"Starlight Neonatal at Barnet Hospital"

About: Barnet General Hospital / Maternity

(as the patient),

My little boy was born at 34+6 weeks in Barnet hospital in January 2014.

He was 3lb 14 oz and admitted to the Starlight Neonatal unit where he spent 2 days in an incubator and then was transferred to a cot. I was down the corridor in the Victoria ward and wasn't doing very well after having had a caesarean and for some reason didn't have the right pain relief plus I had lost 2 litres of blood so I was in a lot of pain and quite weak, depressed and tearful so struggled to visit him but when I did I was reassured to see the amazing level of care he was receiving from the nurses who were so kind and patient and loving.

After a few days my husband and I were able to have the use of a family room in the neonatal unit where the 3 of us were able to be together 24 hours a day. The nurses showed me how to feed him (he had a feeding tube) and change him and even how to give him a bath. I wasn't able to breast feed but I was given a breast pump to use and managed to express some milk everyday. We had nurses outside our door to help 24 hours a day. We had resuscitation training which gave us confidence as well.

After 12 days we were able to take him home which I was apprehensive about since he still looked so small but everything was fine. The dedication and professionalism of all the nurses at the Starlight neonatal unit was a wonder, they treated us so well when we were at our most worried and scared. They made us feel like special individuals for which I am forever grateful.

I didn't have the best experience in the Victoria ward in the days after the caesarean so the contrast was stark. The negatives: I wasn't given the right pain medication, I was made to walk before I felt ready and plus was in lots of pain, I was told off for bleeding all over the floor, I nearly fell out the bed and wasn't helped back in at 2am because the nurse didn't have the right training, it took 9 hours for me to have a blood transfusion due to some problems that weren't picked up, I was in a ward with women and their babies and was upset as I didn't have my baby with me (this couldn't be helped).

I'm quite a brave person usually but was crying a lot and didn't feel much sympathy from the nurses, I think they thought I was exaggerating or putting it on. It was a horrible few days but I understand that all nurses do their best in the face of a difficult job so I am grateful for the NHS and all they did for me and my baby.

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