"Respect of patient wishes - midwives"

About: Lincoln County Hospital / Maternity

(as the patient),

It’s taken me a long time to speak out over this but I felt it needed to be said.

My complaint is around the way I was treated with my second baby born in Summer 2013. After an unnecessary induction for my first in hospital I wanted my second at home, in comfort and security, a place I could control and felt safe. So I did my research I went to home birth support groups and learnt all I needed to know about the process, what to expect and how things would work.

Initially I’m told by midwife that a home birth would not be allowed due to my BMI. So I contest this and say – “thank you for your suggestion but I’m having a home birth, I’ve looked into the risks and am aware of all risk factors involved, it’s my choice” as stated in the Nice guidelines I’ll add. I then was told I’d have to see the consultant over this, so appointment booked I went off to see the consultant who was not available and so I had another chap see me, say I was overweight and could not have a home birth. I asked to see the consultant who was on holiday, I was told the consultant was the only person who could say whether a home birth was OK officially and get midwives support. Alright so I went and booked another apt, I like to do things by the book. That was cancelled by the hospital so never did see them but through support groups learnt this was actually not necessary so I left it.

Finally at 37 weeks the midwife agrees to a home visit and all goes well from there. I then however go over due. This for me was expected, I’d always thought my dates where wrong by a week and my mum was always a late birther so I expected to be the same.

Baby was fine, in correct position, dropped 3/5ths so all was going well, no need for intervention. I had complication of slightly low iron also which I was taking spa tone to rectify. I was asked if I’d have a sweep which I denied as I wanted this as naturally as possible and there is a lot of differing evidence as to whether sweeps actually work or just start things a little earlier than they would have anyway. I get to 7 days over and have denied induction again by midwife who now wants to see me every few days. I get to 12 days over and am referred to the hospital for a scan and trace – all is fine. In my naivety I go and they have booked me time to see the consultant (now they wanted to see me) so I see the consultant with no prior warning and they tell me I have to come in for a trace every day now not practical to sit in a room for an hour with a toddler to make sure the baby is OK but I say if its needed I will find a way. I asked if every other day would be possible. To which the consultant contradicts themselves in their response saying the trace is only good at that time. They did then however talk for 20 mins about rules and regulations as to the risks involved and I felt that these were scare tactics. Telling someone “do you want to go home to your daughter and tell her why her baby brother has died” as a reason for being induced I’m sorry is appalling.

At this point I state a few of the risk factors back to the consultant with actual statistics and leave. I do however agree to come in every other day for the traces. The next day the midwife comes back and tells me I have to get the senior midwifes support now as I’m over 12 days and she’s not alone, she brings another midwife along with her. I felt very ganged up on in my own house, vulnerable with a toddler  also. I did not like this meeting at all, it put me completely on edge as these were the people I was supposed to trust to be there and help me bring my baby into the world.

The fact that they had done this in my home it felt like they were trying to bully me into inductions and trying to scare me infront of my daughter I really resent and feel is not good practice. I’m afraid they got escorted out of the house.

I spoke to the senior midwife who was actually really understanding, talked to me, could hear my stress and upset and was brilliant. She said she would do her best to get me other midwives when I went into labour and that was a massive relief.

I had a break over a weekend of 3 days where I was not expected at the hospital or midwives due to times they could fit me in. Over that calm time at 19 days late my baby boy came, within 4 hours from start to finish (very different to the stressful 3 days in hospital for induction), it was an amazing experience, I was left to my own devices in a birth pool. Two lovely midwives were here the whole time checking in every 20 mins or so. They commented on how good my placenta looked afterwards. My baby boy was perfect.

Why is it necessary to put scare tactics on people? I understand you have to make sure babies and women are safe but respect costs nothing. A research came out a few months after this promoting home birth more and stating how great it was and how it reduces the risk factors more than anyone thought. I lost all trust in the midwives when I needed them the most and spent the last few weeks of pregnancy in tears. They made things so much more hard work. I knew what I wanted and am so glad I stuck to my guns and got my home birth – it was the best decision for me, why did no one respect this?

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Response from United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust

Dear Sazzle80,

I am very sorry for the experiences that you had of our maternity services in 2013. I would like to meet with you to talk about these, so that we can learn and ensure that this experience does not happen again to a woman that is choosing a homebirth.

We have, as a service, reviewed our homebirth pathway and I would like to share this with you so as to provide you with reassurance.

When a birth option is decided upon by a women and her partner, that may increase the risk of a safe outcome for both the woman and her baby, the midwives and medical staff should respect that decision but ensure that they discuss all of the relevant evidence-based information in a kind and compassionate way. Any decision that is made should be fully supported by the whole team.

I look forward to meeting with you. If you would be good enough to contact my secretary, Claire Oliver, on 01476 464141, she can arrange this meeting.

With best wishes

Sue Bennion,

Head of Midwifery/Nursing – Women & Children