"Bad childbirth experience at LGH - left with PTSD"

About: Leicester General Hospital / Maternity Leicester Royal Infirmary / Paediatrics

(as the patient),

I had my first baby at LGH. It was a quick labour lasting a little under 4 hours. Everything seemed to be going fine until one of the midwives rushed out of the room. Seconds later a doctor rushed in. I was confused. I was not aware of the emergency bell being pressed, the panic and urgency for my baby to be born. I ended up having a rushed episiotomy. I was left in a state of shock as my baby was born blue, limp and not crying. I didn't understand why they were not giving him to me. I understand that in an emergency situation there isn't really time for an explanation.

However, there were 3 people in the room, surely one of them could have reassured me about what had just happened to me and my baby, and why they had intervened. Even if it was just a quick summary. My consent was not given for a managed 3rd stage of labour. They took over completely at the end and everything was rushed which left me upset as there seemed to be no apparent concerns and I felt did not justify their actions. My birth plan was not discussed so I thought they were routinely carrying out a basic 3rd stage which I didn't want.

They did not explain anything to me. They did not explain what they were doing when they were checking and suturing me. I was in obvious pain but was asked "Why are you hurting? We didn't touch you then. " I was left in disbelief given what had just been done to me.

There was no excuse for my injuries not being mentioned to me, or the extent and degree. No one told me they were suturing me. No one told me how to care for the sutures. The post partum assessment and suturing procedure was not AT ALL explained. I was just left in pain with no explanation. I was not expecting the pain or intrusive examination which left me distressed.

I was led to believe that they intervened unnecessarily as there was no explanation about anything. I was discharged with injuries that I knew nothing about until I saw it for myself, there were more stitches and injuries than I thought. I was left feeling violated. I didn't even know why I had an episiotomy in the first place! The communication was appalling from the start. A few bits of information and a little bit of compassion and I feel that I would not have had an issue with my baby's birth.

I was also left with a midwife, that was actually a nurse training, that seemed not confident in what she was doing. I was not asked for permission for her to be in the room. I was left alone with her sometimes. It just seemed like they had no time for me! I felt like a guinea pig first time mum!

3 years later when I arranged for a birth debrief (which I found out about through Birth Trauma Association) I was shocked to find out that I in fact had 5 separate injuries that were not mentioned to me at all! What if I had had problems? I wouldn't have had the faintest idea what to have said to the GP! They wrote all of this in my notes with me being not even a metre away yet had no consideration to even tell me! It took me 3 years to talk about it as I was left with PTSD, or birth trauma as it's also known. I was not aware of the birth debrief service. I have never gone back to the hospital since as I will suffer a panic attack. I am having to wait for therapy after suffering in silence for 3 years.

On top of that I received poor care whilst on the postnatal ward; no one helped me with breastfeeding when they said they would. I felt isolated and alone.

When my baby was 8 days old, a community midwife insisted we go to the Leicester Royal Infirmary for suspected jaundice. After 3 unnecessary heel prick tests, I was told everything was fine and I could go home. It was 3am. I had no form of transport and I was led to believe I would be able to get transport from the hospital by a member of staff. I was then told they don't do that any more. All of this added to the trauma!

No one can give me back the last 3 years. No one can give back my first experience of becoming a mum. No one can take away the flashbacks. No one can take away the bad memories that I now have to live with for the rest of my life. It should have been the happiest day of my life, but instead it was tainted.

There seems to be absolutely no acknowlegment of the traumatic experiences women can have during childbirth. Having your body cut open suddenly without any explanation whatsoever is traumatic. Women are not just the package their baby comes in. What may be "normal" to medical staff is completely new, different and scary for the mother! I don't feel like I can trust any hospital with me in a vulnerable state ever again.

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Response from University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust

Dear Reviewer,

We are sincerely sorry to hear about your experience of giving birth at the General. Your experience does not reflect the level of care we expect our patients to receive. I would like to meet with you to discuss your experience so we can improve our service for future patients and ensure this does not happen again. If you are happy to meet with me, please get in touch and let me know when would be convenient for you. My contact email address is Ann.a.Buckley@uhl-tr.nhs.uk.

Thank you for taking the time to post your comment. Your feedback is important to us.

Kind regards,

Ann Buckley,

Maternity Matron for Leicester General Hospital