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Portland or a private birth......

(19 Posts)
npg1 Thu 11-Jun-09 21:37:37

Hello, I am after some advice please.

We have 2 DD's and both times I have had terrible births. DH would like number 3 but im till not sure and I think this is because of my birth experience here in Essex. We have said if we have another we would go private. The only place I know of is to go to the Portland but that is a very long journey for us!

Where else could I have a private birth and could I opt for a c section? I have had 2 natural births which didnt go well and 1 nearly ended up in emergency c section.

I am just so scared to get pregnant again because of my birth experience from the past.

hester Thu 11-Jun-09 21:51:49

So sorry you're feeling scared, npg. I don't know of any private birth facilities in Essex - perhaps someone else will come along who does. However, I do think if you're going to go private you definitely want to go somewhere that specialises in maternity, and that means the Portland, Elizabeth & St John (N. London) or the Lindo Wing at St Marys, Paddington. There's also private care at Chelsea & Westminster and Charlotte's in West London.

I think if you went to the Portland you would have no problem getting an elective CS (their rates are sky high!). If you're having an elective CS a bit more distance may not be such a problem since it's a planned op?

Your other option is to get private midwifery care and/or go to a birth centre that can give you more individualised care - but that of course won't get you an elective CS.

I do understand the distance issue - particularly as you have two dcs - but if you're that scared, won't the journey be worth it?

npg1 Thu 11-Jun-09 22:24:52

Hi. Thanks so much for your info and yes ddefinately, the journey will be worth it! I am more worried about how it would all plan out if i did go that far, what with 2 DD's to take into account to!

I am also not sure a CS would be the answer but at least i would know where I was and be in control abit more, as you said, it's all planned!

I know we have a NHS maternity unit nearby but there are many reasons I would be worried to have a baby here, one being if there were any problems they would have to take me to the nearest hospital which is 15 miles away (which is why we didnt do this second time round.) Also I cant have an epidural which I have had with both my girls and would definatly want againa s I have very long labours.

First labour was 25 hours, second 36 hours and I heard they got better with each child you have?! hmm Hence why I am very worried about a third.

Will have to look into these hospitals.

Thanks. grin

warthog Thu 11-Jun-09 22:28:00

you can go to a private obstetrician who would deliver your baby at an nhs hospital. you would pay hospital fees, and the obstetrician's fees. best of both worlds really.

when i looked into this, the nhs hospital was recommended over and above a private hospital because of the superior facilities. private hospitals don't have 24 hour obstetric units.

warthog Thu 11-Jun-09 22:28:16

apart from the portland that is. but it sounds far too far away.

bellasmama Thu 11-Jun-09 22:39:02

Hi there, I live in East Herts and went to the Portland it was no problem. Perhaps you could find a consultant who also practises locally to you or would be happy to do shared antenatal care with your GP. The hospital website used to have a consultant directory with info of where consultants hold clinics.

Kiki123 Thu 11-Jun-09 22:40:31

quite understandable that you feel scared and definitely best to get rid of the anxiety before getting pregnant. Hypnotherapy is a great way of de-stressing to feel really positive, who knows you may even give natural birth another try. Jackie Fletcher, hypnobirthing, is based in Essex or Kristin Hayward in central London. Even if you have a c-section the hypno will help you have a positive experience. A great new website,, has amazing guided visualisations for Wellbeing and Stress Release and Positive C-section, great value and very relaxing.

SympatheticConsultant Fri 12-Jun-09 01:37:47

Sorry Warthog,
Not quite sure what you meant but all private maternity units must have 24 hr cover it is in the nature of the work. They do however vary in the level of medical cover available. At the bigger units like the Portland there is an onsite Resident Medical Officer (RMO) and a Consultant Anaesthetist 24 hrs a day for the delivery suite and a separate team of specialists for the Neonatal Unit and the intensive care. All the Obstetricians are usually required to be within 30 min's in case of acute emergencies for their private patients.

Other unit's have different levels of cover for example at St John & Elizabeth's there is a Consultant Anaesthetist onsite 24 hrs a day. A Consultant Paediatrician is onsite for 12 hours a day and is close by out of hours. For the Midwife-Led Birth centre (MLC) we provide 24 hr Consultant Obstetric cover.

Npg - Regarding distance from a Private Maternity unit it is of course preferable to be within a safe and reasonable travelling distance, more so if you are planning for a vaginal birth and have had babies before. Ideally in such cases I would advise you to be within 30-40 min.s travelling time. Having said that I covered the Portland for a colleague of mine last month for a patient who lived in Staines and went into preterm labour at 35+ weeks. She fortunately arrived in plenty of time to have a 10 hour labour ending with a Kiwi cup delivery and an intact perineum for a first baby. The further away you are the lower the threshold to start making your way in if you think things are starting up.

Mother's who book at the Portland are often double booked at a local NHS unit in case of acute emergencies. With elective CSections however there is obviously a little more flexibility wrt distances. I have had mums who have travelled from Surrey & Berkshire to come and have their elective CS's at the Portland (the former however went into labour on Boxing Day just 2 days before her planned CSection date!). smile

I think mode of delivery is the key decision you need to make once you have decided to have another and from there on work out what is your best and safest option!

Haribosmummy Fri 12-Jun-09 08:02:28

Hi npg1!

I went private - had an elective CS for personal reasons - at the Portland.

However, all the larger NHS hospitals will offer private services (I was booked into the Lansdell Suite at St Thomas' - which was also lovely - but as I wanted to deliver my baby on a Saturday, we transferred to the Portland, because my baby decided to make a slightly earlier than planned entrance!)

Once you go private then, yes, you can request an El CS and expect to get what you want (you will still need to go through all the risks!)

I'm PG with my second baby and am planning an El CS at the Portland with the same consultant. I've had all my AN care there too and I don't find the distance a problem at all.

Hope that's of some help.

Feel free to mail me at ycbs @ fsmail . net if you want to talk further...

warthog Fri 12-Jun-09 09:51:37

sympatheticconsultant - i meant if you go to a local private hospital, you can see an obstetrician there, but they won't necessarily have a maternity suite. that's the case with two of our local private hospitals. so our closest private maternity hospital ended up being the portland which was too far away.

that's why i was recommended seeing someone privately, but having the baby at an nhs hospital.

1stimer08 Thu 18-Jun-09 20:57:54

Has anyone had their antenatal care and birth at John and Lizzie's and if so, can you recommend?

I had DS at an NHS hospital a year ago and had a very unpleasant experience and huge anxiety so feel that I have to go private if we're to have another. It's unfortunate that this will mean I'll need to fork out an awful lot of money but don't really feel I have a choice.

SympatheticConsultant Thu 18-Jun-09 21:52:54

Hi 1sttimer08,
If you are considering John & Liz's I would recommend you give the Birth Centre a call (0207-806-4090) to speak to one of the Midwifery team. If she is on duty I would whole-heartedly recommend Sandra Dick (tell her Bobby recommended her!).
The Midwifery team will be only too happy to get you in for a no-strings tour and a chat about the services and care available on the unit!

John & Liz's are shortly due to finish a project to refurbish their postnatal rooms so its a good time to be considering the

1stimer08 Fri 19-Jun-09 19:51:39

Thank you! In fact, am not even pregnant yet but so scarred by NHS experience that need to have a plan in place for when it happens (hopefully later in the year). Will take your advice on board - cheers!

Mamulik Sat 20-Jun-09 19:26:33

its nothing to do with Essex, I think you should not waste money for private - better spend it on your kids.

bellasmama Sun 21-Jun-09 10:24:15

Anyone including myself who had a private delivery will tell you that it is the best money they have ever spent unless you have an experience you would like to share Mamulik.

heron22 Sun 21-Jun-09 10:35:16

i agree with bella, i had both DS at portland under care of a wonderful consultant. the before and after care was fantastic. true, not cheap but worth every penny.

if the NHS is able to provide proper care before and after birth, i would have not spent money on private care.

1stimer08 Mon 22-Jun-09 09:40:02

Thanks for your comments all, - it is a shame we need to spend such an amount of money in order to get the level of care you need at such a vulnerable baby could very well be my last and I want to look back with fond memories of my pregnancy and birth, instead of the stress, anxiety and panic I experienced with the first. I do know some people who are Ok with the NHS experience ( although no-one has ever said it's been great) - I think if you're resilient, it's another story, but anyone like me who feels esp vulnerable when pregnant, you need to do what's best for you and your family.

mrsradders Tue 23-Jun-09 15:05:39

I want to wish you luck and if you decide on a private then thats obviously the best choice for you all, i had a rubbish time with NHS hospital care...horrid midwife that made me cry interventions that were not necessary (but sped things up for their timescales lack of communication etc) thank god for my partner having sense or it would have been much worse, i went for a planned homebirth the second time and this was lovely, the midwives were fantastic i was really relaxed and my long labours were not an issue for them, i am planning to have another homebirth with DD3 in sept...fingers crossed this goes to plan, but if i knew i had to go to hospital and could afford it id go private.
best of luck. xx

1stimer08 Tue 23-Jun-09 20:45:25

Thank you for your lovely message and so good to hear about your positive home birth experience ( I would also look into this). I really feel for any of you who have had bad experiences with their care (or lack thereof). I too had an intervention at the last minute when things were going fine ( to speed things up) and one midwife who even told me I was stressing my partner and family out - can you imagine?! I found the whole ordeal frightening and humiliating and to be honest, don't think I will ever get over it. I realise there are people out there who will think I am being precious about it - the (sad) truth is that I am not. I consider myself a very reasonable individual. Not intending to "NHS bash" at all, but have made it my resolution to ensure any future pregnancy/birth experiences are positive and offer a friendly ear to anyone who needs it along the way.

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