Advanced search

Got questions about giving birth? Know what to expect and when to expect it, with the Mumsnet Pregnancy Calendar.

St John's & St Elizabeth Hospital?

(25 Posts)
QTPie Thu 06-Aug-09 20:18:26

Ok, after a change of tact (and a fairly sleepless night), I have given up on local hospitals/care and am looking at St John's & St Elizabeth Hospital (London).

Sounds a bit insane (because we live in Bath), but the MIL owns a house 200 yards away from the hospital. Husband owns his own business which he could run remotely with a few days communte back to Bath. So I think it is do-able. Would be most helpful if the pregnancy goes to term, but we can play it by ear....

What are people's recent experience of this hospital? Did you have Midwife-led, Consultant-led or Shared-led care?

Now I really need to see if I can get in (am 14 weeks).


BlameItOnTheBogey Thu 06-Aug-09 20:21:32

I love, love, love it. Had DS1 there and the first thing I did when I got my positive result this time around was phone up to book in. I've gone midwife led. The care is amazing. They spend so much time with you and are always on the end of the phone. I had the most positive incredible birth despite DS being back to back and a long, long labour. I can't speak highly enough of it and it is worth every single penny.

Aranea Thu 06-Aug-09 20:27:51

Oh yes yes yes, love it love it love it too.

I had DD1 at an NHS hospital, and DD2 at John & Lizzie's, and I so wish I had gone there for both. It made such a difference. The midwives are unbelievable. So dedicated and passionate about what they're doing. And just so nice. My midwife never left the room throughout my labour, massaged me through every contraction, suggested the right thing at the right moment throughout, and said all the right things to keep me going and keep me confident.

And after the birth they are wonderful too.

I had consultant-led care, as DD1's birth had gone badly and so I counted as high-risk and wasn't allowed to go midwife-led. My consultant was great, and hugely respectful of the midwives (and they of her, too).

Definitely do it. I don't believe it can be bettered, and I am convinced that it was their amazing support which enabled me to have a natural waterbirth in stark contrast to the way I was let down by the NHS.

QTPie Thu 06-Aug-09 20:31:42

That sounds very good. I just think that birth has "enough going on" without worrying about the standard of care or aftercare...

Question is whether I can get in... I just phoned (not expecting to get an answer), but did and have left my details (they will get a MW to phone me back).


QTPie Thu 06-Aug-09 20:34:04

This is my first child and I think that a positive birth experience is my only hope (from either my point-of-view or my husbands) of having a 2nd child, so this is really important. (if that makes sense)

Fingers crossed I get in then.


Aranea Thu 06-Aug-09 20:34:30

I would expect it to be OK. When I had DD2 in October last year, I think it would have been fine, anyway.

BlameItOnTheBogey Thu 06-Aug-09 20:57:10

I booked in around 14 weeks the first time - you may well be fine. Good luck.

QTPie Thu 06-Aug-09 20:59:36

Just got a phone back from the midwife (wow that is good service) and she says that she has spaces, but they are "filling up".

Husband is out, but I need to discuss whether to arrange a tour or whether just to make a booking in appointment (without a tour). EVERYTHING LOOKS very positive (couldn't imagine not liking it - especially when compared to the alternatives down here...).


QTPie Thu 06-Aug-09 21:00:35

Anyone done a tour and booking in appointment on the same day - i.e. look around, say "yes I love it", sign up there and then?


BlameItOnTheBogey Thu 06-Aug-09 21:01:16

If I were you, I'd make an appt to book in. They don't take your deposit until then anyway.....

hellymelly Thu 06-Aug-09 21:04:43

I didn't use the St J and E, although I did have a reccy at their brochures and consider it,but I knew I had a good chance of needing a 2nd c-section so the cost was a factor.I went to UCH and was quite happy.I just wanted to say that how your birth does or doesn't go is less of a factor in whether you will want another child than you might imagine now,the urge for another baby once you have experienced the wonder of number one is very compelling whatever your birth experience, as the birth is such a small part of it all.

QTPie Thu 06-Aug-09 21:38:48

I will speak to husband when he gets home, work out what to do and then phone to book tomorrow morning. A tour during the booking in appointment would be ideal (and can't imagine not liking it there...).

hellymelly, I hope that you are right... I think that two children would be ideal (as an only child with one aging parent left, I think that the physical and emotional pressures on an only child in later life can be very difficult). Has taken me this long to convince husband of one child (I will be 36 in February, he is 37 this October - we have been very happily married for 12 years!). After one MC (this past March), we are already a little frazzled. A better birth experience would make things "easier" next time.

Friends of ours have one child (3 years old now) and she would like another one, but says that he just couldn't take the trauma of birth again...


QTPie Fri 07-Aug-09 10:39:27

Just a note to say that we have a booking in appointment (and tour just before) for next Friday

Have left the choice of care up until then... I should be low risk (I am 35 and first birth, otherwise in very good health), but I am a bit of a worrier. The in-laws would probably prefer that I had obstetrician-led care (which may be complete overkill), but I am wondering if Shared Care would be a good compromise... Has anyone experience of the Shared Care?

This is quite a HUGE weight off of my mind. We got back from holiday a week ago (which had been taking up quite a lot of my energy - both organising and being on it - recently). Now that I am home and "focussed on baby stuff", I think that the anxiety about the birth just hit me... Now I feel (hope) that I have options open to me. I see that a water birth or active birth using a mobile epidural might be possible (which would NOT be possible at an NHS hospital). I hope that (if everything goes well), I might have more control (and less fear) of the birth...

Thank you

Aranea Fri 07-Aug-09 20:21:22

Glad to hear you're able to book in there if you decide it's what you want.

I am sure they will be great in terms of reassuring you and helping you to feel confident about the whole thing.

The one thing I would say, having had consultant-led care, is that it meant I didn't meet so many of the midwives as most of my antenatal appointments were with the consultant. If it is important to you that you have previously met the midwife who delivers your baby, this might be worth bearing in mind.

I hope once you've finalised everything you are able to relax and enjoy your pregnancy.

becktay Fri 07-Aug-09 20:57:12

"I see that a water birth or active birth using a mobile epidural might be possible (which would NOT be possible at an NHS hospital)."

actually they are usually all poss at an nhs hospital - ok maybe not mobile epi at all!

good luck with it all smile

QTPie Fri 07-Aug-09 21:12:01

I am glad that I had the "panic" now... well not glad that I felt some anxiety, but glad that I had some impetus to "sort it out now" - if I had waited much longer, I may have had less offers open to me...

I am really not normally a panicky/anxious person. Even in my pregnancy so far (and despite a miscarriage a few months ago), I have been VERY laid back and relaxed. So this sort of came out of nowhere. Will have to watch that... Don't want anxiety to rear it's ugly head when I am least expecting it.

Good point about consultant-led. Would shared-led likely to provide enough of an opportunity to get familiar with the midwife/midwives?

I haven't seen mobile epi as an option (at least in our area) on the NHS. Doesn't mean that it isn't though. I know that access to birthing pools is VERY VERY limited (depending on hospital) and on a first come first served basis. I had ruled out water birth because I didn't think that an epi was a possible combination with it.

Thank you very much - hope that it works out (and everything runs smoothly enough for me to have my baby at John and Lizzie's). Will work on being calm and not anxious :-)


NK511dd41bX11f655bf568 Fri 14-Aug-09 13:32:19

I had my baby at J&L in January. The care overall was fantastic, but I do feel like some of my expectations weren't met.

I'd been told that the same midwife would most likely be with me for the duration of the birth, however my lovely midwife had to leave right when things started to get tricky (my baby was in OP position and intervention ended up being required) to go to a meeting. The replacement midwife was really bossy and I was disappointed that my lovely midwife wasn't there at least until the end of her shift.

The midwife who helped me with breastfeeding after the birth was very helpful, but her slightly disinterested and cold manner really rubbed me up the wrong way. Breastfeeding just wasn't working unfortunately while I was there and she seemed more frustrated than I was.

In the days after the birth I could only have a lukewarm, trickle of a shower as the hot water tap didn't work properly. A plumber had to come in a few times to try to fix it. The rooms need a complete overhaul, which apparently is going to happen 'soon'. They were apologetic, but why didn't they offer me an alternate room or bathroom where I could have a shower?

Basically I should have voiced my concerns at the time and not just put up with things, but my husband and I were totally overwhelmed after what was a difficult birth with my first child. All in all I feel a bit ripped off for the money we paid. My beautiful girl is now nearly 7 months old and the 'first baby fog' has started to lift. Maybe now's the time to write a complaint letter to John and Lizzie's!

SympatheticConsultant Fri 14-Aug-09 14:33:25

Thought I would put in a plug for the Midwives at J&L's as they are exceptionally good and deservedly have a great reputation. The unit is just going through a refurbishment programme which I believe should be complete by the end of this month. As a result of this, they will be having a 'celeb' grand opening of the refurbished unit (I believe on the 10th of Sept) for expectant parents and local GP's. I would urge those of you that are considering the unit to try and attend the open day.
The shared care option is an interim package which provides a more economical service. I think we agreed that the package would include 7 midwife appointments and 4 Consultant appointments + scans and 2-3 days admission charges (the details are in the new Maternity brochure and will also be in the new website which will also be launched next month). When you read into the details of what is provided within the overall package price it does compare very favourably with all our other local private maternity units.
The Consultant only package differs in that you can choose your Obstetrician who will undertake all your antenatal visits (except for 2 MW visits) and be present for the delivery. With the shared care package a Consultant Obstetrician will be present for the delivery but it will be the Consultant who is oncall for the unit for the day rather than the Consultant you may have seen antenatally. If the labour is proceeding normally then they will be there to simply support your midwife during the labour but obviously on hand to intervene if the circumstances require it. sad

As for anyone considering booking at the unit please give the Birth Unit a call for a tour or simply to discuss what the service offers. I dont believe currently there should be any problems with taking new bookings whatever the gestation!smile

QTPie Sun 16-Aug-09 13:51:25

NK511, I think it is ALWAYS worth voicing your concerns (preferably as soon after the fact as possible...) - so that they can be addressed. I can imagine why you had very high expectations (it is a lot of money) and probably the most difficult thing would be loosing a very good midwife (with whom you have built up a rapport) mid-labour.... to a certain extent unavoidable (difficult to know how important the meeting was...), but still very tough.

The care still sounds miles above many NHS experiences (and my area of the country seems particularly stretched with maternity resources)

We did have the tour and book in to J&L this past Friday. I was very happy with the approach and feel there (suits me). I liked the fact that is was a small unit (8 rooms and 3 birthing suites), but with the resources of a larger hospital within the same building. The rooms have just gone through quite a renovation and are modern and "homely". They don't compete with those at the Ritz Caltons or Four Seasons, but they look very comfortable, very practical and very peaceful. I am not sure if the bathrooms have been renovated or not: they are modern bathrooms, but not uber-trendy, just very practical. This all suits me, I can see it being practical to do early labour (depending on how it goes) in the comfort of your own room before moving to the birthing suite (but having staff on call all the time). I also think it might make transition from hospital to back home easier afterwards - since the hospital rooms are more "homely" it isn't such a stretch of imagination being at home.

We booked in and opted for "shared care" - possibly me being over cautious (first birth), but the price difference was only about £1000 (not huge in the scheme of the whole cost). Husband would probably go for Constultant-led care if it was up to him (he is probablt even more anxious than me!), but it seems like complete overkill (apart from being 35, I am a low risk mother and, fingers crossed, the baby is - so far - a low risk baby...) and I like the inclusiveness of having a "package" (Consultant-led care is very much "a la carte" in pricing...). With shared care, you get assigned a consultant and get two additional pre-natal consultant appointments and "A" consultant (the one on call - not necessarily the one you were assigned) will be there at the delivery of your baby. I am sure that he/she will be twiddling their thumbs, but it is added reassurance for us...

I am feeling very positive about things. My next ante-natal appointment is on 14th September (I have my 20 week scan followed by an appointment with the Consultant - both at J&Ls). Then we need to get organised... Due date is end of Jan and we plan to move into the area 3/4 weeks before the due date (either with the MIL - who lives within 200 yards of the hospital - or rent a small flat nearby). Obviously we need to be COMPLETELY organised with everything back home before then (well before Christmas). In the meantime we will be backwards and forwards between Bath and J&Ls for antenatal appointments: not a big thing and we can fit it around doing other things in London.


zonedout Thu 03-Sep-09 20:33:58

Not sure if i have come far too late to this but thought i would add my bit regardless...

firstly, congrats on your pregnancy smile. i had ds1 at j&l and had a really positive experience, couldn't fault any of the ante-natal or post-natal care and the care during the birth was outstanding. i had 24 hours of labour while i was there and was lucky enough to be admitted at shift change so had 12 hours of one wonderful midwife followed by 12 hours of an equally wonderful midwife, neither of whom left my side for more than 5 mins at a time. i was midwife-led but due to complications, a (fantastic) consultant was called in to deliver my baby. like a pp, i booked myself in again as soon as i found out i was pregnant with my next baby. second time around i did come across a couple of new midwives during my ante-natal appts who i really didn't like at all. and i ended up with premature rupture of membranes at 35 weeks so j&l wouldn't touch me and ended up delivering my premature ds2 at my local nhs hospital (not a psoitive birth experience, in fact i was left to it with not a painkiller in sight and dh only managed to convince a midwife to come to me when ds2's head was hanging out hmm)

despite all of this, i am desperate for dc3 and have been since the minute ds2 'plopped' out. hormones are a funny thing grin

QTPie Fri 04-Sep-09 10:17:50

Hi zonedout

ALWAYS useful to have an opinion. A bit late for my choice, but maybe useful for others searching for information on this hospital.

It all sounds very positive for your j&l experience, I just need to be prepared for going into labour before 36 weeks...

I have little choice if I do go into labout prematurely, anyway: I live in Bath and only plan to "move" to London 4 weeks before my due date (in-laws have a place in St John's Wood). So, if I go into labour before moving, I would have no choice but to go to the local NHS hospital. Since I am making all of the effort to go to London - to avoid the local hospital in the first place - you can see how desperate I am to survive beyond 36 weeks...

May I ask where you plan/hope to have dc3? Back at j&l or somewhere else (private) that will take more premature babies?


zonedout Fri 04-Sep-09 15:39:03

i think that what happened to me is pretty unusual. after all, i went into labour with ds1 on my due date. fingers (and legs) crossed for you but yes, it is always worth being prepared (pscyhologically as much as anything!)

as for a dc3, my first hurdle is to convince dh. if i was blessed enough to get pregnant again one day i truly don't know what i would do but at this point i am pretty sure i wouldn't go to a different private hospital. j&l very much 'fits' for me... not so much the (slightly misconceived) notion of them pushing drug free waterbirths etc etc (i didn't enjoy the birthing pool at all with ds1 and ended up with an epidural, very much supported by the midwives) but more the general ethos surrounding pregnancy, birth and actually more than anything, the way in which i parent my babies. i do think however that i would be far too nervous to only book in with j&l so perhaps would ideally go for consecutive care with them and an nhs option (suggested actually by an obstetrician!) [wishful thinking emoticon grin]

will you be ok with the travel for your ante-natal appts and scans etc? can't believe i can be so excited about the pregnancy of a complete stranger but i do love that place!!!

QTPie Fri 04-Sep-09 18:56:00

From what I read (first pregnancy here), there is no such thing as a "usual" pregancy - i.e. be prepared for anything...

VERY MUCH hoping that this baby is not prem: no indication of prems in the family, but you never know...

Have joined the local NCT classes (which start in November for my end of Jan/begining of Feb due date) and will take a tour of the lcoal hospital with them. Local hospital (full maternity facilities, neo-natal, prem-babies etc) is 5 minutes walk from home here: so if things do go wrong, we know where we are rushing to...

Ante-natal appointments are ok (have had one, back for another a week on Monday). It is two hours drive each way, but we have the option of staying over at the in-laws' house (in St Johns Wood) to "break the journey". This next one will be at 20 weeks, so we are having the ante-natal appointment and the 20 week scan the same day... We will combine things where possible. Husband has his own business (which I do some work for) - so we have the flexibility to come up to London during the week. If things get too busy for him (by the time ante-natal appointments shift to every two weeks), then I may come up for some (by myself) on the train. By the time appointments go to one a week, I should be living/staying in St Johns Wood (so not a problem...).

It is hassle, but I think it is worth it: I could have had some of the ante-natal care here (local MW), but the local MW's are so stretched here that you have very little confisence in what they are doing. The MW I have seen here is lovely, but always very flustered and very "headless chicken like".

Interesting that you mention water births and epidurals etc. I definitely want to try water birth, but also have reservations about pain relief - so epidural will be there as a back-up. Husband hates to see me in pain (or even have blood drawn), so if it was up to him, it would be elective CS (with general anaesthetic!)... Were you still able to me partly mobile after your epidural?

I agree about the ethos: am hoping it really works out.

Good luck with convincing your husband for another one. I had trouble convincing my husband for the first (I am 35... probably would have been some years sooner, but he was quite tough to convince... not that he hates the idea of children, just that he thinks that "life will end" when it arrives). The consecutive care sounds like a good idea. The care of a good obstitrician will hopefully guide you into making the right choices (for a good birth again).

Good luck smile


zonedout Fri 04-Sep-09 21:37:52

i am 35 too (although i see that mn still kindly has me down as 34 smile). ds1 was actually a happy surprise (honeymoon baby!) otherwise we would probably still be dithering about parenthood now. i must admit to finding motherhood an extremely tough adjustment at first (and i wanted to stay cocooned at j&l forever...)

actually i felt really ropey from my epidural and struggled to stand up. in fact, i remember wobbling to the toilet only to have to stop to put my head between my legs (or as close as it would get with 9 month bump!) as my blood pressure dropped so low with it, but i am the type of person that could get high from a parcetamol (extremely sensitive to all drugs) so maybe not the person to ask. i had no pain relief whatsoever with ds2 and i must say my recovery was so much quicker. having said that, i would say to try to go with a completely open mind.

well, enjoy your pregnancy and every minute of those lovely midwives at your antenatal appts. if you get a chance, try out some of the friday am yoga classes (maybe you could combine antenatal visits?), i thought they were fab (but only made them regularly with ds1, think i got to 2 with ds2!)

good luck to you smile

QTPie Mon 07-Sep-09 09:48:20

Thanks zonedout

Hhhmmmm, I wonder if j&l would allow you to stay in for a year of ante-natal care (maybe not considering the per-night care price!), Getting some reasonable aftercare/guidance is one of the reasons for choosing it... both of us will appreciate the help and it will probably be just us, alone, afterwards.

Interesting about the epidural - will will have to ask more widely about it too. I am sure that it has "mixed" results on many people (must be difficult to get "just right"). I would REALLY like to avoid giving birth flat on my back.

Thank you very much. I do a great pre-natal yoga class here in Bath, but will be looking to continue that when I move up to London - so will definitely sample the Friday AM classes then.

Very good luck to you too - hope that ou manage to comvince your DH... smile


Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, watch threads, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now »

Already registered? Log in with: