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Has anyone given birth at UCH, London??

(19 Posts)
Beckloff Wed 12-Apr-06 15:24:48

Hello - I was wondering if anyone has given birth at UCH in North London?? I would love to hear about all positive experiences!!!! Thanks everyone

fairyglo Wed 12-Apr-06 21:27:19

I'm sure loads of people will come on here soon enough but, just to bump your thread, thought I'd say that I'm due to give birth there next month. I swapped to UCH after hearing good things about it (and bad things about my local hospital).

Posey Wed 12-Apr-06 21:40:04

My most recent experience there (3 years ago) was fab. Induced on a Sunday, same midwife right through (thank goodness for 12 hour shifts!). Very interested in ME, what I wanted for the birth.
Postnatally, a lot had improved in the 5 years since I'd had my dd. In a double room which I had to myself for some of the time. My biggest advice would be, don't be afraid to ask the midwives for help. I found they left you to it a lot, didn't interfere more than they had to, but were exceptionally happy to help if you asked. For instance I asked them to watch ds while I had a shower and they willingly did, just didn't offer. Having said that about helping, this was my 2nd baby and I think I came across as very laid back and quite confident, so maybe thats why they left me to it. I was happy with that btw!
Another nice thing was the "day room" where you went to breakfast but made it yourself. Made it feel less hospitally. You could also go and make tea/coffee etc.
The only negative was waiting a long time to be discharged. There seemed to be no reason for the delay as I was in an extra couple of days and they knew I was going home on a particular morning. I had to wait "for paperwork". Thought they'd want me out quickly as it was new years eve!

Good luck to you. Are you in the new bit of the hospital or still the old maternity hospital bit?

Bloo Wed 12-Apr-06 22:02:14

(Beckloff = Bloo!) - Thank you so much for your comments - good luck Fairyglo for next month and I am sure all will go swimmingly. Thanks posey - your comments have been really helpful and your experience sounds perfect. I'm not due until December but I'm under pressure from my GP to pick a hospital, hence starting the thread today and UCH is my local. X

Posey Thu 13-Apr-06 18:56:55

I know there have been other threads on UCH, often asking for comparisons between there and Royal Free and Wittington particularly. I know there are a lot of us who have had babies there, so maybe you could search the archive.
But from what I remember of them, most seemed to have had positive experiences at UCH.

I also found the antenatal care there very good. Because I'd previously had a molar pregnancy and was under Charing Cross hospital, I had a larger proportion of my early care at the hospital rather than at the GPs with community midwives. All of it was great.

Bloo Thu 13-Apr-06 20:03:29

Thanks Posey - I will indeed have a rummage in the archives - that's a great idea. I've heard that St Mary's is quite good but I visited a friend there last week and her new baby and it just didn't seem to sit right with me, so I changed my mind on that one. Perhaps it's my hormones messing with my rational head!

JustineMumsnet (MNHQ) Thu 13-Apr-06 20:20:37

Hi Bloo,
I've given birth there three times now and most recently 9 weeks ago. First time was with premature twins and c-section, second two were normal deliveries.
I wanted to be in the birth centre this time round, which is very calm and which I'd heard v good things about, but the two birth pools were occupied when I went in and without the water I wanted some pain relief so transferred to regular delivery unit (at about 10cm dilated it turned out).

What I'd say about UCH is that though it's fairly rough and ready - you're unlikely to have met your midwife, it's not what you'd call luxurious and they can be v busy - you couldn't be in a better place if things do go a bit pear shaped - it's one the best teaching hospitals in London and this was certainly borne out by my experience with my very premmie twins, who got the very best (life-saving) care.

Another plus point is that the aftercare has definitely improved since I was first there. This time round the midwives in post-natal ward were great (first 2 times I hardly noticed them) and there were also breastfeeding specialists around to give support.
Best of luck with everything.

fairyglo Thu 13-Apr-06 20:36:30

Also bear in mind that another advantage of UCH is that they seem to be quite laid back about when you sign up with them. I transferred at 20 weeks. A lot of hospitals (eg Royal Free) won't let you join them that late in the pregnancy so if you don't decide to go with them now, you could probably still change your mind later.

Bloo Fri 14-Apr-06 10:53:17

Thanks Justine. You are absolutely right - that's what really counts - damn good medicine and care when the chips are down. That's very reassuring and also to know that you trusted them enough to have 3 births there - you must be a very busy lady at home!! Fairyglo - don't forget to report back in a month - in avid detail!!!!

zenjy1 Tue 18-Apr-06 11:39:34

I had my son at the Elizabeth Garrett Anderson, UCH about a year ago. There were good and bad things about it. The antenatal care is pretty good (although get there early if you need blood tests - you can wait for hours). When I went overdue they were good about monitoring. I was able to have shared care with the GP which meant I didn't have to go in too often.

I had wanted to give birth in the birth centre but ended up being induced. I was induced on the ward and went through three changes of shifts in the labour room before I gave birth. The one big positive I would say is that the midwives when you're labouring are excellent. They actually read your birth plan and they're there but not overbearing. My last midwife even managed to persuade to get me on a birthing ball despite my being knackered and hooked up to the monitoring equipment. When things went a bit wrong there was suddenly a whole team in the room getting it all sorted out. I also got sewn up by the surgeon which means that I'm the only person who's happy with their tear scar!

Post-natal it all goes horribly wrong. They're dreadfully busy and understaffed. I ended up on the ward with all the post-CS people even though I'd had a "normal" birth. I didn't have a chair or any space because my bed wasn't supposed to be there. It was hard to get any help at all (for anything). Getting out was an ordeal and when we were eventually let out my son had an infection in his belly button (the midwife hadn't believed me when I told her that he smelled bad), I had an internal infection and it took us a whole day to get the paperwork sorted out.

I've moved since, but if I was still in the same area I'd definitely go there again. As far as I can tell, if you have a normal(ish) delivery you're fairly much going to have to get on with it, but when the shit hits the fan they're great.

manicmumday Tue 18-Apr-06 18:12:33

I gave birth there just over a year ago but in the birth centre rather than the labour ward. The midwife was fantastic - I couldn't have asked for better support, help and encouragement. Just having her around made me relax. She managed to convince me that a birthing pool was a good idea and to stay in it until the bitter end - no mean feat, seeing as I started out determined to have an epidural once things got going.

The facilities were ok, although there were hardly any baths or showers so I ended up back in the pool I'd just given birth in, pouring water over me to try and wash afterwards. Not quite the relaxing bath I'd been hoping for. The post-natal care in general was fairly minimal but, as with previous posters, I think you get help if you ask for it - you just have to be less of a shrinking violet than I was...

Good luck - I hope that everything goes well!

Bloo Fri 21-Apr-06 09:09:32

Thanks so much for your replies - I would really like a water birth but what are the chances if it only has one pool?? (or do they have more there??).

HappyMumof2 Fri 21-Apr-06 16:45:49

Message withdrawn

manicmumday Tue 02-May-06 13:41:25

My midwife's name was Francesca, I think. She was fairly small and was from Mauritius. Can't recommend her highly enough.

I think that they only have one pool at UCH - I would ask for it v. early on if you want it, as, speaking from experience, it takes a long long time to fill it up!

fairyglo Sun 21-May-06 15:35:45

Just an update to say that I had a good experience at UCH 10 days ago with a VBAC. The antenatal care was also very good, if busy, with regular scans and attention-paid to possible problems.

On the downside, post-natal is very busy and not very clean ( I saw a cockroach on all 3 of the floors I stayed on - perhaps it was the same one, following me around!). I got moved around to various random wards whereever they could find a bed and I think they discharged dd too early, mainly because there were so many staff and room changes that there was no continuity of care.

The first part of labour was also on an unconnected random ward without much support. However, when I got down to the delivery suite (at 9cm dilated), the midwife was absolutely excellent and made the unexpected VBAC a very positive experience.

So basically, the birth itself was good. The after care not so good. However, I heard some horror stories about other North London hospitals while I was there (from people who had been transferred across to UCH in an emergency) so, given the competition, I would definitely go back there again for a birth.

Pollyparanoia Wed 24-May-06 10:57:46

Hello Fairyglo - I'm interested in your experience of vbac at uch as I'm pregnant with my second and had em cs with my son (full labour, got to 10cm but then failed ventouse, don't quite know why). Am dithering about what option to go for. If you go for a vbac are you heavily monitored at Uch? I suppose there's no chance you're allowed in the bloomsbury bc or in the pool (so helpful last time).
thanks, PP
ps why "unexpected vbac?"

fairyglo Wed 24-May-06 13:43:35

Polly, I had an emergency c-section first time round (at a different hospital) with a similar experience to yours - full labour, 10 cm dilated but baby in a funny position and couldn't be reached so ended up with c-section.

On the "unexpected VBAC", don't worry, they didn't force me into anything . I described the VBAC as unexpected since in my heart of hearts I really assumed I would end up with another c-section. This was partly because I was overdue last time and was induced but the induction didn't really work so I somehow assumed my body really didn't know how to go into labour. Since UCH said they prefer not to induce after a previous c-section, I assumed I would go overdue, baby wouldn't appear/I wouldn't go into labour and so would have to be elective c-section. Potential pre-eclampsia towards the end of this pregnancy also made this seem a likely ending. Finally, the previous c-section was a good experience and I was getting cold feet about natural delivery so I was basically hoping for, and all geared up for, a controlled c-section. However, waters breaking at 38+4 weeks and then a baby 17 hours later (10 hours after contractions started), meant a swift rescheduling of plans!

So, my body really made the decision to go the VBAC route. If I hadn't gone into labour early, UCH were quite happy for me to choose whether to hang on for a VBAC or have an elective c-section.

Given your history, I doubt you'll be allowed to go to the Bloomsbury Birth Centre but, to be honest, when they're busy you go whereever they can find space. I think busyness rather than policy will determine level of monitoring and whether you can use the pool. Talk to them about the level of monitoring they would normally do. I didn't find it as intrusive as I expected and I think I was monitored slightly more closely because of the high blood pressure towards the end of the pregnancy.

Sorry this is a bit rambling. Just trying to snatch a minute to type. Let me know if you have any other questions .

Pollyparanoia Thu 25-May-06 09:39:04

When you said "unexpected" I had visions of you all prepped up for your C-section and then giving birth while waiting or something. I'm actually considering doing what you did - scheduling a c-section for a few days after my due date and then if fate intervenes with me going into labour early, then I'll try for a vbac. Don't know if that's the worst of all worlds, but I quite like the idea of not making the decision.
Did they say whether you having laboured until 10cm before made it any easier? I had a very quick labour up to 8cm (about four hours I think), and then got stuck at that point and it was horrible. I suppose I could just opt for a c-section at that point. Like you, I found the em cs not the nightmare people say it is.
Hmmm, a long way off but thanks for your thoughts.
PP

fairyglo Thu 25-May-06 10:30:49

Like you, I liked the idea of not making a decision. Although I expected a c-section, it is such a potentially serious operation that I didn't like to tempt fate by asking for it when there was no medical need. I thought it better to just see what happened up to about 40 + 5. I know that leaves it all up in the air but I think you can then feel that whatever you ended up with was meant to be.


Having reached 10cm once, second time round should be easier and quicker, according to what I was told, since your body knows what it is doing (supposedly!).

Just one suggestion on whatever you decide:

- you said last time, you got stuck for ages at 8cm and suggest that you are a bit concerned about this happening again. If this is something which is bothering you, I would strongly recommend that you discuss it with the doctors at UCH at your antenatal appointments and agree in advance what you want to do if this happens again. I found them very accomodating in ante-natal if you have particular wishes/concerns but they are really busy on the actual delivery ward and your wishes can get a bit submerged. So agree anything like eg "I want a c-section if I get stuck at 8cm for more than 2 hours" or whatever, well in advance, have it clearly on your notes and make sure dp is briefed to push for it as well, if this is something that is important to you.

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