"Dreadful birthing experience at North Middlesex"

About: North Middlesex Hospital / Maternity care

(as the patient),

I gave birth to my first child at the North Middlesex hospital a couple of years ago. At the time, I thought perhaps all birthing experiences were terrible, but now that I've had another good experience (at Barnet General), I've come to realise how poor the care was that I received first time round.

My first labour was very fast, and I arrived at the hospital fully dilated and thought I would give birth in the car park! I was very scared as things were happening so fast.

The midwife, however, left me in no doubt that it was very inconvenient for her as her shift was about to end and she wanted to leave. In fact, she left me alone at first and said she didn't have time for me. I guess she was told to get on with it when my screaming got too loud, because she came back after ten mins.

She offered me no pain relief, not even gas and air, although I was ready to push and in agony. She gave me no reassurance or advice on how to slow things down, but instead examined me roughly and told me to push - still with no offer of gas and air or any other pain relief. Twenty mins later my son was born, but I was so dazed with the pain that I don't acually remember holding him.

The midwife then proceeded to begin stitching me up before the local anaesthetic had taken effect - which was almost more painful than the birth. She clearly could not wait to get out of there. To this day I don't understand why she did not give me the gas and air, which was there and ready, to help me through. Thanks to her, my first birthing experience was very traumatic.

The aftercare was not great either - I had to be in the hospital for a few days due to the baby becoming jaundiced, and during that time was left to my own devices. There was no advice on breastfeeding, you were just left to get on with it. Hopefully things have improved.

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