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John Radcliffe Oxford: Spires or consultant led?

(22 Posts)
Catz Tue 27-Oct-09 15:37:54

I'd be really grateful for any thoughts/experience on whether to go for the Spires mw led or 'downstairs' consultant led bit of the JR Oxford. Currently 34+ 4 with DC2, as they don't let you do tours now I'm not really sure how to decide (though I guess it might be decided for me on the day!)

My main questions are:

1. What happens if you have to be moved - do you get wheel-chaired in the lift in mid-labour with lots of people visiting new grandchildren etc?
2. Does anyone know whether the mw all take turns doing both or whether you're more likely to get experienced people upstairs?

Would be really interested in any experiences of either place recently.

Catz Tue 27-Oct-09 15:42:59

Just for background.

I had DD in the JR before the Spires opened and was really happy with the medical staff at the birth. I had a lovely experienced community mw on a hospital shift who was very calm and helpful. Ended up with ventouse but Dr was also very good and very polite - I didn't feel out of control or forced into anything. I was thinking of just going back there as my experience was fine, I don't care about decor and I hate the thought of having to be moved in public lifts and corridors.

My main concern is whether, now the Spires is open, all the experienced midwives go upstairs. The only really awful bit of my 2 day labour was when a very young, officious mw refused to examine me, was quite rude and tried to send me home as I 'wasn't distressed enough to be in labour'. Up to that point I'd been very calm and focussed but feeling ignored made me stressed and all much more difficult and painful. Luckily the other mw came in, examined me and I was 7cm... I know that young/inexperienced midwives can be excellent too but I'd like to give myself the best chance of having someone supportive and confident as I can see it makes a huge difference. I was just wondering whether the more experienced or less interventionist mws tend to be allocated upstairs or whether it's random.

Thanks for any experience/views.

LiegeAndLief Tue 27-Oct-09 20:44:57

I gave birth 4 months ago in the consultant led bit - was too high risk to go to Spires. My mw was lovely, didn't feel anyone was being officious or interventionist despite being a VBAC with pre-eclampsia so inevitably a bit medicalised, and I was very happy with the care I received.

Given the choice though I would go to Spires - there are only 2 delivery rooms downstairs with windows (I was lucky enough to get one!) and depending on which room you get the bathroom is along a corridor which seems to be a main traffic route for lots of people including visitors on their way to the observation ward.

Oops just realised you already gave birth there, so you probably know that! A friend of mine gave birth in Spires a few months ago as well, and she was very happy with it. Good luck with whatever you choose.

Catz Tue 27-Oct-09 21:25:23

Many thanks Liege - glad to hear that you had a good experience. Can't really remember the details of bathrooms etc - all a bit of a blur!

Really good to hear that they weren't interventionist with you even though you might have been considered higher risk. When I was there last time I got the impression that they let you get on with it unless it was clear you weren't coping or things were going wrong - that was fine by me. Just want to make sure that that hasn't changed with lower risk/more natural births going upstairs.

Thanks for post.

DrSkidaddle Sat 31-Oct-09 22:13:40

Hi Catz - no experience I'm afraid but I am going for the Spires because I think (hope) I will get mws who are very in favour of natural active labours but with the maternity ward downstairs just in case. I've heard that the Spires has been very under-used since it opened though - not sure why.

Didn't know they don't do tours - do you know why?

mrsgboring Sat 31-Oct-09 22:22:05

i was high risk downstairs with a spires midwife. i have had 3 births in jr delivery suite and have found all the staff wonderful but the building a bit depressing.

never been in spires and frankly have a huge chip on my shoulder about it because they have built what appears to be a lovely facility but owing to a pretty difficult obstetric history am barred from using it.

greensnail Sat 31-Oct-09 22:22:15

Hi, I had DD at JR consultant bit and had wonderful, experienced midwives (had hoped to go to Wantage but ended up too high risk). I was also lucky enough to get a window room!

LiegeAndLief Sun 01-Nov-09 12:21:49

Was talking to a friend yesterday who was transferred down from level 7 to the delivery suite in very advanced labour and she went down in the normal lift, so assume this is what would happen if you had to be transferred from Spires - on the up side she can't remember any of it!

Completely agree with everything mrsgboring said.

waddlelikeaduck Sun 01-Nov-09 22:51:45

I was in there this past Wednesday (false alarm/slow start..) and after 2 hours was able to go home and while the mw's seemed friendly I was upset that I was put on CFM immediately as I am a VBAC and they wanted to monitor my scar!....

DH was pretty useless when I said I didn't want to go on it, he mumbled under his breath, don't argue just do what they tell you! so I had a right old go at him when we got home! (and now he is still upset about how I spoke to him!)

Anyway, I was on for about an hour - pain the arse really and desperate for the loo so I pulled it all off and went and then they put me back on for another hour until everything pretty much stopped (only 1cm dilated) and I was allowed home... disapointing really as I was having what felt like painful contractions every 4 minutes!

I wish they would let VBACs use the spires as I am sure that this would ensure more of us are successful! fingers crossed I'll be back in in a couple of days and I will be more forceful about the CFM this time!!!!

LiegeAndLief Mon 02-Nov-09 12:53:10

Waddlelikeaduck - they have mobile CFM machines in the consultant led bit of the JR that are radio controlled, so you just have the belt on and can walk around freely. They can even carry on monitoring you from the toilet should they wish! I was a VBAC and had one of these on the whole time, but I had to ask for it quite forcefully. Think they only have a couple so only give them to people who know about them and ask.

waddlelikeaduck Mon 02-Nov-09 14:54:32

Hi Liege,

thank you so much for the heads up on that! I will definately ask for that and refuse the tied to the bed option!!!

I can't wait for it all to kick off now, getting really fed up with DH & DS telling me to give birth now!

wakeupeverybody Mon 02-Nov-09 17:52:23

I have worked at the JR delivery suite and given birth there (low risk but prior to the Spires opening). I'm hoping to give birth at the Spires this time round too.
I'm not sure what the split is re. experienced/inexperienced midwives being on the Spires or in delivery suite. I suspect the experienced midwives may not all want to be on the Spires- some may well prefer the high risk management- in the same way that some doctors like being surgeons/in A&E and some like being psychiatrists- they enjoy different things. Although I will ask my midwife this week.
In terms of a transfer- I laboured on level 7 until they realised that I was 7cm. I was transferred downstairs in a wheelchair. We went in the normal lift, but before we left the room, all the midwives on the level were positioned by the doors/were holding the lift etc, so I was whisked straight into a lift, and once downstairs, you go straight through to delivery suite. I don't remember being embarrassed. Certainly an easier transfer than going in an ambulance from home/a community hospital- where you will have to go along the corridor from the main entrance.

LiegeAndLief Mon 02-Nov-09 20:41:21

No problem waddle, seems so silly to me, there is no way I could have managed being tied to a bed. I marched up and down the room for about 12 hours! Was so desperate not to have another cs... Good luck with it all.

notjustapuppymum Tue 03-Nov-09 12:55:02

I gave birth in the Spires unit last week and can't recommend it highly enough. I have been told that the midwives all alternate between there and downstairs delivery so I don't think there will be any difference in experience.
The Spires Unit is so clean and unhospital like. It was an amazing first birth experience.
I was in the water birth room, had a lovely midwife, the bathroom and everything was lovely and clean. I was mobile for my whole labour, didn't lay on the bed once. They were great at suggesting different positions etc.
Afterwards we got given a private room with ensuite, again all clean and lovely and my partner was even allowed to stay over with me the whole night.
Good luck in whatever you decide.

DrSkidaddle Tue 03-Nov-09 20:31:05

wow notjustapuppymum (and congratulations smile) - that sounds amazing! I am DEFINITELY going with the Spires after hearing that (also hoping for the birthing pool). Hope all is going well with your new baby

middlechicken Wed 04-Nov-09 20:15:35

I gave birth to DS earlier this year in the delivery suite (wasn't allowed to use Spires as under Silver Star care), and although it was a tricky labour in many ways (two days long, induced, epidural - so far from my fantasy birth under a tree on a blanket) my whole experience of the care at the JR was a really positive one. All the midwives (we went through a few) were absolutely fantastic, and the most amazing one was both young and relatively inexperienced, but incredibly competent and kind. No imposing intervention from any consultants, all those discussions took place outside with the midwives. We even had a choice of a room with the window or a room with a bathroom! I chose the bathroom on the advice of the lovely midwife, and thank goodness. Couldn't have given a toss about the window after the first 5 minutes, and having the bathroom was a godsend.

as notjustapuppymum said, I think the midwives rotate where they're working, as far as I remember.

raggie Thu 05-Nov-09 18:23:27

Congratulations notjustapuppymum and thanks for the positive words! I am hoping to give birth at the Spires sometime soon (36+3 at the moment) and going for a check up next Tues to have a wee look round too, will be able to pass on anything I learn after that. smile

Sounds like we might bump into each other in labour Catz! Did you know that there is a virtual tour of the Spires on their website?

Here it is

notjustapuppymum Fri 06-Nov-09 18:47:08

Thanks DrSkidaddle and raggie

Good luck and enjoy your births at the Spires - it really is a great place.

We almost paid £5000 to go to a private birth centre in London - soooooooooo glad we didn't as it wouldn't have been any different to the Spires. We are very lucky to have this facility in Oxford.

waddlelikeaduck Sat 07-Nov-09 13:24:20

I'm really jealous of you guys being able to use the spires unit... I has a c-section 10 years ago and have to use the downstairs delivery suite...envy

mind you, at the moment I'd gladly give birth anywhere as I am so impatient! (39+2)... feels like it has been starting for weeks now!

Catz Mon 09-Nov-09 10:33:01

Thank you all for your posts and all your experience, sorry not to have replied earlier - we've been away for a few days and I just thought I'd see if anyone had posted not thinking there'd be so many.

Thanks for all the positive experiences of the Spires (and the consultant bit - I guess we're incredibly lucky to have either close by let alone both) and for the reassurance about the lift. It does sound stupid but I hate people seeing me when I'm not in control and that didn't go away in the last labour so the thought of having a stop-start lift with random people getting in and out really puts me off. Thanks also for the reassurance about the midwives rotating. I'm sure most are great but just had a dud one at first last time... My m/w has very kindly said that if I want to got the Spires I should give her a call when I'm in labour and she'll try and come in with me for the birth which would be excellent if it happened to work out (and I was really surprised to hear her say). I'm feeling much more positive about trying the Spires now, though I've got a scan this week to check whether baby breach so knowing my luck I'll probably end up with a c/s after all!

Congratulations on your baby notjustapuppymum and good luck with your births Drskiddadle waddlelikeaduck and Raggie

MrsBadger Mon 09-Nov-09 10:49:48

hi catz smile

just for balance, I have opted for downstairs again this time, as I really really want the option of the pool, and my prejudice is that lentilly hippy natural-childbirth focussed mothers who are more likely to request a waterbirth will be upstairs in the Spires, leaving panicky highrisk unclued mothers canny old me with the downstairs pool...

personally I preferred having no windows - I went all primal and cavelike

Catz Mon 09-Nov-09 10:53:50

Hi Mrsbadger - thanks for your message. BTW, thanks for the details of the yoga class - was really hoping to come but DH has been back from work too late for me to make it the last couple of weeks. Hoping to make it before the end!

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