"my experience of giving birth"

About: Aberdeen Maternity Hospital / Obstetrics (Maternity care)

(as the patient),

I had a horrendous experience at AMH in December 2014. During an appointment at term I had a high blood pressure reading that sparked a week long pressure campaign to agree to an induction. This included being told prior to a blood pressure measurement that my baby may die. My raised blood pressure appeared to be linked to being in the presence of doctors and pressure to induce, seemingly a case of "white coat hypertension". With the exception of when I was pressured by a midwife (not at AMH) to agree to an induction and told my baby may die, my blood pressure was normal. I felt utterly bullied into submission and went to Westburn Ward for closer monitoring where I was kept awake by the staff shouting, laughing and singing in the middle of the night. I have some of this on video.

I feel that the persistent bullying to agree to an induction and the stress this put me under this impacted my labour which started naturally but was slow to establish, and resulted in a cascade of intervention. There were repetitive and unwanted discussions of risks, despite showing no other symptoms to cause concern. I was repeatedly told I was 40, my pregnancy was IVF and the transient high blood pressure warranted induction. I also do not feel that I was given all the information regarding induction and was unable to make a fully informed decision. My labour changed from anterior to a posterior labour which I believe may have been avoided had my waters not been broken and I was allowed to progress naturally. I was not informed of the negative effect rupturing membranes may have on the positioning of my baby. Whilst I was on labour suite I felt like a piece of meat and not always treated respectfully. After four days of a slow labour my baby began to show signs of distress and I was exhausted. Despite all of this, I managed to give birth naturally.

Some of the staff were amazing and looked after me with professionalism and a great deal of empathy. However, I felt that the overall experience was one of intervention and control at any cost.

I currently have a complaint lodged with the hospital and am awaiting a post-natal meeting to discuss my experience and concerns. Following the outcome of this I will decide whether or not to take my case further.

My experience giving birth to my very wanted child was horrific. I was distressed throughout and after. I struggled to establish breastfeeding and bond with my child. None of the experience can ever be undone and is unforgivable. Even if I could have another child, I would not place myself in that vulnerable position ever again.

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Response from Linda Oldroyd, Nurse Consultant Patient Safety and Experience, NHS Grampian

Dear Woo

Thank you for taking the time to provide your feedback. It does not make pleasant reading. However, as a Caring, Listening and Improving organisation we welcome all feedback both positive and negative and view the negative as an opportunity for learning.

In no way is it acceptable for someone to feel bullied into making a decison not in keeping with their wishes. I am sorry you were made to feel that way.

I understand that you are taking your complaint through the formal feedback route and I hope that you receive a satisfactory response within the 20 day timescale.

In the meantime, if I can be of any help or even if you just want to talk about your experiences please get in touch. My email address is loldroyd@nhs.net and my telephone number is 01224 558449.

I hope you are enjoying being a mum and wish you and your baby my very best wishes.

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Update posted by Woo (the patient)

I have since had a meeting with the head of Midwifery and a consultant obstetrician with whom I discussed my complaint with in great detail. A number of actions are in process that are addressing the issues that I raised. I hope that these actions will make a positive difference.

Response from Linda Oldroyd, Nurse Consultant Patient Safety and Experience, NHS Grampian

Dear Woo

I am glad you were able to meet with senior people from our organisation. Any actions that can make things better for people in the future can only be a good thing. It is none the less regretful that you went through such a difficult experience for this to happen. I think you are very brave and selfless to take these issues forward in a positive way for the benefit of others.

Best wishes to you and your baby,

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