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Giving birth in the UK

(23 Posts)
Linus Thu 07-Jun-01 15:54:19

I had a terrible time at Kings College Hospital. I was three weeks late before they booked me in for an induction. At the hospital, we waited EIGHT HOURS for a bed and a further TWO HOURS to see a doctor.
When we finally got a room, there was blood splashed on the curtains, the paint was peeling off the walls and a wet nightie on the toilet floor was not removed in three days! The loos smelt foul and were so disgusting I wouldn't sit on them (difficult at 43 weeks pregnant!) I was given prostin pessaries at 11pm and again the following morning at 8am. Nothing happened. On my second day in hospital I waited TWELVE HOURS (in pain and with no pain relief)to receive the treatment prescribed me at noon. At one point we went FIVE HOURS without seeing either doctor or midwife. I arrived at hospital on Tuesday at 8am and finally gave birth by emergency caesarian on Thursday at 2am. The post-natal ward was no better and I didn't get any help at with picking up my baby or with breast-feeding. It really was shocking and if I had the choice I would never use the NHS again.

Beelzebub Thu 07-Jun-01 21:37:17

Why go to hospital? Giving birth at home is a completely different experience - try it next time!

Rosy Mon 11-Jun-01 12:24:17

Mima, I too gave birth at Simpsons in Edinburgh and knew someone who had to go back into hospital to have their stitches redone. Is it just Simpsons, or are all hospitals in the UK desperate to intervene in birth now? I barely met anyone who didn't have either a caesarean or forceps delivery (unless the babies were actually premature and therefore underweight). Of course at the time you don't know if your birth is the one that really justifies intervention, so maybe it's not worth worrying about. I can't help feeling, though, that it's partly doctors justifying their jobs by medicalising(?) labour. (By the way, Mima, I was intrigued to know which nursery in Edinburgh you were referring to in another discussion thread.....!)

Winnie Mon 11-Jun-01 14:44:40

Rosy, I think you are right about intervention. I was in a ward for less than a day and the seven other women had all had c-sections! I had been threatened with one as my baby was taking his time, and given an awful time by the midwife who came on following shift change, because I didn't want pain relief! Luckily everything worked out ok for me and I was able to leave hospital hours after the birth... but frankly I was glad to leave. I'd had quite enough of being treated like an invalid... I know the medical profession are only doing their jobs but one midwife did admit to me it is all about not getting sued!

Mima Wed 13-Jun-01 21:10:52

Rosy, I just think Simpsons is soo busy that they will do anything quickly to get the babies out. One of my friends has just settled out of court with Lothian Health Board as her wee girl was ventoused out wrongly and she has had to get physio on her neck for the past 3 years and she holds her neck to one side. They admitted responsiblity and it took three years to get compensation. I must be a glutton for punishment as I just had my 12 week scan and booking in appointment yesterday and I am going back there for baby no 2. Hopefully though it will be straightforward this time and I will be back home within 8 hours. We did think about going to St Johns, so many people I know are doing that, but with being due 26 December bit worried about the weather. I had the Normal Delivery Unit in Simpsons - where did you go? Was everything okay with your birth?

I miscarried in January and I thought that the Pregnancy Support Centre at Simpsons was just fantastic. I could not even begin to complain about the treatment I had there.

Nursery I was referring to was Barnton Nursery, Queensferry Road. STAY AWAY from it!!!!!!!!!!

Debsb Wed 13-Jun-01 21:57:35

Just a vote for Macclesfield Hospital. The maternity ward was really busy when I had both of mine, but the midwives were great. The only gripe I had was when I woke up after the midwives had taken dd away so I could get some rest, she was lying face down when I woke up!!

Chairmum Wed 13-Jun-01 23:24:06

You might have seen in the papers today about the launch of a new website for mums-to-be. It's called and gives you lots of information so you can make a choice of maternity units in your area. It's very easy to use - I was looking things up on it for ages!!

Pupuce Thu 14-Jun-01 16:50:03

Try at home... I am also one of those who think Home births are brilliant.... and statistics show that they are as safe as hospital births.
My next one is due in 2 months and will be delivered at home.
It is important to get good midwife and partner support but you are so much more in control of your birth, it is very relaxing (however painful).... I can't recommend it enough.

Lil Fri 15-Jun-01 10:56:07

Linus, your experience sounded so awful. Have you written to King's College Hospital to complain, or better still an MP!! It makes me grateful for my experience at Epsom hospital. A room as soon as I went into labour, and all the way thru' until delivery. The midwife popped in every half hour which was enough. The irony is the NHS are going to shut Epsom's maternity wing and move mums to a bigger hospital, miles and miles away. So as soon as the NHS has something recognised as fantastic - they bloody well close it!

and Beezlebub and Pupuce, I just can't imagine giving birth at home at all. My home is my retreat - I wouldn't like to cover my own bed in childbirth gore, and subject the neighbours to lots of screaming! I couldn't feel relaxed if there was only one qualified person in the room, that would be more frightening than any NHS ward.

Rosy Fri 15-Jun-01 12:29:44

Mima - I started off in the NDU but after an hour of pushing without gas & air (there was no geting any sense out of me while I was still puffing away) they said that the baby wasn't going anywhere so I got a spinal block & a forceps delivery. I sailed through pregnancy and had no problems with my daughter feeding or anything so I didn't mind the stitches too much. The midwife who delivered me was great, but I thought the staff on the words were very unfriendly and aloof. I found nursery nurses and auxillary staff much nicer.

We won't have our second until next year some time, so the new Infirmary might be open by then. I too thought it may be better to try St John's, but we live in town and don't have a car, so would prefer Simpsons. (Re the nursery, I'm happy to say my daughter is in a nursery on the other side of town. But maybe we'd better stop talking about it in case Mumsnet gets sued and the website has to close!) Good luck with No.2, by the way - hopefully you'll not be in for too long.

Joe Fri 15-Jun-01 13:45:51

I had my son at St Marys Hospital in Portsmouth, in the Mary Rose Unit (run by the community midwives). The midwife who delivered my son stayed with us the whole time, she had an open mind about different things to help things along (I played music and used essential oils and used the pool). She helped me have a stitch free delivery and a totally chilled out baby the whole time. I cant remember her name but she was Canadian I think. Didnt like the night midwife much but I only stayed in a night. She made the whole experience a thing to remember, not someting to dread for the next one.

Pupuce Fri 15-Jun-01 16:37:56

Just so that you know - a home birth is always with 2 midwives (unless it came accidentally hugely fast!) - and in my area they send the more experienced midwives - who by default have become VERY experienced in home births and are very confident. They clean up the mess (the floor is protected) and of all the women I know who had home births only one had it in bed.... we usually go for the living room. And even rent a pool.
My experience is that you are more relaxed at home and therefore pain and screaming can be less - also it tends to go "better" because we are in a more relaxed environment (having said that if you don't believe or want to be at home you are unlikely to be more relaxed there!). That's what my midwives have confirmed.

Lil Mon 18-Jun-01 09:04:58

Pupuce, how do you stop yourself worrying thta something will go wrong and you won't get to hospital in time? You must be very confident in your birthing ability !!

Pupuce Mon 18-Jun-01 09:17:57

Well I think my mental model is that millions of women have had babies without any help. Also I happen to believe (I am sure I am going to start a controversy here!) that if you worry or are stressed (even unconsciously) this "message" passes through the baby and he can get distressed more easily - which is often what triggers urgent medical intervention.
During my last labour (at home) I was in a second stage for 3 hours when we decided to transfer me to hospital - I chose to agree because I was fed up with pushing and my contractions weren't strong enough - the midwives agreed that I could stay home but it was likely that I would be helped in hospital. So I transfered and was given the "drip"... and another 3 1/2 hours later... baby came out. He was NEVER distressed and I was NEVER worried (just fed up of pushing). I was in back/posterior labour which is usually slower and more painful.
But baby or mummy never panicked.

In Holland 50% of women give birth at home (and I heard it was the same in Australia). You can't have a home birth in the UK if they suspect that you will have any difficulty (and the list is long) but otherwise if you have a very good midwife and don't live hours from a hospital, you would be surprised our relaxing a home birth can be.

By the way Lil - My home is MY retreat... that's why I wanted to be at home when my son was born.
I only stayed in hospital 12 hours... I rushed home as soon as it was possible.

Bo Mon 18-Jun-01 11:36:02

I had a baby in London -, Celsea & Westminster, and one in Switzerland, and I have to say, the care, especially postnatal in London was appalling. Every thing about the care - antenatel, labour and post natal in Switzerland was so much better, and that was with the minimum insurance cover. i just can't imagine how it could have been bettered if we had been able to go first class.

Winnie Mon 18-Jun-01 12:58:20

Pupuce, I agree with you about stress and how it affects the baby. I had high blood pressure with my second baby and therefore was not allowed the home birth that I wanted (nor a waterbirth because the large hospital I had to go to didn't have a birthing pool - although the local maternity unit did!). I controlled my bp with reflexology & meditation and still I was refused even to be booked into the local unit! I found my entire pregnancy a trial because I was treated as a problem to be controlled and secondly because I rrely saw the same midwife twice (despite having weekly antenatals because of the BP)!

My experience of the pregnancy (beyond the very stressful antenatal visits) was great, I was fit and healthy and enjoyed being pregnant. Once in labour and in hospital the whole process was very laid back and relaxed because I felt in control, the midwife even asked me if I'd considered being a midwife as I was so laid back and coping so well... but then there was a shift change and the new midwife decided I needed more regular monitoring, the she decided nothing was happening fast enough, then she decided to get a registra in t give me a lecture because I refused pain relief and I went from feeling completely in control to being completely panic stricken (a c-section was by this time being threatened) and of course as I became distressed so did my baby! Somewhere in my head I managed to calm myself down (at the point I was being wired up - against my will - for a drip and an epidural, and as four + midwives and doctors stood around tutting I got the urge to push and the baby was born!!

It has taken me eight months to take stock of my second labour, because I felt traumatised by the final fifth (in length of time) of it. Luckily however because I had a vaginal delivery without any drugs I was able to get myself and the baby together at the first opportunity and leave unlike the eight other women on my section of the ward who had all had c-sections...something that statistically I found rather staggering!).

Once at home I felt exhausted, but myself again. Everyone said how well I looked and how surprised they were that I was simply getting on with everything; life was back to normal plus one gorgeous bundle of joy!

(I really hope I haven't put any Mum's to be off, every labour really is different) I simply feel that, as Pupuce says, being relaxed and in control is extremely important. Next time, if there is a next time, I am having my baby at home! Beyond everything else a system that pushes exhausted birthing partners out of the door as soon as is possible, is frankly, insane! I wanted my partner with us following the birth and having had no sleep for the best part of 36 hours he really was in no fir state to drive the 15 miles home!

Linus Mon 18-Jun-01 15:49:49

I should have mentioned that I had planned to have a home birth (everything was set up for it), but after going to 43 weeks and after prostin pessary (which you can ask to have and then go home again) was still only 1 centimetre dilated with my baby in distress and no amniotic fluid and so I consented to full on induction.

I would recommend a home birth to anyone, especially after my experience of the NHS. If you live in a town you can get to hospital quickly should you need to.

I didn't complain about the terrible time I had at KCH, London, but I should have done. I suppose I was so full of happy hormones and so delighted with my baby boy that I didn't feel like it at the time. I think that hospitals get away with an awful lot of bad service as a result of a new mother's happy hormones...!! It seems that there are an awful lot of women out there with very bad NHS experiences.

Linus Mon 18-Jun-01 15:55:29

Winnie, completely agree with you about loss of control of your own pregnancy and birth when in hospital. At one point I had two doctors and the registrar standing round my bed lecturing me and quite frankly scaring me to death. Thank goodness for the midwife who came in after they had gone and said I could do whatever I wanted - she really calmed me down.

Pupuce Tue 19-Jun-01 09:03:18

Did you see last night Watchdog Healthcheck about cesaerians ?
I agree that a lot more women should be made to feel a lot more confident about their abilities and doctors should only intervene when REALLY necessary.

Lil Tue 19-Jun-01 09:10:22

I couldn't believe it when after the birth the midwife said I'd done amazingly well and helped their statistics. In my mind gas 'n air followed by pethedine would be average. But no, I got back to my antenatal calss to find out I was only one of 3 out of 15 of us, who hadn't had a caesarian. Frightening or what!

Still not confident I could 'perform' so well at home, I'd have to unplug the phone switch off the TV and get rid of all distractions!

Pupuce Mon 25-Jun-01 08:29:24

I had the TV on and that's when I realised it was 9PM because Friends cam on!!!! But otherwise I didn't watch it... as for the phone- I had the answering machine on!

Rosy Fri 21-Dec-01 13:51:52

Mima - I'm off on holiday tomorrow and just wanted to say I'll be thinking of you over the next couple of weeks. Come & post as soon as you can to let us know how you're getting on. You'll probably see Simpsons in a completely different light now you've been to the pregnancy support centre, I know I do. (Hope you found this message, didn't want to post on other threads.)
Take it easy, Rosy.

Mima Fri 21-Dec-01 16:14:03

Rosy, thanks for your kind message. Got a date to be induced at 41 weeks on 2 January in the event that nothing happens beforehand. Been attending the Day Assessment at Simpsons for the past three weeks twice a week for blood pressure, but because it has not gotten up any or went down all they have been able to do is keep an eye on me. Anyway enjoy your holiday.

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