I had just had my first baby that morning and was in a lot of pain. I wasn't given any painkillers so had to use my own paracetamol. Many hours later a midwife asked how my pain was and I asked for painkillers as I'd used mine up (had brought some for labour). It took about 2 hours to get me 2 paracetamol. I wasn't offered any again, had to ring the buzzer and be ignored for half an hour each time.
Food came while I was feeding the baby and was taken away before I had a chance to eat. I had to wheel my own bag out of hospital as well as carry the baby in a car seat as my husband was told to leave the ward . I couldn't get down to my bag to get things like nappies, maternity pads and fresh clothes out but the answer to any requests for help was to ask me how I will manage at home (erm people will help me? ! ) so I spent the entire 29 hours covered in blood.
I dressed my baby for the first time on a bloodstained bed as it wasn't changed. The night time was noisy not just from other babies but from the midwives having loud conversations. The curtains around my bed were opened and shut at random regardless of my wishes. I remember breastfeeding standing up because I was too sore to sit and just being in the middle of an open ward in full view of at least 20 people inside as well as a group of men outside at a bus stop. I bled on the floor of the toilet when I arrived and it hadn't been cleaned when I left.
Nobody would help me get things out of my bag and I really struggled to lean down to it so I had to lift it up onto the bed myself - really really bad idea when you've just given birth as you're very vulnerable to long term damage like prolapse.
As a first time mother, with antenatal classes having been cancelled due to Covid pandemic, I needed advice support and encouragement. For example with breastfeeding. I asked for latching help but was told pain was normal. I was told to feed on demand then hours later when my baby was still asleep I was asked why I hadn't woken to feed. A midwife said I was not changing the baby's nappy enough but when I went down the ward looking for water I was told I should stay in my area and should not be carrying the baby in the corridor as it was putting the midwives at risk.
Nobody would watch the baby for me while I used the toilet - at 3 hours old I was expected to leave a brand new baby alone in a busy public area. Eventually a midwife agreed to comfort her if she cried, but I returned to a screaming frantic baby and tried hard not to pee for the rest of the time of the ward.
The cot she had been put in had incredibly high sides and did not work at all for breastfeeding, I kept having to haul myself up using the remote for the bed, then try stand to be able to lift her out, then try to balance her somehow on the very high single bed as I tried to climb in with no hands. There was nowhere else to feed her.
There was no possibility of sleep from the noise and just incredibly bright lights. Nobody checked my wound. I returned home and the following day the community midwife told me it was badly bruised and had opened.
I also left hospital with cracked bleeding nipples due to a poor latch. People always tell the story of how terrified they were leaving hospital with their first baby. I can't emphasise how relieved I was to get home to where I had some hope of being able to eat, sleep, feed the baby, reach basics like nappies, return to basic hygiene and access basic pain relief.
"Experience of the postnatal ward"
About: Maternity care / Post-Natal wards (E and Johnston house) Maternity care Post-Natal wards (E and Johnston house) BT12 6BA
Posted by Newma (as ),