"Failed VBAC induction prolonged by frustrating 28..."

About: Queen Charlotte's Hospital

What I liked

All of the staff worked very hard in a seemingly completely over-stretched situation and most were very nice and competent.

I had some very good post-op talks with senior staff to better understand my failed VBAC induction and emergency CS and to get my experience of my chest. There is one more 'de-briefing' to go with my consultant six weeks post partum.

Once I had finally reached the stage of being an emergency myself, the care was excellent and the caesarian section performed calmly and professionally so that the additional drama and urgency passed me by almost entirely until it was explained to me afterwards.

What could be improved

MANAGEMENT OF EXPECTATION: Don't tell people in their antenatal appointments that there would be no waiting around if you are then likely to be send to the antenatal ward for 24 hours prior to your induction and have that very same "high risk" induction interrupted for 3 1/2 hours - which meant re-starting the syntocinon drip at 6ml again rather then the 42ml you were previously on. Any information on induction should have the possibility of waiting for many hours clearly pointed out.


While I totally understand that there are emergencies - and sometimes dozens of them - surely it must be possible to let those waiting know every few hours what is going on. If there are "still 20 waiting" as I was told 21 hours after arriving for my VBAC induction appointment, then surely, it would have been better to send me home for the day or the night or both without loosing "my slot" rather than have my anxiety levels, anger and frustration build up hour after hour of waiting to be taken to the delivery suite. (And losing plenty of sleep over it in a busy ward).

If the necessity for interrupting the already long process of induction by syntocinon drip arrises (and after a more than 24 hour wait to have it started in the first place) - then there must still be a person clearly in charge of the patient waiting. I was looked in on after an hour and thought, that's not too bad, at least the haven't forgotten me - only to then wait a further 2 1/2 hours without as much as a peep and only very vague 'someone will be with you's when my birth partner dared to enquire.

Anything else?


Despite all the appearances of being pro-breastfeeding, with posters and information leaflets abound, the actual post-natal care is very much formula-pushing. In my room I was the only one leaving without at least a couple of 'top-up' formula feeds under baby's belt. (Just a single one can severely hamper the fledgling breastfeeding relationship, not to mention the possibly long-term damage to the immature gut and its flora) As far as I can tell, mothers weren't even asked about cow's milk or other allergies in the family.

I can understand that it eases the midwives' workload when babies sleep for longer stretches of time, and that possibly many of them have fed their own babies formula and are thus reluctant to accept the potential dangers of formula feeding. They like to call a few bottles of top up 'the best of both worlds', when it so clearly undermines the efforts to increase breast-feeding numbers which in the mid- and long term would save the NHS millions of pounds that could be re-invested in more midwives...

Story from NHS Choices

Do you have a similar story to tell? Tell your story & make a difference ››