"I had my first son at Southmead in 2003..."

About: Southmead Hospital

What I liked

I had my first son at Southmead in 2003 and had the most wonderful experience.. natural birth, lovely midwifes. excellent before, during and after care.. it was truly a lovely experience that I will always remember.

Unfortunately I cannot say the same for my experience when my 2nd son was born.....

Matthew was born 6th September 2003... it was a busy evening in the labour ward and I did arrive fairly late in the evening.... unfortunately all there delivery suites were being used so I was taken to a lovely room with a bed side table, dressing table and also my own bathroom! Wow I thought this is lovely... little did I know what the room was used for!....

My labour seemed to take for ages like most no doubt, I had 2 midwifes during the time which was fine, they were both delightful and very friendly. I asked the first midwife (in-between contractions) why I had such a nice room with my own bathroom to which the response was so upsetting, she told me the room was used for mothers to delivery there stillbirths! I am still in shock over this nearly 2 years on.

During the time of the labour and birth my concentration turned from my own baby to thinking of all the poor little ones that didn;t make it.... The second midwife also confirmed this was the truth and also made the effort in telling me that there was a room next door with a double bed that the parents could go with the baby to rest until they were ready to say goodbye........

This was quite distrubing at the time and no matter what, I don't seem to be able to forget the sad feelings I had during my labour... to top things off.. Matthew was quite difficult to deliver because he was 8.13! I did manage to delivery him naturally (with the help of an epidural!) but when they placed him on me he was not moving or breathing...... now because this was not a birthing suite the resusitation machine was outside in the corridor because there was no room for it in the room...

What could be improved

Within seconds Matthew was taken from me and taken outside the room and the doors were closed.

I couldn't hear any cry for what seemed to be a long time but probably less then a minute.. then all of a sudden the alarms on the machine started going off..... words cannot express what my husband and I was going through but THANKFULLY within about 40-60 seconds the alarms went off and they bought Matthew in to us, he was fine... the machine was not plugged in!

We were left alone with Matthew shortly after all this still unwashed from the delivery. No-one came to help me tidy myself up for over an hour.. because I have the epidural I was unable to move my legs for about an hour. Finally a young girl did come and help me to clean myself, by which time I was able to walk so decided to have a bath. Sitting in the bath I was in inbetween emotions.. all the lovely feelings for having my baby boy but also the stressful feelings for what had happened, I decided to get dressed and just wanted to go home... I was so upset my the whole experience I was at the reception desk just 2 hours after giving birth asking to go home but we had to wait 6 hours to make sure Matthew was OK.. to top it off one of the nurses asked my husband if he would like to go and have a rest in the room next door because he looked tierd!! UNBELIEVABLE...

Never again would I step foot into Southmead Labour ward and I hope to god that no-one else has or will have the same experience as I did.

Story from NHS Choices

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