Maternity hospitals and units in Ireland have hit the headlines for all the wrong reason of late. And rightly so. What some parents had to endure is unspeakable and I can’t begin to imagine their grief and their anger. So many families have been affected by adverse outcomes in our maternity services over the past number of years. I am not one of them. Thankfully. It’s all thanks to The Coombe.
The media concentrate on bad news in maternity hospitals because it needs to be highlighted. I get that. Of course I do but I want to talk about my experience of maternity services in this country, namely the services provided to me by The Coombe Women and Infants University Hospital.
The Coombe Satellite Clinics
I chose the Coombe for two reasons. Number one because my GP at the time advised me to go there and to avoid Portlaoise. She just gave me her honest opinion. Number two I was living in Johnstown, just outside Naas, at the time and The Coombe was closer. I also figured that a hospital solely devoted to maternity services would be better than one with just a maternity unit. Another selling point of the Cork Street hospital was the fact they offered a satellite clinic, run by midwives, at Naas General Hospital. It meant that I didn’t have to trek up and down to Dublin for every single antenatal appointment.
I discovered I was expecting Aidan in August 2012. It was confirmed by my GP and I registered with The Coombe, as a public patient, soon after. There was no delays. No hold ups. My registration was promptly acknowledged and, bang on time, an appointment was made for me to have my twelve week scan. At the same appointment my medical history was taken and thereafter I was free to be released back to the lovely midwives in Naas. Well, until I reached the 24 week mark when I had to return to Dublin 8 for a Glucose Tolerance Test for gestational diabetes due to the fact that my mother suffers from Type 1 diabetes.
It was at this point my cushy number in Naas came to an end as I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes and put under the care of a specialist clinic in the main hospital. And what great care I got.
I was admitted overnight to get the full rundown on how to monitor my blood sugar levels and how to administer insulin injections and I was seen every two weeks by a diabetic nurse, a consultant and an endocrinologist. Yes, the diabetic clinic was choc-a-bloc but the care I got was unreal.
At 39 weeks I was brought in for induction and all went according to plan. I will never forget the midwife I had in the delivery room. A Longford woman by the name of Michelle Carberry. What a legend. And how she managed to keep me calm, laughing and get me through the whole thing, I’ll never know.
Early Transfer Home
I opted for the early transfer home scheme, which meant myself and Aidan left hospital early and we received one to one care from midwives at home. The lovely Breege Joyce, a staunch Naas GAA woman, looked after us the finest at home in Newbridge.
A year later I found myself back in the Coombe when we discovered Baby Chambers number two was on its way. Again, my care was impeccable. It really is hard to find fault.
The second time round I didn’t get diabetes, thanks perhaps to a doctor called Maria Farren. She was conducting a study to find out the possible health benefits of Inositol for women at risk. Inositol is a food supplement which has been shown in small studies to have health benefits including reducing the incidence of gestational diabetes in those at risk of getting it.
Participants were randomly allocated to one of two groups: the intervention group and the placebo (dummy) group. The intervention group took one tablet every day containing Inositol combined with folic acid. The placebo group took folic acid alone. I followed standard care and was tested as routine for gestational diabetes at 26 weeks. My test was all clear. I’ll never know if I was in the dummy group or the real one but I suspect it was the latter due to the fact my test were clear, which is rare after having gestational diabetes in an earlier pregnancy.
It was lovely not to have it as it meant I could attend Naas all the time and it also meant I could get extra scan and take a peek in at Sarah in Dr Farren’s office.
Again, my care come Sarah’s arrival was super. I have zero idea who delivered her as it happened so quickly but all went well. I was turfed out even earlier this time and left in the care of the Naas GAA woman again!
I don’t think I’ll be adding to my brood but if I was to I’d return to The Coombe in an instant. I’m sure there are many woman who may not have had as good experiences as I did. I just want to give credit where it is due though. The place is heaving, the staff are overworked and struggling to keep up with that workload. It didn’t stop them doing everything they could, to the highest standards, for me and my babies.
So yea, big kudos to The Coombe!