Birth experience at Ealing Hospital (very very long)(2 Posts)
Thought I'd write mine as I couldn't find any references to Ealing before I had the baby.
I'm a first-timer and went into labour in the evening of my due date after an uncomplicated pregnancy. I had taken up the Ealing hospital antenatal class, which included a tour of the labour ward, so I knew when to ring them and where to go even though it was 12.30am when we went in.
I started to get uncomfortable and weird period like pains at about 7pm, by 10pm my DP had started timing them and informed me they were regular and despite my protestations he reckoned I was in labour. I rang the labour ward when contractions were every five minutes, I was asked to stay at home until they were every 2-3 minutes and ring again. They recommended paracetamol and a warm bath. Hmm, they did absolutely nothing. DP timed the contractions and we reached every 3minutes pretty quickly.
When I rang the hospital again they knew exactly who I was as I'd been put on their list as possibly coming in. They asked me to make my way over but warned me I might have to go back home if I wasn't far enough advanced.
DP grabbed my bags (one of essentials and one of food) and we set off. When we arrived there was a bit of confusion over finding my notes but I was finally tracked down and examined. I was 5cm so was told I was in the room I'd give birth in and to get into what I planned to birth in.
I was hooked up to monitoring and that was incredibly annoying. It became more and more irritating to the point that I ripped off the monitors at one point because I couldn't walk around enough.
I was checked on regularly but the mw wasn't particularly informative and I felt a bit like I didn't know what was happening. I put my TENS machine on and that helped but I suddenly got nauseous. Couldn't find a bowl to throw up in and my mum had to go through a supply cupboard to find one. Luckily she got it in time!
TENS lost its appeal and I wanted gas and air. The monitor was on the opposite side to the gas and air. I could barely reach across the bed and I got cross and shouted at the mw.
When I reached about 8cm I couldn't stand any more. I found only lying on my back was comfy and suddenly I felt something emerging. Mum ran for the mw, it was the sac and the mw was really pleased as 'it's lucky for a child to be born in the sac'. I was getting a really strong urge to push so she examined me again. She said to push once but didn't say why and then disappeared so I didn't know whether I should push again.
She reappeared and checked me again and I was 9cm. As she checked, two people walked in without knocking. I was confused and DP was really angry. Turned out to be the mw shift change. Unlike the first mw, the two new mw's introduced themselves. One was a student and the other was clearly senior. I immediately felt more in control as the senior mw explained that she would be delivering my baby, I was 9cm and if I wanted an epidural I had to decide right that second. She praised how well I was doing and advised against an epidural as I'd have to be really still and I was very close to birth. I decided to stick with gas and air.
The time to push finally arrived and again, the mw's explained exactly what I should do. They were hugely encouraging and incredibly supportive. Stirrups arrived and when I point blank refused to get in them and DP explained that I had dodgy hips they agreed on a compromise and I used the stands to brace instead. I pushed for two hours and they warned I may need an episiotomy. As they were about to proceed the baby crowned and although it really was the 'ring of fire' it was bearable as it was a huge relief. One more push and he was born.
He was put straight on my chest as per my request and DP was asked if he wanted to cut the cord. He said no but my mum asked if she could, the mw's asked me if that was ok and I agreed.
After a few minutes the senior mw explained I had a second degree tear and that I needed stitches. She said baby could be checked and given to DP while I was sutured and the student made sure I had gas and air in hand.
Stitches didn't take long and mum dressed the baby while DP ran for the distant loos! I was brought tea and toast and was shocked to realise it was 8.30am already.
So far, so good.
Unfortunately, that's where the good care ended. The postnatal care was rubbish. Far too few mw's, I was left in an unchanged bed for hours, no one fed me for hours, I wasn't given a cot for the baby. If my mum hadn't been there to fight for me and hold the baby it would have been awful.
The nice student did manage to get the breastfeeding helper to come down as they didn't transfer me to the postnatal ward for ages but again my mum was the only one who physically helped me feed the baby. Nice student also showed mum where a shower was so I could wash and got me some towels.
After nearly six hours a new shift leader marched in and, horrified, demanded my bed be changed and I be fed and transferred ASAP. In the end I wasn't transferred until 7pm, nearly 12hours after the birth.
I was held overnight as my BP was high after the birth. There were only two mw's on duty for four wards of women. Baby screamed all night as I couldn't feed him properly. A mw took him briefly to try and calm him but I was upset and stressed. The next day there was massive confusion. I was told I'd be discharged then the doctor reneged, telling the mw's but not me that I'd stay in. I lost my temper and after baby got sign off my mum marched up to the desk and said 'Get her notes, she's leaving right now!'.
The aftercare was horrendous but the staff themselves were lovely. I had a great birth experience there, and from what I've heard most hospitals have aftercare issues so I would use them again.
Bring your own food and brief your birth partner and you'll be fine!
Ealing hospital has now a brand new natural birth unit. I hope the postnatal care is then better. I was highly satisfied when I gave birth to my son in 2012.
I love Ealing, so much choice and support for young parents. I run the BabyCalm classes in the area if you need help.
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