, request to limit the interaction with doctors to a minimum, as they didn’t seem at all interested in properly communicating with me let alone speaking to us in any terms we non medical professionals would understand.

Anonymous

Very happy with maternity care at St Thomas

I wanted to leave a positive note about all the positive experiences I have had with maternity care so far at St Thomas and the related (I think) mid wife unit in Brixton. After an initial fairly serious mistake by my GP in the first trimester, the midwifes and St Thomas stepped in and resolved the issue very well.

All my check ups have been a positive experience and efficient. The appointments with specialist consultants have been great as well. In early September I had some abdominal pain and the Day Unit was fantastic at checking me out, ruling out a number of potential issues and just having a fantastic level of bed side care (both midwifes and consultants).

I have had poor experience with my GP for the past several years (this may be due to GPs being over loaded – am not sure) but the maternity care so far at St Thomas has been great.

I have read online however that post natal care is poor so it seems like if they could get that ironed out it would be one of the best hospitals around.

What could be improved

I haven’t been as impressed with record keeping but this is more a NHS wide thing probably. I wish there were electronic records across GP, hospitals etc and there wasn’t a separate “maternity book” and then “child care book” that aren’t electronic.

Anonymous

Maternity Services

I would like to express my sincere thanks to everyone at St Peter’s Hospital involved in the superb care of my wife during her pregnancy, labour and birth of both of our children. On both occasions as a result of IUGR we had call to use most of the maternity services on offer from the early pregnancy checks, through to the more routine scans and then onto the final trimester checks ups that ultimately led to my wife needing to be induced two weeks early with our second son. We were supported and advised throughout the time we spent on the labour ward, making what was an extremely difficult and frankly traumatic experience that much easier to cope with. This high level of compassion, advice and care then continued on during my son’s week long stay on NICU. Our family owes a great debt of gratitude to the staff of St Peter’s, both to individual midwives, nurses and doctors as well as the wider team as a whole.

Anonymous

A very distressing visit

Me and my partner attended a&e due to severe pain in my abdomen whilst in my first trimester. We fully understood that priority cases would be seen first but we ended up waiting 4 hours in total for an on call doctor to give us any information. The time spent in the waiting room was actually not too bad, and we were seen by an absolutely lovely nurse, however once we had seen her we were back in the waiting room for another 2 hours, then when a doctor came to get us he examined me and then left us alone in the examination room for over an hour. Again, it was a busy time and I understood other priority cases would be coming in, but I was getting very distressed. When the doctor returned he explained that he didn’t think I had appendicitis (which was not a concern of ours) and that they were treating the pain as a stable ectopic pregnancy. We were both absolutely and openly devastated as this would obviously mean losing the baby. He told us I was in no immediate danger and we would go for a scan 2 days later. At this point my partner had to ask several times and in several different ways whether there was anything else it could be, when the doctor finally told us it might be nothing at all and could be completely normal! Suffice to say we spent the next 2 days waiting for the scan feeling incredibly stressed and fortunately it turned out to be nothing. For the doctor to only tell me the worst possible case scenario and not offer any sort of positive without being cajoled into it I found very upsetting. I know that women in their first pregnancy probably come in all the time with what turns out to be nothing, but it’s such a scary time and some medical reassurance was desperately needed.

Anonymous

Excellent maternity and post natal care

My review comes in quite late, I gave birth to my baby boy at the birth centre here in Oct 2012. I was a little skeptical about this until the day I went into labour, since I was from ‘out of area’ (but I didn’t have much choice given the hospital near me was worse). I used to get a different midwife every time I came in for my ante natal appointments. The waiting periods were quite long and one of them even forgot to do my blood test in my second trimester! I needed physiotherapy during my last trimester due to severe pelvic pain, I had a tough time getting through to the Physio department and when I did, the appointment they gave me was a month after my due date! Repeatedly calling them or talking to a midwife did not help. But when I went into labour, the staff that attended to me were absolutely amazing. Special thanks to my midwife who was very patient, accommodating and understanding. I am very grateful to her, she helped me get through my labour by keeping me calm even during the moments I felt like I was going to die! Post natal care was great too, they would come check on us often and make sure we were ok which was pretty sweet. The nice pantry lady made sure we had enough to eat n drink, bless her. I had gone into false labour twice before and they made sure I stayed back both the times and ensured it was indeed false labour before sending me home because I lived quite far away. I would definitely recommend this hospital to anyone. I think minor improvements in ante natal care and Physio would make this an excellent place for mothers-to-be.

Deepa

First time mum horrific experience!!!!

Im pregnant with my first child, very excited and very scared as u can imagine. Everything is a first for me pains leaks etc. im told certain instructions by midwives by doctors so i follow as i assume they know best, i attend all my appointments but coming to the third trimester i keep getting reffered to the day unit and then triage for monitoring, i do as im told and wait for doctors to come to tel me iv been here to many times with the same problem! I explain i have been sent by a midwife after an appointment or scan, not just turned up but im looked at as if im crazy. Every time i have been to triage nothing is explained im left to deal with pain i have to wait 5 hours before im given painkillers everytimeand then told to go home but nothing ever explained, not once have i been told what pains are what the sharp shooting aches are, iv had to get all the information by doin my own research online. They say if you want advise call up so one day i did and i was told i had to be monitored and to come in i explained im sure im not in preterm labor because the pains are not reggular but despite the information im givin i get told to come in, i go into the triage im monitored im having contractions and i get told the doc is going to examine you, the doc comes along tells me they see contractions but not reggular so just going to examine me. The doc did and then confirmed im not in preterm labor and i can go home. I asked if they are not going to do a fibronectin test to be assured i will not go through early labor in the next 14 days as every other doctor has done (last one done 3 weeks ago) but the doc replied no need! I explained why i was worried i said i have a very high risk of preterm babies in my family and this is why i have been referred to triage so much and why consultants are keeping an eye on me every 2-1 weeks but the doc refused. i explained i was scared and worried for my unborn child because if its early it has to b stopped and given steriod injections for his lungs and if im in full blown labor u cant stop it and thats a risk for my baby but the doct refused i was left in tears a emotional reck. The doc came back and i tried again and they walked off in a huff and puff and said ‘fine we will just do it because theres no point in talking to you’ i was so shocked! The doc came back and has done the procedure wrong, and came back saying ‘there its negative!’ I know have a report on my notes saying its negative when it was not done the right way and the doc had no care in the world for what risks could be given to my child, as a first time mum im naturally scared n worried and these docs should reassure you and make sure your satisfied and happy with information but not once in my experience have i ever been treated like dirt in any hospital! They make you feel like a nusiance and like your wasting there time. Im too scared to even call the hospital incase i have any concerns or worries about my pregnancy and you should never be made to feel like that.

Anonymous

Ante natal scanning

Having had numerous recurrent miscarriages I was referred to this dept for an early ultrasound scan today by my midwife. The nursing staff on the early preg unit on the 6th floor were lovely and I was welcomed with not only professionalism but friendly and compassionate care. However, this was not echoed in the ground floor ultrasound scan room. I was already very anxious about the scan as all my prev miscarriages had been diagnosed at scan with no pre bleeding or pain. The sonographer prodded and poked my tummy with the probe and after a while asked me if I had done a pregnancy test! Would I have bothered attending having been seen by a midwife and referred if I hadn’t done this one simple thing? I was then told by the sonographer that they could see no pregnancy! As you can imagine I had already envisaged yet another loss and struggled to hold back my tears. I was then instructed me to empty my bladder and change into a gown for an internal scan. No compassion or warmth or reassurance was given whatever apart from the assistant handed me a box of tissues. When the pregancy was seen on the screen the sonographer simply said that it was measuring six weeks and not the seven that I had declared. I also had to ask if everything was ok and looking normal which the sonographer simply confirmed it was. I felt so uncomfortable in there that I apologised for crying! This time for me the outcome was positive but I left that room feeling very lost and anything but as the sonographer’s behaviours had led me to fear the worst! I am well aware of the large number of pregnancies that do not progress especially within the first trimester so feel that staff working within this field need to be able to respond to patients anxiety and offer them warmth and compassion and reassurance where appropriate during what is a very traumatic and difficult time for a number of people. A little empathy and warmth goes a very long way and can make a huge difference to peoples past and future experiences in healthcare.

Anonymous