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To still be pissed off how I (and so many other women) are treated before/after birth?

(311 Posts)
LyndzB Fri 22-Nov-19 21:19:52

How I was treated in hospital before and after the birth of my child still gets to me.

Things like...

1.when I'd had an epidural from a 3rd degree tear, I rang the nurses button for help. A nurse told me off and said I should've walked to reception as I wasn't ill. I had to explain I'd had an epidural.

2. Lying in blood stained sheets for 4 days, kept asking for fresh so I could change myself

3. Waiting 5 hours after birth for some food and water - couldn't move due to epidural

4. Being told my son was in NICU and they needed his vests. I had several bags with me and I couldn't for the life of me remember which one had vests in. I still couldn't move and the nurse got annoyed that I didn't know where they were. I'd just been told at that point he was in NICU and was worried sick.

I've read stories from women far worse than mine.

We just seem to accept it. Me included. I think we just want to get out, move on and enjoy our babies. But in the meantime nothing changes. I only see it getting worse.

The hard part is, it's difficult to criticise as I don't want to be seen criticising the nhs. I love the nhs. It's a wonderful invention. I know it's a funding issue and that nurses and doctors and porters and all staff are working so hard.

And I'm sure many women do have good experiences (as much as you can delivering a baby!)

I suppose I just want things to change for the better. I don't know where to start. And maybe it's just too much to ask for little old me!

Anyone else feel this way?

Mummyshark2019 Fri 22-Nov-19 21:26:19

I am with you. My time in hospital news the worst time of my life. Emergency c section and they did nothing to help me. Absolutely shocking. Expecting me to get out of bed which was so very painful. Get baby, feed and change nappy when I just had major abdominal surgery. We were in hospital for 10 days after birth and I honestly could not do it again. No one helped with breast feeding. Just made me feel so bad that baby was not latching on. Just awful.

Gangrenethatmightwork Fri 22-Nov-19 21:32:13

No help with nursing in hospital at all. I was there a week and they just said keep trying.
If they want Mums to breastfeed, a little support wouldn't go amiss.

Auramigraine Fri 22-Nov-19 21:33:38

YANBU OP, my two times in hospital after having my children were hell on earth, so much so that it’s put me off having a third.
Midwives tried their best in the circumstances but were struggling.

Dongdingdong Fri 22-Nov-19 21:33:49

I know it's a funding issue and that nurses and doctors and porters and all staff are working so hard.

How is a nurse telling you off down to funding? There’s no need to be rude or nasty IMO - it’s just uncalled for.

hauntedvagina Fri 22-Nov-19 21:34:12

I can not fault the NHS, they got both my babies safely into this world, however certain things that were said to me post birth have stayed with me for many, many years.

No one is perfect and everyone has bad days, however in that post birth hormonal haze, every comment is amplified. For every member of staff who (I felt) irritated or belittled me, there was another who was so kind and genuine I never wanted them to leave my side.

There were nurses in NICU who's words cut me to the core and made me feel hopeless, and there were midwives who cried with delight with me when my LO was discharged and sent back to the ward.

One of the midwifes who was dismissive of my concerns was the same one who held me when I sobbed and helped me pack things for my DS when he was transferred to another hospital without me.

So YABU and YANBU, because I don't feel that anyone can be a good judge of a situation in those first few days when hormones are surging, we're sleep deprived and ridding our bodies from the cocktail of drugs we may have been given during labour.

WhenYouCantRunYouCrawl Fri 22-Nov-19 21:36:32

My labour wasn't bad but I gave birth at 8pm, moved to ward at 11pm at which point husband was told he had to go. I then didn't see another person (in a cubicle at the end of the ward with curtains all around) until he was allowed to return at noon the next day. Just a quick "how are you doing" would have been nice.

LyndzB Fri 22-Nov-19 21:37:23

@Mummyshark2019 so sorry, that is awful. Yes there seems to be a lot of expectation put on women after surgery.
There was a lady on my ward who'd had an emergency c-section and she also struggled with very little support.

areyouafraidofthedark Fri 22-Nov-19 21:39:59

Tbh I was quite lucky with all of my births. Only thing I could moan about was the waiting around time to go home.

WaningGibbous Fri 22-Nov-19 21:40:37

I still remember being dumped in a single room, without DH and with a baby 3 hours after birth, not having eaten for 24 hours and desperate for the loo but not able to walk post epidural. The MW on the labour ward said they'd do a catheter on post natal - the MW there said they wouldn't and left me, at midnight. I had to leave the baby and stumble down the corridor in the dark trying to find the loo. I could barely walk and I couldn't remember which room I'd left the baby in. Then i had no idea what to do with the baby overnight and really wasn't in a position to look after one. No one brought any food in the morning either and eventually someone said there had been toast somewhere but you had to go and get it. And then despite clearly not providing any care whatsoever to either me or the baby it took as long to get out of the hospital as it had taken to actually give birth. My milk didn't come in for over a week and that bloody hospital still gives me the creeps.

Rest of the kids were born at home. That way I got my own MW from start to finish and I ended up in a clean bed after a hot shower with clean towels and stuffed with as much food and drink as I could manage.

UrsulaPandress Fri 22-Nov-19 21:40:45

Hilariously I pushed the buzzer to call a nurse to say I’d dislocated my shoulder so could she please put my baby back in the cot. She did. And left.

LyndzB Fri 22-Nov-19 21:40:45

Of course, you're right. There is no excuse for rudeness.
I'd like to think that those same nurses would've communicated better (or at all) if there were more of them, and if they were under less pressure.
Maybe that's true, maybe not!

sh13 Fri 22-Nov-19 21:41:26


Omg I could of wrote your reply. Had an emcs under general and was the worst time of my life too ! I have ptsd from the whole experience and the hospital stay added too it.

I can’t get my head round the fact we are left to change feed and lift our babies out of the cot whilst on morphine and just been sliced open an barely able to move , I’m really surprised I didn’t drop my baby on the floor.

I had no help with feeding either and sat on the edge of the bed each night breastfeeding whilst sobbing holding my eyes open trying to stay awake from severe sleep deprivation I felt like I was losing my mind. I had a hemmorage and infection so was in for a week. I was also left with an overflowing catheter an blood stained sheets for far to long. It also annoys me that no one told me what happened to me or that my baby had to be resuscitated-read it in my notes, still waiting for birth reflection appointment 7 months on.

I will never have another child because of this I can’t put myself through it . It was truly awful. X

LyndzB Fri 22-Nov-19 21:43:03

Love the name!
I also wondered, was it hormones? Was I being over sensitive? It's only when my husband said out of the blue 'there's no way if men had to give birth that it would be like this' that it made me think maybe he was right.
I do think emotions are heightened. But I also think the care can be poor for so many women.

gonewiththerain Fri 22-Nov-19 21:43:18

I was another one left without food and a baby that wasn’t feeding properly that no one noticed.!

peachgreen Fri 22-Nov-19 21:43:24

I have only ever had wonderful experiences with the NHS (barring one noteable exception), including when my daughter was born, which is why I would always encourage anyone who receives the kind of treatment you faced to complain via PALS. It doesn't have to be that way. Kindness and patience costs nothing and the staff who don't offer it are giving the majority who do a bad name. And that's a disservice to our wonderful NHS.

I'm sorry that happened to you OP.

CentralPerkMug Fri 22-Nov-19 21:44:11

All of these stories are horrendous and cannot really all be blamed on resources and funding. I am so sorry you all had these experiences sad

Thegirlwithnousername Fri 22-Nov-19 21:46:53

My actual labour was fine it was when we were readmitted for Jaundice that was an issue.. I was left for 5 hours without being told what bed I was in. I was just left in a chair in a bay of 4 (I was told I might be moved to a sideroom.
I then had a awful midwife basically blame me for my DD for not putting on weight and developing Jaundice..I broke down in tears and I am not one to cry normally. I am glad my DH was there or I would of given up breastfeeding there and then. She actually said breastfeeding was her fortay.. But actually nearly put me off feeding 8 months in and she is doing so well! I had previously fed for 11.5 months with my DS.
8 months down the line and I still get annoyed about how she spoke to me!

Its so sad to read some of these comments on how you were treated!

pastabest Fri 22-Nov-19 21:47:20

I had easy, uncomplicated, mostly drug free births (gas and air), I was perfectly calm throughout despite immense pain.

I've also worked in/with the NHS for years.

I'm still so pissed off that the two times I've given birth I've not been listened to when I've said things are progressing. It's relatively minor in the grand scheme of women giving birth as some people have horrific stories but it's the only time I've been infantilised by the NHS and it makes me so cross.

I've spoken to so many women that have had reasonably quick, uncomplicated births and the story is the same 'they sent me home and I only just made it back to hospital in time an hour later/ gave birth on the sofa/ in the car park'

LyndzB Fri 22-Nov-19 21:48:24

Oh God, you reminded me of the toast!

'We cannot bring you breakfast, you're not ill.' So off all the women went, clinging to the wall with one hand, their stomachs with the other, slowly pacing the long corridor for some toast.

I almost collapsed when I got there but omg that toast tasted good - I was starving.

doorbellringer Fri 22-Nov-19 21:48:51

My experience of the first maternity ward I was ever on was, to walk through rows of new mothers while I was having a miscarriage. Being given a pessary to empty my womb hours too early, before they were ready in surgery. Then told “live babies come before dead babies” when DH asked for painkillers as I had a full miscarriage on the bed. I vowed never to set foot in the hospital and I never have. Had two DC’s in another hospital that were staffed my angels dressed in Nurses Uniforms.

JaneyJimplin Fri 22-Nov-19 21:55:30

My second birth was awful and I went a bit crazy after. When I think back to how I was treated, I feel so sad and angry. Things like, I felt like something was wrong down below. I'd had a episiotomy, forceps and a tear. I felt like there was something hanging out down below but couldn't check myself. I asked the nurse and she was so off with me. Looked at me like i was a pervert or something!
Then the HCA who shut the door to my room because I kept crying and said I was disturbing everyone. Well, yeah, probably. But I was seriously struggling to keep my MH together! Maybe check me and my baby are ok instead of treating me like an annoyance?! The day staff seemed mostly good, the night staff seemed seriously lacking.

Jollitwiglet Fri 22-Nov-19 21:56:36


My situation wasn't as bad as yours but I almost ended up giving birth in the waiting room of the labour ward.

In my area you ring the 'labour line' who then advise if you should go in or not. The midwife said it sounded like I was in active labour so head to the hospital and they would be expecting me. Get there and got sent straight to the seated waiting room by a receptionist. I was in there for 40 minutes contracting every 3 minutes, in tears because the contractions were so intense. Multiple midwives walked past saying they would be with me in a minute, then just wouldn't reappear. There were also other women with their partners in the waiting room having to watch me rock back and forth and listen to me trying to breath through contractions. After 40 minutes it was the receptionist who came to check on me as she could hear me making loud 'oooohing' noises with each contraction and immediately got a midwife who took me straight to an assessment room. I was 8cm dilated. Even though I had been signed off as allowed to go to the midwife led unit, they decided they needed to monitor baby. They took me straight to a delivery room and had just enough time to get me hooked up, and then I was pushing.

After baby arrived there was a shift swap, I didn't want to go to the postnatal ward so they said I could be discharged shortly. Except they didn't write everything down in my notes. So obs, measurements, weights all had to be redone by someone else. They needed some extra info from a Dr that was present, but she was attending another birth. So we had to sit and wait for hours. In the meantime we had random midwives and other staff bargng in the room either looking for other staff or thinking the room was unoccupied.

I was discharged without the midwife check for baby being booked in. I get a phone call later in the day to arrange an appointment for the next day, which they said it had to be with paediatrician back at the hospital. I turn up and I hadn't been booked in, my notes had just been left on the drs desk. She said she didn't normally do appointments then as they're trying to get inpatients discharged, but luckily squeezed me in.

I am lucky and grateful that my baby and I had an uncomplicated delivery, escaping injury. So in the grand scheme of things I feel like I shouldn't complain. But I felt so vulnerable in that waiting room with other patients and their partners watching me in labour, without pain relief, without being checked by any health professional. I felt pissed off that they didn't complete my notes meaning I couldn't get home when I was fine to leave. And the constant interruptions by other staff who clearly didn't give a shit they had just walked into an occupied room made me feel even worse.

dontalltalkatonce Fri 22-Nov-19 21:57:26

New mums are not seen as patients or even people in a lot of hospitals here, it's all about the baby and you're left to get on with it.

namechangetheworld Fri 22-Nov-19 21:57:28

Totally agree OP. My time in hospital with DD1 was so terrible that it almost put me off having another child entirely.

The whole experience was utter shite from beginning to end but my two stand out moments were:

Being lectured about not breastfeeding by the doctor (?) giving me an epidural. She was telling me how my baby was going to be terribly unwell whilst she was literally sticking a needle in my spine as I bent over the bed.

Also, I had a terrible time coping with noisy visitors on the ward. At one point I grabbed DD1 from her cot and went out into the corridor to escape the noise, leant against the wall and cried for a good ten minutes. This was in full view of at least four midwives at the nurses station all gossiping and drinking cups of coffee, who all completely ignored me. The only person who asked if I was okay was a cleaner who happened to be walking by.

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