Year of baby's birth
Satisfaction with care from midwives:
Satisfaction with care from obstetricians:
Satisfaction with care from GP:
Satisfaction with quality of processes/facilities:
Satisfaction with birth experience overall:
Model of care
GP/hospital shared care
Why did you choose this model of care?
What were your choices for this birth?
Unmedicalised birth process, Birth support team of my choice (no visitor restrictions), Vaginal birth after caesarean (VBAC)
How did your birth start?
Spontaneous labour (started naturally)
What were your outcomes?
Birth support team of my choice, CTG monitoring (continuous monitoring of baby's heartbeat), Instinctive pushing (ie not coached), Vaginal birth, Physiological 3rd stage (natural placenta birth without syntocinon), Vaginal Birth after Caesaren (VBAC), Obstetric violence (eg denied care, forced into decisions, touched without consent, yelled at)
Did you feel you could say No to care/treatments offered (or change your mind about your choices) at any time?
Details of experience
I would like to provide feedback about my recent experience with PDH maternity, especially considering it is advertised as a ‘woman-led service’. It is a woman’s right to choose what kind of antenatal care she receives, and they should be respected even if they aren’t following your usual processes. I was treated disrespectfully by one midwife in particular for not aligning with her views/beliefs. This is not woman-led care. Not every woman feels it is necessary to see an obstetrician, especially one they are not comfortable with. However, there was one midwife who should be recognised for her true approach to woman-led care, as she provided care and support without pushing her own personal beliefs and agenda. It is standard in many other maternity care models for midwives to provide the primary care of pregnant women and deliver babies without the assistance of an obstetrician, so I am unsure why it should have been such a big deal that I did not wish to see one. This was my choice, and I was under the care of a doctor whom I felt comfortable with and is respectful, far from my experiences with the obstetrician at the hospital.
I also did not appreciate having the head midwife call me telling me all the things that can go wrong with VBACS, especially having never met, or dealt with her before. Although I understood her concerns about my wish to birth at home and she was well-intentioned and polite, this is an inappropriate thing to do to a woman who is about to give birth. I was already very aware of the small chance of risks associated with VBACS. Many of the things she said in that phone conversation, particularly how quick they are to intervene with VBACS, really made me feel even less comfortable coming to hospital. However, when speaking to an obstetrician at the Warrnambool hospital it was explained that it was very much like a normal birth. There was no fear mongering or pushing of opinions. It is fair enough that medical professionals have had their own experiences and fears related to that, but it is not fair to push those on other people. Especially when many poor outcomes result from interventions, exactly what I wanted to avoid.
Brochures were also dropped in my letterbox about the risks of having a ‘small baby’ despite scan and measurements being around average (which are not precise measures anyway). My 20 week scan actually had an EDD of 9 days earlier than the more precise dating scans which obviously was not checked or considered, but even still my baby was measuring above what is considered risky. The information provided states that small babies fall in the 10th percentile, so I am unsure why this was provided, and was not explained during appointments. Luckily, I was aware of all this, however providing such inaccurate information to someone who wasn’t aware could have induced serious unwarranted fear. My baby was born a perfect size.
At my birth I luckily had the midwife who continued to display the definition of woman-led care. She got down on my level, speaking softly and gently. The other midwife, who was clearly disapproving of my choices, spoke to me sternly and stood over me with her arms crossed. Her attitude and manner negatively affected my experience. I wanted to have my cervix checked but the midwives said they don’t feel confident or very good at doing cervical checks. I was confused, from my past birthing experience this was part of what midwives do. So they called the obstetrician in to do it, something I was really uncomfortable with. He straight away said that I needed to have blood taken and a cannula put in “in case I need to be rushed into surgery”. He didn’t make it sound like it was optional and I refused both feeling it was unnecessary. Telling a woman about to give birth that she might get rushed into surgery is also not very appropriate. I understand sometimes that may happen but can be dealt with if it arises, as can inserting a cannula. My bloods were on file so that was also completely unnecessary.
The cervix check was extremely painful, so I yelled to stop which he ignored and continued to get the job done. Regardless of providing initial consent this is not acceptable, as he was asked to stop.
During stage 2 of labour, someone in another room yelled out ‘shut up’ which the midwife also commented ‘well there is other patients here’. This was not a very supportive response, especially when I physically could not be quiet anyway.
As soon as I birthed my baby the obstetrician came in stating we must get the placenta out and that I’d have to take the Pitocin. I had already declined this prior to the birth and signed a refusal. This should have been respected. I had to ask the midwife and the obstetrician to move away from me (they were standing over the bed) as they were interfering with the natural process of birthing the placenta which needs an undisturbed environment where I can bond with my baby. This is basic knowledge, but obviously against his usual processes. My support people had to physically block them from me by standing in front of them, then the obstetrician stated he was going home and if I bleed out send me to the Warrnambool hospital. This does not seem like appropriate bedside manner. The placenta detached perfectly on its own. I took my perfectly healthy baby straight home, wishing I had just stayed at home so I did not have to fight so hard to have my preferences adhered to for the unassisted birth I wished for.