"Care after birth counts - Bromley"

About: Princess Royal University Hospital (Orpington)

(as the patient),

I have nothing but praise for the midwives at Princess Royal University Hospital serving Bromley while I was in labour (Nov 2007) but lament the lack of after-care.

I had excellent one to one continuous care and help. Kind words and encouragement made it all the more bearable in what ended up as a 23-hour labour. I was only disappointed that as soon as baby was out, it was if I didn't matter any more!

The maternity ward was so short staffed, women who had just given birth were attending those others who had also just given birth to help them either with feeding or just to move around or just to give them moral support. My bed was sodden with blood for three or four hours and I couldn't move for the catheter pain. I was so uncomfortable I was convinced I had cystitis ( I did not officially diagnosed until three weeks later). I was not changed from the moment I gave birth at 1am to 8am when my husband was finally allowed to come and see me and could demand help. By then my bed was a sight and I was distressed as I had not eaten or slept for two nights and days. The babies crying were left to cry as mothers buzzed for help in vain, unable to know what to do or physically capable to get up and cuddle them let alone breast feed.

My baby was thankfully very quiet that night but that was small comfort to me as I was left lying there listening to the other babies cry. I became more anxious and exhausted, hungry and uncomfortable. When I asked to go home at 6am the nurse asked why I was in such a hurry! Thank goodness I asked to go home early in the morning, as it took a further three hours for nurses to prepare the paper work for me to go and ensure the paediatrician had been round. I hear it can take much longer and I was told I was admitted on a quiet night and was lucky!

I can only praise the breast feeding adviser when she finally made it to see me, I was that close to giving up breast feeding but she saved the day. One midwife who helped me during birth came to see me the next morning and that was a lovely touch, she was herself pregnant !

I can see the problem with this hospital is not the bed-side manner or the skills it is the shortage of staff. Needless to say I was more relaxed at home and comfortable, but for women who have no home help I cannot imagine how hard it must be. Women are still patients after they give birth and it is rarely mentioned that it is not just the moments during labour that count towards a happy mother but the moments after too.

Do you have a similar story to tell? Tell your story & make a difference ››