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Questions about John & Lizzies

(21 Posts)
ScaryHairy Wed 20-Aug-08 15:32:41

I've just found out that I am pregnant and, having had a very difficult time of it when my daughter was born have decided to go private this time.

I am leaning towards J&L because I hope to have a VBAC and understand that they are good at natural birth. Also I live in Muswell Hill and so it is relatively handy (ish).

Does anyone have any experience of J&L that they can share? Is it necessary to book with a consultant, or can you have entirely midwife-led care? Are any midwives/consultants thought of as particularly good? Has anyone used their early pregnancy unit? (Having had an ectopic I need to be seen in two weeks to establish whether this pregnancy is in the right place).

Many thanks!

Turniphead1 Wed 20-Aug-08 16:30:51

Ahhh Scary - your story sounds very like mine. In fact I live just down the road from you in Crouch End. Difficult first birth, not great experience of NHS postnatal care (although couldn't fault the birth care) so decided to go private for second child.

Had midwife-led care and the most amazing birth. 9 hours waterbirth in candlelit room (rather than the previous 72 hour tramatic experience) of a lovely 10lb baby boy in 2005. I built up a fabulous relationship with the m/ws (they are all lovely) through my antenatal appointments and also saw the counsellor there (Ann Hereboubt) whose services are included in the price. She is so really good.

The antenatal care was second to none - and a great highlight (I have written about this tonnes on MN) was the next day when my DD came to visit they filled the bithing pool again and all four of us got in and had a family bath in our swimming costumes while DD got to know her new brother.

If you have visited you will know it is not the most plush place in the world - that's not its USP. More, a holistic approach to childbirth, supporting women in their right to chose the birth they want subject to the usual maedical constraints.

If you had a section first time round, I would have thought you will need consultant-led care (but could be wrong). I am booked in for DC.3 (due Christmas Eve) again midwife led care, but my consultant is Yinka Akinfenwa who is just lovely. My neighbour two doors down is booked for consultant-led care for her DC.2 having had her previous C-section with him. He does one of the best c-sections in London apparently (all the m/ws go to him) - good to know if you do end up with a section. But he is pro-natural births etc and would support your right to try vbac.

Parking can be a bit of shag down there. The NCP at St Johns Wood has the worlds smallest spaces with solid walls each side - I can barely squeeze out of the car with a huge tend to do pay and display on the High Street.

I didn't use their early scanning unit - by coincidence, I had one-sided pain at about 6 weeks and was referred to the Whittington EPU for suspected ectopic. You could be naughty and just say you have a pain and get referred by your GP? If you go with Yinka though he does his own scanning - but probably one of the normal sonographers would do an early scan.

The only gripe I have with J&L at the moment is that the outpatients is a bit disorganised at the moment (they recently moved into a new wing) ie I booked a scan with Yinka and the ordinary sonographer did it and Yinka had to redo it. I actually was sent flowers by the Matron there because of a mixup caused by the nurse at my 20 week scan. These problems don't seem to exist upstairs at the Birth Unit - and they say they are working on them (and I may have been unlucky).

Sorry about the essay but I am passionate about J&L and only wish every hospital/birth unit offered the same level of care.

Let me know if there is anything else you want to know.

Best of luck with your pregnancy.

ScaryHairy Wed 20-Aug-08 18:57:03

Thanks Turniphead. It does sound great.
I've seen some rooms at J&L before, although not in the birth unit, so am aware they are more Travelodge than 5*. Frankly I couldn't care less; for me it is about continuity of care and not feeling afraid or ignored.

Am crap at parking, but it sounds like I will just have to learn!

I hadn't really appreciated that I would probably need consultant-led care, which is a bit daft of me as I would have consultant-led care in the NHS. I hope a midwife would still do the delivery regardless, but I guess that's something I can talk to the hospital about.

Just one other question - at what point did you book? It is so early and I sort of don't really want to book until I know this pregnancy is in the right place (although my instinct is that it is). I'm going to try to self-refer to UCLH to get that checked first, but I guess I might have to set both going at the same time...

spicemonster Wed 20-Aug-08 19:20:23

The only issue with having a baby at john and lizzies is that if there is any reason your baby needs post-natal care, they can't do it there. So that might be something to think about.

spottedandstriped Wed 20-Aug-08 19:22:15

Hi ScaryHairy

I had my baby at J&L 17 weeks ago. I was midwife led and although things didn't exactly go to plan (baby in unusual position which led to caesarian) I found the whole J&L experience absolutely brilliant. My consultant was Ed Dorman who I highly recommend. Demetrios Economides actually did my caesarian - also a really nice man.

Agree re the parking... although when you arrive in labour if they can they let you park outside behind the cones for a few hours (we did.)

The midwives are what makes the place special. Let me know if there is anything specific you would like to know.

spottedandstriped Wed 20-Aug-08 19:27:13

Just seen your comment re consultant led - you would need to be consultant led if Ed Dorman's comments to me at my 6 week check are anything to go by - he said as I had a caesarian they had a strict rule regarding this and you had to have a consultant at the delivery and be consultant led for antenatal care (I suppose this makes sense)

Maenad Wed 20-Aug-08 19:46:41


What a community of us there are! I'm in Crouch End too, expecting in October!

I'm booked in for DC2 following a difficult experience in an NHS hospital first time round. J&L's have a little leaflet with a list of reasons for excluding people from midwife led care - I've just had a look, and it says that if you have had a previous caesarean section you will have to have consultant led care.

I am excluded from midwife led care too, and was a bit taken aback by the extra cost it entails. I am with Gubby Ayida, who is the person the midwives recommended for me. I imagine it's a good idea to discuss choice of consultant with the midwives?

I had my booking appointment at 12 weeks I think, and wanted a scan earlier. They suggested that I go to the foetal medicine place on Harley Street for that, as it would be cheaper.

As far as when to book goes - I think demand varies really so it's probably best to ask them what to do.

ScaryHairy Wed 20-Aug-08 20:11:02

What is the cost like Maenad?
(Am prepared for a fair whack, but don't want to look shocked when they break the news to me!)

You make a good point, Spicemonster. I just think that the risks of the baby needing a SCBU must be pretty low, and they do have a paediatrician capable of dealing with less urgent issues. Of course, at the first sign that anything might be wrong with the baby I would be transferring to an NHS teaching hospital!

My sister is an NHS consultant and she is going to be really shocked by my decision, but then my other alternative is a homebirth, so I reckon J&L is a good compromise position...

Thanks for all the responses.

ScaryHairy Wed 20-Aug-08 20:15:38

Also, although you are consultant led do you still see the midwives lots Maenad? I'm just really keen to make sure I know the people I have looking after me during labour and birth. Last time, 8 total strangers put their hands in my vagina (though obviously not all at once - the max at any 1 time was 2 people's hands!) during my labour and it was just a bit hideous...

spicemonster Wed 20-Aug-08 20:22:35

Just thought I'd mention it as you didn't say exactly why you had a difficult first birth but sounds like your baby was fine.

Good luck with it all

ScaryHairy Wed 20-Aug-08 20:28:06

Ah yes, the baby was fine otherwise I would be looking at QC, I expect. Thanks Spicemonster smile.

spottedandstriped Wed 20-Aug-08 20:40:28

On booking J&L I would do so as soon as you know that you would like to deliver there. They only take about 35 women a month

ScaryHairy Wed 20-Aug-08 20:46:20

Hmmm, I think I shall try to look around next weekend. I'll only be 5.5 weeks then, so should be in plenty of time if want to book there.

Maenad Wed 20-Aug-08 20:47:14

No, I haven't had an appointment with a midwife since the booking appointment. Though I have been told that in the last few weeks I'll have some with midwives. But that won't guarantee that I'll know the person on duty when it comes to it, obviously. It's a bit of a shame - I do feel cut off from the birth unit, as consultant appointments happen in a different part of the hospital. Though the theory is that you will know your consultant well and that he/she will be present at the birth, obviously.

I think the consultant adds about 5 grand to the cost. eek.

ScaryHairy Wed 20-Aug-08 20:57:42

I'm going to have to talk to them about this. For some reason I am not that keen on a consultant delivering me. I suppose it is because I expect to have a straightforward birth and midwives are supposed to be best at controlling the head and all that.
Will they let you VBAC in water?

Maenad Wed 20-Aug-08 22:23:05

I don't know about VBAC in water (in my ignorance can't see why not though) - but my consultant says she plans to be a rather expensive midwife's assistant on the day, so I think the idea is that my baby will be delivered by a midwife.

ScaryHairy Thu 21-Aug-08 07:51:36

Thanks Maenad. I guess I just need to talk all of this through with them. The sooner I get it sorted the better as I really don't ant to spend the next 37 weeks stressing about the birth!

spottedandstriped Thu 21-Aug-08 09:12:45

Not sure about the VBAC in water - I should have asked that when I had my 6 week check. I would be interested though in what they say. I am not sure if they would as I know they like to monitor you a lot more if you have had a c section (basically to make sure that there is no risk of rupture)

spottedandstriped Thu 21-Aug-08 09:15:29

I should mention the amount you see midwives during the antenatal period I think depends on how your pregnancy is going and your consultant. Ed Dorman told me that he believes very strongly in midwife led care and even though I would have to go consultant led care if I had another baby he thinks it is important to see midwives inbetween and I think he is very supportive of the midwives at the unit where he has to attend births (rather than take over if you see what I mean)

ScaryHairy Thu 21-Aug-08 18:26:00

Thanks all, you've given me lots to think about.I am going to try to go and look around in a week or so, then I should (hopefully) be able to make a decision...I keep wondering if I shouldn't go NHS but have a private midwife for support, but then I remember the state of those post natal wards and the lack of care and I just shudder!

Turniphead1 Thu 21-Aug-08 20:26:17

Hi J&L people and Scary. Yes, for me in many ways it was the postnatal care that really helped me recover. My husband had to prise me out of there on the basis that I was bankrupting him.

I don't think I actually knew the m/w who delivered me beforehand. But she was so lovely (as they all are) that it didn't matter. But I did see familiar faces afterwards.

As you will be consultant led care, I would make use of the counsellor, as Ann sees people up on the birth unit and you could mention to her about getting to know the midwives etc. You don't need any massive "problem" to see her - just mentally preparing for another child and debriefing after a difficult first labour.

My neighbour was consultant-led and said she did feel she built up enough of a rapport with the m/w's topwards the end when she had more appointments there.

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