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Did you give birth in Norfolk? Homebirth? N&N? Are there any other options?

(48 Posts)
totalmisfit Tue 29-Sep-09 10:15:19

I'm due to give birth to dc2 in January and as i'm still fairly new to the area i'd love to hear from some other mums who've given birth in the county either at home or hospital. I'm trying to weigh up the two options i'm aware of at the moment. I gave birth in an awful London hospital with dd, 3.6 yrs ago and i'm keen to have a better experience this time around.

Here are some questions; how did you feel you were treated by the midwives and doctors at N&N?

Are there any other birth centres or hospitals worth considering?

If you had a homebirth, how did you find the community midwives etc?


fishesgirl Tue 29-Sep-09 16:35:09

I had my dd at NNUH last year - couldn't fault the care on delivery suite, had a fantastically supportive, kind MW. Had a ventouse performed by a trainee obstetrician who was very professional. However, the post natal ward was less good - staff were very unsupportive, fortunately didn't need much help but felt sorry for those who did. It was also really dirty.

Community MW team were great (Breckland Team) particularly continuity of care - saw named MW at every appointment bar one and she came to see me on delivery suite too. However, I don't think this is the case for all teams.

No birth centres in Norfolk AFAIK although there is talk of setting one up. However, there is the Gilchrist unit just over the border in Eye, Suffolk. Don't know anything about it.

Only two other hospitals in Norfolk - QE in King's Lynn and James Paget in Gorleston. Know a bit about the JPH as I work there (not in midwifery / obstetrics) - it's much less busy than NNUH and although a lot of people seem to think it is inferior to NNUH, I've now moved and will be quite happy to have any future babies there.

totalmisfit Wed 30-Sep-09 09:52:53

thanks for that, fishesgirl. starting to build up a picture of what the options are, and it's good to know there are at least 2 other hospitals i can visit.

I wish i was one of those women who could just say 'i want a home birth and that's that'. I had a horrible dream a month or so ago where the baby had the cord round her/his neck and i know that's as likely to happen in hospital as anywhere but it's one of those images that stays with you...

wook Wed 30-Sep-09 16:43:53

N and N delivery suite brill. Post natal ward a bit crap, couldn't wait to get out and get on with it. Happy to give birth there again, but would want out at first opportunity! When are you due?

clop Wed 30-Sep-09 16:50:40

I had 2 homebirths in Norfolk, both good experiences, BUT the wards are always short-staffed or nearly so, and you don't know until the (seemingly) last minute if you are really going to get HomeB or if you'll have to travel into ward after all.

Get plenty of biscuits in if you have a HomeB. MWs can go thru A LOT of biscuits!!

cazboldy Wed 30-Sep-09 17:01:34

I had my first baby in the James Paget, and couldn't fault it and have had 4 home births, - although one of these was just over the border in suffolk.

Obviosly can't comment on he n and n but home births were all fab smile

anything else you would like to know?

oh and hello all you norfolk girlies smile

BonjourIvresse Wed 30-Sep-09 17:10:22

I live in Norwich and had a home birth booked 5 years ago with DD and 6 months ago with DS. With DD I got a fair way at home before transfering to the N & N due to meconium in the waters . Delivery suite were brilliant, post natal ward were busy but I was only in over night

With DS I was booked for a home birth, had several false alarms in the night where they said there was no one available for home birth so i had to go in. this happened about 3 times over the space of 10 days.If you would like to try for a home birth I'd enlist the help of the home birth support group, and send a letter to the head of midwives saying you expect to be care available.
In the end with DS I had severe preeclampsia and had an EMCS with GA at the N & N. The N & N saved my life, and I'm eternally in their debt for that. The thing about the N & N is that if something is not routine, as a teaching and research hospital you will be treated with the best new techniques. I'm not sure the James Paget would have had specialised enough doctors to pick up my particular complication ( HELLP syndrome) and treat it correctly and so promptly.
The QE doesn't have a great reputation and is a trek unless you are in north norfolk.

That said the N & N is always too busy, I obviously was OK as an emergency case, but a woman gave birth in the waiting room while I was there, and they seem to have a couple of days each month whre they have to turn people away.

PM if you want the home birth group's details

GhostWriter Wed 30-Sep-09 17:21:25

I had dd 2.5yrs ago, was living just outside Norwich and my care was under the Broadland midwifery team.

I planned a homebirth. Community care was wonderful. I didn't meet a bad midwife, in fact saw my named midwife at every appointment but one. They were very pro homebirths.

The homebirth midwives were wonderful. Unfortunately, after 6hrs of pushing and no baby I transferred in to the N&N.

They are very, very understaffed. I had to wait a couple of hours for an anaesthetist for the em cs and after the delivery was put back on the delivery ward for 4 hours with a lot of labouring women as there was no ward space. Delivery staff and recovery staff were very lovely indeed.

Postnatal care was atrocious. I was discharged after 12hrs as they needed the bed and dd still hadn't bfed, I had a canula and a catheter in and I'd had my bp checked once overnight. They were signing paperwork and calling over the staff to change the bed while I stood there bleeding, hooked up to things, bag of wee trailing beside me and tears running down my face. And they told me off for bleeding on their clean floors. Fortunately a paed wouldn't discharge dd due to PROM and emerging jaundice so I stayed in an extra night. Was lonely though. As visiting times started, the family who'd come to see the new babies were left waiting outside the locked ward for about an hour as nobody was manning the desks.

GhostWriter Wed 30-Sep-09 17:24:14

The QE is apparently much better than it was btw and is midwife led unlike the N&N and I know people who had no problems at all with the N&N. I think they're just woefully short staffed.

Themasterandmargaritas Wed 30-Sep-09 17:25:13

Ghosty, you are not supposed to be here. <<strict schoolma'am face>>

GhostWriter Wed 30-Sep-09 17:27:15

Sorry. I'm going, I'm going. 4yrs worth of info to file first. I need an AM stylee spreadsheet.

Sorry again, will be gone soon enough.

PS. Are you going to smack me with a ruler?

Themasterandmargaritas Wed 30-Sep-09 17:28:47

Only if you bend over far enough first. grin

Apologies ladies. blush

totalmisfit Fri 02-Oct-09 09:28:40

thanks for all your responses... just reading through... Ghosty, sounds like you were badly let down. why aren't you supposed to be here?

totalmisfit Fri 02-Oct-09 09:38:43

wook - i'm due in late January (god this pg is dragging on!)

clop - i'm all for stocking up on biscuits, although i'll have to excercise some self-control prior to the birth wink that's if i do go for hb.

cazboldy - good to know you had so many great homebirth experiences. i've got a feeling my mw team is the walsingham one - although i might have just made that up, does it sound familiar to anyone? Will def visit JP alongside QE and N&N now.

ghostwriter - i do like the idea of a MW led unit... i shall investigate.

GhostWriter Fri 02-Oct-09 10:01:46

I flounced. I should have gone by now...

Walsingham team is on the coast isn't it? Don't give yourself away location wise but I know somebody who had an hb in the North Walsham area and was under the Walsingham team I think. Very lovely and straightforward and she can't praise it enough.

I think in Norfolk distance is the main problem with regards to hospital. An epileptic friend was advised against an hb for her own health but had a 1hr journey at least in good traffic to either the QE or N&N with a history of fast labours. She just made it.

I still wonder why when they transferred the N&N from the old location on Newmarket Rd to the new site they didn't build a birth centre too. As a teaching hospital for a large midwifery course it seems counterintuitive to have a hospital that only has a consultant-led, under-staffed unit. If I ever, every got pg again I would be a VBAC case and living in the middle of nowhere would be wary of an hb but the other option is a consultant-led unit. It's a new hospital. Why no alternatives?

January's nearly here. smile SIL is due in December and is going to the N&N. She had her dd there 18 months ago and couldn't fault it but it was a quiet day that day and she came straight home. It's the postnatal care that's most often maligned ime.

GhostWriter Fri 02-Oct-09 10:12:34

How did you find transferring from London to Norfolk? A bit of a change I would imagine. I'd never really been to London until I went at 38 weeks pg and my God, the culture shock. I cried on Oxford Street, stood and sobbed because I was huge and in pain and everybody was going somewhere different and I was in the way. It was so noisy and big and nothing like Dickens promised it would be. No bugger doffed a cap at me at all.

If you're on the coast, it's a nice part of Norfolk. Very quiet though in the winter months and quite touristy in the summer. We went for a walk in Overstrand last week. Pretty. And pretty quiet too. And <<whispers>> lots of geriatrics too close to the sea for comfort.

totalmisfit Fri 02-Oct-09 10:56:06

tbh i feel we've gone from on extreme to the other. In london, the atmosphere was so oppressive. Our area was overrun with druggy types who seemed to have nothing better to do than hang out in the kid's playground or on the corner, harassing mums with pushchairs. I felt like there were just too many people, full stop; and that if i didn't get out of there sharpish i was going to lose the plot completely.

Fast forward a year, and i definitely feel saner living in my strange little backwater on the coast. You hit the nail on the head with the location btw! I feel saner but lonelier. I think what gets to me the most is the lack of things to do; no classes aimed at pregnant women within 20 miles, (you've got to go to Norwich or Kings Lynn for practically anything remotely sociable). Locals are curious, but cold underneath towards newcomers(no offence intended to any norfolkers reading this!). There's a well worn phrase i've heard from other newcomers 'don't worry, in 30 years we'll be locals - sort of' mainly said with a sad smile. I spend a lot of each day wondering if my breath stinks, or if i've forgotten to wash, the way some people round here look at me <oh god, this is a rant, isn't it?>

Saying that, i think had we had more time to research where we were going to live we could have chosen a nicer (or more cosmopolitan) bit of norfolk to live in. I expect the worst of it is exactly where we live. But then at the time we were making the decision to up sticks what we thought we wanted was a complete and utter change. Careful what you wish for, eh?

GhostWriter Fri 02-Oct-09 14:04:39

Oh. sad

I wasn't born in Norfolk though I grew up around here and moved back here to work/study. I think it's a thing peculiar to the area you live in. People have lived there for their entire lives. and there's a suspicion surrounding people from London as they buy up lots of properties round there for occasional or holiday use and it angers people because it's pushed the prices up ridiculously. People can't afford to stay in the area any longer, children are moving away from family, prices go up and up. Obviously this doesn't include you at all but I understand where a lot of it comes from. We were showing friends the Burnhams recently and stumbled across a little estate agents that sold homes exclusively for holiday buyers/people wanting second properties. They were beautiful, listed buildings that had been in the same families for years, were part of our local history and had been earmarked for sale to people who weren't even living here/contributing locally. I heard a lot of negative comments while looking in the window.

All that said, people round here are lovely, friendly, very local indeed and welcoming but we live only a few miles from the city where it's not so rural backwater and a bit more forward thinking.

I do hope the strange vibe you get where you are doesn't put you off the rest of Norfolk. It's a beautiful, safe county with good schools, open country, a strong history and some lovely people.

If you're ever over Norwich way and fancy a cup of tea, cake and a chat, I'd be happy to meet up with you. I'm sure my 2.5yr old dd will show you exactly how friendly we are by smearing you lovingly with cake and jabbering incessantly in your ear.

ChopsTheDuck Fri 02-Oct-09 14:21:34

Jp is good, I had two of mine there. I lived very close by it, and found the midwife team great too. It was def far better than the care I had at Mayday in Croydon.

I think north norfolk does seem to be more isolating. Everything is so spread out. I personally wouldn't want to go back to there. I think the best areas are probably west/southwest of Norwich.

totalmisfit Sat 03-Oct-09 13:58:14

sorry ghostwriter, of course i don't for a minute think that all people in Norfolk are like that. I was just sick of spending another morning on my tod (again) in a strange town, whiling away the couple of hours dd spends in Nursery and feeling particularly cheesed off that day cos some mothers had snubbed me at the gates (classic MN ranting scenario, i know)

I totally understand about how there's much truth to the stereotype of rich Londoners turning up and ruining things. i definitely think locals should be given first dibs on houses esp when it comes to the younger generation and those with families. I can't stand to see all these houses empty for weeks on end (the house next door is a case in point) because the owners have 2 or 3 other houses. All this would definitely piss me off all the more if i was a local and i can understand how it breeds resentment, completely. I just wish some people would look at us in our rented home, struggling to pay the bills and see beyond the blinkers a little...

Sorry if i went off on one a bit, it's like that moment when some unfortunate soul asks you how you are at just the wrong moment and rather than saying the usual 'yeah, fine thanks, and yourself?' you end up giving them graphic details of your mother's hysterectomy or something blush

Thanks for your very sweet offer, i'm sure my dd would also bring much to the smearing and jabbering!

ChopsTheduck - thanks, i'm leaning more and more towards JP the more i think of it. Will try and schedule a visit for next weekend i think. Does west/southwest include Kings Lynn by any chance? as that's where dh is working nowadays (it's a long boring story).

GhostWriter Sat 03-Oct-09 14:10:05

KL is West Norfolk. I wouldn't want to live too near KL personally but there are some lovely villages and towns a short drive away. Somewhere near Swaffham might suit you. It's got a lot on for children/parents and is very young family inclusive. Again, I wouldn't want to live there, too busy and has the problems associated with larger towns but it might be a good place to be near.

Don't apologise, I was sad that you're feeling displaced and lonely and just trying to reassure you while musing out loud about why people might be the way they are (not to you, but just in general). The thing is the county, especially the North, grew up on tourism and thrived because of it. You can't have it both ways, it needs the tourism to thrive but it needs realistic housing opportunities for other people too. And in North Norfolk (where it isn't falling into the sea obviously wink) there are very few new houses and more and more existing houses being snapped up by second homers. It's the way of the world though, transport being so easy nowadays that people will buy out of their areas and Norfolk is attractive for all the reasons you previously mentioned. Bloody unfair to you though but I'm beginning to think that the school gate thing happens everywhere.

Now, would you like to hear all about my mother's hysterectomy?

totalmisfit Sat 03-Oct-09 19:36:12

ooh, yes please, i've just had me dinner!

... actually drove through Swaffam the other day, (coming back from Oxburgh Hall) thought it looked nice (bit more life to it, or something). You're right about the school gates; every time i'm on MN there seems to be another thread where someone's having a moan about it. Not exclusive to any area in particular, it would seem. Sometimes i wonder whether, if i was ever in a clique, i'd notice someone like me on the fringes and draw them into the group, or whether i'd stand idly by. God, it really is just like going back to the days of Take That versus East 17, dewberry body lotion and sneaking copies of More! into maths lessons shock

kitkatqueen Sat 03-Oct-09 20:25:39

Totalmisfit, I am in the biggest village in Norfolk and I've had 4 babies at the N&N in the last 5 years It has become progressivley cleaner with lovelier midwives since my 1st birth in '04. I would go back again without any hesitation. I would have to rate the delivery suite as 9 out of 10 excellent on everything including the post baby toast, postnatal ward is like most postnatal wards, busy and noisy, staff excellent tho helpful and caring.

I would reccomend it. Good luck

4madboys Sat 03-Oct-09 20:43:50

i have had four babies at the n&n, one in the old hospital, the other three in the new one.#

wanted a home births for the last two but i always go two or three weeks over and they dont like that.#

there is a birthing centre in eye, which is about 40mins drive from norwich, its lovely and you can have all your antenatal and post natal care under their care, with a small team of midwives, so you get to know them all

i birth quickly ie an hour for ds4, so i didnt want to risk the drive, but i would have gone there otherwise

4andnotout Sat 03-Oct-09 20:56:50

<<waves to all the norfolk folk>>

Im in Gt Massingham which is between Swaffham, Fakenham and Kings Lynn roughly. I have had all four of my children in the QE at Kings Lynn, standards had improved dramatically when dd4 was born last October, the delivery suites have been revamped. They are woefully understaffed, but the wards are clean and the nursing staff and midwives are friendly. I had dd2 in the birthing pool which i can also recommend, the room it is in is the largest on the ward and is very comfortable.

Good luck with the new baby

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