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"My birth experience and care plan"

About: King Edward Memorial Hospital

(as the patient),

Throughout my pregnancy, I was in the care of a midwife from MPG5. They were amazing from start to finish. I am a sexual assault survivor and suffer PTSD, I had many concerns surrounding birth. We developed a sensitive care plan which only seemed to be followed by my midwife, in my opinion. I was induced early and it was clear to me the midwife had not read my plan, that made me anxious about what was to come. When it was time to enter the labour ward, my midwife was by my side and I had complete confidence in them and their abilities, theydid an amazing job of bringing my little girl into the world.

I ended up with a second-degree tear and grazing. A particular doctor with, I felt, a terrible bedside manner barged into the room to stitch me up. I believe it seemed as surprising to the midwife as it did to me. They stood behind this doctor keeping eye contact with me and asked if I was ok with this. I was because they were there.

After the birth of my baby and my time in the labour ward I was wheeled upstairs into ward 3 (I think), it was a four birth room partitioned with curtains. Clearly an overflow ward in my opinion.

By this time I had been awake for a few days and it was now day 3, I had sneaked in a couple of naps before giving birth, no more than a few hours.

In this overflow ward, I felt vulnerable, exhausted, overtired and unsure of this baby in my care.

One of the ladies in the ward had her partner and child visit (during a time of birth partner visitors only), during this time I needed to feed my child but I was more concerned about the toddler running through my curtains than I was with breastfeeding. I felt very uneasy and already lacked confidence in what I was doing.

Other women in the ward were on their phones, who I felt were talking loudly when all I wanted was sleep.

By the time I could sleep another woman's child was crying out loud to be fed, I couldn't use earplugs for fear of not waking up to my child.

By the next day after midnight-ish, a lovely midwife took my baby into the office so I could get sleep. Around a few short hours later, I was woken by a male doctor to insert another cannula as my other one had failed/moved. I was told prior I wouldn't need it so his visit was a shock.

I felt extremely anxious after being woken up by a man alone in my curtained room. I know it's his job and I know he needed to do it, but I didn't feel comfortable or safe. I finally got rest after crying myself to sleep.

I really feel like it was pointless to have a sensitive care plan, I feel it was false hope of security.

I felt horrible, I felt vulnerable, I felt like my needs weren't even thought of and I felt really let down.

Now I completely understand that KEMH was extremely busy, understaffed I believe and under-equipped but it really felt that mental health issues were the last thing to be cared for.

I hope this feedback can generate a talking point. I was lucky but I believe other survivors may not be, these conditions are very thought-provoking and someone having a harder time than I was might just be triggered and I hate to think how detrimental that is to the bonding of mother and child.

I applaud the midwife group practice, but I believe the care needs to extend past that.


Response from Jessica Pougnault, Director, Safety, Quality, Performance and Organisational Culture, Women and Newborn Health Service 2 weeks ago
Jessica Pougnault
Director, Safety, Quality, Performance and Organisational Culture,
Women and Newborn Health Service
Submitted on 28/04/2021 at 18:21
Published on Care Opinion on 29/04/2021 at 08:54

Dear Lefty91,

I would thank you for sharing your birthing story with me. I am incredibly sorry that your birthing experience at Women’s Newborn Health Service (WNHS) was a negative one.

I acknowledge your past experiences and concerns of birth, and I am sorry to hear that your developed sensitive care plan expectations were not met by ward staff and midwives. I apologise for the emotional distress this caused you and that you felt mental health was not made a priority, this is not the level of care that we strive for as a health service.

I understand the overwhelming feelings of emotion post birth and sympathise with you that you felt vulnerable and exhausted, and apologise that there was a lack of privacy for you to rest and breastfeed your newborn.

I am disappointed to read that you felt the doctor did not deliver a reasonable service in relation to your afterbirth surgery, as this is not our care etiquette at WNHS. We would like the opportunity to discuss this important issue with you, so that we can investigate your concerns and provide you with more specific response. Should you wish for this to occur, you can contact the KEMH Consumer Liaison Service on (08) 6458 1444 to arrange this.

I would like to reassure you that your feedback on your experience has been communicated to the staff involved and that feedback such as yours is used to improve our services.

I would like to congratulate you on the birth of your little one and wish you and your family all the best for the future.

Kind regards,

Jessica Pougnault

A/Executive Director

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