I've just had a positive experience (as a midwife & for my clients) and I'm trying to tease out what made it so?
Anyone who knows me (Sarah....) know that I rarely transfer in - even for haemorrhage, slow progress, etc but took a woman in during a long OP labour because the fetal heart was pathological. The ctg confirmed my findings, and I would have supported a section on admission - however, the staff (midwife, co-ordinator and Registrar) kindly led the woman through her options and over 5 hours gave her a chance - despite us all probably knowing she would have a section eventually.
All's well that ends well.
But I cannot work out what the difference was? That is, this was a rare experience - i am more often (and my clients) treated in a patronising manner, I am often not even acknowledged - and I usally am quoted as saying that 'every contact I have with the NHS is a pig's ear!@ But this was pleasant and clinically satisfying.
What do you believe? Is it really just down to 'pot luck' and personalities of staff at the time? I don't believe that I or my clients were any different to usual. I certainly have had bad experiences in this hospital before.
Any thoughts?
Could it really be that cultures are changing?????

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Replies to This Discussion

Of course I can more than vouch for your calm and patient approach as to when to transfer! (Couldn't think of how to put that without it sounding wrong- sorry!!!)

I find it hard to believe that cultures are changing sufficiently to be noticable as I'm still hearing as many, if not more of the negative stories of the NHS and its staff failing women wanting to homebirth/VBAC/HBAC/anything out of the "norm". Of course there are and have always been the stars of the NHS but I do believe it is pot luck as to whether you ever meet them or not.

I really wish that I was sitting here typing that I've noticed attitudes changing, but unfortunately I just haven't!! I could give you many recent examples of failed women and their babies, but I am sure you've heard it all before!

Sarah the Pessimist. ;)
I think you've hit the nail on the head when you say 'anything out of the norm'. It is noticeable that all the NHS rhetoric and government documents are keen to support homebirth in principle - but it is at the expense of informed choice, I believe, as it excludes women who are not perceived as 'normal'. So whilst around 60% + women have 'normal' births, only about 20% fit into the strict criteria for homebirth - outrageous.
I have had 2 totally different expereinces when I needed to transfer into the hospital in labour.

My 1st one was a gentle transfer in our own car, with one of my CMW's following, She stayed and helped with the birth. It was calm, relaxed (well as much as it can be for a labouring mum...) and a great birthing experence from my point of view (considering my other births in this particular unit eneded in emergency C/S's...)

My 2nd one (only last year - so fairly 'raw' as far as I am concerned...) was completely the opposite. I was tranferred in by ambulance (new policy for HB mums, and a complete waste of NHS resources) my CMW could not stay with me (new policy again) so I had a hosp based one...Her name was Ali and she was very nice but then she had to go home (end of day shift) and her night shift replacement was the MW from Hell (and I know a few of those from past experiences !!!)

She came into the pool room (Hugo was 1st baby born in the unit's new pool...) and tried to get me out of the water to do a VE without (a) introducing herself, (b) without asking if I minded if a Student MW could be present & (c) without looking at my birth plan which clearly states I would not have any un-necessary VE's.

She refused to believe me when I stated that the entenox had runout (leaving me to labour without any) this spoilt the last 15 mins or so of my labour. She then told me to stop pushing and get out of the water for a VE to assess my dilation (I refused) and Hugo arrived 2 pushes later face-to-pubes.

She clamped & cut his cord when I asked her not to, took him out of the room when there was no need to (he was screaming by this point), she pulled on the cord and refused to stop when I yelled out in pain. she refused to let me just have a rest and allow nature to take its time to deliver the placenta and in the end a senior MW (ARM member called Gwen) had to go 'fishing' for the placenta & then the membranes as these failed to come away after all the trauma that the MW did to me...

Thank heavens I had an intact perimum otherwise Gwen would have been doing the suturing as by then I did not want this woman anywhere near me...then this woman had the cheek to tell me that I MUST go to the post-natal ward for the day !!! (last time I was there I ripped the phone from the wall, but thats's another story...)

After a word with Gwen I left the unit with Hugo in one arm and his placenta in a black sack in the other (its still in my freezer).

I will not go back into the unit if another baby arrives, I will stay at home and if that means Ind MW's because the unit try and use retained placenta against me than I will engage the services of an Ind MW (Lynn do you cover Hampshire ?)

Yes transferring in for good reasons is a very sensible idea, but the care & treatment of mums (and Ind MW) does very much depend on the staff on duty at the time. Gwen was the only part of this birth that was any good (oh and the 1st MW Ali...)

One last comment - on both occassions the consultants that I saw were very pleasant and understood my reasons not to have another C/S unless absolutely necessary and left my care solely to the MW's.
Hi Linda,

I'm Kathryn, an independent mw in Hampshire. Your story made me so sad..and angry! I have a good guess at which hospital you're talking about as I trained there and I know Gwen! She is also an independent midwife and if you'd like her contact details let me know :) I would suggest you complain about your horrendous treatment. I feel what is missing in such cases is simple human kindness and care. When I've transferred in and had good experiences it seems like it's just down to pot luck and ending up with a midwife who is nice. They should all be nice! lol

Hi Kathyrn,

Have no fear Adrianne (HOM) was made aware of what happened within 2 days of Hugo's arrival...

I already have Gwen's number as I am also an ARM member - albeit a non-voting one....I have been an ARM member for 19 years since VBAC Info & Support was set-up.

This particular hospital has some great MW's - the F'boro & Cove Community teams are all great, as are some of the hospital based ones (Lesley from the DAU, and Anwen for example) but they also have some horrendous one (a certain retired scottish one who was a ward sister in 1988 then a CMW in 1990 and both times endangered mine or my baby's lives -but that's another story!!) or the Army MW's who did not take me seriously when I reported that the woman in the next bed had incoming phone calls at 11pm, 11.30, midnight, 12.30, 1am - this is when I ripped the phone from the wall...that was the post-natal care of my 1st HB transfer which was NOT good...Again it was Gwen who came to the rescue. She came onto the post natal unit with another mum as I slammed the phone ont the desk stating I was there because of high BP and these incoming calls were not helping me...

I have horrendous tales about this particular hospital and could write a horror book of these stories...unfortunately care of this nature is very common - yet all it takes to make the expereince a nice one is a MW who is kind, caring, compassionate and who has empathy with/for the expectant parents....

I was a St MW in 1989 (not in this hospital) and I told one set of parents what was happening all the time (ended in Ventouse) - the MW with me told me I talked to much, but the parents thanked me (in front of her) for keeping them informed, and all I did was ask them what they wanted as soon as I was introduced to them, something the MW did not/could not do because she had 4 rooms to cover where as I was working in that one room only...

Unfortuately I was unable to complete my studies and qualified. Maybe one day I could restart my training ?!!



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