Wednesday, 20 August 2014

My NHS Maternity Care Experience


As any first time mummy to be you're anxious about what to expect, from the pregnancy to the labour and delivery, through to the aftercare and support over the coming weeks. I’ll admit I was rather naive, I've got all the support I need at home after I've given birth so I’ll be fine, but I didn't actually give a second thought to the care I would receive during and shortly after...I watched many programmes with women giving birth in their own rooms and being looked after around the clock and being shown how to do certain things. But boy was I in for a shock, things were so different to what I thought, I actually felt like a nuisance on what was meant to be one of the happiest times of my life...you can read my Birth Story here if you're interested! 


When I phoned my local hospital the morning I went into labour, I asked if it was possible to get checked over before we make our way to the chosen hospital 30 mins away (something that had been discussed with them previously), but I couldn't actually get through to anyone for almost half an hour, when a midwife finally answered, her tone made me feel like I was being dramatic, I mentioned I might just go straight to our hospital, to which she replied with 'oh I wouldn't do that, if you're not in established labour you'll be wasting their time, I've heard they're chocker this morning...' Great attitude there, I then felt obliged to stay home as I didn't want the hospital to get funny with me... 


Cutting a rather long story short, we headed to the hospital only to be sent away at 2cm (fair enough, 4cm is considered active labour so I was happy with that), we stayed local and headed back after 2 hours, I phoned them before we paid for parking to which I was told with a huff, "well if you're not in active labour well just send you home, were so busy!" Again I was made to feel like a nuisance, we sat in the car park debating whether or not to go in yet, but I could feel I was progressing rather quickly. I was at 4cm, almost 5, and we were almost instantly shown to our delivery room, a lovely light room with a separate ensuite with a giant bath which my midwife ran for me, everything seemed a lot calmer and relaxed now, just what I needed! Our midwife was lovely, helpful and checked in on me regularly! Everything was actually perfect, it was coming to the end of her shift so she hugged both Ben and I and wished us luck, that extra touch was lovely! Our new midwife again was wonderful, within an hour of meeting us she was delivering our baby, we were looked after so well, I was given a toe to toe sponge bath and cleaned up, Abbie was all snug on my chest and off we went to the delivery room...that's when things went back downhill... 


I was in a room with 3 other women and 4 other babies, to be honest it felt like we were animals, sectioned off from each other with a curtain and no privacy in the slightest..I was just left there, given some tablets for any pain and woken up every few hours to get my blood pressure checked...as I had an epidural I was told to buzz for a midwife to help me over to the toilets, after she arrived she looked at me and asked why I buzzed, I explained to her and she replied with "well you haven't had a caesarean so you can make your own way over there, why do you need me.." I couldn't believe I was having to explain to her that the epidural numbed my legs and I haven't stood up in a few hours, she huffed and helped me up and didn't say a single word to me again, even when I had thanked her..it was clear they were lacking in staff, they didn't have enough midwives for people coming in.. 


The morning after was pretty much the same, I hadn't eaten anything in 24 hours, and was starting to feel hungry but I was told that a midwife would help me over there and let me know when breakfast was ready..7am came and went, 8am, 9am, so I buzzed and asked if I would be able to have something and was told it’s a self-serve system which has been open since 7am..I couldn't believe it, everyone around me had already eaten after being taken around to the canteen, and I was forgotten about...I felt so lonely and isolated, luckily Ben then turned up so I went off to have something to eat...Abbie had all her necessary checks and we were told we would be shown how to bathe her and wash her hair as we had asked previously...we waited..and waited...until a midwife turned up at 1pm and told us we were being discharged..great! I couldn't wait to get home to be honest, somewhere comfortable and safe feeling where I had help and support! 

Overall I feel like the care could've been so much better,  I felt rushed to have my baby and made to feel guilty for even being there, you could tell they were understaffed, but I saw no passion at all from anyone, I understood it was busy and I wasn't the only person there but to feel like I was being a nuisance seemed too far...I have even contemplated the idea of going private next time, even if it means having to travel to get to a private hospital, they say you get what you pay for...we will see! 

For me personally, everything there sounds exactly what I would love, I always have this little niggle in the back of my mind about having to go through the whole aftercare again, but if I can be guaranteed all the above points, I know I’ll be able to instantly relax and enjoy my newborn without feeling like a nuisance, having my own room and being able to rely on people as opposed to forcing myself out of bed because no-one was answering my buzzer calls! 


What are your experiences? 

1 comment so far

  1. I felt very supported and in safe hands when I was in labour but I hated every minute I was in hospital after my labour. I felt there just weren't enough staff on. I had an emergency c-section after a long labour and I was supposed to stay in 3 days but I discharged myself after 2 and was do pleased yo be home. X

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