"My birth experience."

About: Ipswich Hospital / Maternity

(as the patient),

The birth of my baby.

Before I was discharged at Ipswich Hospital after having my baby, I raised my concerns regarding the midwife and the doctor who looked after me that day. I then explained to the discharging doctor and the nurse that I was going to put my complaint in a writing form. I intended to do this as quickly as possible, but because of my personal circumstances it took me a few weeks to finally send it.

My husband and I arrived at Ipswich Hospital at night. We reported to the emergency department, the nurses at the reception informed the birth suite department, where a midwife came and took us to birth suite.

During my labour and birth:

I felt that the nurse and doctor on the night were not really looking after me as a person under their care, they seemed very aggressive to me and at no point did I feel they were even paying attention to what I preferred as a mother. I feel they tried to convince me to have my baby by caesarean, regardless of choice.

First, the nurse gave what I considered, wrong information about the progress of labour. The nurse said that I was only dilated to 3 but in a discharge report it was stated that I was fully dilated. Because of this I feel cheated and deceived about the progress of my labour. On my arrival I was told that meconium was present in the fluid, though there was no evidence or clear explanation about how they have come to conclude that. As I was on the baby heart monitor, I asked the nurse if I could stay on my feet and move a little bit to manage pain and achieve the advantage of force of gravity, to which she agreed on and I kept changing positions. As the labour progressed, the baby’s heart beat was in the normal range according to the monitor. Only when I changed positions we lost the reading and when contractions came, there was a slight drop in the heart beat and this was explained by the group leader that it’s normal because of contraction, the blood flow can be affected as the baby moves down. To the nurse this person seemed to make a big deal out of it and kept telling me that they were not happy with the reading. The nurse appeared so negative, even if the machine was in the normal range. I don’t even know how they explained it to the doctor who was in charge that night. The doctor just came in the birth suite early in the morning..

My experience with doctor that night was the worst experience I have ever had with a doctor and I will never forget that in my life. The doctor was so rude to me because they just came and told me that they were not happy with the way my labour was progressing and that they were going to examine me and make a prick on the baby’s head to test how the baby was going. Before the doctor started the examination they did not give me a chance to talk and hear my point of view, just rushed to remove the back support of the bed I was lying on and grabbed both of my feet and put them up (I can’t explain this very clearly, but they put me in a position like a woman in a pushing stage). The examination was very rough and it was really hurting. I was trying to tell the doctor that they were so rough and that the position they put me was very uncomfortable and disrespectful, when I believe the doctor started booming me with negative remarks. The doctor told me that I was not going to have my baby naturally, that my babies were not many years apart, that the baby’s head was not in a good position, that I was not dilated, only had dilated to 6, that the birth was going to be like my past experiences. The way the doctor handled me and talked to me, really broke my heart and put me in a helpless position. The doctor did not explain to me why they were not happy with the reading and it was in a normal range. I was made to feel like a mean mother, as if I didn’t care about my baby or my own life. I then told the doctor if you think caesarean is the only way I am going to have my baby, what is the point of doing all these invasive procedures to me, there was no point of pricking the baby’s head if the heart monitor was in a normal range. I also lost trust in the doctor because they were so rough with me and all this created fear in me that they could even harm my baby and said that I was not complying. Immediately as I was saying those words, they stopped what they were doing and started wheeling me to theatre. The nurse also gave me an injection to stop my contractions while I was in the middle of a contraction, without my consent.

All this was happening like a dream to me, which was not the way I expected it to be. I believe caesarean is a lifesaving tool that can only be used in medical emergency, but in my case there was no need to perform it. But I understand not choosing it voluntarily is not a crime, having had a caesarean once or twice should not be an excuse for health care workers to treat you so differently compared to other normal patients. I believed I was in a mental state that I could make a good decision should the doctor or the nurse give me a better explanation of the risks or the point of their concerns. On that night I totally felt belittled and humiliated by the doctor, according to them they may argue that they did what they did to save my baby, but in God’s eyes only God knows why they were treating me like that, the caesarean I had was not an emergency but instead was the doctor’s opinion. Hardly will the doctor remember what happened that night as they will have many other positive experiences in their life, but it was unfortunate for me as that experience will live with me for the rest of my life.

Summary:

• Communication was not good between me and the doctor and midwife.

• Incorrect information was given to me about progress of labour.

• Lack of patient-centred care e. g. rough handling

• Patient consent was not given by me

• My caesarean was not a medical emergency but a doctor’s opinion.

• I need answers why I was treated this way.

Responses

Response from Joy Wyatt, Senior Consumer Liaison Officer, Clinical Governance, Queensland Health - West Moreton

Dear mother concern

Thank you for having the courage to share your story.

We are really concerned about your experience and would like to offer you assistance and support. If you contact the Consumer Liaison service on 0409 275 503, we can listen to your concerns and organise for your questions to be answered.

Please be assured this offer of assistance is genuine and we are happy to help in any way we can.

Joy Wyatt

Senior Consumer Liaison Officer

West Moreton Hospital and Health Service

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