By Richard Sanders

Last June I became a father for the first time.

It was one of the most stressful and emotionally draining experiences of my life, but well worth it as we now have our beautiful daughter Lily.

Up until the week before Lily was born everything was going well. Her head had engaged, and the scans were all positive. However, the birth itself did not go to plan. Katie was in labour for 95 hours (with contractions every five minutes) from 8am on Sunday morning to 7am on Thursday morning when Lily was born via c-section.

Me and my wife, Katie, were thrilled to have had a baby girl. As I was one of six children, five boys and one girl, we were convinced that we were having a boy!

Katie ended up being in hospital for 3 days following the birth to help recover.

We were finally allowed to go home on the Saturday evening and it is one of my proudest moments being able to carry my daughter out of the hospital.

The following two weeks were probably the most challenging of my life,

trying to acclimatize to being a new father with no sleep and then trying to go back to work. Everyone tells you how bad it is, but you never quite believe them!

Following all of the care that we received from the hospital we were told to expect a visit from the community team within 24 hours and given that Katie had a very difficult birth they would want to see her a few times over the next few weeks. We thought that would be great so that we can make sure that Katie was continuing to recover, and Lily was doing well.

However, after 48 hours we had heard nothing from the community midwife team and I was getting really worried, we had all of these questions and Katie had just had a major operation and needed to be seen. I called the hospital and they did not know what was going on, I then went on ringing various people until I got through to someone and they said they would make sure we were on the list for tomorrow. They had completely forgotten about us, if I had not have chased them, we would have gone on having no support from the community midwives! If I wasn’t there, Katie who was not in a fit state to look after herself following the operation, would have been left on her own without any support.

The midwives were great when they arrived,

and I am not sure whether the cause of this is that they don’t have enough people, but I can’t imagine what it would have been like if we did not get them to come out.

Thankfully over the next two weeks Katie and Lily continued to progress well, however the midwives continued to forget to come out to see us. They even forgot to come out to discharge Katie! They should have been happy to do that as its one less person on their books!

“We all have our own experiences of parenthood that are unique to us. The reality is that none of us know exactly what we will face or how we will cope, so always have the confidence to ask for help. Parenthood can be an isolating experience, so if you or anyone you know need help do call the NHS Direct helpline on 111 or in event of an emergency 999. You are not alone.”

Fiona Small

I just wanted to share this experience with others

to flag that this happens to everyone and make sure you pick it up with the relevant people as quickly as possible so that you are not forgotten. My one reflection going through this experience is that the NHS is great in the primary point of care but leaves a lot to be desired when it comes to aftercare.