"I could have delivered normally with a different midwife"

About: Royal Free Hospital

(as the patient),

I went into the Royal Free Hospital in Hampstead, London while in labour with my 2nd baby. He was 2 weeks overdue but no-one had seemed bothered about this and it was only through me enquiring and researching that I had organised an induction.

In the end I didn't need it as I went into labour the night before. No-one had monitored me in the two weeks I was overdue and nobody seemed to be particulary interested. I had attended waterbirth workshops and intended to have a waterbirth in the birthing centre. My blood pressure was a bit high and I was on the borderline as to whether I could go to the birthing centre or may have to go to the regular labour ward.

I was allowed to go to the birthing centre but the pool was occupied. I was introduced to my midwife and my heart sank. She didn't even look at me or say hello. She looked annoyed and told me she wasn't happy about me being in the birthing centre - as if I was to blame. She didn't communicate with me or my husband at all. She just put me on a baby monitor (I had wanted to have an active birth) and left.

She popped back in rarely and checked me, tutting and muttering to herself. She kept telling me I shouldn't be in there. I felt terrible. My husband was really angry but there was no-one to complain to, not even on reception. We thought about asking to change midwives, but then were worried that our care might be compromised if there was no-one to change with, as the angry midwife might be even angrier!

I started pushing by myself and shouted to my husband to go and find (yes, find) the midwife. She walked in and my waters broke spectacularly across the room, filled with meconium. "Meconium" she shouted triumphantly, as though she had proved a point, and left the room!

A few minutes later a crash team entered and took over. They were brilliant and my baby got his head stuck and also had shoulder dystocia. He needed a ventilator but was alright within a few minutes. The midwife still hadn't spoken one kind word to me.

My husband went home and I was left in a chair all night, no-one came to check on me until 8.30am when the shift changed. The new midwife was appalled at my treatment and made a bed up for me.

I sincerely believe that if I'd had a good, kind, encouraging midwife that I could have delivered my baby by myself. I am now suffering from postnatal depression and I'm very angry about my treatment.

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