…these are the signs you quite often see displayed in various NHS establishments. Next time I walk into one particular establishment I will be wearing a sign that says “Rude staff with zero empathy or customer focus will not be treating me today!”
What gives these ‘so-called’ professionals the right to make such a statement, when today, and not for the first time, I experienced first hand from a “so-called’ professional, behaviour that seems to be more increasingly an ‘essential’ for fulfilling such roles. No customer service, unfriendly, rude and for this particular individual “allergic to Essex” her words not mine! There was certainly a lack of professional behaviour on display today – maybe it was “leave your customer service at home day” and I missed the press release?
Today was my 21 week scan. I had spent the last few days feeling rather quite anxious about the whole thing and had started the day feeling a little emotional, although quite pleased that I was still only 8lbs on at this stage; this was short lived!
My appointment was at the Broomfield Maternity Unit in Chelmsford at 11.20am. We were running a few minutes behind, but were confident we would just make it if I jumped out while Mark parked the car. I rushed up to 4th floor and arrived at the reception desk at 11.22am, by their clock – to be greeted by no-one; the reception desk was empty! I stood and waited and 2 minutes later Mark arrived, 11.24. We both waited and about 11.30 one of the sonographers came out and asked if we were being seen to, to which we replied “no”. She said “Don’t worry, ######*, will be with you shortly, she has just had to step away from the desk”. We continued to wait and just before 11.35am, ######*, arrived back, no apology for keeping us waiting and asked for my name, which I gave her and she told us take a seat.
She then dealt with a phone call for a few minutes, and conferred with another member of staff – who later turned out to be our sonographer – about a lady who was on a trolley and needed to be seen to. Her colleague then went of to confer with someone else. ######*, then called over to us and asked me my name again, it seemed at this point she entered me onto the system, the time now being way past 11.35am. The colleague returned to ######* and said something about someone else dealing with the lady, and went back through to the examination rooms. She then returned and called my name, it is now almost 11.40am.
As Mark and I entered the room she said “is there a reason you were 15 minutes late? Was there a problem with parking?” I was a little taken aback and replied “Oh, we were a minute or so late, I got here about 11.22am? “no you didn’t” she replied, “I was waiting in reception for you at that time”. Mark jumped in at this point and said “well, I arrived a couple of minutes after Sarah, and I arrived at 11.24 – so we were only a couple of minutes late”. She didn’t make any response and told me to get on the couch.
She made no attempt to be friendly or make me feel at ease, to her it seemed I was just another name on the system. She offered no real explanation to what she was doing, but did ask if wanted to find out the sex and pointed out her measuring the head and stomach. Mark asked a question, which was met with a short sharp answer and when I tried to say something to lighten the atmosphere, there was, again, no response. She did apologise for sniffing alot and after saying it was hayfever said “actually, I think it’s Essex I am allergic to”.
She seemed to have no real trouble in getting the information she needed, or at least never made any reference to any difficulties, other than when it came to the heart, face and sex as the baby was facing my back so it was hard to see. She asked me to go to the toilet and move around a bit to see if this made any difference, which I did. I returned to the couch and she carried on with her assessment, she seemed to get what she needed – and verbally confirmed that from what she had seen that everything looked ok. When it came to the sexing part, she did it so quickly that I have no confidence in what she told us, and she barely seemed interested either. To be honest I could not wait for it to be over.
We paid for our picture and she handed us the report. As I made my way to another of the receptions to make another ante-natal appointment, I glanced at the report and staring right back at me was the following text “TECHNICALLY DIFFICULT SCAN AND SUBOPTIMAL ULTRASOUND VIEWS DUE TO INCREASED PATIENT BMI” I had to read it several times. At no time throughout the examination had she made any reference to any ‘difficulties’ other than the baby facing the wrong way to get a good view of the heart and face, or indeed any mention of my size. She might as well have written “PATIENT WAS TOO FAT TO GET A GOOD PICTURE”.
I know I’m not skinny, I’ve been telling myself that for the last 20 years, AND I’m already conscious that I am heavier than where I want to be – something I have mentioned in previous posts.
Was a statement like that really necessary, when she seemed to think that everything was ok? Or was this the catch all statement “well, I think everything is ok, but because I couldn’t really see properly, then I’m actually not really sure? So if anything actually turns out to be wrong, then I am not responsible” – what am I to think – is everything ok or not? Is the sex you gave us right or not? Why put it on there, what was the point? What did it mean? Was it because you believed we were late and you thought this was pay back?
What if I was mentally unstable or had weight issues? She had no idea. These comments certainly made me feel that all my good efforts of only an 8lb gain were pointless. What should have been an exciting day, has actually turned out to be completely the opposite.
So today, #### ##########*, I am naming and shaming you and the receptionist ######* for your unprofessional behaviour, lack of empathy & customer service, your apparent lack of passion for what you do, jumping to conclusions and rude behaviour. You have not only let me down, but the rest of your customers, your NHS Trust and for what you represent.
Yours in speaking out…
*NB – 16.08pm Thursday 21 February. I have made the choice to redact the names of the individuals involved following a personal call, to Mark from Peter Davis, Clinical Director at Broomfield Hospital. After an apology he made a personal plea to Mark , that he ask me to consider doing this. Whilst, I stick by my original reason for including these, and my risk assessment in terms of breaching any laws that govern my doing so, I have made my point and as a gesture of goodwill to Peter Davis, I have made the redaction. I will however, reserve the right to reinstate this information at any given time. I will be penning an open letter to Peter Davis in response to his phone call.
All I could do was, try to sit on a stool that I could only really get half my arse on, in something that I didn’t really want to wear, but that fitted me, and look longingly at the beer, wine and cocktails and wish that I could join in.
Although, to be fair, no pants, not even Bridget Jones ones will help in this case!!
So this week marks my halfway point of this pregnancy, and also a definite turning point in my physical and mental state!!
Having recovered from the flu and then a chest infection, I am feeling completely exhausted! Mostly due to late nights, lack of sleep and early mornings – not a great combination at the best of times, let alone when you are trying to cook a baby!!
Saturday I experienced a rather surreal night; a night out with people that we weren’t overly familiar with. As the evening wore on they became more steadily drunk and I was stone cold sober. The amount of times that “well done’ was said with a nod and glance at my rather feeble attempt of a pregnancy bump, I was even ‘high fived’ by one lady with a ‘good on you’ – I had to ask myself “was I being congratulated on the fact that we had managed to have sex once in the last 5 months or that it was baby number 4″ – who knew??! All I could do was, try to sit on a stool that I could only really get half my arse on, in something that I didn’t really want to wear, but that fitted me, and look longingly at the beer, wine and cocktails and wish that I could join in.
Who are these people that ‘bloom’ and love being pregnant!? Right now I itch from head to toe and nothing seems to help, I am waddling around with an arse quite literally the size of a continent, so much so, that you would think I am carrying this baby the wrong way round and to make matters worse my A cup chest has hardly increased in size!!?! I daren’t check my pregnancy app to see what ‘helpful’ hints and tips it is giving me today – do people that have actually experienced pregnancy actually write these?
I am still just about able to sleep on my front, but I now have to turn to a 45degree angle, so the next 20+ weeks are going to be tricky and I dare say it wont be long before I get the maternity pillows out. The breathlessness is starting to kick in and even the smallest of tasks, like putting my shoes on, is a real effort. I have 2 massive piles of clothes in my room right now; one that used to fit me and maternity ones! I have been putting this task of for a while, as it would somehow feel real once I had moved my usual clothes to the loft and replaced them for whatever items of maternity wear looked reasonably ok – seriously, who designs maternity wear!!!!
So, last pregnancy I gained 5st. This time, whilst I started at a whole st heavier as my starting point, I have managed to only gain 6lbs and I’m halfway. Now, I know that the majority of the weight is gained in the last 20weeks, but I am confident it will be less this time. Not only do I feel that the extra weight is a contributory factor to my state of mind post birth, all my previous pregnancies I have never weighed at all throughout. This time I am weighing once a week, whilst it feels like mental torture to do so – watching the numbers go up – I feel this time it is a necessity in order to keep me on track.
In just over a weeks time we will know whether baby Davies number 4 is a boy or a girl. I have days where I think “oh it’s a girls because of such and such” then the next day it will be “hmmmm no maybe it’s a boy because of this that and the other”. If the truth be known, I’ve not been able to tell with any of them! Although with Harry his movements and the amount of uncomfortableness I felt towards the end was definitely more than double, and my bump was bigger, but we are talking in the last 10 weeks AND I already knew we were having a boy! I know when I find out I’ll be all “oh yeah it’s this because of…. I should have known!” Really people – It’s just all in the mind!
That’s it folks! My thoughts, frustrations and ramblings of the last week
Yours in the excitement building at 19+6 wks!
Who knew?! Just as Mark and I had decided to ‘put off’ talking about anymore children until the middle of 2013, I fall pregnant! I am starting to believe that we should no longer have any discussion whatsoever that mention pregnancy or make reference to more children!
Yes, baby Davies number 4 is due for arrival early July 2013! I have mixed feelings as we will have 5yr old, 3yr old, 2yr old and a newborn! I’ve also had mixed reactions!! We have a very hectic and stressful life right now; for many reasons! You could say that the timing, is not exactly ‘ideal’, but I know in my heart of hearts had we left ‘that’ discussion to middle of this year we would have decided not to have any more – so for that I am very grateful.
If the truth be known, we love children! I was brought up in a family of 7 children and Mark was brought up on the likes of the Walton’s, Little House on the Prairie and Darling Buds of May. Don’t get me wrong this is no TV show – we had just never put a ‘number’ on how many children we would have.
So, for the time being, I am going to blog a little about my 4th pregnancy, yes, 4th(??!?!), journey. Now a pregnancy/mummy blog is not really where I want to be at – not in it’s entirety, at least! Some of my previous posts have touched on weight and PND issues, so I intend to document my experiences in that regard, and anything else that crops up in the meantime!
At the time of this post I am 18+5wks, I am too big for my normal clothes, and maternity clothes hang rather oddly off me! Leading me to believe that I could possibly be carrying another little lady, as I seem more wide and fat than up front with a bump! Time, will tell, of course!
To date, I have been labelled as ‘a high risk’ pregnancy, which to me me is seemingly odd, as it’s only the giving birth part that I’ve had complications – I do wonder who makes these categories and check boxes at times! Meaning, as far as the professionals are concerned, a home or water birth is completely out of the question!
So, having been referred to the consultant, who spent the ENTIRE appointment picking up on the PND that I had also been labelled with, I am still not really any the wiser! Had I believed I had PND, then this so called consultation could have led to me to suffer emotionally through the remainder of my pregnancy, and thereafter – do these so called professionals study anything to do with psychology, or how the brain reacts to positive and negative – clearly not!
Next on my radar is of course, weight gain!! One of the reasons we had decided to put off talking bout more children, is because I wanted to get to my pre-Emilie weight – which was 2st away from where I was. I managed to pile on a staggering 5st with my 3rd, and when I fell pregnant this time, I was 1st away from where I was when I fell pregnant with Harry (3rd). Yes, a lot of weight, a lot of pregnancies!! This is, perhaps, a whole post on it’s own!
Ok, I have set the scene , let the remainder of this little journey commence!!
Yours in ‘not just another pregnancy blog’ !!