"Much better experience than I had expected, the..."

About: Queen Charlotte's Hospital

What I liked

A few weeks ago I read all the reviews on this page as I'd just been told to expect a labour suite delivery and at least one overnight in the ward- both were new experiences I feared as I'd had a really nice experience of the the birth centre during the birth of my first child.

In trying to search for details on what to expect, this was the only page I found of any use and frankly it did very little to calm my fears.

I'm writing this from my hospital bed as hopefully it will help similar visitors to the page as you read the reviews.

I cannot praise the staff on the delivery suite enough- they had read and stuck to my birth plan and desire for as natural birth as much as possible. They were friendly and coached us at the appropriate times and really went out of their way to make the experience what we were after.  (at one point it involved a lot of furniture moving!)  My fears about being railroaded into interventions were unfounded and I overheard my midwife really fighting my corner on decisions about constant monitoring etc.. The next day the midwife who had got us through the first few hours of labour actually sought me out and came to visit to see how the rest of labour had gone!

My experience on Edith dare has been on the whole very positive. I was fortunate to be there at a time when things were not too busy.

 There are two tables by the reception desk, one has a supply of jugs of iced water (and mine was replaced several times for me by passing staff) the other table is full of thank you cards which served as a good reminder that for every bad review there are many other more positive stories.

The staff have been great and although they are really pushed in terms of time I've found them to be attentive and friendly. Two other friends actually asked for another night on the ward they've found their time there so useful.

What could be improved

However,  the same cant be said for the catering facilities. On the first evening a tray of lasagne was delivered. We were still settling in and I'd deliberately chosen something that could be eaten cold as I knew I'd be eating much later. The serving lady tried twice over the course of the next few hours to remove my tray even when I'd said explicitly  'no'.  It felt like a real battle to simply hang on to my food, even negotiating about whether they had any tin foil to wrap it in!  (they don't) One of the these battles took place during baby's check with doctor who was equally shocked at the unreasonable approach and behaviour of the serving staff.

The next day I was asked to choose my meal selections for both lunch and dinner and my timings for lunch in the middle of changing my baby's nappy for the first time,  with hands full of meconium-laced cotton balls I was choosing between crumble and trifle! There seems to be no regard for the situation of the patients they are serving and very little flexibility and consideration in their attitude.

Anything else?

A couple of survival tips:

Send your partner on a recce when you are settling in. My husband discovered where to get drinks and even food on the ward ( this is available free of charge round the clock if you know to ask) and also a day room. I wouldn't have ventured as far as he did and would have missed out.

Bring A thermos mug is so you can have a warm drink on hand and it's lidded so no worries with baby. (ward cups are polystyrene or plastic)

There's not a great amount of space for storage so I'd suggest brining and empty carrier bag and send home stuff you don't need now you've finish labour so you can keep on top of all the stuff you do have.

Water bottle. Although there are plenty of cups and jugs, the table can be quite a long way from the bed and easy reach to a swig of water in the night

I hope this review is helpful and thank you to all the hard working people who have made my daughters first few days so smooth.

Queen charlottes: it would be so helpful to supplement this review page with some official information about the ward and delivery suite as for so many of us, having an idea of what to expect is a hugley important part of the preparations for giving birth.  If this exists then please put the URL in your comments box.

If ward tours still exist then please advertise them more clearly, if they don't then a virtual movie or still photo tour that google can find would have made a huge difference to me.

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