"My birth story was not what I had anticipated but was made a positive rather than terrifying experience by all of the staff"

About: Kirwan Community Health The Townsville Hospital / Maternity Unit

(as the patient),

I had my previous child at another hospital and was referred to Townsville Hospital for baby number 2. I was able to research all of the care options available to me on the hospital website before my first appointment and chose Midwifery Group Practice as my model of care.

There were 2 midwives in this group, Helen and Aysha, with Aysha being my primary caregiver. I was able to attend most of my clinic appointments at the Kirwan Health Campus around the corner from my home with very minimal waiting time. I was able to contact Aysha or Helen at any time via their mobile numbers. I had high consistency of care which was fantastic.

At 41 weeks I had a doctors appointment to discuss my options. The doctor I had for this appointment was Ben. He clearly outlined my options and never made me feel like I had to choose one option over another or that I could make a 'wrong' decision. I made the decision to try induction later in the week as my baby was still sitting very high.

When I came in for induction, I was checked via external and internal methods as well as ultrasound and found that my baby had an unstable lie and induction would be risky. It was at this point that Dr Danny - Director of Obstetrics and Gynecology came to speak to me. He checked me over, he sat beside me on the bed and he spoke to me honestly and like a person rather than looming down on me from above with clinical terms and statistics. He included my family in the discussion as well.

I made the decision to have a caesarean at that point as I felt it would be safest for my baby. Dr Ben prepared me for this procedure and everything was explained clearly. I was fit onto an emergency list and was able to head to theatre later that day. Ben would lead the operation, Aysha would receive my baby and Danny was going to take some photos as a keepsake of the event. I also met Sam the anesthetist at this point who was again very calm and relaxed and explained everything to me clearly. He was at my head checking drips and lines and letting me know what was going on through the whole thing.

Afterward Ben came to see me in recovery and explain how things had gone and to check in. We were transferred to the maternity ward where I spent 3 nights being cared for by some amazing people. I can't remember all of the names but Anna, Jodie and Robyn were all stand outs. It was very difficult feeling so incapacitated and in pain which was different to my first birth experience. I felt confident that each time I pressed my buzzer, I would be greeted by a smile and a pair of hands ready to help me and my baby however we needed.

Ben came to see me on my last day despite the fact that I had been discharged from obstetrics and Danny sent me the most amazing photos of my baby's arrival. I am now back at home and receiving at home care with Aysha. My birth story was not what I had anticipated when I fell pregnant but was made a positive rather than terrifying experience by all of the staff at Townsville Hospital!

Responses

Response from Julie Shepherd, Nurse Manager Patient Experience, Patient Services; Clinical Governance Directorate, Townsvillle Hospital and Health Services

Dear Mummyof2,

Firstly, let me congratulate you on the birth of your baby! Congratulations!

Thank you so very much for sharing such a personal and warm story about your experience with our kind and caring hospital staff. Taking the time to tell us how you were made to feel throughout your birth journey is truly valued especially knowing you are a ‘mummy of 2’, which is a really busy time!

You have highlighted some really important points in your story to remind us how important it is to care for others with respect and to value their preferences and choices. Knowing that you had short waiting times at Kirwan, that your midwives Helen and Aysha, provided you with consistent care and that they made themselves available at any time for you really shows their commitment and dedication and how well you have been cared for.

When you describe how your doctors spoke openly and honestly with you, included your family and provided you with choices shows that they truly valued you as a person. These doctors are obviously experts in their communication skills as you were made to feel confident even when your journey turned out not to be what you anticipated. This could have been a very difficult time for you, but instead you describe how you were kept informed and felt confident which is reassuring to know.

It is inspirational to read your story as it also shows how the little things, like a smile, taking some photos for you or popping in to see you before discharge can truly make the difference between a positive rather than terrifying experience. Your story describes a picture of true caring and professionalism by a team that is dedicated and skillful in what they do.

It will be an absolute privilege to deliver your story to the Managers of the Health & Wellbeing and Surgical Service Groups and who, I know will ensure the staff, especially the staff members you’ve mentioned, will be acknowledged for their great work - Helen and Aysha, doctors Ben, Danny and Sam and the standout nurses in Maternity Ward - Anna, Jodie and Robyn.

Thank you Mummyof2 for so generously giving us the gift of your heartfelt feedback that reminds us to continue to do your best to provide excellent patient experiences every time.

I wish you and your family all the very best for the future,

With warm regards,

Julie Shepherd

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