Ramsgate mum says huge improvements made at QEQM maternity after two very different birth experiences

Amie with baby Theodore

A Ramsgate mum who had a traumatic experience giving birth to her first son at QEQM Hospital in Margate during the covid pandemic says she wants to highlight huge improvements after having her second child at the hospital this month.

Amie Stillwell says her first experience in August 2020 was “really traumatic” and included being alone in a room bleeding for 45 minutes and then having placenta left inside her which was not removed until some three weeks after son Phoenix was born.

But, she says, giving birth to her son Theodore this month was a completely different and ‘magical’ experience and she wants to reassure mums-to-be who are worried that improvements have been made in QEQM’s maternity services.

The 30-year-old said of giving birth to her first son Phoenix: “They were really understaffed and things were not good for them (NHS staff) at that time, it was really tough for them.

“I was induced and it was a hard labour. I was there for about three days and they eventually got him out with forceps but then they did not hand him to me, they made sure he was ok and gave him to his dad who then had to leave (due to covid rules).

“I then bled out for 45 minutes in a room on my own, It was really traumatic.”

Amie spent five days in hospital waiting for there to be enough staff to monitor a blood transfusion. She then ended up having to go back to hospital when she started having contractions because of the placenta that remained inside her body.

Amie says the trauma of it all made it hard for her to initially bond with her baby.

Phoenix and Theodore

Last year Amie discovered she was pregnant again and her first instinct was to find out if she could have her baby somewhere else.

She said: “I spoke to the midwife to ask about my options and she said I could give birth in Ashford which I didn’t want. I asked if I could go to London if I needed a section and I could but then I would have to have all my pre-natal appointments in London too and with the cost of living, we couldn’t do that.”

But Amie says things were so much better this time around and is full of praise for all the staff who dealt with her second pregnancy and birth.

She said: “I was given a consultant from the very beginning and when I spoke to her she went through my entire birth experience, what had gone wrong, why and how to make sure it did not happen again. She was fantastic.

“They monitored me very closely, the ladies in triage were brilliant. I had to go in with high blood pressure and they said they were going to induce me which I did not want to go through again but they explained why, and about how you could get pre-eclampsia. I went in on the Thursday and they induced me the same day.”

This time around  Amie gave birth to son Theodore at 2.22am on February 3 and was home by 4.30pm that day.

She said: “Every single midwife I came into contact with had clearly read my notes. They knew I wanted my baby handed to me straight away.

“I had two doctors and two midwives and everything was ready outside in case I needed it. They made me feel so at ease, the way they pottered in and were really calm, they were all fantastic from start to finish. They even brought back my placenta to show me and explained about it all.

“It was lovely the way they did it and put my mind at rest. It could have been really clinical but it was done in a beautifully calm way. They gave me the best birth and the most amazing experience and they were really good with (baby’s dad) Martin too.”

Amie says she wants to share her story because of seeing so many posts from mums in social media groups who are scared of going into QEQM Hospital to give birth following the recent investigations and reviews into maternity services.

She said: “I know how bad it was because I went through it and it was really tough. It was quite a long time before I was pregnant again as I had no desire to go through that again.

“But this time it was a magical birth experience, they managed it really well and listened to me and what I wanted.

“I really want to reassure people that you just have to talk to them and tell them what you want. Those women do listen and they are giving you the most precious thing you will ever have, your baby.

“I would like to thank each and every member of the maternity staff that we encountered on our journey to bringing Theodore into the world.

“They were all amazing and a special thank you to the lovely midwives who were with us on the days leading up to and when he was born. You enabled me to have the perfect birth and I cannot thank you all enough for that.”