"I was not given sufficient additional care for my..."
About: The Great Western Hospital The Great Western Hospital Swindon SN3 6BB
Posted by Clair
What I liked
The little cots were fantastic, as was the adjustable bed without which I would barely be able to move after caesarean.
What could be improved
I am a type 1 diabetic and was induced, so all in all I was in antenatal and delivery for 3.5 days. During this time I only ever saw one midwife twice, the rest of the time they were new. While I appreciate that most labours do not last this long, I would definitely have benefited from at least some continuity, from both a practical view (there were some confusions in handover) and emotional.
I eventually had a caesarean so was in postnatal for 3 nights. While again, I appreciate most women are not on the postnatal ward for this long the hardest thing I found was the long nights with no visitors: the ward was at full capacity at the time so the nurses and doctors did not respond quickly to my buzzer and did not have time to help with feeding or nappy changing. During the day at least visitors could help me but the long nights were more traumatic than my labour.
My suggestion would be that those mothers who have been treated as high risk during pregnancy should not then be 'demoted' to the normal regime for delivery. Perhaps staff on the postnatal ward should not be forced to split their time between new mothers with no complications and post-operation mothers who need specific care that is not necessarily post-natal. Perhaps post-op mothers need their own section of ward, a postnatal ICU (although if I hadn't been stuck in a private room which I hadn't requested, at least some of the other mothers may have been able to help me when nurses were unavailable).
In addition I was in labour for over 30 hours: my birth partner (husband) had been awake for 38 hours by the time it was over, yet there was nowhere he could rest. A small rest room with bed(s) and a vending machine would be vital for birth partners who need to be alert enough to help the mother.
I was very traumatised by my birthing experience, I believe this could have been significantly improved with better care. The lack of continuity of treatment may well have contributed to a delay in the decision to go for caesarean as there was confusion over how dilated I was, this was only discovered several hours later (at which point a caesarean was recommended).
What should have been a joyous time for me with my first days as a mother were desperately lonely, frightening and tough: I believe this contributed to me being unable to bond with my son for many months.