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  1. #1
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    Default Bad experiences so far, and i'm only in my first trimester

    My GP recommended shared care with Royal Hospital for Women, she said they have great services and would be able to handle complexities that may arise (referring to my existing Bipolar I condition, likelihood of pre and post natal depression, history of sexual abuse and my massive phobia of all things child birth related).

    She gave me a brochure and i told her i would call them to get some more info before committing.

    So I called. The lady at reception was nice but seemed to not know who to put me through to to answer basic questions about the service they provide. I ended up leaving a message on an answering machine.

    I called again, got put through to another answering machine. This one got back to me, it was a nurse, and when we spoke, I started with my questions, and got cut off and told she wasn't the right person to be answering these questions and that she would put me through to the right person. I got put through to...wait for it... an answering machine.

    I left a message on that answering machine and never heard back.

    The following week, I told my GP, and said I was feeling overwhelmed as i knew they provided good services but my experience hadn't been positive so far and i couldn't seem to have a basic discussion with them about what they can do for me. We decided that she would fax them the referrals in any case as we needed to book SOMETHING in asap (i'm due in September, apparently peak season) and i could change the hospital or type of care at a later stage if i wished.

    My GP gave me a number to call to book my first appointment.

    I called the number, she asked me where I lived, I told her, and she told me I couldn't go there because I live too far away. I said well that's not what my GP said, and that my GP faxed them the referral. She finally found the referral and suddenly i was allowed to go there. We booked in an appointment in the 10-14 week appointment as my GP told me would happen. Then I asked about mental health support services there, asked about a support group that my GP mentioned to me, and any psych support, and she told me i would have to wait until my first appointment to discuss that and i would get referred by the midwife at my first appointment.

    The thing is, i am so overwhelmed right now, I need the support now, but i feel like unless i push i just get the door slammed in my face before i hardly open my mouth.

    So... I am going to take the time to check out what else is out there. I just find it hard because I am feeling so vulnerable right now and if I have to fight to get what i need, i hate to think of how it will be on D day. I could be over reacting here, maybe nurses are just being nurses, they have to be a certain way to get their job done and cope in their stressful environment. Maybe this is how all hospitals are. I have heard good things about RHFW but i am wary now.

    I am going to look up other hospitals. I have private insurance and it's really important to me that i am guaranteed as much as possible a C section, even if i go into labor earlier than my booked C section day. I liked the idea of shared care at RHFW based on the extensive services they provide and that I would get to have heaps of my appointments with my GP who i feel comfortable with. But if i go private, i get to pick my own doctors and not get whoever is on shift that day.

    Lots of thinking and research to do!

  2. #2
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    Hi @QuietSoul. Firstly, congratulations on your pregnancy. What an exciting time for you ahead

    I can't speak for the hospital you're booking at but it would be fairly standard I imagine to not instigate referrals until they've had a face to face appointment with you. At the first appointment they'll take a full history (medical, physical, emotional) so this would be the time to identify all your issues/risk factors. From here they can refer you to the appropriate people - social workers, psych, occupational therapist etc. At my hospital we have what we call a "high risk" team, and this is basically a multidisciplinary group of doctors, midwives, social workers and child safety workers (not that I'm insinuating that you need to worry about child safety issues) who work together to provide appropriate care and resources to women who we deem high risk in terms of social and psychosocial reasons. They can keep a close monitor of you throughout the pregnancy and refer you to additional support services postnatally.

    For every woman having a baby who has a history of sexual abuse it can be really tricking providing care in that a lot of times even women themselves don't know what may trigger memories. I've had women vomit uncontrollably when someone has gone to perform an internal examination and women who have had massive panic attacks and freak outs. I've also had women who have been ok with it all.

    Once you've spoken to the midwives etc you should have a better understanding of the services they can provide. Throughout the pregnancy you can put together a birth plan that is specific for you ie, minimal internal examinations or as few people as possible performing the examinations. Preference for only female staff etc. while this last one may not be possible depending on the doctors on when you deliver, they will try to support you as much as they can.

    Another option for you might be to see if they have a midwifery group practice at the hospital. If they do you can have your care provided to you by a known midwife who will see you through the antenatal, labour and postnatal period. If this isn't an option perhaps look into some calm birth classes to give you some strategies to relax/cope during the pregnancy. Having a doula or a student midwife may also help provide you with support from a known person (along with your DP).

    Please try not to freak out. Take each day as it comes. If your GP knows you history and you well then I have confidence that he wouldn't refer you to a dud hospital.

    Best wishes.

  3. #3
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    Hi, I'm sorry to hear about your experiences. I don't have diagnosed mental health issues but I'm a very anxious person and, now being pregnant shortly after a mc, I'm finding it really hard. Personally, if I were you I'd get a private OB. That way you're paying someone to care for you properly and you can make more demands. I've only ever done things that way, so I don't know much about shared care. The attitudes do get better after 12 weeks though. I find the first trimester to be brutal. I remember crying in an ultrasound room one time saying that I just feel like there's two months where no one gives a crap and we're completely alone. I guess my point is that getting through these two months perhaps will not be pleasant, but people will start to listen more after 12 weeks.

  4. #4
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    Just re-read your OP. If you have private insurance you may find a private obstetrician beneficial. You are also more likely to get your elective caesarean over the public system. Good luck with your research!

  5. #5
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    If you do decide to go private, you should book in as soon as possible. The best OBs book out early. As others said, you're more likely to get your elective c-section by going private.

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    Having done some training for health staff around trauma informed care practices it may have been that the nurse/administrative staff didn't want you to tell your story because they knew that it was an important one and they thought it better that you be heard by someone who was more experienced. They wouldn't want to hear your story and then follow it up with a response of 'I can't help you with this but let me connect you with someone else'. It is possible that the continual retelling of your experiences to staff who can't assist could leave you feeling vulnerable. Good on you though for knowing what you need and persisting to have these needs met.


 

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