"Had the unfortunate experience of..."
About: Princess Alexandra Hospital (Harlow) Princess Alexandra Hospital (Harlow) Harlow CM20 1QX
What I liked
Had the unfortunate experience of attending the hospital's EPU and Ultrasound departments while I was miscarrying my baby at 10 weeks. Obviously there's not much to like about that experience but that said I found both the EPU and ultrasound staff very kind, caring and sensitive at one of the most distressing times of my life.
What could be improved
I found waiting for my ultrasound (to confirm whether my pregnancy was viable) in the waiting room with happy & excited pregnant women wholly inappropriate. I also found the tv screens playing videos about babies very distressing. I was crying & everyone was staring, they felt uncomfortable at my presence as it was obvious I had had bad news which would make them worry too & I found the sight of them painful beyond belief. When the scan confirmed the worst I had to then walk past those people again sobbing on my way to the EPU. It was so humiliating. I then had to go back to the packed EPU waiting room and hand my scan findings over to the receptionist, I was crying and again everyone was staring. It was so inappropriate and this whole procedure really needs to be looked at. I don't blame this on the staff but the procedures. Luckily for me the EPU receptionist was very kind and she said she would get someone to see me straight away so I didn't have to wait in the waiting room in such a distressed state. The tv screens in ultrasound need to be turned off and a separate waiting area needs to be looked at for women who are miscarrying. It just isn't good enough that they have to share a waiting room. It would be easy to put a bit of partitioning up at least and the tv screens are really unnecessary and just rub salt in the wounds. When I had to come back for my final scan 2 weeks later I was a bit more composed as I had had some time to come to terms with it but whilst I was there 2 more women received bad news and they were crying in front of everyone. This obviously happens a lot and I think those women need to be thought of a bit more. The hospital really shouldn't underestimate what a completely traumatic and upsetting time finding out your baby has died really is. The sight of other pregnant women brandishing their scans and so happy really does not help the situation at all.
I chose natural management of my miscarriage and I was given conflicting information from the EPU nursing staff and the EPU doctor about what to do when my miscarriage was actually happening. I found this very upsetting as I did what the nursing staff told me and once the miscarriage had happened I came back to see the dr and he told me I could have done something else-don't wish to go into it here-this upset me as I thought I had done the wrong thing. All EPU staff need to be giving out the same information with regards to what to do with the baby during a natural miscarriage. This kind of thing stays with a woman for life so it's very important she is given the correct information. I was given a fact sheet on natural miscarriage which I found very helpful and I think it would be a good idea to include information on that sheet about what to do with the baby when the miscarriage is happening. There's no point shying away from it because it happens and women need to know what to do and if it's written in black and white there's no confusion.