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"Child birth and aftercare"

About: King Edward Memorial Hospital / Adult Special Care Unit King Edward Memorial Hospital / Maternity

(as the patient),

At 41 weeks gestation, I consented to a vaginal exam performed by my midwife. I was told this would be uncomfortable but not painful. This exam took much longer than I thought it would, and I found it to be extremely painful - just as painful as my labour contractions. This experience made me fearful of getting more vaginal exams during my labour. 

I was over 41 weeks gestation when my waters broke the night before I was due to be induced. I laboured at home until I had to report to the hospital, where I had to have antibiotics because active labour had not started. One midwife helped me express colostrum into a syringe and let me have a shower while I was waiting for a labour suite to become available. Several hours later I was given access to a labour suite where I spent the night and the following morning labouring in a birth pool.

Unfortunately, I had to have constant fetal monitoring which I found really annoying as the midwives were constantly fiddling with the doppler to get a reading of my baby's heart rate. I found this to be extremely annoying because I just wanted to be left alone and didn't want anyone touching me. The constant fetal monitoring would easily be the most frustrating part of my labour experience. 

As I was still labouring 36 hours after my waters broke, I was starting to tire and my body felt completely exhausted. My contractions became weaker and shorter, which meant that I couldn't push or bear down. I was advised by my midwife and visiting doctor that an instrumental delivery may be necessary. I was visited by the surgeon and the anaesthetist who would be with me in the theatre. They both explained the benefits and risks involved. I ended up consenting to medical intervention because I felt that my body could not continue labouring on its own. 

In theatre, I was advised that I needed to have a forceps delivery because the baby's head was too high to use a suction cap. The surgeon also recommended an episiotomy to reduce the chance of a perineal tear, which I consented to. When I caught sight of the forceps covered in my blood, I was shocked at the size of them. They are really long and big! The thought of those things inside me made me feel scared and sad too.

When my baby was delivered, she was placed on my chest and was drenched in my blood. I wasn't able to have skin-to-skin contact or breastfeed because I suffered internal tears and a hemorrhage that needed to be stitched up. I was impressed that without having to be asked, a staff member played music and took photos on my phone as was requested in my birth plan. I was in theatre for a few hours before I was briefly taken to another ward, and then finally to the Adult Intensive Care Unit. 

In the AICU, my baby and I were looked after by a midwife, who managed my pain relief and all my other needs. She gave my baby the expressed colostrum that I had collected earlier and helped me breastfeed. The following day, I was visited by a team of doctors who checked on my progress. I was pleased that there was this continuity of care from the doctors, who seemed genuinely interested in my recovery. The doctors asked about my pain levels and mainly wanted to manage my pain and blood loss.

The surgeon who delivered my baby pulled out thick wadding that they had stuffed into my vagina to stop the bleeding. When they did this, I felt some pain and was also shocked because I didn't know that wadding had been placed inside me. 

The midwife I had at the AICU was brilliant and cared for me and my baby extremely well. She was attentive, caring, compassionate, and gentle. After a shocking birth experience, her approach was exactly what I needed to help me recover. She helped me to feel like a Mum and not just a patient. She listened to me and tried to help me feel better as much as she could. 

The next morning, when I was able to pass urine and take a shower by myself, I was discharged from the AICU and delivered by wheelchair to another ward, where I spent one night and the following day. All the midwives I encountered during my stay were very helpful and I was very impressed with the level of care I received. 

Even though I had a few unfortunate experiences and my birth was not what I wanted, I wouldn't hesitate to go back to KEMH. In my opinion, the staff are extremely knowledgeable and skilled at what they do, and there is a strong culture of showing care and compassion towards women during a significant and emotional time in their lives. 

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Response from Jodi Graham, Executive Director, Sir Charles Gairdner Osborne Park Health Care Group nearly 2 years ago
Jodi Graham
Executive Director,
Sir Charles Gairdner Osborne Park Health Care Group
Submitted on 28/05/2021 at 4:18 PM
Published on Care Opinion on 1/06/2021 at 8:54 AM

picture of Jodi Graham

Dear Banjo00,

Congratulations on the birth of your baby. Thank you for taking the time to provide feedback regarding your experience with the Women and Newborn Health Service (WNHS).

I am terribly sorry to hear that certain aspects of your labour journey caused you stress, fear and frustration. We rely on feedback such as yours to ensure that we maintain our standard of service by recognising our mistakes and identifying where improvements can be made. Despite the challenges that you faced, I am so pleased to hear that you received the care you needed to support you through your labour and the birth of your baby by the midwives and other staff in our Adult Special Care Unit (ASCU). Our staff strive to provide our patients and their families with the support to achieve positive outcomes during their pregnancy journey, particularly when birthing plans are changed unexpectedly, such as your experience.

Once again, thank you for providing us with this feedback. I wish you and your family all the best for the future.

Kind regards

Jodi Graham

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