My husband Des and I are absolutely delighted to be expecting our first baby and are keen to find other baby teams in SE1 who might like to catch up over the odd email, power walk or sparkling water...
Have checked out NCT antenatal classes however these seem to be held miles away in south, south London so would be grateful of any local options for antenatal or informal groups.
And looking a little further ahead would welcome any thoughts on the options and best birth options in the area or London for that matter. Any St Thomas' veterans care to share?
Phone up Caroline Flint directly and see if she has any spaces. She is a private midwife and so will be in the phone book.
Ask your health visitor about hospital and other classes. You may need to book early. I did not manage to get a class with either child.
Caroline was good for tips about Thomas'. Like checking out the car park and entrances in advance. And which entrances are shut at weekends. (You dont want to be tearing around when you are in labour.) Phone them up when you first go into labour so they know you will be coming in. It will help in case it is a busy day. Also food. If you have been in labour all night you may be starving hungry a few hours on. But may prefer something plain and simple rather than a hospital cooked dinner. Make sure you have someone with you, as you cannot expect a midwife to yourself. If it is a quiet night ask the doctor if you can have a single room, with the promise that you will move if someone else needs it more. Get the doctor to check the baby on his morning round, if you are being kept in because you had a difficult labour. Then as soon as you are discharged you can both leave rather than having to wait till someone can be found to discharge the baby. That sort of thing.
I also have used St Thomas' twice and echo above sentiments ... fantastic though sadly never made it to the birthing pools in either case. You'll be able to go on a hospital tour - ask your midwife. They should also be able to tell you about any local ante-natal groups.
Afterwards there's a lot to choose from - become a member of Surestart and you can't go wrong - there are all sorts of meetings from Breastfeeding Cafes to playgroups/library sessions/massage classes/toy libraries/music and movement etc etc. I take my 4-month old to a playgroup ... it's to get me out as much as for her.
Hi There. We had our son at St Thomas' 6 weeks ago and they were great. Go on the tour, it's nice to see where you'll give birth. They have two distinct parts of the labour ward - The 'home from home' (midwives only, no drugs) and the 'birth centre' (midwives, doctors and drugs) and you can, to a certain extent, choose where you go. However, if things are not 'normal' then you have no choice but to go with the doctors option.
NCT hold classes in New Cross, only 10 mins drive from SE1. We did this with Karen and it is worth it, if not a bit 'hippy' but useful. we met some nice other couples there, very white middle class though, if you like that sort of thing!
I don't believe that one gets a choice of hospitals, unless you go private (It's the best part of £5k for a private midwife for the end to end service). Anyway, St Thomas' are great, although like all parts of the NHS, don't expect any post natal care - they just kick you out the day after the birth! Also, our home midwife was a waste of space so you need to rely on family to help once you get home.
Thanks for all this, I feel the master plan is taking shape and, The Sarah, I am delighting in pre-occupying myself with the hospital exit strategy by way of skipping over the main event!
Very keen to see the natural birth area of St Ts and am even curious about the birth pools [Julie - if I make it I will report back comprehensively!]. Are the private rooms [with or without HoP view] free or charged - can they be guaranteed?
Also does anyone know anything about this new birthcentre?
I am triumphantly the first 'November' on Caroline Flint's class list!
The Sarah, I am so with you! The prospect of hospital food is infinitely more terrifying than labour - 2 sets of Grandparents will be tasked with catering to my every nutritional M&S whim on my own crockery...
And good call Julie, will slide a social for the ladies that know or will know for mid-April or so and drop you all a note to see if you fancy a catch up over a glass of wine [for those that already know what's involved] or obligatory sparkling water [for those that are going to know soon enough].
The rooms at St Thomas' that have views of the HOP are in the Home From Home part of the hospital, not in the birth centre. From what I can remember, to go in the Home From Home part:
1.) You've had a normal pregnancy with no complications
2.) You don't want epidural
3.) Your baby will not need a pediatrician there on delivery (i.e. it's heart rate is fine and and your waters are 'clean')
4.) You don't need or want a cesarian
The hospital will not guarantee any sort of room for you and to be honest, right now you're thinking of things like views etc. but when it comes to labour, you'll not even notice or care what room you're in!!
However, we had our own room with views right accross the thames and the HOP and we had our first night in there all together in privacy after our son was born, which was amazing.