"Giving birth to my second daughter was a..."
About: North Middlesex Hospital North Middlesex Hospital London N18 1QX
Posted by Sarah Poulton
What I liked
The unit was very busy when my husband and I arrived on Mon Oct 11 and although I was seen by a pleasant midwife in Triage, the staff were clearly so overstretched that my husband and I were largely left to manage my labour ourselves with midwifes checking in on us. It was my second child and my pregnancy had been uncomplicated so this worked well for us. I was able to have the active labour I wanted - including walking around the hospital grounds to bring on contractions - and only entered a birthing room about half an hour before my baby was born. There was no unnecessary tethering to a foetal heartrate monitor, no time for an epidural (the whole labour lasted just over three hours) and when the baby's head emerged with the cord wrapped around her neck the midwife knew exactly what to do and delivered our little girl safe and sound. Afterwards, my husband and I were offered toast and tea and then left alone for a good hour with our new baby, which gave us precious time together. I then spent the night in the maternity ward with my baby before being discharged the following afternoon. I think midwives - community-based and those attached to hospitals - do a tough and vital job. I wish there were more of them and more chance for pregnant women to develop one-to-one relationships with the midwife who delivers their child. Like many, I didn't have this opportunity and I was aware that the maternity unit was very busy on the evening I was admitted, but the hospital midwives did an excellent job. My birth experience was very positive and everyone who dealt with me - including one member of staff who examined my baby the following day - was sympathetic and professional. A week later, when my two-year-old developed chickenpox, one of the consultants rang us at home to discuss possible complications and told us what to watch for in our newborn. As far as I am concerned, the service we received was first rate. Thank you.
What could be improved
More midwives available to allow use of water birthing facility. More birthing rooms - I was in second stage labour in the labour ward waiting room as no birthing rooms were available at that time.