I’ve got three children and there’s six years between child 2 and 3 – and I found it amazing how much care had changed in those few years.
I have a medical condition which means that during the latter stages of pregnancy, I needed to be monitored constantly at the local hospital in Swindon so moved out of the GP’s care from about week 28.
Up to then I found the care to be fine, no worries at all and things went on well. In fact when I came under the care of the hospital, it just got to be a bit boring to continually be traipsing up and down to the hospital and spending three weeks trying to find a parking space. But again the care was wonderful.
Having my son was fine, the labour ward was caring and provided the one-to-one care I needed – in fact I’d go further. I had a big bleed after his birth and the team saved my life by acting instantly to sort me out. (no more babies for me then)
What was interesting was the after care this time.
I was put in a ward with one other mum, and we were told we’d been put there because we had multiple children so we could get on with it.
This was fine for most of the time but not at meal-times.
Meals were not brought around to your bed any more – you had to go into the corridor and queue up near a hot food dispenser to collect your meal.
This is fine if you can walk easily (often not the case if you’ve just had a baby) and if you are not breast-feeding.
On one occasion, as I was doing the latter, I asked the nurse to bring me my food. She agreed and turned up with my meal two hours later. It was completely inedible and that’s not funny when you’ve just had a baby. Luckily my lovely hubby, who spent every available minute with me, went out and bought me food.
Apart from that I saw no staff at all unless I went out and found them, we were left completely alone. In the end we developed a rota where we’d look after each other’s baby while the other went to the toilet, had a bath etc.
I also asked once if someone could come and remind me how to bath a new baby (it had been six years). That did happen but it took hours.
Bizarrely alongside this do-it-yourself care, the doctor who had deal with me after a traumatic bleed, came to see me each day of the four days I was in hospital to see how I was – I kept thinking that it must have been worse than I’d realised.
So for me, it wasn’t the mid-wife or the emergency care – it was the basic needs in the post-natal ward that were sadly lacking.
That was four years ago, I hope women in Swindon are receiving a more rounded care package now – especially if it’s your first baby when you just feel all at sea.