Sunday, 30 June 2013

Is It Just Me: Who Thinks Changes to Maternity Care are More Important Than Banning Bounty?

OK dear anon people: Fire away but please be aware, I will tweet the more gormless messages for my followers to laugh at. Just so you know.

I am writing, well, actually, editing a post I'd already written about this so called "Bounty Mutiny" (ahem) (insert face/palm motion here), but for once I'd gone a bit pussy on you all and decided that it wasn't worth the aggro. One person leading the charge (I feel that's the correct term as Mutiny is the word being used) suddenly hates my guts for no reason, and Mumsnet also back it (and we all know they truly hate my guts) so hence why I'd kind of face/palmed and not posted it. I know, right, I must be getting old.

Anyway, Emma, who blogs at the magnificent "Crazy With Twins" has decided to go for my Sarcastic Bastard Award (Copyright 2006-2013, erm, me) and written a witty opposing view.

So here's goes nothing.

I have been pregnant and had babies twice. Both out via a section, with all sorts of drugs involved, awkward singing at anesthetists, one planned but ended up with lots of blood loss (mine), one major scary, emergency 28 week, one. So, I know a thing or two about "traumatic births". 

(Tell a lie, I don't actually remember Mini's birth, I thought I was in and out, I was there for 3 hours, 3 1/2 pints of blood lost, bit scary for a bit for everyone else, bar me. I was high as a kite).

Yes, giving birth is a pain (really), but I don't think I was vulnerable in the days or hours after it. Not even after Littlest's birth. What I needed was a friendly face, a comforting shoulder and a cuppa. 

Did I get that from Midwives? Consultants? Other Mums on the ward? 

Did I heck.

They were too busy, too important, or too caught up in their own babies to spend time with me. I wet myself when I had Mini after they took the catheter out without checking I could actually move to get out of bed to go to the loo. It had been left really high up, so despite calling for some help, none came. Sorry if that was a TMI, but just to show what I mean.

When I had Mini, I wanted to bath her when the section pain calmed down. I wanted to bath myself but there was no one there to help when we were allowed to have a bath (outside of visiting times) and you were not allowed to take the baby off the ward. I wanted to go to the loo. Everyone was always too busy, promising to come back later. My section wounds both became infected and I needed antibiotics, due to the dressings not coming off soon enough.

It was even worse when I had Littlest. I've said before how for 14 hours I had no idea if he was alive, my surgical stocking was cutting off the blood supply to my big toe so it went purple, but because there was no baby beside me, I got even fewer checks from midwives than before. I wasn't even given a bell.

Who did come along and offer a hand, a chat, and advice? 

The Bounty Lady.

The first one I had, with Mini, was a doll. An absolute shining example, and why I have the Bounty badge on this blog. She gave me a hug, gave me a heaving bag of freebies, and then, rolled up her sleeves and showed me how to bath Mini. She told me to not worry if she cried, it didn't mean I was hurting her, but they do that, babies. As you weren't allowed to bath a newborn if you'd not had one before, this was a godsend. She then told me she'd just do the ward, then I could pop along and have a bath, she'd watch Mini. Which, true to her word, she did. 

Did she shout abuse at me or anyone else? Did she pressure sell me pictures? Did she make up rubbish about government forms? Nope. She was, simply, a very nice lady, doing a job.

When I had Littlest, there were two Bounty ladies. One was a right cow. She made me cry a bit. Because Littlest was in SCBU, she assumed I was having him adopted or taken away, not that he was in a Neonatal unit. She was an arse. She was sacked. I made a complaint, the hospital did too, she went. No messing. 

The other lady sat with me when I was at my lowest ebb. She hugged me, she was like a Granny in her specs, and tartan skirt. She told me everything would be fine, he would be OK, that things would be tough but she could say they'd do their upmost and he'd come home before I knew it. Even if it had of been hocus pocus rubbish, it was exactly what I needed to hear. Not the medical terms, the serious faces, the upset caused by the Midwife. A friendly, reassuring face.

Unlike the Midwife who I'd never met and had no number for, who decided to flounce, shouting into SCBU when Littlest was 3 weeks old. How dare I not phone her. How dare I not come in and get my Red Book. 

Frankly, she's lucky I was on the verge of the "Epic Nervous Breakdown" or I'd have rammed that red book up her arse.

Or the Section suite, who rang me in November and had a right go at me for not calling to cancel my arranged section, if I'd decided to have a natural birth. They were embarrassed when I said I had had my section. In August. 

The big thing here is not Bounty. No.

There is, to my mind, a bigger, NHS sourced issue here. Time and admin. Or lack there of.

How hard would it be to have a box you tick on your birth plan, saying Bounty: No/Yes?

How hard would it be for Midwives to actually sit down with a Bounty Rep before her visits so she could see who was new, who didn't want disturbing and who to be delicate with? Or a code on the big white board with all our names on it? Star for yes, Cross for no, Heart for delicate, softly softly?

I think there are far more things that should be campaigned about, that we should wave banners about, and use our voices for the greater good.

Yes, I'm sure there are Bounty Ladies who are more Bounty Bitches. But did you contact them? Or did you just put the fear of them into a pregnant friend so they expect someone on a par with Saddam Hussein after their labour? There are good and bad in every profession, so that is what the email address, twitter feed or phone is for. Report it.

When I talk to fellow parent's about their labour and overall Maternity care, it's not the Bounty lot who I hear about. Its the NHS staff who are ignorant, over stretched, under funded and in the cases of some in need of retraining.

Mutiny? Not on this Bounty. 

I say let's campaign for a better NHS.

And leave those who fund it, alone.


  1. Through this discussion I have had my eyes opened. I guess, as I said on Emma's post, those of us who have had negative experiences have previously been more vocal and I am very glad to hear of more positive experiences. It definitely seems to be something that varies according to area.

    However, I am in agreement that despite my own feelings of feeling like I was pressured, or a poor mum for refusing the crap newborn photo, this is not something we should be campaigning for change over.

  2. I never saw a Bounty lady even on the ward (suspect the midwives said to steer clear of me as Wriggles was very sick in NICU and I was loosing my marbles by the hour) let alone personally so this "mutiny" has come as bit of a surprise to me. I very firmly agree that Bounty is the least of the problems when it comes to any maternity issues let alone parental or womens rights. I can completely see how the bad employees might add towards a negative experience and it is Bounty's responsibility to ensure otherwise by being very thorough with employees and having a no-nonsense work code of how to talk to patients. However, given the terrifying power of thousands of angry Mumsnetters and the like, it would be surely much more productive to put collective voices towards a campaign that would have a far bigger and long-lasting impact. x


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