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To think that some women have an awful time on the postnatal ward

(433 Posts)
elliejjtiny Mon 22-Dec-14 18:57:55

This isn't a slag off the midwives thread. In my case the midwives were perfectly lovely and kind, just very overworked.

My 2 experiences on the postnatal ward with DS4 (now 18m) and DS5 (now 6m) were horrible. I had caesareans both times and both babies were in NICU, although DS5 came and joined me on the ward for the last 3 days. Once my catheter was out I had to make my own breakfast, fetch other meals and drinks from the ward kitchen, take expressed milk down what felt like endless corridors to NICU every 4 hours and sterilize all the bottles, pump bits etc. I didn't have DH with me as he was looking after the DC's or any visitors who stayed more than 5 minutes. I could have really done with some tlc in my vulnerable and hormonal state. And some decent painkillers. I wasn't allowed morphine after the catheter came out because it made me wobbly, just paracetamol and ibubrofen. I take more than that for period pains.

But when I talk about it I get told that it didn't happen or that I'm being negative or exaggerating. It makes me feel like I'm going mad. So come and tell me your awful postnatal ward stories so that I know I'm not alone.

GraysAnalogy Mon 22-Dec-14 19:00:52

I think perhaps the reasoning behind you making breakfast etc is to get you mobilised, up and about and doing things for yourself. This would also have demonstrated that you will be able to cope at home too.

That said, because you feel this way you obviously needed more support. And you should have had more TLC definetly. Unfortunately it's the same old same old 'not enough time, not enough staff'. Did you talk to anyone about this? You should do

hiddenhome Mon 22-Dec-14 19:01:31

Same here after my two sections. You're expected just to get on with it sad

HopeClearwater Mon 22-Dec-14 19:02:52

Not enough midwives. Vote for a party which is dedicated to funding the NHS properly (if you can find one) and pay your taxes without complaining.
I think you should let this go now.

Theboodythatrocked Mon 22-Dec-14 19:06:26

Oh sounds horrible op.

You are perfectly entitled to feel how the bloody hell you want to.

My first experience was dreadful. The second was fine. Although my first birth was horrible and the second was a doddle so that's probably why.

10 years later my 3rd and then 4th was very much better but then I was far more confident.

Still didn't get that epidural though. angry

I think it's very important to be able to discuss and analyse your experiences post birth and I still discuss my first horrendous one (25) years later with dh. It has stayed with me and is part of who I am.

Whoever is denying you exploding your experiences is being very unfair op.

Great thread.

FlyingGoose Mon 22-Dec-14 19:07:29

Were you in Coventry? My experience exactly. I had my twins there by CS, didn't see them for nearly 24 hours, the NICU was downstairs and long corridors, the next day my DP couldn't find a wheelchair to take me down for over an hour. It was horrid, luckily though i was in a single room. Most of the midwives were good but there was one who i felt was a complete heartless cow. If it wasn't for my partner i wouldn't have got breakfast or lunch because i was far too worried about the twins to even think about it. You are not mad and not alone.

claracluck1978 Mon 22-Dec-14 19:08:46

I was actually relieved! I had a cs with twins & was in hospital 10 days before they were delivered & 9 days after. I didn't want wheeling about the wards to Nicu, I wanted to walk. I didn't want someone coming in to check on me to ask if I wanted Rice Krispies or toast - I wanted to go out of my room & meet other people in similar situations! Delivering my expressed milk made me feel better about not being able to fb straight away & making me sterilise my own equipment was not the end of the world. I did have one or two nights near the end where the mws would help out as the boys were brought onto the transitional ward with me. I really didnt have an easy time either before or after delivery but I'm glad I was able to be busy whilst my little boys got strong enough to come home with me.

claracluck1978 Mon 22-Dec-14 19:09:39

Obv that should have been bf not fb!

scratchandsniff Mon 22-Dec-14 19:09:53

I had a similar experience after cs with DS. I remember feeling all feverish whilst breast feeding him and had that feeling of sick rising up my throat (also in quite a bit of pain). I knew I needed to get to the toilet quick so I rang the bell for someone to help as DS was screaming. I explained I felt awful and in no state to breastfeed and could they please give some formula. Was met with a curt reply of 'we're very busy and can't keep helping you like this'. I promptly puked everywhere.

I felt totally incapable of properly caring for my baby as I felt so awful but at times was made to feel a nuisance. I do have to say though that some members of staff were helpful and kind.

samithesausage Mon 22-Dec-14 19:10:30

I remember pointing out to the midwife that I was paralysed from the waist down when she said I had to pick up my son who was out of reach.
I then got a tut and she shoved the cot closer to the bed.

Theboodythatrocked Mon 22-Dec-14 19:11:17

Exploring not exploding!!

Hope disagree in the op needing to move on.

Birth can leave people seriously traumatised and talking about things and exploring feelings helps to get perspective.

bakingtins Mon 22-Dec-14 19:11:35

I hated it all 3 times. After Ds1 it was just hot, noisy and impossible to sleep. I was poorly after Ds2 and as soon as I was moved off high dependency I was ignored, nobody answered the bell, my catheter bag wasn't emptied all night, nobody would help me with ds2 even though I was very weak from blood loss, had lines in both arms and a catheter in. I discharged myself against their advice because the care was so awful. After Dd I was fine but she was poorly in SCBU/ transitional care for 5 days and I really felt like I was being tortured - heated to gas mark 5, not a breath of fresh air or a glimpse of daylight, the lights never went off, no moment of quiet ever. I was perfectly capable of looking after myself but there were lots of women not able to toddle off to get themselves breakfast, or to trail down the corridor in search of a bathroom, or arriving sobbing in the middle of the night and their OH being sent away. The staff had absolutely no time for any hand-holding of women who were physically and emotionally vulnerable. I think the staff are overstretched and probably doing their best, but the result is pretty poor care.

WeeFreeKings Mon 22-Dec-14 19:11:37

I had a CS and was served breakfast, lunch and dinner at my bed having been given a menu to choose from.

I felt 100% supported by the staff who were on duty the 2 days I was there.

But. My NCT friends who gave birth the week before must have had a different shift because their experiences were dreadful, 2 bordering on negligent. So YANBU that some women have an awful time on the postnatal ward. Some women fortunately have a good experience.

meglet Mon 22-Dec-14 19:15:26

Yanbu. The 3 days following my EMCS were very distressing. No help, expected to get up despite being in massive amounts of pain. Bloody visitors allowed to invade my space when should have been left to sleep and establish bf. It took weeks to get better because I was never allowed to rest. I had a birth debrief when DS was 12 months and the midwive had a right rant about the dire post-natal care, made me realise it wasn't all my fault. 8yrs on I still have issues with it though.

Much better recovery after my planned CS (refused to get up) and hysterectomy (made to rest by lovely gynea nurses).

scratchandsniff Mon 22-Dec-14 19:16:02

Hope you are right that there aren't enough midwives but some just aren't very nice. The OP is within her rights to start a thread about this and perhaps its going to help her 'let it go'.

GraysAnalogy Mon 22-Dec-14 19:18:20

Talking about things like this is a must. Also there's a big initiative now about letting people and patients have the opportunity to sort of 'debrief' following birth, time in hospital etc. it's been proven to be beneficial to have a chat with the care provider to say how you feel, what your experiences were and ask the questions you feel you need answered.

notagainffffffffs Mon 22-Dec-14 19:19:24

Yanbu-this was my experience after emc. Felt totally alone

Beangarda Mon 22-Dec-14 19:20:43

I had an ELCS and while my antenatal care and the surgery were great in all respects, the postnatal ward part was awful - - harassed, over-stretched staff, no BF support, and once I started to cry because I couldn't latch my son on, I was regarded as an unsightly nuisance by one trainee midwife in particular, whose helpful technique involved pinching my nipples so violently they bled. The only person I felt even registered me was an Eastern European ward assistant who spoke very poor English but was kind.

Once the catheter came out, I got my request for a private room, I suspect because my distress and crying baby were disturbing others, but that meant then I literally saw no staff, despite ringing for bf help as my baby got more distressed, apart from one who came in at intervals overnight to tell me off for having my baby in bed with me. I started hallucinating, and no one noticed. Those two nights were among the longest and most frightening of my life.

I didn't mind doing things myself, and I found the pain relief adequate, but the postnatal ward (busy East London hospital) was obviously chronically understaffed, and I didn't get even the fairly minimal attention I needed - DS and I were physically fine, I just needed BF support and a word of reassurance. No individual to blame, underfunded NHS, but it was a miserable, frightening way to start my baby's life.

pollyannagoestotown Mon 22-Dec-14 19:20:46

Hope, my vile experience was with labour in power at full funding of NHS. 8 years on before felt able to try again. Due in 3 weeks and even with the cuts the attitude is completely different - same hospital, matron will keep me away from the midwives who caused and exacerbated my injuries, being kind, and shock horror, apparently now they listen to women in labour.

Nothing to do with cuts. A lot to do with attitude. They are now giving midwives courses in customer service as they acknowledge that as in a room on own, they are not monitored. They are also no longer closing ranks, although clearly getting rid of duff ones is difficult.

Fingers crossed will live up to promises this time.

pollyannagoestotown Mon 22-Dec-14 19:26:28

I should add that the postnatal ward refused to acknowledge that I had injuries that I meant I couldn't stand, the attitude was tough shit go fetch, while they sat round talking about tv and nights out, and I dragged myself past in tears of pain to get sheet for DD's cot. 3 months later the NHS agreed I had the injuries I said I did and I got physio / limited treatment.

OriginalGreenGiant Mon 22-Dec-14 19:28:57

I had a natural birth but lost a lot of blood and was very weak after ds1.

For the first night, before I had blood transfusions (I ended up having two) I was so weak I couldn't stand but ds's crib was too high to get him out from a sitting position. So every time I had to pick him up or put him back I had to buzz for someone.

A few times I was waiting ages...once for about ten minutes whilst he screamed, waking up everyone else and completely unable to pick him up alone. Most times I was made to feel a nuisance, so much that I tried to get him out alone once and very nearly dropped him.

RabbitSaysWoof Mon 22-Dec-14 19:32:55

Emcs here too. I still cried about the treatment I got when ds was nearly 2.
I know I didn't imagine it because my visitors talked to me about it afterwards.
We were all spoken to like naughty children and everything was an inconvenience despite me being unable to get out of bed.
I felt like I was just so in the wrong all of the time, they were like it to everyone, no one had their curtains open everyone wanted to shut themselves away and you could hear other women crying from their cubicles.
The visiting community midwife who came to my house after asked about it, but I couldn't talk about it in detail at the time she said she was taking notes because there had been alot of complaints about the same things.

windchime Mon 22-Dec-14 19:33:09

In my experience, midwives want the glory of delivering babies but do not give two hoots about the aftercare of mums. It is almost like nursing is not in their job description.

Lilicat1013 Mon 22-Dec-14 19:33:21

Both times were pretty crap, if I had been planning on my children I would reconsider it on the basis of the experiences I had.

It was made clear to me I was a nuisance and that any thing I asked was a massive inconvenience. I didn't even ask for much, I was quite well physically after my c-section so didn't need much.

I remember begging the nurse to put my son back in his cot (still couldn't move after the c-section). I am epileptic and my vision was going weird. I was terrified I was going to have a seizure and drop him. I still remember the sneer on her face and being told I was making a fuss.

I was unable to breastfeed him, I had been unable to breastfeed my first child both times due to lack of milk. The time I asked for him to be put in a cot was put in my notes as 'unwilling to attempt to breastfeed'. I asked for a support to breastfeed, to use a breast pump and to see a lactation consultant. All were refused, I was told no one had time to sit with me to help me. When I read my notes it claimed I 'had no intention of breastfeeding' was unwilling to try and refused assistance.

I hate the lot of them, the only person who spoke to me with any kindness was my epilepsy nurse who came up to visit me.

The first time was pretty much the same. It is weird because I attended for pre and post birth appointments and the staff couldn't do enough for me. They were incredibly sweet to me, constantly offering help and asking how I was. When I was on the ward the way I was treated was just horrible.

I suppose it is just different staff and I got unlucky both times.

forago Mon 22-Dec-14 19:35:37

yanbu at all. My 5 nights on the PN ward at St Thomas' London 10y ago with ds1 still make me upset to think about how badly I was treated. I had pts for a long time afterwards. That and the night my father died are the 2 worse things that have happenned in my life. I can only hope it has improved.

I had my other 2 dc in a local hospital and it was fine - one I left straight away didn't go near the PN ward and the other i was only there for 4 hours.

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