Let Dads Stay After Birth

April 14, 2019

I recently published a tweet that went semi-viral. Thankfully not FULLY viral because my phone can just about cope with the notifications as it is right now. Here is said tweet:

I tweeted this after a conversation with my heavily pregnant friend, in which I told her that both times after I had given birth via emergency caesarean, my partner was sent home within an hour because visiting times were over. I still get so angry talking about it. They pulled my sons out, stitched me back up, let my partner say hello, give them a quick cuddle and then came round swiftly to say ‘off you pop’.

Both times I had horrible experiences thanks to this.

Regaining the feeling in my legs, unable to move and still urinating into a bag that was attached to me, I was left alone to look after my newborn baby. Not only did this massively affect me, it massively affected my partner, who said he drove home (after 3 days awake) on the motorway crying his eyes out because he was devastated he had to leave. My baby was born at almost 3am, and so visiting times had long since passed.

After my first birth, they put me on the ward and left the buzzer attached to the wall, so I couldn’t call the nurses, I couldn’t reach my son and I couldn’t lift myself up as I didn’t have the strength after the spinal block. I had to listen to him crying at a few hours old unable to do anything until a nurse came to check my blood pressure.

The second time around, I had a semi quick labour which ultimately ended in an emergency caesarean again at 7:30pm, as expected, and this time I lost over 1 litre of blood. As I was wheeled to the recovery room, I was drifting in and out of consciousness, vomiting all over myself and couldn’t speak a full sentence without getting confused, but again, within an hour, he was sent home. I was even being given oxygen through a nose tube, but apparently that wasn’t enough for him to stay.

I pressed my buzzer to tell the nurse multiple times that I wasn’t feeling good after he left, I was scared to hold my son incase I dropped him or vomited on him. Immediately after you’ve had a caesarean and the pain relief wears off, it’s quite difficult to move, let alone quickly, so I was just anxious and actually worrying something was seriously wrong with me.

Thankfully, the nurses were extremely helpful.

They brought me coffee and toast and gave me a new sick bowl every few minutes. They checked my son when I was asleep and woke me up to feed him. The concerning part is, they shouldn’t have had to do that. If my partner was there, he could’ve done all of that for me. It shouldn’t be their job to do basic tasks for a baby that somebody else should be able to do. Nurses have enough to deal with as it is.

He was even asked to leave during my miscarriage! I told them that if they were going to make him go, I would leave too. Losing blood at a rapid rate, they didn’t dare risk it, so gave me a side room and told him to be quiet. She said it was for privacy reasons, due to women being vulnerable on the ward, and to protect their dignity if they wanted to get changed. The thing is, I got changed a few times and always pulled the curtain round because I didn’t want anyone to see me undress – even women. Such a ridiculous policy in my opinion. I bet everyone would have chose to get ready in the toilets if it meant their partners or a parent could stay with them.

The response & stories.

After the response I had to my tweet, I realised that this isn’t typical of hospitals all around England, but there still is many that do hold this policy and adhere to it. A lot of people replied to tell me that their partner was able to stay the whole time and sleep there too, which is wonderful. Some people said that their partner stayed, however they were told to keep a low profile, and some partners, like mine, were just told to leave.

Here are a few of the replies I got:

There are so many more, but as you can see the contrast between stories is actually quite shocking – If you want to read the rest the link to the tweet is here (click). I wish there was a single policy for all NHS hospitals, so you know no matter where you give birth you are going to always be treated the same way. It’s not fair on people who have had rubbish experiences to know that they only needed to live 2 hours away to have a decent one.

Both parents, no matter their gender, should be allowed to stay with the baby that is theirs, and to provide support and relieve the pressure of the nurses. Hopefully things will change the more we speak up.

If you have a story you’d like to share, leave a comment below. I’d love to hear what your experience was like.

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