When does a pregnant woman get treated as a pregnant woman

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When we went to see the midwife at 8 weeks she told us that we would have a consultant led pregnancy. There were a few reasons for this, Gracie was born by an emergency C-section after a long drawn out labour and Mummy Hew previously having a procedure on her cervix – remember ladies #nofeargosmear. We had our 12 week scan, in fact we had a 10 and 13 week scan which were both good. Baby Hew No2 is growing quite nicely. We had the downs testing done and it came back less than 1 in a 1000. At this point we were quite happy with how everything was progressing.

We booked an appointment with the Consultant. We had to take Gracie with us as it was the day after New Years Day and the Nursery wasn’t open. We booked in at reception and took a seat in the waiting room. Our appointment was at 09:00, the first of the day. Half an hour passed and we were still sat there. Gracie was doing OK and was playing with another child in the waiting room. After 45 minutes a nurse comes through to the waiting room and tells Mummy Hew that no one can get hold of the consultant. A few other expecting mothers were also waiting, one turns to us and says ‘she’s always late, I waited 2 hours for her last time’

We were happy to wait in the waiting room. Gracie had her corn flakes (she didn’t fancy them at home) and we were chatting away, comparing the lateness to other organisations and company’s, deciding how the consultant should be suitably punished. It was bloody hot. So much so, one of the Expect my mums passed out, poor sod. Gracie let out a massive fart and blamed Mummy Hew, I don’t know where she gets it from!

10:30 the consultant arrives. No rush. Strolls across the waiting room and settles in her surgery. 10:45 she calls us through. She did apologise for being late and explained that she had a bad back. She looked over Mummy Hew’s pregnancy notes and also through the pregnancy notes for Gracie’s pregnancy. It took her about 30 seconds to look at the notes and she closed the book and sat back in her chair. She told us there is no reason for Mummy Hew to have a C-section (our preference is to have a planned C) so she will see us a 41 weeks if Baby Hew No2 hasn’t arrived.

We didn’t really know what to say or what we should have expected. We talked through the discussion we had with the midwife and that we wanted a planed C-section, the reasons why etc etc. She smirked and told us that there is only a 1 in 200 chance that Mummy Hew’s scar would split and that 75% of vaginal births after C-section are successful. And that was that, we were sent on our way. WTF happens to the other 25% of births? What is defined an an unsuccessful pregnancy?She pissed us off. It wasn’t the information that was being told to us, it was the way we were made to feel. Not only was she bloody late she was taking to us like we were a pair of teenagers who where into the latest craze and telling us we hadn’t been good enough for it. I expected her to be more professional, more empathetic, I expected her to understand the concerns and worries we have. At least hear me out when I say Mummy Hew already has a scar on her tummy, I don’t want one on her bits too (he jokes).

Leaving the appointment we didn’t feel supported. We felt deflated and Mummy Hew felt totally out of control in her own body. We had a follow up appointment with the midwife who explains that the particular consultant we saw can be a bit rude sometimes and that she will provide feedback. I don’t see how this is acceptable. There must be hundreds of women who see this consultant each year, why is it acceptable to be rude to people. Especially as the patients she is dealing with are often going through complications in their pregnancy. Anyway, we raised our concerns and will be referred to a different consultant. So fingers crossed.

A few weeks had passed and we had moved on from the consultant appointment. We got home from work and Mummy Hew took herself to the loo to have a wee (she’s very good like that and can use the toilet all by herself). She noticed some blood on the tissue. I won’t go into the gory details but it wasn’t fresh and only a small amount. We tried to call the midwife on the phone number in Mummy Hew’s pregnancy book but it wasn’t recognised. We tried to google a phone number. That wasn’t recognised either. We found a number and stay on hold to the maternity unit but no one answered. I remembered that Mummy Hew had a call from the midwife earlier in the week and told her to call her back on the number she called on. The midwife answered and said that because we are not at 20 weeks we should go to A&E. So I call one of our friends to watch Gracie and off we go.

We arrive in A&E, feeling a bit or of place, we check in at reception. We sit in another sweaty waiting room. This time there are a mix of people, one drunk, one with a swollen ankle, one with a bumped head, a few elderly people, we don’t feel like she should have been there. We sit and wait. And wait. And wait. Why does it feel like everyone is getting seen before us.

After 3 hours a nurse calls us through. She asks Mummy Hew how she’s feeling, checks her blood pressure and asked if she wants some pain killers….I think she missed the bit where she said she wasn’t in any pain and explained the spot bleed. She goes on to tell us that there is a further 3 hour wait to see a Dr. Now don’t get me wrong, I get that the Drs were dealing with other patients but 6 hours before we even get to see a Dr. It doesn’t seam right. If we were a week and a day further into the pregnancy we would have gone to maternity triage and a midwife could have done an assessment and check the baby’s heart beat.

We went back to the waiting room and debated whether to stay or go. We made the decision to go. Mummy Hew didn’t have any other bleeding nor was she in any pain or discomfort. Our trusted friend Google informs us the a bit of spot bleeding in the 2nd and 3rd trimester is deemed normal and could be caused by a number of things. I recognise that this is not the decision that everyone would make. I also recognise the guidance is that if you have any bleeding you should see a Dr. We made a balanced decision and have booked an appointment the midwife.

I find the NHS incredibly frustrating at times. These two occasions have put us in a position where we didn’t feel that being pregnant counted for anything. We weren’t expecting to jump queues or receive any special treatment, just an acknowledgment that there is a baby in there. Why can you not see a midwife at hospital until week 20? Where does this deadline come from? When does a pregnant woman get treated as a pregnant women.

As it stands we feel a lack of trust and confidence in the NHS. I know they are busy and underfunded but that’s no excuses for a lack of care and empathy and that’s what we’re feeling at the moment.

5 thoughts on “When does a pregnant woman get treated as a pregnant woman

  1. I used NHS to have my daughter they were so bad when I was in labour (putting the blood pressure monitor on the same arm as drip and pushing my blood in to the IV bag. Also trying to change the bed covers around he as I was trying to push). I found them to be terrible. I hope you have some better luck and congratulations on baby number 2.

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  2. I’ve had the same…. consultant led in all three of my pregnancies and yes, I’ve also had some bleeding. Does your local hospital not have an EPAU (early pregnancy assessment unit) I always go here due to problems in previous pregnancies and it was them who scanned me and diganosed my most recon MC at 8/9 weeks . Hope you and your wife are ok x

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  3. I simply don’t understand how a baby less than 20 weeks old does not fall under maternity care, what possible reason can there be for that.

    My wife and I had a similarly disappointing experience with a consultant. We were told at the point of booking the meeting (two months in advance no less) that our notes from the emergency c-section birth of our first child would be available when we saw the consultant so we could discuss what type of birth would be appropriate given the nightmare that was birth number one. When we got before the consultant she advised us that such notes are never provided for the first meeting and that process is she writes to the other hospital and requests a summary of the notes. The summary ‘might’ be available for our second consultant meeting, which is at 36 weeks….

    So, rather than request the notes at the point of booking the damn meeting, two months in advance, as would be the obvious and sensible option, the consultant’s advice regarding what type of birth would be appropriate was based solely on our recollection of what happened in hospital nearly three years ago (which, I should add, we’ve never really understood). But fear not! Go back at 36 weeks when those notes ‘might’ be available to discuss whether the decision is still a safe one…

    It’s particularly disappointing, both our consultant experience and what you’ve said in your post, because the staff for our first birth were almost entirely amazing – it really surprised me how well the NHS seemed to function on that occasion!

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