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The Letter I Wished I'd Sent

In late May 2006, my daughter was born. We found out, 4 days before that she had hydrocephalus. We then found out 2 days before that she had spina bifida.

The birth was really traumatic for myself and my husband. But it needn’t have been. It was down to one grumpy very rude midwife, who treated us like something that she had just stepped in. Up until this point, the midwife who was with us was amazing, unfortunately she changed shift, just before things went completely pair shaped.

After my daughter was born, we were in a complete state of shock, grief – though we didn’t believe this at the time, anguish and joy.

I made a complaint about this midwife, to the complaints manager and was told to put it in writing. As if I didn’t have enough things to worry about. Later that day, the midwife who I had made the complaint about came into my private room, on the maternity ward, when I was on my own, and tried to dissuade me from complaining. She made me feel uncomfortable, violated and bullied by showing up in my room.

Well I did write the letter, but never got around to sending it. Now, I have found it, hidden away in a cupboard 12 years later. Reading this letter, makes me feel as raw as when I had written it.

As I had never sent it, I have decided to share it with you, and complete my final stage of closure here. I have written it to the complaints manager at the hospital. Be warned it may be hard to read as it is so personal. Names have been changed.


The Letter Of Complaint

” 14th September 2006

Dear Sharon

Things have finally settled down and I am now adjusting to being a new mum. My daughter is thriving and running her mum and dad ragged. Only now have I found the opportunity to write this letter.

When I was 39 weeks pregnant, I discovered that Emily would be born with Spina Bifida, and hydrocephalus. After the hospital had explained about Emily’s condition and what would happen immediately after her birth, we were anxious, terrified and excited about her being born. The maternity ward was briefed as to what to expect when I was in labour.

When I was in labour, most of the midwives were wonderful, they calmed myself and my husband down, and helped us relax. Doris Green was fantastic, cracking jokes, and making us feel comfortable. At this point we were expecting a natural birth.

Doris was due to finish her shift, and a midwive, who’s name I can’t remember, but it started with an ‘M’, was diabolical. Her cold hearted sentiments, and lack of empathy, completely unsettled us. She undermined Doris in front of us. ‘Why isn’t that form filled in?’ ‘Why is that on the floor?’. She barged passed my husband to move a chair and rearrange the room. To my husband ‘Clear that up!’, then to me ‘You’re having a cesarean!’ and continued to rearrange and tell people off.

My husband was beside himself, his worst fears had been realised. He was petrified for the safety of me and our unborn child. ‘M’ did nothing to reassure him, and even questioned why he wanted to phone family for reassurance.

After the birth, as I was warned by the hospital, I only saw Emily’s eye peeping out from under a blanket, and did not get to cuddle her as she was whisked off to Neonatal. ‘M’ took my husband to see her.

After ‘M’ came back, she wheeled me in my bed, into a room with just her and myself, and sat at the desk at the end of my bed not communicating with me. I wanted to call my parents, she bought in the telephone, and left it too far away from my bed and did little to help me to make the call. I asked her how much Emily weighed. She told me her weight in kgs. When I asked her, her weight in pounds, her abrupt reply was ‘I don’t have time to find that out now.’ When my husband arrived back, she spoke to him as a child, ordering him to strip wash me. When I asked when I could see my baby, I was told soon.

Two hours had past, my husband and ‘M’ had left the room and I was hysterical. My husband came back and got a nurse to see me. I told her that I wanted to see Emily, she told me that she would find out what was happening. ‘M’ came back into the room, and the demeanour of that nurse suddenly changed. From standing upright, to cowering, from confident to unsure. ‘M’ was not happy, but wheeled me in my bed to Neonatal. ‘If you had just waited, I would have take you down there’.

My ride to Neonatal wasn’t a pleasant experience either. ‘M’ banged my bed into every available wall and door there was. Another nurse asked ‘M’ if she was OK, ‘Not really’ was her reply. My first proper time with my baby was marred by ‘M’ sat in the corner a face like a bull dog, hoping that I wasn’t going to take long.

The next day that I spoke to you, Sharon, about ‘M’ and you went away to investigate. ‘M’ came into my room later that day. ‘I’m so sorry about yesterday, but your baby’s cord was wrapped around her neck and I had to act fast.’ I said, ‘are you sure?, I had a cesarean.’ ‘Oh, no, that wasn’t you, that was another lady’.

My husband and I are still coming to terms with Emily’s condition, and ‘M’s’ treatment. We have both sought counselling to help combat these feelings. I realise that ‘M’ has a lot of experience, but she should not be within 10 miles of an expectant parent! She bullies everyone she comes into contact with.

I would like to thank the theatre staff for bringing Emily safely into this world, and for their humour and distraction of the situation. Also all of the midwives who were around during my labour. (Except one).

Thank you for dealing with this complaint.

Yours sincerely

Aimee White”