"I had a water birth at Wallingford ..."

About: Wallingford Community Hospital

(as the patient),

What I liked I had a water birth at Wallingford Community Hospital and stayed for four days in the postnatal ward afterwards. It was, contrary to the normal view of childbirth, the best time of my life. The midwife who was with me for the birth let me feel it was MY experience, and I felt incredibly empowered by the whole thing. Afterwards, the midwives looked after me and the other ladies on the ward (only three of us - so very personal an friendly) amazingly well. They gave us each periods of one to one care, and I knew I could trust them completely. They weren't just carers, they were friends. They also gave each of us loads of support with breast-feeding, so that I have felt confident feeding my son myself ever since, and we're still going strong at four months. Over night, the maternity care assistants took over, and they were complete angels. My son wouldn't settle on his second night until the MCA suggested he sleep in the bed with me, so she helped me latch him on while lying down and came through to help me with him all through the night. The third night again he wasn't settling and was wanting to feed for hours, but I decided to sit up and feed him until he fell asleep. The MCA sat and chatted with me for hours. Between the birth and this postnatal stay, for my son's first night, I stayed in the enormous super-duper hospital before being transferred back to Wallingford, and everyone was nice there, and clinically impressive, but were sometimes too busy to look in my eyes while talking to me. It was so much less personal. I've been recommending to everyone I know to go for a birth centre when having their babies ever since. What could be improved? I can't think of anything they could do better. I only wish birth centres like Wallingford weren't being closed down, as I believe the staff and care I had there made all the difference to my experience of having a baby. I bet the rate of postnatal depression is much lower there and the rate of continued breast feeding is higher.

Story from NHS Choices

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