"The midwife who attended me after the..."

About: St Helier Hospital

What I liked

The midwife who attended me after the birth of my son. She was friendly, helpful and supportive, in marked contrast to the rest of the midwives I met.

What could be improved

I attended St Helier hospital for the birth of my son. Prior to going into labour I was seen by the community midwife team, who were largely rude, uncaring and unhelpful. When I asked about writing birth plan, I was told I would not need one as they were not interested in it. I asked for advice on breastfeeding and was told that "St Helier is proud of its record for breastfeeding".

When I arrived at hospital to give birth (my waters broke) this turned out to be entirely true. I have a back problem which makes sitting upright in bed very painful. On arrival I was forced to sit up in bed in exactly this position, when I asked to move I was told that if I didn't do as I was told I would be sent home. I was put on close monitoring without my consent and the midwife in attendance made no attempt to explain what it was for or why. She regularly left the room to go and smoke, filling the whole room with the stench of cigarettes.

6 hours later I was in incredible pain from my back, my baby was in distress (at no point was I allowed to move to see if that might alleviate the distress) and I was forced to have an emergency caesarian. The surgeon didn't even introduce himself before performing a pelvic exam, by this point I was in too much pain to object.

I was then moved to a maternity ward where I was placed next to the ward bins. I got no sleep on the first night. On the second night, nurses wandered freely through the ward talking loudly and waking the babies. I was concerned that, although my son was latching well, he wanted to feed continuously (12 hours on this particualr night). The midwife's response to this was to pinch my nipple and shove the baby's head onto it, and then tell me to stop making a fuss because he was latching. On the third morning I begged to be discharged and was allowed home.

I later suffered an infection because the surgeon did not remove all of the afterbirth during the caesarian.

Anything else?

The uncaring and unhelpful staff rendered the whole birth experience a nightmare. I still cannot walk past the hospital without panicking. If I am able to have another child I would do anything to avoid contact with the St Helier team again.

Story from NHS Choices

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