Midwife Mayhem

What is happening with maternity care? Everyday we read about the possibility of Chase Farm Hospital closing and now this Midwife Mayhem story appears in the local paper.

I gave birth to my twins Poppy and Harry in Chase Farm Hospital on April 17th this year and can tell you that a midwife’s lot does not appear to be a happy one.

What I noticed from my first hand experience in hospital was that midwives are working an exhausting 12 hour shift. They have to be extremely flexible and have great endurance. For example the midwife that helped me through labour came on shift at 7.30pm expecting to be on the general ward looking after 30+ pregnant women (a feat in itself) and ended up supporting me through labour up to 4am without a break! I’m sure the EU would have something to say about that.

There is a lack of stability and every day is different.  Other Labour wards such as Barnet could be closed for a night creating more work in Chase Farm (this is a common occurrence) or indeed Chase Farm Labour unit could close and make for a quieter day for the midwives.

Imagine being 9 months pregnant and going into labour. You phone Chase Farm Labour Ward and they tell you that they are closed. How scary is that? You have received all your ante natal treatment there and are then told to contact another labour ward in another hospital such as Barnet or North Middlesex hospitals but there are no guarantees that they will be open either.

I only managed to have my babies after waiting 3 days to be induced because Chase Farm’s Labour Ward was closed to new admissions on that Saturday night.

Sickness levels appeared to be high causing strain on the staff who are working, this clearly affects staff morale. All the uncertainty that surrounds our local hospital and the care that they provide is affecting morale which in itself contributes to staff being sick.

I received fantastic ante natal, labour and post natal care in Chase Farm Hospital despite the apparently terrible organisation of the care trust and this is due to the committed staff.

I want clarity from our politicians in simple terms so we understand what is being proposed. It is a hot potato that our back bencher MPs are not leading on.

Running for TAMBA

My husband Jonathan is running the Great North Run 2011 in aid of TAMBA (Twins and Multiple Births Association).

They have been the source of help and support in the lead up and following the birth of our twins Harry and Poppy.

Jon is featured on the TAMBA website here https://www.tamba.org.uk/sslpage.aspx?pid=933&srctid=1&erid=908846

and Jon’s Just Giving page is here http://www.justgiving.com/Jon-Daniels-TAMBA

I am considering running but worry it may not work as I would have to run with the twins!

The Birth of Our Twins

After 9 hours of labour I gave birth to our twins!

A wonderful experience and a roller coaster of emotion, pain, adrenalin, self control, lack of control and much more.

My labour was induced and I had booked into Chase Farm Hospital on Thursday 14th April. I was still waiting to be induced 2 days later and resigned myself to spending another uneventful day on the hospital ward. I dressed and went for a few walks around the hospital grounds hoping that gravity would help nature take its course and bring on labour…. to no avail.

Being in hospital meant that my babies hearts were monitored at regular intervals; today the babies heart rates were higher than the acceptable range so the doctor agreed to take me to Labour Ward to be properly induced.

When I arrived in Labour Ward I was having contractions every 10 minutes and they were all quite bearable. The next few hours were spent by me and my husband doing the Daily Mail crossword; as you can imagine I didn’t get many of the answers correct.

In my birth plan I had requested that I have a natural delivery and that I only have a caesarian section if there was an emergency. I discussed this with the doctor who would be delivering and she said that “We like natural deliveries”. We then went on to discuss what pain relief I would be using.

I had checked the pain relief available and had decided I would try to not use any of the options as I thought that by the time the pain was unbearable I would be in the second stage of labour, ready to deliver, and  it would be too late to change my mind about drugs.

My main pain relief was my ipod! I had a variety of playlists from relaxing Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin to the Foo Fighters and Marc Bolan and went through different sounds during my 9 hour labour. It may sound ridiculous but the music helped me so much as a distraction and as mood setting.

I was disappointed that things I had learnt in Ante Natal class such as using a birthing ball or a birthing bath in labour were not really practical due to the baby heart monitors. Any movements could nudge the monitors so even walking around the delivery room proved difficult.

The contractions were becoming unbearably painful by about midnight (5 hours into labour) but I stuck with no pain relief. I stood up, sat down, lay down, rocked back and forth to get through it. One of the things that really helped was the breathing and a suggestion from my husband to actually count through the contaction knowing that after 20 seconds the pain would have subsided.

At the second stage of labour the Operating Theatre was prepared as it is normal procedure at Chase Farm to deliver multiple babies in an Operating Theatre and that a midwife, a pediatrician, a doctor and more are required per baby. I think there were about 12 people in theatre not including me and my husband! During the second stage of labour there is absolutely no pain in-between the contractions, such a relief,  so you get several minutes of resting between each push.

My first beautiful baby was delivered at 3.45am and whisked away for me to continue with my second delivery, I didn’t even know the sex of my first babe. My second baby followed 5 minutes later by forceps delivery. I could see straight away that Twin 2 was a boy. We had a girl and a boy!

We are the luckiest people in the world!