"We felt fobbed off with excuses at a very vulnerable time"

About: St Peter's Hospital / Maternity

(as a parent/guardian),

My daughter recently gave birth to her daughter at St Peters. She had a birth plan and had followed what her midwives had told her. They had to induce her first with a pessary that takes 24 hours and as her labour didn't start (she was 2 weeks overdue) they put some Gel in and told her it would start within 6 hours…. 1 hour later she was still in the ward and in agony, the nurses suggested a bath. My son in law called me very distressed to say my daughter was finding it hard to cope with the pain so I rushed up there to find her in great pain in a bath with no pain relief at all. I went to the nurses station and explained that the contractions were coming every minute and that I thought she was near and needed some pain relief. They said they were just going on a break but would examine her on their return. A nurse came into the bathroom to calm my daughter down and said she's fine and left again. When finally she was examined they said she was 8cm dilated and wasn't she clever to have done it with no pain relief! I explained that it was her in her birth plan to have an epidural and as they were rushing her now up to the labour ward could they ring the ahead so it could be administered. They said they would sort it when we got up there. 4 more times I asked what was happening and they said the Dr was in surgery, by this time all she had been offered was gas and air and now fully dilated. As my daughter became more anxious at the thought of going through the birth without any help she was told it was now too late to administer it. She ended up pushing for 1 hour and 10minutes with the babies heart rate dropping and my daughter in agony. The experience was traumatic and in this day and age so unnecessary. We were made to feel foolish for asking for pain relief and after the baby arrived my daughter was in shock and unable to enjoy the first hour of her babies life. A time that should be precious.

The nurses were pleasant enough and some were kind but they seemed to have their own birth plan for the patients and we felt fobbed off with excuses at a very vulnerable time. Thankfully we are not in Victorian times, if you want pain relief it should not be denied because its either inconvenient or too costly. What should have been a special time was totally traumatic. Did my daughter survive, yes, was my granddaughter healthy yes, but our experience was very unpleasant to the point my daughter is adamant she can't go through that again.

Sadly I don't think she will.

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Response from Kayo Rippingham, Communications Officer, Ashford and St. Peter's Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

Thank you for taking the time to post your comments here. We are extremely sorry and concerned to hear about your daughter's experience. It is difficult for us to comment further without more detail. Please can we ask you to contact our Patient Experience Team on 01932 723553 or email pals@asph.nhs.uk so that this can be properly investigated.

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