My feed

to access all these features


Behaviour in the EPAU waiting room

100 replies

CakeWouldBeNice · 10/07/2015 17:27

This morning I was in the EPAU (miscarriage clinic) waiting room. The routine is that when you arrive you are scanned and then you wait in the waiting room to see the doctor/nurse. The only people in the waiting room are for the EPAU (ie women with threatened miscarriages, or similar)

One couple today came out of the scan room and started very loudly going on to each other about how relieved they were to know their baby was fine. They then got out their scan pictures and started showing them to their daughter (maybe about 6 years old, in school uniform, during school hours) pointing out "here's the baby's leg" and making plans for their baby. They were not trying at all to be quiet and there is no way any of their conversation could be missed.

Meanwhile myself and the other woman waiting just had to sit there and hear it all. I ended up leaving in tears and having to wait in a corridor.

Am I being over-sensitive or was their behaviour inappropriate?

OP posts:
DoJo · 10/07/2015 19:23

The last time I was at the EPAU, having just had a scan and been told that I was miscarrying, it was just me and another woman in the waiting room as my husband and son were off 'exploring'. We exchanged tentative smiles and a bit of small talk, and then she flat out asked me if I was pregnant. I said no and she took this as an opportunity to show me her scan pictures.

Fortunately, I wasn't in too a bad state about my situation, but had I been vulnerable it could have been a truly awful position to be in. I have no idea why she thought that was an appropriate question to ask or why she thought I would want to see her scan pictures, but I sympathise with you OP, because sometimes you just don't want to be confronted with some stranger's good news at the very moment you have had bad news yourself.

Flowers OP, and sorry that you are having to go through this.

RoobyTuesday · 10/07/2015 19:40

It was very insensitive of them but I suspect they were feeling overwhelmed and didn't think to consider others. Really it's the fault of the hospital - I had a lot of scans at the epu in my second pregnancy (which luckily turned out fine) and each time the sonographer asked me to be mindful of others outside who might not have had such good news and to be discreet with scan picture, phoning relatives etc.
Maybe you could contact PALS and ask them to feed back to the epu.

MammaTJ · 10/07/2015 20:08

I think you calling it the 'miscarriage clinic' is wrong, it is not, it is the early pregnancy unit, where they investigate problems in early pregnancy that may be miscarriage.

I am sorry that your experience was not as positive.

I had one bad experience and one good one.

I would not have considered taking a child along to a scan where I suspected there were problems. I have no idea why they would have taken their child. What if they had had worse news? That would have been hard to manage, in terms if an upset child and her needing care alongside the child needing care. Brave/stupid, just for the child's sake!

Totally inconsiderate in the face of other people, people like you. No thought at all for what others in the waiting room were going through.

Flowers for you.

TinyTear · 10/07/2015 20:45

I have been pregnant 7 times. I have 2 daughters... So im a regular at my epu... I felt bad enough the only time I had to take my daughter in when I had to go there just to get my medical management tablets, let alone if it was for a full room... This was at 5pm just before they closed...

When I had good news I just gave the nurses a discreet thumbs up and sat in the corner emailing my dh...

RiverTam · 10/07/2015 20:50

Another regular if the EPunit here Sad. A lot of people there are getting checked out not for reason of MC - in my one successful pregnancy I had fortnightly scans there, even though I had no symptoms of impending MC. Yes, they were inconsiderate but they may not have known what other women were there for. When I was there i got the feeling that an awful lot of women were having a pregnancy confirmed and weren't that happy about it.

GingerCuddleMonster · 10/07/2015 20:51

I've been pregnant 15+ times and have one ds, I literally was a regular at my epau for abut a year. Oh the joy...

But with DS I had no "issues" I just didn't know how far along I was, so I was sent to get a idea. So not everyone is there for a threatened miscarriage.

But having said that, they could have been a bit quieter and not so loud. My hospital has a very similar set up to you, the waiting "room" is more like a small corridor too, it's bloody awful.

Hope your ok Thanks

bigbumtheory · 10/07/2015 21:07

As someone who has also had an early scan, they are being very very unreasonable. No matter how happy you may be you know fully well why you and others are there and that while you may have good news it could be the worst day of theirs. I was so happy after the first scan, but I knew other women wouldn't possibly be getting that happiness so DP and I were quiet after until we left. I was grateful when my last scan came out the worst news possible that people in the place were sensitive.

I'm so sorry for your loss OP. Sadly, some people are very insensitive - be it in action like this or with comment later. I hope you have a lot of support around you.

Nothingtodowithme · 10/07/2015 21:17

I don't think you're being unreasonable, OP: I've visited the EPAU. I had positive news, but I was mindful of others as my husband and I left the scan room.

ReginaBlitz · 10/07/2015 21:29

I have been 3 times and the two times everything was ok they said to me pls be considerate of other people who may have lost their babies, and to put scam pic away. It's fucking rude sorry you had to go through that

LadyStark · 10/07/2015 22:49

I had to go to my local EPAU for my nuchal scan as they couldn't fit me in to the usual ultrasound clinics. I only realised on the way out when I booked my next scan and they told me I needed to go to ultrasound Confused I had thought that is where I was.

Having visited it since I have noticed the leaflets and posters but at the time I didn't notice them. I didn't talk loudly etc but it could have easily happened completely naively.

DoJo · 10/07/2015 22:57

Whilst I take your point, LadyStark, plenty of people get bad news at their 12 week or 20 week scan as well, so even in the main ultrasound department I would try to be mindful of the fact that some people will not be going home to plan their baby's future.

DixieNormas · 10/07/2015 22:58

This reply has been deleted

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

CakeWouldBeNice · 10/07/2015 22:58

Just to clarify.... I know different hospitals use their EPAU differently. At our local hospital it's not used for early dating scans or for routine monitoring scans in early pregnancy (I've had both of those too and they deal with them through separate clinics here). You can only get a referral to the EPAU here if there is a suspected problem with this specific pregnancy. The doctor last week said that it is almost exclusively threatened miscarriages (I'm not sure up to what date but definitely past 12 weeks), missed miscarriages and a handful of suspected ectopic pregnancies.

OP posts:
SaltySeaBird · 10/07/2015 23:06

I've had many visits to our unit. When the news was good they asked me to not get the photo out until I left.

I've had more bad visits than good though. On one occasion I knew somebody else there; she had good news, I had bad. She was told to keep her photo in her bag and to be sensitive to the other couple in the waiting area as they've had bad news (not realising we were friends).

Sorry for your loss OP it sounds as though you were unlucky with the inconsiderate other people.

ChuffinAda · 10/07/2015 23:11

Yanbu our epau is on the ob/gyn ward so wholly separate from maternity however I felt like screaming when a couple came into the waiting room laden Down with badly behaved preschool aged children and loudly boasting on her phone she'd blagged an early scan again. Meanwhile I was sat waiting for a scan whilst bleeding heavily and trying not to cry.

Thankfully the nurses were brilliant and asked the dad to take the kids off the ward and took her to one side and had a word with her. I sadly had bad news with my scan and lost the baby at 9 weeks. They calmly said to me to take as long as I needed to compose myself before I left the room, the nurse also checked the gobby family weren't on my route out of the ward too.

I really wish people would be respectful of others in these situations. A bit of decorum wouldn't go amiss

KittyLovesPaintingOhYes · 10/07/2015 23:19

I've done the EPU routine twice - at our hospital you have a lovely sensitive woman in the clinic, then you get sent down to the standard ultrasound dept to be scanned with all the others. The first time round I was trying so hard to be hopeful but found all the happy 20 weekers unbearable, especially those who clearly saw it as a social event and turned up with all their friends and relations. The second time I was not at all hopeful and found all the happy 20 weekers so unbearable I had to go and wait in the corridor. Not their fault or mine, it's just shit.

Through two successful pregnancies I still dreaded the scans and was crying with relief when I came out clutching my little pictures. They are not a happy memory.

wheresthelight · 10/07/2015 23:49

Epau isn't just for women suffering miscarriage you know! It is called the early pregnancy assessment unit because it helps women with all manner of issues.

They also do not tell people at all that most of you are there because of suspect miscarriage.

I had to go because my hg was so bad at 8 weeks pregnant they suspected I was either suffering an eptopic or was pregnant with twins. It was only after I had had my baby and was talking to other people that I was told what most women go there for

Yabvu and quite nasty imo

Alanna1 · 10/07/2015 23:56

Well, I've had to go to the EPAU in all my pregnancies. When they finally saw a heartbeat I was so pleased I was both crying and telling everyone how happy and relieved I was. Yes, it must be hard for people who havent had that news (and I've been there, too); but equally everyone also responds to your emotion. My outcome doesnt change anyone else's, but I can be sorry for your sadness and happy for my own. I've seen the happy smiling couples coming out and the crying ones. I'm glad for the happy ones and cross my fingers it will be me. I don't resent them their happiness! EPAU is a tough place.

Allisgood1 · 11/07/2015 00:04

Oh my god. What is wrong with people on mumsnet? Have some bloody compassion!!

OP, yes they were insensitive. Perhaps not knowingly, but overall I feel for you.

Their child may have finished school. Mine broke up for the holidays today. A thousand other reasons why child may have been with them, so try not to pass judgement.

DoJo · 11/07/2015 00:14

Epau isn't just for women suffering miscarriage you know! It is called the early pregnancy assessment unit because it helps women with all manner of issues.

They also do not tell people at all that most of you are there because of suspect miscarriage.

Maybe not at your hospital, but as the OP said, it is clear at the unit she attended:

It's really clear what the waiting room is for. It's a special set-aside waiting room just for miscarriage patients and has a sign indicating this and only has info all over the walls about miscarriage/ectopic pregnancy, etc.

I think calling the OP nasty is completely uncalled for - she has obviously had a really shitty day on top of bad experiences in previous pregnancies, so to be name-calling on a thread about such a sensitive subject is incredibly unkind.

Mrsfrumble · 11/07/2015 00:34

The EPAU at UCH in London is part of the emergency gynae unit, completely separate from antenatal care where dating and anomaly scans takes place.

I've spent rather more time there than I'd have liked. The first time I was miscarrying and so miserable I was oblivious to everything happening around me. I went back a couple of months later for a follow up scan after some complications, and there was a couple with a baby in the waiting room. They were doting parents who were obviously keen to show off their gorgeous baby; making a big fuss of it and trying to catch the eyes of the Pepopke sitting around them. I can only assume they were there for more general gynecological issues and had no idea that many of the other women waiting were miscarrying, as I can't believe they would have been so insensitive otherwise. It was long enough after my own loss that I was uncomfortable rather than distressed, but for some of the other women their presence was obviously agony. One woman broke down in tears and went and hid in the loo until the family had left.

I did learn from the experience and when I was back there yet again with some early pregnancy bleeding, I tempered my joy at being told the baby was alive and well. I kept a poker face on way out through the waiting area, and didn't call DH with the good news until I was out on the street.

TheCatsFlaps · 11/07/2015 00:53

Flowers for you, OP. Thinking of you, be kind with yourself.

Fromparistoberlin73 · 11/07/2015 00:58

I think stoned galah raises an interesting point BUT they were completely insensitive op x Flowers

CakeWouldBeNice · 11/07/2015 06:35

Epau isn't just for women suffering miscarriage you know! It is called the early pregnancy assessment unit because it helps women with all manner of issues.

Not at my hospital it doesn't. At my hospital it's off the gynae ward and is just for women who have some sort of threatened pregnancy loss. Other pregnancy issues are managed in different clinics through maternity outpatients. I know it's different at other hospitals.

They also do not tell people at all that most of you are there because of suspect miscarriage.
The doctor just over a week ago said EXACTLY this to me. In fact he gave me a percentage breakdown of the cases they see in that clinic. I didn't really take the numbers in but his point was that they deal almost exclusively with different types of miscarriage and occasionally ectopic pregnancies.

OP posts:
BeaufortBelle · 11/07/2015 06:48

They were insensitive but they were Joe Public! Far worse the scanner who scanned me at 12 weeks; told me there was an empty sac, asked me if I wanted "IT" and sent me back to the "normal" waiting room for 45 minutes to wait for a midwife to come and see me. Almost as bad as the theatre nurse who when I was crying after coming round from surgery for the ERPC told me to pull myself together and stop being dramatic because she had people in the room with far more serious issues to look after who didn't want to hear it!

Please create an account

To comment on this thread you need to create a Mumsnet account.