"Maternity care at Southern General Hospital - Good and Bad"

About: Southern General Hospital / Maternity care

(as the patient),

A first pregnancy, I had the usual anxieties but felt I had great service from the community midwives. With a pre-existing immunological condition, I was also given extra scans and appointments at clinic with one of the registrars - who was excellent.

Unfortunately, in my third trimester, my blood pressure started to creep up. The risk for pre-eclampsia was slightly higher for me given my health, and this was explained very clearly to me. My antenatal care was then transferred from the community midwife to the midwifes in the hospital, who were wonderful, patient and caring, despite a very busy department! !

The bad experience, unfortunately, was my labour itself. At 38 weeks, with rising blood pressure, the registrar decided it was best to induce me, and arraged for me to be admitted the following day. I arrived at the ward at 2pm, and the midwife attending to me explained that I would be given a pessary drug to soften my cervix, would be monitored via CTG, and would likely start IV drugs the following morning to induce contractions. I was happy with this explanation and knew what to expect. I was given the pessary about 5pm. My observations at this time were - very busy ward - clearly someone was in labour that I could hear - a few other unwell patients earlier in pregancy, I was in no way a priority and totally understood that, happy to read my book and let the girls get on with it. (I am a health professional working on wards, Know what it can be like! ) I started experiencing a mild cramping around 7.30pm while my husband was with me during visiting hours. By this time the midwives had changed shift. I informed the midwife looking after me, she explained this was normal, and often a reaction to the pessary. So okay, fine, as long as everything's okay. This worsened during visiting, and again was told this was normal. My husband left at the end of visiting, being a closed ward, and I proceeded to pace the floors for the next three hours, as I was too uncomfortable to sit still. I was then rudely told by an auxilliary nurse to go to bed! I was put back on the monitor routinely, but had to buzz the midwives to say that I was unable to stay in one position as I was in too much pain. I asked if I could be in labour, she said no, just the baby moving now that my cervix had been prepared.

The next hour and a half were a mess with me continually at the desk reporting

- I am in a lot of pain, are you sure this is normal?

- I feel nauseous, and I've just been sick

- I am now bleeding

The responses were a mixture of, the babys head engaging, it's just your show, try to get some sleep, you'll feel better. I appreciate that first time mums are probably very anxious about everything, and I know that first labours are usually long, and inductions are usually long, but clealy I was distressed and at no point was given any reassurance. In fact, I was made to feel more like I was a nuisance.

I was in a four-bedded bay, with three peacefully sleeping women, locked myself in a toilet to try and keep quiet. Only when I was standing at the desk, doubled over with my legs crossed, saying "I am telling you, I need to push", did she actually (patronisingly) offer to examine me. Within a microsecond of me on the bed, her face said it all. "You're fully dilated! " I handed her my phone to call my husband. At 2.17 am, she took the brakes off the bed and proceeded to wheel it herself. As I said, I work in the wards, so I know how difficult that is- ran into someone else from another ward in the corridor who helped her run with the bed. In the lift, she said to me, "You were awfully quiet! " I am not sure what I was supposed to say that.

Arrived at labour suite, where a midwife, my saviour of the evening took over. Armed with quick responses and professionalism, I immediately felt in safe hands. She spoke to me directly, explained the baby was very distressed because everything was happening so fast, her heart beat was dropping rapidly etc, so they were going to do an episiotomy to speed things up. Two pushes, done. My beautiful daughter was born. She was a bit blue at first, needed oxygen, her first Apgar score was low, but picked up quickly, and is perfectly healthy. And my husband missed everything! He arrived eight minutes later. I know sometimes that can't be avoided, but in this case it could have! He can never get that back. People said to me at the time, shame he wasn't there to rub your back, hold your hand, help you push etc. More upsetting was the fact that I had no one, not even a midwife saying, 'great, 7cm, just a little bit longer', nothing... AND, might I add, not one drop of pain relief was given!

Being so angry about it all initially, was quickly lost with the joy of my new baby girl. I almost feel silly writing about this now, she's 19 months! However, I always felt I wanted to share my comments without making a formal complaint. I was fine, she was fine, once you're home that experience fades, but we both could have had a very different outcome. Imagine, I had been a more shy, meek person who didn't speak up...

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Response from Paul Cannon, Head of Administration, Acute Services Division, Greater Glasgow & Clyde NHS

Thank you for providing your very detailed feedback, I was sorry to read that the experience was both good and bad, and that there were aspects that you remain, even to this day, unhappy about. It was particularly diasappointing to read that your husband was called back to the Hospital too late to be present at the birth.

In view of the fact that these are offered as general comments, we cannot take forward a more specific investigation without your details and your consent, and I have noted that you wanted to share these rather than make a formal complaint, I will however send this posting to the Head of Midwifery Services for her to read these comments and share them with staff in the Unit.

I will let you know what feedback the Unit staff are able to provide once they have had an opportunity to review your posting.

Thank you again for providing this, it is genuinely appreciated, and I hope that you and your daughter continue to thrive.


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