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NI Mums - Royal or Ulster?

(5 Posts)
Muroco Thu 07-May-20 10:28:04

I'm (freshly) pregnant with number 2. I've got to decide where I want to go for my antenatal care. I had my first in London.

I'm drawn towards the Royal mostly cos I'm from West Belfast and all my families babies were born there. They also have a lot onsite.

But I've also heard the Royal is a bit of a cattle market.

I haven't told anyone yet and don't want to so I can't ask for recommendations.

I live in BT6
I have a high BMI so will be under consultant care, not able to use Home from Home
I can drive
My last pregnancy ended in a EMCS

Can anyone share their experiences with me please?

OP’s posts: |
Irishgirl55 Thu 07-May-20 14:31:54

Hi Muroco,

Just thought I'd share my experience.

When I found out I was pregnant I opted for the Royal, my first appointment was a disaster as they thought I may have had a MMC and the midwife was horrible. When I was booked for my 12 week appointment it was for the Mater. I was considered low risk and was told I could chose to still deliver in the Royal if i wanted.

Like you, I'd heard it was a cattle market, I toured the maters delivery suite and thought it was amazing, the private rooms, the birthing pools and the 'homely feel'. I was worried about not having access to consultants or 'good' pain relief but had heard terrible things about the Royal so decided that Mater was where I wanted to give birth.

Fast forward to the birth of my Son...My waters broke at 40+5 and lets say the Mater were an absolute joke. They treated me with total disregard and dismissed my labour pains as constipation and kept sending me home (and never examined me to see progress). They booked me into the Royal for an induction 24hrs after my waters broke (if I hadn't gone into established labour before that).

I went into the Royal for an induction and as soon as she examined me she laughed... I was 10cm and she could feel his head. She wheeled me round to L&D straightaway. The midwives (and one student midwife) were absolutely incredible. My Blood pressure was high and heart rate was sky high, they had to call in two Dr's who preformed an Episiotomy and delivered my son via ventouse.

I was wheeled round to the ward after they got me hydrated and my heart rate under control. I was worried about being on a ward but the midwives could not have been more helpful. Obviously with being on a ward my husband was not allowed to stay overnight, the midwives could see how exhausted I was and did the night feeds with my son so that I could get some sleep.

I could not fault the Royal at all, they were incredible, they took the time to talk to me about my birth and experience with the Mater and honestly couldn't do enough to help me.

I obviously have no experience with the Ulster but if i was ever to have any more children I wouldn't hesitate to go back to the Royal.

toomuchteaandcake Thu 07-May-20 17:53:02

FTM here currently 32 weeks. I'm at the Ulster and everything has been brilliant both pre and post COVID.

Mummsnett Thu 07-May-20 22:05:21

I had my first 2 years ago at the Royal, and am scheduled to go there again in July! In honesty I had mixed feelings about the midwives I encountered in apts along the way during my first pregnancy and getting ready for baby was a shambles, so I was slightly worried about giving birth there (had also heard cattle market comments). At 41+3 I went in for my induction and had started labour, so they let me progress without intervention for 24 hours. I was only 1cm further along by then so they took me across to labour ward and I had waters broken and drip started. Baby was born 5 hours later in an extremely calm, relaxed labour. Barely noticed the midwives and any interaction I did have left me with the impression that they were all lovely. Very supportive and respectful of giving us space, which was the way I wanted it. On the ward after the midwives were great, constantly checking baby's latch as I was learning how to breastfeed and reassuring me I was doing well.
I have also heard very positive things about the Ulster, especially home from home, and if you want a water birth I think you're more likely to get it there. I was considering switching to lagan valley for that very reason, as the Royal only has 1 pool on labour ward, and their ABC is currently available to covid patients only. If you choose one its unlikely you'll be able to switch if you change your mind, because of the pressure covid has put on the system (lagan valley, Downe and mater all closed for births, so Ulster and Royal alot busier).

Ultimately I think they're both good options, with lots of resources if things go wrong and plenty of good midwives. Just don't be afraid to speak your mind if you're not happy about something, and if you're really passionate about something make sure it is noted and you are listened to.

NicAndNick Sat 09-May-20 16:54:15

I'm not in NI so can't offer any insight but if you had a difficult birth last time with the EMCS (not just it was breech or something like that) you can request your notes from London so the consultant in NI can get a good idea of what happened and give you the best advise about birth options this time. I felt a bit silly doing it but they did actually read them and were interested!

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