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Anyone given birth at St Thomas' asked for pain relief?

(25 Posts)
mumofmoomoo Sat 31-Oct-09 10:55:18

I've heard from a few people St Thomas' don't like to give pain relief and now I am terrified as after my last birth at UCH I only felt in control and able to cope after an epidural. Am 39 weeks pregnant so can't change. I know I may not even need pain relief when the time comes but this doesn't stop me worrying.
Any anecdotes would be appreciated, I can take the truth! Thank you.

sybilfaulty Sat 31-Oct-09 11:10:11

Do not worry - I had DD1 there and had every drug going! They don't have pethidine at St T's for the labour ward as it can cause problems if given too close to delivery but they are happy to dish out all the rest.

Good luck - I've had 2 there and both tmes it was fab.

Grendle Sat 31-Oct-09 11:21:09

No idea about St Thomas's, but even at 39 weeks it is possible to change if you really want to. I agree the timing's not ideal, but I am sure not impossible.

EldonAve Sat 31-Oct-09 11:26:53

If you want an epidural then you need to be in the consultant bit not the home from home midwife bit

Pethidine is the only thing they don't offer as sybilfaulty says

bigTillyMint Sat 31-Oct-09 11:33:27

I had DD there 10 years ago and I had an epidural - it was very effective. So effective I couldn't feel anything from my neck down, and certainly couldn't push! DD was born by ventouse (once they had worked out that they had to turn the machine on first!)

But that was 10 years ago - I'm sure you'll be finesmile You might not need more than gas and air anyway - that's what I had for DS.

sambo2 Sat 31-Oct-09 13:20:03

I think you have to be very persistent that you want one and explain to your husband/birth partner that this is what you want (I had mine practicing the word 'epidural' for months!) so that they can 'fight your battle' whilst you are mid contractions! I had my DS at St. George's and they were extremely reluctant to give me one - they insisted that I wait tilI I was 4 cm...in the mean time I refused to go home, sat in a waiting room and just harrassed and screamed until they finally shut me up by giving me one!

I have friends who have been made to go home and wait and then been told that they are too dilated to have one. I have checked this out and it is nonsense - the only problem with having one late on is that you can't sit still (and it costs the NHS =£1000!)...I ended up having a spinal at 10cm dilated and believe me, I sat still because I had to!

Sorry waffling now. Good luck smile

mumofmoomoo Sun 01-Nov-09 12:59:38

Thanks for all your repies. Feeling a bit better now!

elmotaughtddtousethepotty Sun 01-Nov-09 18:33:29

hiya, yes i had dd1 there 2 1/2 years ago and had no problem getting an epidural out of them. most people i know (because we live in its catchment) gave birth there and no one found they wouldn't give pain relief. the only thing as someone has said, that they won't give you is pethedine. good luck x

oranges Sun 01-Nov-09 18:37:22

I had NOTHING out of St Thomas, no gas and air, no drugs and no bloody midwife till the head was crowning as they insisted I couldn't be in labour even though they had bloody well induced me. I've never seen such a robotic, unfeeling labour ward.

oranges Sun 01-Nov-09 18:38:13

but the aftercare, when I needed an epidural to be stiched up because I tore so badly, was excellent. The doctors were fine but the midwives I had at each stage were rubbish.

Crazycatlady Sun 01-Nov-09 18:45:25

Agree with oranges about the 'care' dished out in the labour ward at St T's. (Home from home a different matter).

I was left alone in the reception for over an hour while throwing up and telling them I needed to be assessed immediately as per my consultant's notes (polyhydramnios).

Eventually taken into a room and left there all night on a CTG with no midwife to be seen, terrifed, still throwing up and in agony with back to back labour. However, in the morning when I caved and asked for an epidural I got one within 40 mins. The anaesthetist was lovely and very very good at epidurals.

Also have to praise the crash team and senior registrar who delivered DD, resuscitated her and stitched me up. They were wonderful. Shame about the awful negligent midwives.

Biggest downside of having an epidural at St T's is that you HAVE to go to the postnatal ward for 24 hours afterwards. Having spent a week in there I know what hell looks like and I have no desire to return, ever.

herethereandeverywhere Mon 02-Nov-09 16:19:11

had dd there 18 days ago. Was induced, found the midwives disinterested whilst I was low risk, once I had a bad reaction to the prostin gel and a worse reaction to the antedote I was inundated with attention and experts.

In terms of pain relief, the baby was back to back and I was hyperstimulated (too many contractions, 7 in 10 min so no breaks for me or dd) and after 7 hours and not getting on with g&a I was begging for an epidural but was refused as despite the constant horrendous pain I wasn't dilated, therefore "not in labour". I ended up having an absolute meltdown (v.distressing for dh and me) which involved me howling,sobbing, screaming and banging myself on the head repeatedly until they gave me an epidural. It then took another 5 hours for them to get it in and get the dosage right, they also gave me something to dope me as I was in such a state by then (begins wth V and is like morphine).

My advice would be to scream the place down if you want an epidural (or any half decent attention from the midwives who all sit in a huddle down the corridor), they'll do anything to shut you up - and don't let the consultant anaesthatist try to patronise you into changing your mind - "this is what childbirth is all about" is unhelpful when you feel like you're being tortured.

susie100 Tue 03-Nov-09 13:10:28

Oh my goodness herethereandeverythere that sounds like an awful experience poor you! 'this is what childbirth is about' how about 'this is what your job is, dickweed'

I am so cross for you

InMyLittleHead Tue 03-Nov-09 15:26:39

If they try to refuse, make an EPIC fuss, ask to see someone more senior, threaten to complain, take names. They will give you what you want to save themselves hassle.

tinkerbellesmuse Tue 03-Nov-09 15:42:22

I hope you don't mind me posting this here but wanted to counter some of the negative comments.

DS was stillborn there in August. We knew prior to his delivery that he was too sick to survive and each and everyone of the Drs and midwives we saw was amazing.

The care and compassion DH and I received made what was a dreadful experience somehow more bearable.

Couldn't have wished for better given the circumstances.

Good luck and I'm sure you'll be taken care of.

Crazycatlady Tue 03-Nov-09 18:34:34

Tinkerbelle sorry to hear about your loss. I do think you're right though, it's fair to say that when you're in dire circumstances there are few better places, if any, to be than St Thomas's.

It's just a shame the standard of care for those not at crisis point is not so good. But then it's a big London teaching hospital and NHS resources being what they are it is right and proper that the service is best for those in the greatest need...

To the OP, you will need to make your requests known loud and clear. If I was doing it again, I'd hire a doula who knew the labour ward well to be my advocate. It was too much for my DP who had never been through it before and just wanted to be there for me rather than having to order people about.

Lotster Tue 03-Nov-09 18:58:27

Hi there. I gave birth there 3 years ago.

Home from Home was lovely, unfortunately once at 10cm my son was still posterior (and had a massive noggin) so had to go to theatre for ventouse (failed) and eventually forceps. Anyway, it took the best part of two hours to get an epidural, during which time I was mostly flat on my back on a trolley begging for help as contractions came. Anaesthatist was "busy" apparently. I asked them to wait until the epidural was in to catheterise me, they did not, and decided to shove it in without even warning me. Contraction hit like a train and I don't remember much after that until theatre.

Aftercare just awful. No help in the night when I couldn't walk and baby screaming needing nappy change. Shower had no wall holder so had to stand holding it over my head and washing with one hand. I could go on but won't! To say I felt violated and traumatised after my time there would be an understatement.

I don't say this to scare anyone, simply to make sure that unlike us, you are a bit more prepared, to stand up for yourself. This is often the way in inner city hospitals as they are so busy. Second birth at Kingston I felt like a VIP!

I'm so glad they remembered their human sides to treat Tinkerbelle with the respect and care she needed...

elmotaughtddtousethepotty Wed 04-Nov-09 22:19:04

Actually, yes, whilst I couldn't fault the actual birth and I was in birth centre not the home from home due to inclductiom, and as I said they were great, but I totally agree the post natal ward was hell on earth and to be avoided at all costs. Rude over-stretched midwives who offered zero help, mucky loos and showers etc. I couldn't escape fast enough. Such a shame because the post natal night totally ruined what had otherwise been a good experience (despite a long knackering birth).

moodlum Wed 04-Nov-09 22:26:50

I had both mine there. First time they saved my and dd's life by doing the swiftest cs known to man after placental abruption, second time I had an elective cs and they were magical then too.

The best advice I can give you is for your dh or dp to be completely on the ball. He is your representative in any difficult situations. My dh watched as dd's heart rate dipped lower and lower down on the monitor, and made an immediate fuss, I had an internal exam, and they found the bleeding and whipped me into surgery, almost within seconds.

In the unlikely event of dc3, I would be back there like a shot even though we now live 100 miles away!

cityangel Thu 05-Nov-09 20:12:23

I gave birth at St. Thomas in 2008 and they run pain relief antenatal sessions where all your questions will be answered.

www.guysandstthomas.nhs.uk/services/managednetworks/womensservices/maternity/antenatal/antenatalwork shops.aspx

If you're not able to attend one of these courses this might help and your midwife should be able to go into more detail.

www.guysandstthomas.nhs.uk/resources/patientinfo/womens/painreliefduringlabour.pdf

I had a water birth with gas & air in the home from home section. I tested Group Strep B positive using a home kit so I also had anti-biotics administered.

Unfortunately I had a 2nd degree tear so I had to go to the medical side to be stiched up and didn't want to go on the main ward so paid to go on the private ward so my husband could stay.

I was lucky to give birth when it was quiet as my parents saw a number of women in labour waiting to get in. When I rang and explained how frequent my contractions were they told me not to come in. I did anyway and was 5cm dilated and gave birth 5 hours after my first contraction (fast for a first). Go with your instincts and be firm.
Good luck

elmotaughtddtousethepotty Fri 06-Nov-09 19:55:51

City angel, do you mind letting me know how you went about paying for a private room at tommies? I was under the impression that you had to book the full monty of private midwifery etc in advance for your pregnancy and that ends with the private room. CAn you just ask for one once baby is born then and if there's one Available just pay for it??? Also how much was it? You'll see from my post above that while I had a good birth experience the post-natal ward was hell on earth and I'd love to avoid it this time! (due in nxt few days). Thanks.

khool Sun 08-Nov-09 20:27:30

i had really good care at st. thomas - most of the midwives i had were excellent. I was on the hospital side because of bleeding during labour, had epidural within minutes of requesting one - anaesthetist very good.
post -natally i had my own room because my baby was on special care unit, i think it looked very stressful on the shared wards tho.

charitygirl Sun 08-Nov-09 20:32:29

Not heard that - they do have a 'natural' midwife led unit without epidurals etc but you can transfer into the consultant led bit whenever you want. I gave birth there and had a lovely epidural!

chandellina Mon 09-Nov-09 14:45:15

i think it depends on the midwives on duty. Mine were initially awful and I had to fight to get a measly codeine out of them. Gas and air were not offered and when I asked I was told not to start it too soon, though I felt ready to push at that stage and was having contractions every 45 seconds for a minute. In any case, it was never hooked up for me.

I ended up with a baby in trauma once anyone could be bothered to check his heartrate (after five hours being left alone and regularly going out to the midwives station to beg for some care), and was rushed to operating theatre. There I got the much-longed for epidural and was put on a drip to slow down labour and let my son cope.

The care got a lot better once there were problems, though in retrospect the epidural was very much a blessing and curse because it meant i really couldn't push at all when they wanted me to try to give birth naturally (hours later, after being put on another drip to start the contractions up again), then was given a heavy duty epidural back in theatre in case i needed a c-section. baby finally came with forceps ...

the doctors were great, but i had to have surgery six months later because i'd been stitched too tightly to have sex again!

ah, the memories.

cityangel Mon 09-Nov-09 22:55:08

sorry for my delay in replying I have just come out of hospital (unrelated op)

We were told by the staff that upstairs wouldn't take us. But my husband went up there and managed to talk them into it. It was £££ something like £600 but a quick call to them in advance would confirm what it costs now. They were nice as pie once we got up there.

I also had to have surgery 8 months later as I developed a polyp in the vaginal stitching, easily fixed though.

Next time I am minded to try St John & Lizzies but need to read up on its reputation.

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