"Very mixed experience"
About: North Middlesex Hospital North Middlesex Hospital London N18 1QX
I gave birth to my first child on the labour ward in September 2014 and wanted to share my experiences. I was induced on a particularly busy day but unlike most women we saw who had to go through the early phases of labour in a shared ward, I was lucky enough to have my own room from the offset, which was fantastic. The first couple of midwives I saw were great, and made me and my husband feel very welcome. We were pretty much left to our own devices from 1pm (when I was induced) until around 4am, when my contractions were coming so hard and fast that my husband was sent to find pain relief. Another nice midwife gave me a Meptid shot without suggesting I try gas and air first, which on reflection was probably unwise. My waters broke at 6am, and I begged for an epidural as I was in back labour and it felt unbearable. The midwife started to arrange this and meanwhile I went from 1cm dilated to 7cm in an hour. I then saw a different midwife who cancelled the epidural (despite me begging her not to) as I was already close to being fully dilated. By 9am I was 10cm and told to start pushing. I was eventually allowed an epidural around 2pm, after pushing for 5 hours with no progress (the baby was apparently 'stuck'). Again I had to beg to be taken to theatre where the doctors gave me an episiotomy and delivered my lovely healthy baby with forceps at 3pm. The doctors were wonderful and encouraging and sensitive, but the midwife with me while I was pushing for hours made me feel guilty and a failure for needing to go to theatre. At one point she suggested that I'd 'let her down' if I needed an epidural or ended up in theatre. Shortly afterwards (around 5pm) my husband was told he should go home as I would soon be transferred to the postnatal ward. I was in agony from the drip, exhausted and confused about what I was supposed to be doing. I was upset and frustrated that it hurt so much to hold my baby (because of the drip) and I couldn't move from the bed to phone my husband or get a drink of water, and I called for help. The midwife who came lifted the sheet to see that my catheter had come out and when I told her I was feeling really upset she simply told me I shouldn't 'pull the catheter out'(!). When I was eventually transferred to the postnatal ward at 1am, my baby screamed relentlessly as I was finding it impossible to get her to latch on to my breast. Again, in desperation, I called for help. The midwife who came, when I begged for help in tears as I didn't know what I was doing wrong, said "baby's hungry mummy, you need to feed her" and then walked away. I had supposedly been prescribed iron tablets, co-dydramol and laxatives, but had to beg to be given even paracetamol whilst on the ward. Despite some lovely individuals (the doctors in theatre - one of whom came to check up on me the next day - and the midwife who did our baby's health check before we could be discharged), we were shocked and disappointed at the postnatal treatment.