"Labour this time round was so positive, and the midwives were fantastic"

About: North Devon District Hospital / Maternity care

(as the patient),

Monday morning, I was booked in for an induction as my baby was term plus 10. We came in on the Friday, and had a heart trace/scan. When we came in we were told something different to what the community midwife has said about where I would be induced. I felt a bit apprehensive, the midwife in the community had been with us for 9 months so I wasn’t sure who to trust in hospital.

The communication between the community midwife and the hospital midwifery department could be better. It’s not a big issue, but it just left us a bit worried.

The hospital gave us a leaflet on the induction so we more or less knew what to expect. They explained it all very well on the Friday and then on the Monday aswell.

They showed flexibility and compassion about being able to have my husband here, which for me when I was in such pain was going the extra mile and understanding what I needed. Privacy was always respected, always asked my permission – I’ve heard ‘Is that ok with you? ’ a lot, and I’m glad! They made sure I felt in control all the time, putting the decisions back in our hands. They always checked things were ok with me first. I was induced in the day assessment unit on Monday and then taken upstairs.

By lunchtime I was having pains. I wasn’t trapped on the site, I was encouraged to walk around so we did that and then when I got back I’d be put on a monitor, the midwife looking after me was unhappy about how things were progressing so she saught a doctor’s opinion and they agreed that it would be best to stop the induction and urge on the side of caution. So they stopped the procedure and just constantly monitored me from then on. No one said it was fine until they were absolutely convinced and had done multiple checks. I found this reassuring, they kept us really well informed and gave us no cause for alarm but at the same time they didn’t just placate us – they refrained from saying everything was ok until it was. They were totally honest with us and we appreciated that.

They started the process again the following day in late morning. There was a bit of a delay because the consultant had advised they start the induction again but there wasn’t enough staff on to manage this. This isn’t a criticism of the staff at all. The midwife was looking after 6 women on the Monday and still spent plenty of time with us, I didn’t feel rushed or clock watched at all. In fact, we felt important.

I was constantly monitored, and I got quite frustrated when it seemed nothing was happening again. The midwife was great, she didn’t just pat me on the shoulder, she was calm and said exactly what needed to be said.

We asked about a c-section and she gave her professional reasoning and advice. She was straight forward and didn’t patronise us or our opportunity to make choices about the birth.

Shortly afterwards things kicked off for us. I was on my own, in huge amounts of pain. There were two midwives on duty looking after me. They made my experience as easy as possible. She was rubbing my back, making it as comfortable as she could. I was examined in the late evening, and they didn’t think I was progressing as much as I should but I was in a lot of pain. They phoned my husband to explain. He gave them quite a hammering, he laid it on thick! He didn’t want me to be in a ward on my own without him when I was in so much pain and was worried.

I was examined again an hour and a half later, just as my husband arrived at the hospital. He wasn’t really supposed to be there I think but I needed him and they said that from the looks of things, it should all start happening very soon so they gave me some pain relief.

All of a sudden things started moving very fast – they were preparing to deliver me in the ward I was in if needs be! They pushed to get me downstairs onto the labour ward, but it was full, I was out of it at this point!

They were preparing to deliver my baby in the ward I was in, but they managed to get me a bed downstairs. Unfortunately, my pain relief had to stay upstairs so I went downstairs without it. My waters broke on the bed downstairs and 13 minutes later baby arrived! The staff were great, they couldn’t have acted quicker or better.

The midwife stood next to saying saying to push when she said, and not when she said not to, she was very instructional and informative. The cord was wrapped around our babies neck at one point so she stopped the delivery, sorted it out and out she came! It all felt so quick, they were so responsive.

At no point did I feel scared – I trusted them and knew they knew what they were doing. They explained everything and were really reassuring to us both.

I had 5 different midwives looking after me in total, upstairs and downstairs. All of them were great, really nice. In comparison to 3 years ago when I gave birth to my son here, I felt they treated me very differently – I cried a lot and didn’t feel like the staff wanted to help me. I was actually quite fearful of coming back but my experience this time round couldn’t have been better. For example, I told them that I didn’t want pethadine this time round because last time I felt like it prolonged the labour. They weren’t funny about it, they were absolutely fine and supported me.

There’s always the worry that you’ll have a lovely midwife and then they’ll go off shift and you’ll be left with someone awful but it wasn’t like that at all. Everyone was fantastic – and the continuity was great. They kept popping in and checking on us, but also gave us quiet time and let us know they hadn’t forgotten us.

Every member of staff has been great, really welcoming. Everyone looks happy to be here and everyone has chatted to us. It’s been lovely, all positive and we are taking our gorgeous girl home very soon we hope!

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Response from Jayne Kruszewski, Customer Relations Manager, Northern Devon Healthcare NHS Trust

Dear NSP2012

Firstly I would like to add my personal congratulations on the birth of your daughter, and thank you so much for taking the time to post such a detailed account of your recent labour and birth.

It was really pleasing to see you had such a different experience this time round, and that you were treated with such dignity and respect throughout your labour, especially important as the birth of a child is one of the most important events in a lifetime, leaving lasting memories. Having read your story there are so many postive points that I know you will have fond thoughts whenever you recall your babies' birth.

I have shared your response with the midwifery team, who I know will welcome your kind comments and benefit from your detailed account of your delivery, as patient feedback is the most direct way of striving to continually maintain and improve services.


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