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Bad Midwife Experience/Scan

(33 Posts)
MrBensMrs Wed 06-Apr-16 10:08:47

Apologies for the length of this post!

Starting from the beginning, I had an appointment with my doc to confirm my pregnancy and they referred me to the midwives.

I come under the Birmingham Women's Hospital.

I have a private external scan at 7 weeks and see a heartbeat.

My first appointment with a midwife was at 8 weeks to fill in my green book. A trainee came to the house and met myself and my husband , told me my midwife would be 'Beth' and gave me her details and asked if I had been booked in for my blood tests - which I hadn't. She said, oh will go back to the office and book those for you and text you to let you know - weird but okay. That was a Friday lunch time.

Monday mid morning, I get a text to say booked me in for x date in a local clinic - I text back that I work and have meetings I can't miss so can't do that time, she replies - can you ring blah blah and re-arrange. Which I did. Booked in and attended blood tests, told them I was nervous which they poo pooed a bit and then poked and prodded both arms as they couldn't get all the blood they needed from one arm, I also gave a urine sample.

Receive a letter in the post for my dating scan, attended on Friday at 13 weeks at a different local clinic/doctor's surgery at 2.30pm and the receptionist made a point of telling the assistant midwife who took me through - last appointment bet you'll be glad to go home. Husband and I sit with the assistant and another woman on a computer who is reading out my blood test results (all fine!) I do a Carbon monoxide test, weighed and height and blood pressure - machine played up and I am ask what is my normal blood pressure - erm, I don't know is that something I am supposed to know? I rarely have it taken!

I am told due to my BMI I have to be consultant led and this will mean more scans later on to accurately measure baby - fine by me.

Then led into a different room with a different woman to do the scan, I lie down, she has run out of jelly but forcing it out of the tube and shaking it and says 'you're the last appointment today so it's nearly all gone'. The screen is turned away from me but hubby can see it, she starts to scan, then after I say why is everyone silent she turns it around and says we can't see much, here's the head here's an arm. Keeps pressing and pressing, turns the screen away, says I can't get a good look - can you half empty your bladder - which I do. Come back, eek out the dreggs of the jelly again and try again - nope, can't see anything and now she's hurting when she pushes down with the scanner.

Tells me to get dressed and says 'We can't get any measurements and can't see much we need to book you in at the Women's Hospital for an internal' I said well, it's late I am already 13 weeks - she says we can get you in next Friday. I say can't you do any earlier as I am in london and can't get out of it - oh can't you cancel, no I can't, fine - goes off for 10 mins and comes back and I am booked in for Thursday 07/04. I say what about my blood tests (I mean the down's test) she says you have had them, I said no I was told I would have bloods today - she points at my green book with the results of last bloods and says in her most condescending voice - YOU ONLY HAVE THEM ONCE AND YOU HAD THEM - I said those results aren't for downs and she says oh, no we have to do them to the day of the scan and we couldn't scan you so you have them next week.

We get sent home upset and confused! So book in for a private scan. We went on Sunday and thank goodness it was an external and an ex midwife did the scan and said all fine, nuchal measurement looks fine, heartbeat strong, nose bone present etc and I could have cried with relief!

Today I ring up to make my 16 week appointment and am told rather sharply by the community midwives that my midwife has changed to 'Diane' and that I have to ring my doctor's surgery for the 16 week appointment - which I do and they can't get me in til I am 17+5.

Does this mean I won't have the screening results til nearly 18 weeks nor have met my own midwife til then?

I know I am hormonal but this is our first child, I don't know how things work or what to expect (and yes I have been googling and reading the nhs website) and I feel the way I have been treated so far has been shoddy at best and been passed pillar to post and uncared for.

I wanted to rant and ask are things normally this dis-organised? Is it normal not to be told why they couldn't see passed my babies head or that I won't meet my midwife til 18 weeks?


UptownClunk Wed 06-Apr-16 10:19:49

Sounds perfectly normal to me. I'm in London and it's all very chaotic. I've never had a named midwife either, just see whoever is there on the day and get told something different every time. There simply isn't enough resource for the number of women needing care and that's not going to change any time soon unfortunately. You need to be more available for appointments though given the time windows. It's not unusual to have to come back if the baby is in the wrong position for the scan, I did because its head was right down in the pelvis and the sonographer couldn't get a proper look.

Wait4nothing Wed 06-Apr-16 10:19:53

First of all hugs, I think you've had such a hard time already!
Have you had the blood test for downs at your scan? If so you will receive the results via letter (or maybe phonecall) so you shouldn't have to wait until your midwife appointment.
I've had a change of community midwife during my pregnancy (around 24 weeks I think) but it hasn't really had much impact (though I was happy it was before they started measuring my bump as I've read that can give inaccurate results).
I'm a week late in my appointments now due to midwife appointments being full so about to have my 36 week appointment tomorrow when I'll be 37 weeks. But I've just made a point I want the same amount of time between (so every 2 weeks now) and will be asking for one at 40 weeks (even though I'll have seen the midwife a week before). During the early stages the appointments are pretty standard and a week or so either side won't make much difference.
Hope the future appointments go better for you!

mellysam Wed 06-Apr-16 10:57:01

Very frustrating for you, but so glad all is well with baby smile
With regards to the screening tests i had the downs bloods taken at my 12 week scan (which from your post I think you are having another go at tomorrow) and they told me if you are high risk you will get a phone call within the next week or so, if low you will get a letter through the post in the next couple of weeks.
So if you are high risk they should contact you before you have your 16 week midwife app. I'm in Southampton

Artioo2 Wed 06-Apr-16 10:58:40

What you've experienced sounds frustrating, but it doesn't sound like any of the people you've been dealing with have done anything wrong. Seeing different midwives is normal. Not being able to get blood is not unusual, not being able to see what they need to on the scan is not unusual. (I had to have an extra scan last time round for this reason.) The scan being a bit uncomfortable when they press is normal - she was just trying to get a good view. And as for looking at the screen - it's the sonographer who needs a clear view of it, not you, as annoying as it may be! As for complaining that the lubricant tube was almost empty, I think that's nit-picking a little! smile

It can feel a bit like you're being passed around, but at the end of the day you've had your scan and screening in time and will get the results by phone or in the post, so that's fine. You just have to go with the flow a bit - it's a busy service operating on limited resources. Hope it goes more smoothly from now on.

MrBensMrs Wed 06-Apr-16 11:15:45

Thanks everyone - I guess I am comparing my experiences with friends who have recently had children in Birmingham and Stafford and it sounds very different.

Thanks mellysam and wait4nothing for the info re the downs test results.

I think I am making myself as available as possible for appointments and tests, however I work full time and it's not easy to drop things for short notice appointments - even though I know I am entitled to attend them - it just makes my work life stressful and I don't want to frustrate colleagues who are relying on my attendance at meetings booked months in advance. Life can't stop for a blood test appointment - especially when it's before I have even told work I am pregnant.

I guess you're right no one has done anything wrong, but no one has gone out of their way to make me feel anything other than a fresian cow in a cattle line apart from the doctor who did my first appointment at 6 weeks who was lovely and explained what happens next. I also work in the public sector, so I know resources are stretched and people are stressed but being pregnant is hard enough as it is without your health care professionals talking to you like a 2 year old and generally being short and unapproachable. I don't get folks who clearly dislike working with the public choosing a profession meaning they work with the public.

What a difference the midwife was at the private appointment - she saved me a weeks worth of worry and stress that wouldn't have been healthy for me or my baby.

katienana Wed 06-Apr-16 11:16:30

It sounds like the bedside manner could have been a bit better but the care you have had is pretty normal.
Appointments wise clinics are on at standard times so you need to be flexible, luckily your right to time off work to attend ante natal appointments is enshrined in law.

ricketytickety Wed 06-Apr-16 11:41:16

They do the downs blood test on the same day as the scan because they measure the back of the neck and test the blood to give a more accurate chance.

I hated scans with my first baby, I would get really stressed out. Everyone else seemed to know what was going on but I would be the one asking the silly questions. Second baby I was much more relaxed and not afraid to ask any question. It's best to iron out any confusion. The blood test confusion was crossed wires between you and the midwife...that can happen. You just need to eep on if you are still confused. Also, if you experience any discomfort don't be afraid to raise it.

You do feel poked and prodded and have to sort of think of england a bit. But they are all there to help you. It's just they do this so many times a day, day in day out, it probably becomes a bit robotic for them. It's not unusual to have an unclear scan either - it's to do with the baby's position. They might say 'try drinking more' or 'try some orange juice to wake baby up' to try and get a better picture.

When they do the 20 weeks scan they are measuring arms, finers, legs, head, belly, diaphram, heart structure so they will be staring intently at the screen. You won't hear about what they are doing as they are concentrating. We were lucky to be in on a training day and the trainee had to talk throough everything they saw. It was very detailed. They wouldn't normally discuss all these things with you as they are confusing to hear (technical language).

The scan screen is usually turned to the sonographer's angle and dad gets the best view. They might turn it around if they find a good image for you. If not, you can pay for photos.

So I totally get the stress but remember they want to do the best for you and baby and whilst they may not understand your questions, don't hesitate to ask them. And keep talking until you understand what is happening. They will want you to know what is going on.

MrBensMrs Wed 06-Apr-16 11:44:47

Thanks ricketytickety flowers

primarynoodle Wed 06-Apr-16 15:16:23

Argh medical professionals who treat vulnerable anxious scared women like crap make me so angry angry

Aside from being possibly out of dates for the downs screen, midwife appointments being out of timescale is fine - they are utterly pointless until your 26 week one really. (Also i am consultant led like you so makes the midwives even less useful!)

Find it odd that she didnt have a dildocam there with the scanning machine but at least tomorrow im sure youll see a bright little bean bouncing around!

Kitkatmonster Wed 06-Apr-16 16:35:34

I'm under the women's too and find them great, but from what you've said it's your community team you are having issues with not BWH - have I got that right? Complain. Letter to community team and cc BWH pals. I'm sure someone will contact you to discuss concerns and hopefully it will improve.

PerspicaciaTick Wed 06-Apr-16 16:44:53

If you have a higher BMI, then it can make it harder to see the baby during a scan. If the baby was tucked away then it can make it very hard for them to see what they need to. So they arrange another scan and hope to get a better view next time.
Some women get upset if they are told that the sonographer can't get a clear view due to their BMI, so I think they (the sonographer) tends to say less rather than more in an effort not to upset anyone. Sounds like they made the wrong call on the level of information you would be comfortable with.
Otherwise, it all sounds pretty normal - especially when they are trying to fit your appointments around your working commitments at the expense of hitting the ideal dates for your testing.

primarynoodle Wed 06-Apr-16 17:24:13

For me the issue wouldnt have been arranging dates/ practical issues beyond their control..

Theres no excuse to speak to nervous, anxious mothers as though they are stupid/a nuisance etc. Happens all the time and often to women who have increased anxiety because of previous miscarriages/complications/family history who have lots of questions and whatnot only to be met with scorn and rolling eyes hmm

ninecoronas Wed 06-Apr-16 17:35:23

Hi OP, I'm under the same community team as you and I was told that we may not get the same midwife all the time as they're covering someone on maternity, which might explain a bit. Fwiw I found them all nice and professional if a bit no-nonsense; they're probably stupidly busy.

I had some trouble even getting hold of the midwife to book my first appointment and was freaking out (first timer like you!) But since my scan have been much more relaxed; I hope you'll be able to relax a bit too after yours comes good.

None of my appointments have been at the exact stage all the books say they should be, either due to me having to work or the midwife being booked up, but I'm just rolling with it now! Best of luck getting it all sorted.

quitecrunchy Wed 06-Apr-16 18:17:23

I know it's stressful but it doesn't sound to me you've been treated badly at all. I'm sure everyone's doing their best with limited resources and sometimes biology just doesn't allow things to be as straightforward as hoped! It's a pain having to rearrange things or let people down at work but so many of us work full time, it'd be impossible for the midwives to fit everyone's care in around the rest of our lives.

VocationalGoat Wed 06-Apr-16 18:28:07

Pretty normal stuff, OP. You have to remember they deal with SO many women, they are totally overstretched and many work beyond the call of duty. I remember having a scan and the midwife there had worked four hours overtime... unpaid. She was knackered. I really felt for her.

You're being a little bit precious, sorry to say. But I understand why, I really do. It's your first baby. And although it's all a bit chaotic and a bit disorganised, I am sure your care will be excellent. You'll sort of have to just take the appointments they give you... work with them as opposed to expecting them to work with you, I'm afraid. The patient load is just too demanding for midwives these days and their ability to accommodate each individual is limited.
For what it's worth, I've had the Down's baby... I've had the stillbirth... I've delivered healthy babies. I've been through it ALL with the midwives and honestly, I can't fault them. I am indebted to the NHS and the midwives who have supported me over the years.
Yes bedside manner can be a bit lacking at times, but the demands are enormous on them right now.
Try and just roll with it a bit more and above all, congratulations! Enjoy your pregnancy!

Buttwing Wed 06-Apr-16 18:40:46

I've had 4 baby's and that all sounds pretty standard. I'm sorry it's upset you. I remember when I was pregnant with my first I felt like the world should stop and expected so much from my midwives (I'm not saying you are like this). As pp said try and roll with it a bit they are doing the best they can in often difficult situations. I know it's a huge thing in your life but to them it's another pregnant woman at the end of a very long shift-not your fault I know but a fact of life.
I found antenatal like this but once I was delivery and really needed support they were unbelievable.

FellOutOfBedTwice Wed 06-Apr-16 18:47:18

I'm in London and this has not been my experiment, OP. In both my first pregnancy and current one have had scans and tests bang on time. I do see different midwives when I go into clinic but have a named one I can phone if needed and who I have met twice. I would complain- this doesn't sound normal based on my experiences.

FellOutOfBedTwice Wed 06-Apr-16 18:47:47

Experience not experiment!

LumpishAndIllogical Wed 06-Apr-16 23:26:43

Fell out of bed I am in London too and none of my appointments have been exactly on 'time'. I had my 20 week scan at nearly 23 weeks and 16 week midwife appointment at 18 weeks. I don't think they have to be exactly on the date, think dates are more of a guidance. Never had a named midwife either.

OP I wouldn't say these things warrant a complaint.

All my Antenatal have been like descriptions above, in both my pregnancies.

MindfulBear Thu 07-Apr-16 00:30:33

Congrats on your pregnancy!

Tbh this all sounds normal for the NHS. Sadly you can't be too precious with them as they are over stretched and unable to provide a 1:1 service. Certainly not aimed at working mothers either ..... If I could afford to go totally private I would!

In my area (London) you only get the same MWs at each appointment if you have joined the home birth team.

Fwiw I was considered obese in my last pg and they were not always able to get the info they needed at some of my scans so we had to rebook.

If you are worrie about downs etc and can afford it you can just get a Dna blood test done privately. It's very easy and very quick. They Take a sample of your blood, test it and then tell you your risk level. Had mine done overseas and it took less than a week to come back.

londonrach Thu 07-Apr-16 08:39:34

Congratulations on your pregnancy. Im hoping to change gp surgery soon (we moved) so i can lose doppy (my name for my named midwife who i think spent most of the time out the room talking outside leaving us inside room confused, leaving patient information in full view of us, mixing up appts, phoning late sun evening to rearrange appt as she mixed up months etc). Apart from doppy I have found the other midwifes to be very good and the hospital amazing on a recent scare. Very impressed so far apart from doppy. Hopefully things improve x

MrBensMrs Thu 07-Apr-16 20:33:29

Hi everyone, thanks for all your replies - and taking the time to read my long post smile

primarynoodle I think that's what got my goat more than the ball ache of trying to be seen to some timetable - I'm not an idiot and don't need to be spoken to like one - and even if I were it's uncalled for!

londonrach thank gawd doppy is out of the picture! What an arse!

And hi ninecoronas nice to know someone local online smile

I had my B'ham women's hospital today and wow - what a bloody difference!

The sonographer was amazing, they had two screens - one at the end of the bed so we could see. He explained what he was doing all the way through, pictures were perfectly clear - even through my blubber - and baby was somersaulting, turning away from us and he laughed and said we have a naughty baby but asked me to cough and move around to get the baby in the right position for movements. We weren't rushed, and as he explained everything that was happening it took the worry away! I left feedback with PALS about how great he was.

I had my blood tests by a lovely lady, I saw my consultant who prescribed me aspirin for my high blood pressure, a mid wife who explained what happens due to my bmi and diabetes test and I booked in a 20 week scan at the desk choosing the day and time and the same went for my diabetes test too - and not one piece of condescending SPEAK.SLOWLY.AND.LOUDLY from anyone which was a nice change!

It's made me think even more that my treatment was rude and unprofessional at my first scan and from the community midwife for my 16 week scan booking.

But - I am feeling much better after hearing my baby's heartbeat for the first time and being treated like a human being! Am very glad to be consultant led and having 90% of my appointments from now on at B'ham Women's.

MrBensMrs Thu 07-Apr-16 20:35:34

And to add - no internal wands in sight! All external! Phew!! Lol!

Sootica Thu 07-Apr-16 20:39:53

Feeling like a fresian cow in a cattle line was exactly my experience throughout my first two pregnancies including in labour and post traumatic emergency sections when I was extremely vulnerable. Awful awful awful. Went fully private for baby no 3 and it was worth every penny

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