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Home Birth Hospital - Chelsea & Westminster or St Mary's. Any advice?

(11 Posts)
MayfairMummy Mon 18-Jul-11 13:33:51

Anyone got feedback/recommendations on St Mary's and Chelsea & Westminster Hospitals with regard to their home birth midwife team and/or their NICU unit?

I had DS by home birth (elsewhere) and unfortunately had to transfer into hospital a few hours after his birth due to grunting and jaundice. He was fine (and it wasn't birth related), but we were in hospital for a week. I plan on having my next one at home, and hope not to transfer in, but after the first one, I still like to consider what the NICU unit/team is like. I'd also not met any of the midwives at my last birth (and didn't particularly like the main one, who kept telling me 'i was doing it wrong' - turned out she was wrong, but after a loooong time pushing, i was too exhausted to question anything she said). I don't know anything about the birthing teams in the hospitals in this area, although I've been under the care of the recurrent miscarriage unit at St Mary's for some time now (so a slight bias to staying there). Can anyone help with advice, please? TIA

QueenStromba Mon 18-Jul-11 23:21:31

I've no experience of giving birth in either but I think St Mary's is a fantastic hospital. I've been only there for their out patient stuff though so minor injuries unit, to have blood taken, smear test, family planning and sexual health clinics. All the staff I've dealt with were lovely (especially the nurse who took my implant out for me before the clinic was even supposed to start), and I've never had to wait for very long at all (I once got called in for a blood test before I'd managed to get my book out of my bag and that was without an appointment). I think it might help that they don't have an A&E department, it always seems a lot calmer there than other hospitals I've been to. I realise you've been treated there yourself but I just wanted to reassure you that any good experiences you've had weren't a fluke, they are just generally brilliant.

I personally don't like Chelsea and Westminster. It's a very busy hospital, I once sat for an hour in A&E having an asthma attack before I even saw the triage nurse. The triage nurse had a bit of a panic attack and stuck me in a chair in the corridor with some oxygen and I didn't see a doctor for ages after that.

I hope the rest of your pregnancy goes well and that you can have the home birth you want.

squiggleywiggler Tue 19-Jul-11 10:36:42

MayfairMummy with homebirth you have to go with the hospital whose catchment area you are in. Do you know which that is?

ohanotherone Tue 19-Jul-11 15:39:52

I stayed in Chelsea and Westminster in 2006 for 9 days after the birth of my DS. It was during a busy period. I never saw the same midwife twice, the ward was really noisy, there was no space around bed for incubator and I kept encroaching onto next persons space or bumping into it, one of the toilets was blocked for about 5 days, there was blood and poo stains frequently in the toilets,the food was very poor and one day I only got a baked potato, when I asked for butter, they said that they hadn't got any butter nor had had any for 10 days, the actual care I got was poor, they didn't have enough breast pumps, they witheld formula which had been prescribed by the paediatricians, they didn't even bother with checking my blood pressure even though I had had pre eclampsia, I never slept and when I said I really needed to sleep just for a hour they said things like, you need to look after your baby. They didn't help practically at all, despite me breaking down through exhaustion on the ward. It was like being tortured. It has traumatised me. I don't know if St. Mary's would be better but wish I had gone there. This time I'm hoping to have my baby at home. I know other people who have had more postive experiences and this was over 5 years ago.

MayfairMummy Tue 19-Jul-11 16:48:53

Hi Squiggley, I guess i'm in St Mary's catchment as I ended up bluelighted there last miscarriage (3 litres of blood loss), but my dr said i could choose which hospital even though i want home birth. Mind you, i don't think she's ever seen anyone before who wants a home birth!

I've stayed in St Mary's before (after the above miscarriage), but i was desperate to get out quickly as I didn't have any real trust and there wasn't anything they were really doing (I'd called them to explain massive amounts of blood loss, they said i was fine and should stay home, ended up calling an ambulance an hour or so later when i started feeling woozy. told the ambo guys i was going into shock from blood loss (i've had lots of first aid training), they told me i was just having a panic attack, but they'd take me to hospital just to make sure. I passed out in the ambulance, my blood pressure was 60/36, but when they got me to the A&E they shunted me into 'normal' area asap as they were too busy. I was there for hours. it was only after they couldn't keep me awake (even with my head below my feet) that they finally decided to do something about it, and gave me emergency erpc. I woke up catheterised, 3 different tubes coming out of my arms, with 12 extra holes from other attempted inputs, had been intubated (the one to keep you breathing), and the doctor described it as 'i'd had a bit of excitement the day before'. I'm thankful that they saved my life, but not that impressed that they left me for about 6 hours laying around because they wouldn't listen to me about how much blood i'd lost (and i was too woozy to push the point), and i never saw the same dr twice. They told me the following day they'd estimated I'd lost 3 litres blood. Having said that, it was lovely and clean, though it wasn't a maternity ward.

docket Tue 19-Jul-11 16:53:11

I'm not sure if this answers your question but when I had ds2 (dec 09) I wanted a homebirth and wasn't allowed one because I didn't live in the catchment area for homebirths (St Mary's). I ended up having him in the midwife unit which was fantastic but I was a bit narked I couldn't get the homebirth.

docket Tue 19-Jul-11 16:54:30

Sorry, meant to add that some people living in certain postcode areas were allowed homebirths, others were not, a resource issue apparently. I even wrote as I was made aware that everyone should have the choice to have one but got a letter back suggesting I go to another hospital!

MayfairMummy Tue 19-Jul-11 17:00:54

That's interesting, docket... i wonder what they'll say about me. I'm just guessing, but I reckon there's not too many mummies just near where i live who would normally do a home birth. i might need to look into a private midwife. I must say, i could do with someone nicer than my last home birth midwife, at least that way i'd get to choose...

I was thinking about St Mary's, and I reckon i'm better staying there just because if there is a problem (which of course, i don't plan there to be!), it's likely to be an ambulance ride like last time , and St Mary's is closer and maybe that extra time in travel from home might be important.

TRL Tue 19-Jul-11 23:59:37

Hi, I've had 3 hospital births at C & W and one homebirth through C & W too. Home birth was totally fantastic from care before, through the labour and afterwards whereas the hospital births were fab for antenatal, good for labour and dire thereafter. The Cherry team of midwives from C & W are currently running monthly home birth question/answer sessions for people considering home births with mums who've just had a home birth so you could get in touch with them - they're really pro home births. Check out on C & W's website for antenatal and they'll put you in touch with the Cherry team. I had a really positive experience with them.

MayfairMummy Thu 21-Jul-11 06:47:04

Thanks, TRL. I had to make my booking appt yesterday, while I was at the RMU at St Mary's, and I just stuck with St Mary's as it's really close in case anything goes wrong. I figure I can always change hospitals if it doesn't look like it's going to be a good team for the homebirth, or if i'm not in the 'allowed' area with them.

Thanks for your help, everyone :-)

BellaBells Sun 24-Jul-11 23:27:38

I'm not having a homebirth so can't comment on that side of things but I have recently transferred from C&W to St Marys as I found the care there diabolical and I didn't feel safe. I have had problems in the past at C&W as well so that hasn't helped my view of them. The hospital looks great from the outside and you would hope the care would be the same but it's all glitz and no substance. St Marys is less visually appealing but I'm finding the care SO much better and I can finally relax and trust them with my health and my baby's. Good luck with your birth

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