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...to think Maternity services really should be better by now?

(71 Posts)
Qwertie Thu 17-Nov-16 19:20:56

My Dsis has just had her first baby. She had C-section after 12 hours of labour due to the baby not doing well as labour progressed. I went to see them today and heard a bit more about her experience. She had to be monitored continuously & was coerced on to the torture device (otherwise know as the bed). She wanted to stand even if she couldn't walk around. She was also made to stay on her back and repeated requests to turn over were refused. She was "examined" by approximately 5 people, without being asked for consent; with 2 of these being excruciating whole hand in. Not surprisingly after 12 hours the labour was not progressing, she was only 3cms, and the baby needed to come out by c-section. She then had to endure 2 nights on a horrible, aging hospital ward with the instruction to feed whenever she could as the baby's blood sugar was low, but without any help moving her from crib to bed, so she had to hold her all night & had no sleep. She is now home (thank goodness) where her dp can look after her.

I experienced similar to this with Ds1 19 years ago, but labour with dc3 3 years ago was so much better (still some problems, but I was able to disregard them). AIBU to expect better than this?

WinnieTheW0rm Thu 17-Nov-16 20:06:41

No, YABU, and this is almost unrecognisably bad, and what you describe flies in the face of best practice and is totally at odds with what typically happens.

Has she had a formal birth experience debrief?

Qwertie Thu 17-Nov-16 20:28:21

No. When they were "released" they were told they needed to be off the ward within the hour (not that they were hanging around)-That was as much debriefing as they had. When would a debrief take place normally? It was the whole 12 hours Dsis was made to stay on her back on the bed btw.

Tootsiepops Thu 17-Nov-16 20:36:03

YANBU. I was left alone - completely alone - as soon as my baby was born. My daughter had an infection and low blood sugar. She was whisked off by specialist nurses, and I was left sitting in a pool of my own blood for about 20 minutes. I'd been in labour for three days and had an episiotomy and a spinal block. I couldn't reach the buzzer and no one responded to my shouting for help. I was scared shitless. This was last year.

Qwertie Thu 17-Nov-16 20:42:03

Sorry to hear that tootsie. Did you make a complaint? (I'm not judging if you didn't. I didn't either).

Deadsouls Thu 17-Nov-16 20:43:17

YABU IMHO
It sounds like I had a similar experience, as in couldn't get off the bed because I was being monitored. Then stayed on the ward for a week. Although not ideal I was still grateful for the care I did receive and that it was free on NHS. I didn't know what to expect as was my first child and had made a birthing plan which went out the window when I also did not dilate. They did the emergency c-section because it was best for the the health of baby and me. It wasn't ideal but had no choice as wasn't dilating. Yes it was noisy, and the hospital decor wasn't great, food not nice etc but I wasn't paying for a private room.

Deadsouls Thu 17-Nov-16 20:44:35

I lay on my back for about 18 hours. As the foetal monitor was strapped to me and in the end had a spinal epidural so couldn't move anyway.

Qwertie Thu 17-Nov-16 20:53:26

I had a monitor strapped to me with DD & eventually convinced them to let me stand, I gave birth within about 30 minutes of standing. It seems absolutely crazy to insist on making women in labour lie on their backs, which really impedes labour and makes it much more painful. It is not good for babies either to have labour prolonged like this. If you want to give birth on you back that is fair enough, but to be forced to is totally unacceptable. It is also possible to give birth without any vaginal examinations.

Rinmybell Thu 17-Nov-16 20:53:44

I had a very similar experience 3 years ago, except fortunately I didn't need a Caesarian but I did have PPH and a nasty tear/stitches.
I asked for water 6 times throughout the night and was ignored every single time and was given no pain relief. I couldn't reach DS to feed him as he wailed in the cot as I was in so much pain - nor my phone in my bag to phone anyone to come and help.
I did receive an apology however and wasn't scarred by it particularly however in this pregnancy I have made very clear exactly what I do and do not want and providing baby is okay and I am well enough to return home I will be discharging myself straight from the delivery room or insisting my partner stays also.
I would suggest she speaks to health visitor/GP about it, it's not fair to let someone recuperate physically and mentally on their own.
So sad how stretched maternity services are and unfortunately a few midwives like in any job - have bad days too.

Nicketynac Thu 17-Nov-16 21:14:52

I had to stay on the bed (reclining rather than lying) during my entire labour with my son while they monitored my BP and his heart rate. I think it depends what monitoring is required. I'm sure the midwives would rather mums were on their feet to get things moving faster but it is not always possible.
Being left alone is rotten though. After both my births I had midwives popping in and out all night and you really need reassurance after your first, even if you don't need actual help.
I noticed the breastfeeding support was much better with my most recent birth, both in hospital and at home.

Qwertie Thu 17-Nov-16 21:58:27

I stood with BP & heart rate monitor (but I had to keep asking them for at least an hour)

Tootsiepops Thu 17-Nov-16 22:03:46

I didn't complain, but I should have. I was in a total state of shock, and my baby spent a week in special care, so all my focus was on her. I had gestational diabetes so was induced, but when I'd been researching birth options, I had been told mobile epidurals were available at my hospital and that they were able to monitor whilst up and about. Turned out that was all total rubbish. The midwife 'looking after' me also did not check that I was anaesthetised appropriately before she did my episiotomy. I felt it all and was screaming in pain. Between that and being left alone covered in blood, i think what happened to me was dangerous and neglectful.

QuackDuckQuack Thu 17-Nov-16 22:09:32

I think that there probably isn't any more money, but that the rates of more complicated pregnancies (maternal age and weight) will have risen. So it probably isn't surprising that care hasn't improved. Obviously you could argue that fewer interventions would require less funding, but breaking out of that model doesn't seem easy.

Qwertie Fri 18-Nov-16 06:49:21

The trouble is; there is more money it's just not being put into the NHS. I am not grateful for the NHS hospital care myself & my family have received over the last 10 years; it has been woeful. Sometimes you go a department (for a scan) or the operating theatre and the staff introduce themselves and tell you what they are there to do and it becomes such a shining beacon of kindness that you hang on to it for years. Actually all they have done is acknowledged that you are a human being like they are. Maternity services seems to be the Cinderella even in this environment. Dsis was told her baby was very big, she's 6.5lbs, because they put a tape measure on your bump & guess! A crystal ball would be as much use.

Monochromecat Fri 18-Nov-16 07:00:30

Aren't we all supposed to be incredibly greatful that we have an NHS and however bad it is it isn't as bad as America.... hmm ... Mustn't complain... That's always the impression I get from mumsnet.

IEatCannibals Fri 18-Nov-16 07:08:58

It is possible to give birth without any vaginal examinations and many women do. However if there are suspicions that labour isn't progressing there's no way of telling without doing a vaginal examination. You say your dd didn't progress in 12 hours, which they were aware of. If they hadn't done vaginal examinations and picked up on this how much longer would you have been happy with her being in labour?

It's possible to labour standing up while being monitored but a lot of the time it's hard to pick up the baby's heart beat while standing/being mobile. If the baby's heartbeat needs to be monitored then it needs to be monitored. I'm a midwife and I will nearly always offer women who are being monitored the choice of getting out of bed. But there are some women that I'm struggling to monitor them even when they're in the bed that I can tell standing up would be impossible so I would discourage them from standing but I would explain why.

Qwertie Fri 18-Nov-16 07:25:43

I'm sorry, but there is absolutely no excuse for 5 people having a go without consent and it was not the case that she was discouraged; she was repeatedly prevented. It was not in any way acceptable.

IEatCannibals Fri 18-Nov-16 07:34:14

Then complain.

Evergreen17 Fri 18-Nov-16 07:45:49

I agree with you OP. Just because it is free care (not free as we pay taxes for this as many many other countries apart from US and some others) it doesnt mean that women shouldnt be empowered when giving birth.
And comments like some of the ones I see here take the power away.
There is no way it would work like this is male were the ones giving birth.
Yes sure that birth plans go out the window sometimes but there are certain things like lying on my back that I refuse to do during labour. I am not sodding Queen Victoria and it is unnatural. Mobile fetal monitors do exist too.
Sometimes they treat women like children when in labour. It is all good to say complain if you dont like it, but the fact of the traumatising birth is there to stay.
I am grateful of the NHS, dont get me wrong, but I wont make excuses for practices that should be obsolete.
I recommend that your sis speaks to Independent midwifes uk as they are advocates for all this and make a big difference to the birthing world

IEatCannibals Fri 18-Nov-16 08:00:11

Mobile monitors don't pick up the FH any better then a wired one. The only difference is the telemetry so you're not tethered to the machine. But you still get the same problems of being unable to pick the FH up on some women when they're upright or mobile.

What does your dd mean by not being asked for consent? Did she ask them to stop, say she didn't want a vaginal examination? Implied consent is a recognised thing in healthcare. So I say to someone I need to take their BP and they hold their arm out/don't complain when I put the BP cuff on them. Technically I haven't asked them for consent. Was it similar situation? Personally I always tell women if they want me to stop a vaginal examination at any point then to tell me and I will stop straight away, which I think is good practice to ensure women know they can withdraw consent at any time.

I do think complaining is beneficial. Yes it won't change what happened but if the OP gets a debrief and has the opportunity to talk through what happened then that could help her. If staff need training then it benefits women down the line.

IEatCannibals Fri 18-Nov-16 08:00:46

Sorry, dsis not dd.

Bitlost Fri 18-Nov-16 08:03:48

Why no help moving the baby from crib to bed? Do you know? This makes my blood boil. I had a similar experience with night staff when I had my DD. I had a ventouse delivery, was in a lot of pain and had no strength whatsoever. The night staff refused to help me until I got shitty with them. I was just asking them to show me where the bottles were kept as baby wouldn't latch and I kept being told her sugar levels were too low. People talk about scarce NHS resources but there were 10 staff sitting at the reception desk and not doing anything apart from rebuking mothers asking for help. I made a complaint and they got told off.

Rubberubberduckduck Fri 18-Nov-16 08:05:41

I'm being induced today. This was the wrong bloody thread to read.

Izzy24 Fri 18-Nov-16 08:06:52

Please complain not only for the reasons Ieatcannibals mentioned but also because it can help draw attention to poor care due to staffing issues.

JoMalones Fri 18-Nov-16 08:11:31

Rubberrubberduckduck. Good luck today. I'm day 2 after having baby and the staff have been nothing but amazing!

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