"Consultation, choice, information at Whipps Cross "

About: Whipps Cross University Hospital / Maternity

(as the patient),

I am very unhappy with the service I have received from Whipps Cross.

From the start, I have sought a homebirth. This is written in my notes from September with our baby due in April. According to all of my notes and tests, I am low risk. I have been attending hypnobirthing classes and have been able to remain active throughout my pregnancy, practicing yoga (which includes breathing and meditation techniques, alongside strengthening and stretching work).

At 18 weeks, I began to have pubic bone pain and round ligament pain- these were later diagnosed by my private osteopath, but I went to Whipps Triage initially to find out what was going on. During my long wait to be seen, I was privy to 2 births happening in rooms either side of me. The amount of different midwives, nurses and doctors going in and out of the rooms without even knocking or ceasing thier private conversations was enough to put me off of Whipps, but one instance I will never forget. At a very intense moment in the delivery of their baby, a woman had been loudly moaning and then screaming for at least 3 minutes (a very uncomfortble and helpless amount of time for all of us in the waiting hallway), when her partner opened the doors to the hallway and said, "My wife needs help! Can anyone help us? " About 1 minute later, a doctor sauntered towards the door, looked at me and nonchalantly said, "It's only a birth. " How extremely offensive and uncaring.

My triage appointment was unsuccessful. They barely looked me over (though they did take my BP with an out of date machine! ). I asked them if I should be strengthening my adductors and/or glutes due to the pubic bone pain I was feeling. The doctor looked at me like I was speaking a foreign language (well, I guess it is Latin), but he didn't even know what to say when I said, "inner thighs and buttocks. " He referrred me to a physio, but they were so late in scheduling me, that I never went. I did my research on the internet and paid to see my osteopath and bought a support belt. He gave me NO help, but certainly wasted my time.

It took 3 blood tests and countless phone and face-to-face requests to find out my blood group! I think they finally sorted this around 32 weeks. Unimpressed, again.

At my 36 week appointment, I started to express my concern to them never having mentioned anything about birthing my baby (at home or otherwise). This is when I learned from my midwife (who was the same person who took my intial pregnancy notes back in September), that I was not on track for a homebirth. At what point was this decided for me? Why was I not consulted? I am not ill, I am pregnant and I have the right to choose and to be informed.

I am furious at this system. It is plagued with incompetency and inconsistency. I find it extremely difficult to simply 'ring up' and speak to someone over the phone about my concerns. My midwife appointments are uncomfortable and, despite wanting to be a mum for 5 years now and finally getting the chance to be, I feel that my experience is not valued by any of the staff. I feel like I am causing them a burden should I ask, "What was my BP today? What is the baby's heart rate? What position is the baby in? " This, combined with the seedy clinic the appointments have been held in with doors to the consultation room that do not properly close, I am hoping beyond hope that I will be able to deliver this beautiful bundle at the Barkantine Birth Centre, instead of Whipps Cross.

I have long been an advocate of the NHS, but Whipps Cross has failed, in my opinion.

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