DEAR Mr Drakeford, Ms Howell and Prof Gallen, We would like to add some personal experience to this matter.
June 13 was the anniversary of the death of our daughter Daisy in 2011. She died as a result of cord prolapsed at 40 weeks pregnancy.
The pregnancy had gone well with no complications, as far as we or anyone else knows – meaning that the safeguards set in place for check-ups, late scans etc did not show any problems or predict a potential problem.
My waters broke on the morning of June 12, the midwife came and everything was fine. As this was my third child she asked me to remain active as the head was not down. She left to come back in a couple of hours.
When she came back she could not find a heartbeat for our baby, we called an ambulance but we could not get, even to Withybush, in time to save her.
In our opinion, the experts do not know enough about the problems surrounding the late stages of pregnancy.
If Withybush closes down to just basic midwife care and no emergencies, the lives of mothers and their “fully formed perfect” babies will be put at risk. This is not acceptable – please improve on the service already in place.
We do not want this to happen to even more people. As a family we are only starting to recover after three years.
We have another baby girl now but it is only down to the fact that Withybush picked up a problem and I stayed in hospital from 36 weeks. The excess fluid surrounding the baby would have made it very probable that a cord prolapse would occur as my waters broke again.
As a result I stayed in hospital, my husband and children could visit every day. I was in a state of panic throughout the whole experience but being so close to home and also in hospital equipped for emergency surgery helped a lot. Friends and family could visit easily for moral support.
Doctors and midwives were right there to assist. In the end I opted for a C-section two weeks early – it was just too much to bear to go through a natural birth with the treat of history repeating itself. It was a lovely experience and all credit to the staff at Withybush who looked after me.
It astounds us both that women are being encouraged to stay at home to give birth.
Are they also going to be made aware of all the potential risks? I know that I was not aware of cord prolapse as a potential risk until it happened to me. We are encouraged to go along with these wonderful pregnancies, in a world of joy and “everything will be alright”, when really we should be educated to go into this with our eyes wide open. Educated to the risks at each stage, safeguarded by more regular scans, especially near the end of pregnancy.
Seventeen babies die in the UK every day as it is, without essential services being diminished. Why are births and children’s emergencies not going to be a priority in this county?
More children will die as a result of the decision to close these departments in Withybush.
Cheryl & Russell Newton