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Re: Carmen suite - anyone been turned away?

by pie81 » Tue Jun 12, 2012 7:37 pm

Thanks all! Good to know about the commitment to keeping it open. Also about the balls etc being available if you do end up on the labour ward.

Re: Carmen suite - anyone been turned away?

by cocomama » Mon May 28, 2012 8:47 pm

I had my daughter in the Carmen suite last year and it was really quiet so I think in terms of being turned away it just depends on when your baby fancies arriving!

I had an amazing experience.didn't see a doctor once. Just one Midwife until my baby was almost here when a second came in. I was out the same day (despite being told that you have to stay for 6 hrs afterwards and if that falls out of office hours you'll have to stay til the next morning to be checked).

And if for whatever reason you can't use the Carmen suite you're know an amazing place and excellent hands in the delivery suite

Re: Carmen suite - anyone been turned away?

by leahmouse » Mon May 28, 2012 1:05 pm

I was turned away from Carmen suite because it was full but I was really happy with my experience in the delivery suite. Midwife immediately asked if I wanted to use a mat on the floor & there was a birthing ball in the room which I used throughout. Perhaps if they know you've requested Carmen suite, they assume you'll want natural/active labour even if there is no pool.

Re: Carmen suite - anyone been turned away?

by sandraletitia » Mon May 28, 2012 10:26 am

Coming into this discussion a bit late so just to reassure anyone else, Carmen Suite is open. I am a (voluntary) User Rep on the Labour Ward Forum at St. George's and can confirm that a couple of years ago it was closed from time to time if they were short of midwives but there has since been a real commitment to keeping it open at all times. Also if it is full on phoning or arrival, they will prioritise moving those women up from Labour Ward if and when they can.

Re: Carmen suite - anyone been turned away?

by pie81 » Mon May 14, 2012 5:17 pm

Thanks everyone! It sounds like it's "take your chances".

I have been told hypothyroid in itself doesn't mean I couldn't go to the Carmen suite, as long as I don't have other complications later in pregnancy.

Obviously though I realise all sorts of things could happen which would make Carmen unsuitable - high blood pressure, baby distress, breech, induction etc etc! So I guess availability is just another factor...

Glad to hear of positive experiences on the labour ward, if that is where I end up.

Thanks all x

Re: Carmen suite - anyone been turned away?

by mumto1sofar » Tue May 08, 2012 5:05 pm

I was the opposite - desperate for an epidural but got to St G's before I was dilated enough. Instead of sending me home they let me go to the Carmen Suite over night as there was a spare it's not always too full!

Re: Carmen suite - anyone been turned away?

by mummySW18 » Fri May 04, 2012 10:39 pm

I was 'booked' for the Carmen Suite when I had my second baby but it was closed due to staff shortages. I was initially v disappointed as had no 1 with a pool at St Thomas's. However I had a very good experience in the Delivery Suite as the midwife who looked after me was none other than Carmen who the Carmen suite is named after. I think she took me as on my notes it said Carmen suite on the front! She was amazing and despite no pool, it was quick and as good as being in the Carmen suite.

I had hoped to go there with no 3 a month ago but ended up being induced so totally different experience again.

I guess you just never know what is going to happen so best not to pin your hopes on doing one thing or another... Best laid plans and all that!

As someone else said, when the time comes you wont really care where you are!

Best of luck!

Re: Carmen suite - anyone been turned away?

by ready2pop » Fri May 04, 2012 11:32 am


It's worth checking with george's to see whether the hyperthyroid makes you high risk - if so then i don't think you can go to the Carmen suite as they also only take low risk (I was high risk so wasn't allowed in).

As someone else said though, try not to worry about it too much. When the time comes you won't care where you are.

Re: Carmen suite - anyone been turned away?

by Abi_88 » Thu May 03, 2012 9:26 pm


For my first, I was turned away as it was full and for my second they were free, but I had high blood pressure when in labour so was turned away anyway!

In both cases, I didn't really care, I just wanted those babies out!

Hope it helps,

Re: Carmen suite - anyone been turned away?

by Mum2two2012 » Thu May 03, 2012 1:58 pm

I had both my children in the Carmen Suite but having read your last post you mentioned that you have hypothyroid which could put you at risk of a longer labour - I was told by a midwife that water can also pro-long the birth process. Having said that my first was 5 hours and my send 2 hours!!!!! When my contraction started with my second someone was in the suite and six hours later it was available.

My first experience 8 years ago was fantastic (my little one was delivered by Carmen herself!!!!!) the second experience was far more clinical and more matter of fact and not as enjoyable. If we were to have a to have another I would consider a homebirth. Two of my friends were turned away due to staff shortage. I do feel that St Georges is very much under pressure due to staff shortages.

I stayed at home for as long as I could with both where I was relaxed. They cannot guarantee the suite and you cannot guarantee when your little one will be ready to meet you so just be open minded when your time comes - and good luck!

Re: Carmen suite - anyone been turned away?

by pie81 » Thu May 03, 2012 1:34 pm

thanks scorpio. funnily enough I have thought about a homebirth for that very reason! the only thing is, I'm not sure I am low risk - I have hypothyroid which I think puts me at risk of a longer labour (great...!) so suspect they may advise against it. I'll definitely look into it though.

Re: Carmen suite - anyone been turned away?

by scorpiostar » Mon Apr 30, 2012 9:51 pm

I had a similar worry about the Malden Suite at Kingston, which was confirmed when my friend (who was six weeks ahead of me) was turned away because they were closed due to staffing issues. I was so worried about not having the option of a waterbirth that I switched to a home birth at 36 weeks pregnant! If you are low risk, I can't recommend a home birth highly enough. You can rent a birthing pool and then you are guaranteed that it will be available when you need it. The other big plus is that you have two midwives with you for a home birth (compared with one between three women when I had my first son at Chelsea and Westminster).

Re: Carmen suite - anyone been turned away?

by pie81 » Mon Apr 30, 2012 8:01 pm

Thanks Twirly! That is reassuring to know they do make an effort to be flexible even if you can't get into the Carmen suite.

The post I meant is the one called "Not sure about St George's", a few down the page - having read it, it seems women have sometimes been turned away because Carmen is closed! as well as because it is full.

Re: Carmen suite - anyone been turned away?

by Twirly » Mon Apr 30, 2012 2:17 pm

Can't see another post so will answer this one.

I had my first in the Carmen Suite - a water birth. I had wanted this all along for my 2nd but when it came to the day she decided to arrive they were full (they do only have 4 rooms) so I had to go to the Delivery Suite instead.

Midwives in the Delivery Suite were lovely though and knew i had wanted Carmen Suite again so tried to recreate the atmosphere for me. I didn't see a doctor at all throughout the birth, they put the mattress from the bed on the floor for me, they brought me a birthing ball etc. In the end my baby decided to arrive pretty quickly so didn't really get chance to miss the water birth!

Re: Carmen suite - anyone been turned away?

by pie81 » Mon Apr 30, 2012 12:51 pm

Oops - just seen EmmaVictoria's post on exactly the same subject so please ignore this :oops: