I have now had 2 babies privately at St Thomas'. As my first pregnancy progressed I kept hearing horror stories of the overstretched NHS and how midwives run from room to room trying to juggle all the labouring women. I had read enough to know that a pregnant woman's personal relationship with her midwife directly affects the ease of the birth. I started out at C&W, NHS and attended over a dozen appointments without ever being seen by one of the midwives on the team that would deliver me. Each time being told by the midwife that they were just filling in/helping out. I had a routine Glucose test at wk29 and phoned the following wk for the results, I was told by the rude receptionist (they were all rude) that I would have been phoned if there was anything abnormal, so I went away in ignorance. At wk34 I called C&W to tell them I was switching to a private birth at St Thomas' and I received a call an hour later from a C&W midwife who wanted to urgently discuss my 'worryingly high' glucose levels. Only my calling to cancel had triggered someone to look at my notes! I had been in blissful ignorance, continuing to pander to my sugar cravings, meanwhile my baby was growing abnormallly large, as is the norm with gestational diabetes (although i wasn't classed as diabetic) At St Thomas's they immediately tested me, results back with hours. I went on to have a 10lb 8oz baby, naturally, though induced. No need for instruments. Just because I trusted my midwives, I loved them, I knew them and I knew they knew me. They wouldn't ask me to do anything they didn't know I was capable of. I knew they wouldn't leave me. I knew that if I needed an epidural that I wouldn't have to join a queue for the anaesthetist. I knew that my husband could stay the night and look after me and our newborn baby. I have heard so many horror stories of NHS midwives stating that they are 'not maids' or 'waitresses' when asked for things. I slept like a log that first night. The overnight midwife wheeled my son out and cuddled him so that we could sleep. The last really great night's sleep I had in a long time. I went back there for my 2nd. Started off NHS again, had several terrible experiences and said enough is enough. Best decisions we've ever made. Had 2 amazing, wonderful, positive birth experiences (considering they would both be considered difficult and complicated births) and I believe they really set the tone for the future.
The Lansdell Suite is just a pair of swing doors away from the maternity ward, yards from one of the best NICUs in the country (if not the best) Everything you could ever need is there, but with staff who have the luxury of time to spend with you.
(I experienced the Portland last summer. Amazing room, shame the ever-changing staff with poor english, tried to give my son the wrong medicine. Tried to send us home with the wrong medicine, and did I mention ALL the signage in the playroom was in Arabic. Had to get it translated) And if anything goes really wrong you have to wait for an ambulance to St Mary's.