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St Thomas'

(13 Posts)
aholmes Wed 13-Jul-05 13:44:30

Does anyone have any advice for how to survive giving birth at St Thomas' London? I am due on 15 September, it is my first and am terrified of the pain, epistomy and caesarean. I'm going through the NHS midwife system, so have had very little support throughout, a different midwife/GP for each appointment and there will be a completely different set of midwives at the hospital. Not ideal to say the least.

If anyone who has been to St Thomas' recently can offer any advice, I'd be extremely grateful.

Blondeinlondon Wed 13-Jul-05 21:52:09

Sorry not been there myself but my friend had her baby there and thought it was all good. She had her baby on the midwife run home from home section. Nice midwifes, no epistomy, no caesarean, sofa bed for hubby to sleep on, view of westminster/big ben - all good

good luck

Flossam Wed 13-Jul-05 21:55:15

I work there and had DS there, and I thought it was great! The unit is lovely, I think they have tours every tuesday evening - I am sure that visiting the unit would put your mind at rest. I had a really fast birth with tearing only due to DS waving on the way out! I was offered a waterbirth, but was too desperate to get him out to move. I would love to have another there, but would have to convince DP, I doubt we will still be in London and also think it might be too quick for me to make it that far (live in Essex!) You will be fine. xx

alliejane Fri 15-Jul-05 12:44:54

Thanks for your messages Flossam and Blondeinlondon. I think I am just being overly sensitive, because I dont know many people who have had children (and none at St Thomas') and its my first.

Flossam Fri 15-Jul-05 12:48:23

Here is a link for you to arrange to visit

If not they do tours as part of the ante natal group days you will have later in your pregnancy. HTH!

edam Fri 15-Jul-05 12:51:22

Are you going into the midwife-led birth centre or the hospital labour ward? I was in the midwife led centre and it was a lovely environment. Dh held ds up to see the houses of parliament from my room and told him this was where he'd run the country from one day. The only criticisms I had was the staffing levels can be very low so your midwife might be caring for several women simultaneously but hopefully you'll get a better shift than I did. It all worked out anyway - ds was healthy and we didn't have any major interventions or problems.

Lots of luck for a swift delivery with as little pain as possible!

Eshay Fri 15-Jul-05 13:01:09


I had DS there in July 2004. I had hoped for a waterbirth (they have two pools there) but as I had to be induced and baby refused to move that didn't happen. I was there for quite a while (Tuesday evening - Saturday afternoon) and I thought the midwives were great. Yes, I saw a different one each time a shift ended but that wasn't a problem at all. They were all lovely and very supportive and each new one came and introduced herslef at the beginning of her shift so no surprises. I even participated in a study about eating during labour so I was brought some lunch while I was at it.

As I was induced I could not go to the Home from home ward (which looks lovely, you must go and do the tour) but the rooms I was in were great too. Birthing bar, mattress for hubby, great views, private bathroom with bath.

One of the midwives helped me attach my TENS machine and when I decided I wanted an epidural it didn't take too long to get it organised either. They had it set up so I could push a button if I wanted to up my dose a bit (obviously there was a safety limit so I couldn't OD on it, ha ha).

DS still wasn't making any progress so in the end I had to have an emergency C-section. I know that's probably everyone's greatest fear but even then the staff were very helpful and supportive. They had told me it might happen a few hours prior so I had had some time to get used to the idea. When it was time for the docs to decide it wasn't scary or in a big panick. People came in and introduced themselves beforehand and we were joking while I was being wheeled into theatre (I was looking round for George Clooney but unfortunately he's not part of St Thomas' furniture).

My husband got to be with me at all times, even had to wear green surgeon's outfit while we were in theatre. he filmed it all (yuk!) and one of the specialists kept telling me what was happening. All very calm and friendly.

The postnatal ward was all right too. I was there a bit longer than most people as I'd had a C-section but I had a lovely view of Big Ben. There were 3 others in my room so not as massive and packed as you might expect. One night I was just so exhausted and DS was crying and I was not in a fit state to deal with him so one of the midwives offered to take him with her for a few hours. They had his cot out by the nurses' station so I could have some proper sleep. I felt useless but the MW was, again, really supportive and understanding.

I was also visited by a breastfeeding counsellor a few times. She showed me how to feed DS and came back later to see if I was doing okay.

All in all, I thought the staff were wonderful. Yes, they are busy and could do with a few more midwives but I think that's true for any NHS hospital. I would gladly go back there for number 2 but we have moved out of London.

Another little thing: they don't actually mind you using your mobile on the postnatal ward so I got to ring and text people from my bed. They also have a television/phone system for each bed so you can always phone people and receive calls but it's very expensive.

I hope you feel more at ease with things now. Good luck!

Flossam Fri 15-Jul-05 13:11:18

One other thing - OK I was only there for about an hour and half before delivery but I had a midwife with me the whole time. Two for the delivery and a HCA watching her first birth - poor love!

serenity Fri 15-Jul-05 13:31:16

I had all three of mine at St Thomas' and I would recommend it. I travelled in to go there as there was a St Thomas' m/w run ante natal clinic in my area, I live about 45 minutes away but I think it was worth it.

The home from home birthing centre is lovely, I would second everyone in saying to go on the tour, they really make you feel welcome.

alliejane Fri 15-Jul-05 16:15:59

I'm really pleased that there has been no major negative feedback about the hospital. I went on a tour a few weeks ago but only got to see the home from home part because the birth centre was full. There were some other private rooms called Elective rooms or something similar, but I dont know what they were. I hope to use the home from home area, but will have to see how I go, because I cant get much pain relief there. I dont like the idea of sharing a room in the birth centre (anti-social bugger that I am ).

Eshay, how did you get a private room without being in the home from home ward? I thought the only other option was a shared room with 3 other people?

Thanks again to everyone for taking the trouble to write and help put my mind at ease.

serenity Fri 15-Jul-05 16:29:24

Delivery rooms are all single, it's the postnatal wards you have to share. You can pay to have a private room, but they're quite pricey iirc.

If you do go to the ordinary delivery wards, they don't move you out to the wards immediately after giving birth so make sure you take advantage of the ensuite and have a shower and clean up there.

They built the home from home unit just after I had DS2, and I was looking forward to going in there with DD (only had gas and air with first two so wasn't worried about pain relief) but we needed extra monitoring so I missed out.

If you end up needing more than the HFH unit offers, they will just move you down the corridor to where the lovely drugs are Try not to worry too much, you'll be fine. I think it's hard when you are waiting to go though it the first time, you just don't know what to expect. I was so scared that in the end it was a relief to go into labour, as I was blowing it up out of proportion and getting very tearful.

good luck!

Eshay Fri 15-Jul-05 21:19:27

Yes, single rooms while you're actually giving birth. I can't imagine having to share a room with other mums and having to listen to their birthing noises. That would be cruel, wouldn't it?

I completely agree with Serenity about being nervous about it througout pregnancy and then being relieved when it is finally time. By 38 weeks I was so sick of being pregnant that going into labour actually becomes something you pray for. Even when you're not religious

hester Fri 15-Jul-05 21:42:16

Just to add to the reassuring chorus, a few of my friends have given birth there and had good experiences

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