Why I support Mumsnet’s Miscarriage Care Campaign

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I’d spent all day trying desperately to get my 5 month old son to take a bottle.  I needed him to take it because I was 8 weeks pregnant. I’d fallen pregnant accidentally but after the initial shock had subsided, I was over the moon.   However, breastfeeding one baby while growing another was more than my body seemed to be able to cope with and I was horribly morning sick and exhausted.  I remember so clearly how elated I felt when at about 6pm that evening my son finally gave in and drank formula for the first time.

Then I went to the loo and discovered I was bleeding.  Not a little spotting, a lot of blood.

My husband came straight home and stayed with our son while I went to A&E to find out what was happening.  I was frantic.  Something was very, very wrong. I needed to see a Dr quickly.

Of course, it was Friday evening and A&E was already starting to fill up.  So I took my place in the waiting room and tried to tell myself everything would be alright.

Almost two hours later, I was seen by a nurse who was kind but explained that, it being a Friday evening, there was no-one available to scan me.  She did a pregnancy test (which still baffles me) and told me to go home and come back on Monday.  My first baby had been induced early at that same hospital after a series of emergency scans all carried out over the weekend revealed he wasn’t getting enough blood supply.  So I knew they could do scans over the weekend.

I explained this to the nurse and asked whether there was any way I could avoid having to wait all weekend panicking about whether I’d miscarried or not.  Again, her manner was very kind, as she explained to me that yes, emergency scans could happen on the weekend but that this didn’t count as an emergency.

What?  Here I was losing my baby and she was telling me it wasn’t an emergency. How could that be?

Patiently, the nurse explained that when I’d come in late in pregnancy with problems I’d been seen straight away because something could be done.  At 8 weeks, whether I was miscarrying or not, there was nothing they could do.  So I didn’t qualify for their limited scanning resources.

“Go home.  Try not to worry. C ome back on Monday and we’ll scan you and see if you are still pregnant.”

That was it.  Condemned to a weekend locked in the bathroom monitoring the bleeding and sobbing while my husband took our son for long walks in the park so he didn’t have to see Mummy upset.

First thing on Monday I was back – not in A&E but in the hospital’s Early Pregnancy Unit.  Again I had almost a two hour wait, this time with the added pressure of it being in a room full of happy couples awaiting their routine scans.  By now I knew the news would be bad. Having to listen to people discussing whether to find out their babies sex, hoping they weren’t having triplets, wondering what colour their baby’s hair would be, just reinforced how much I had lost.  I tried not to cry because I didn’t want to ruin the moment for them.

Then the scan.  No heartbeat.  No more baby.

I’d spent 2 days in the bathroom already and couldn’t face any more. I wanted the process to be over.  Apart from anything else, I had a 5 month old baby to look after.  I couldn’t spend up to 2 weeks bleeding and in pain.  I asked for an ERPC but was told this was not an option.

Go home.  Wait.  If the bleeding has stopped after 14 days wait another week then take a pregnancy test.  If it hasn’t come back.”

That was it. No counselling, not even pain killers.

It was all so horribly routine for the doctors. 1 in 5 pregnancies ends in miscarriage. They know this and there is nothing they can do to change that or save the pregnancies.

BUT what about the mothers?

The doctors could definitely help us. Not by saving our pregnancies, but by supporting us through their loss both physically (by giving us pain relief and the option of surgical intervention to speed things up) and emotionally via counselling.

After my miscarriage was complete, I fell pregnant again immediately because I felt I needed to replace the pregnancy I’d lost. During that pregnancy, I developed quite serious ante-natal depression.  Would this have happened if I’d received medical help to deal with the emotional impact of the miscarriage.  I don’t know  but I doubt it.

Mumsnet has carried out a survey of members’ experience of miscarriage and it seems my experience is only too common. Here are some of the findings:

    • 46% had to wait over 24 hours for a scan to determine if their baby was still alive, with 18% waiting longer than three day
    • Half were treated alongside women with ongoing pregnancies
    • A third of those who miscarried at home following a scan were not offered any pain relief, or adequate pain relief
    • 58% wanted counselling, but only 12% were offered it
    • 56% wanted further medical care but only 26% were offered it
    • Only 15% of women who miscarried at home following a scan felt they had the right support, information and pain relief to manage

While the loss of a pregnancy is, statistically, an every day occurrence, the medical profession needs to recognise that there is nothing every day about it for the woman miscarrying.  Nothing at all.

That’s why I’m supporting Mumsnet’s campaign for a five-point Miscarriage Code of Care, which calls for straightforward improvements in the treatment parents receive:

  1.  Supportive staff
  2. Access to scanning
  3. Safe and appropriate places for treatment
  4. Good information and effective treatment
  5. Joined-up care

You can support it too, by contacting the politicians who can make sure improved miscarriage care gets on the parliamentary agenda.  They are:

  • Secretary of State for Health Jeremy Hunt - mb-sofs@dh.gsi.gov.uk or @Jeremy_Hunt
  • Labour Shadow Health Spokesman Andy Burnham - andy.burnham.mp@parliament.uk or @andyburnhammp
  • LibDem Health Minister Norman Lamb - mscs@dh.gsi.gov.uk or @normanlamb

We need to ask them to include a promise in their next manifesto to make miscarriage care better.  Accounts of personal experiences are particularly effective for explaining why we need their support, but here’s some suggested text to start you off.

Dear xxxx, I know you’ll be concerned about the care received by women who miscarry so please let me know you’re backing M umsnet’s campaign for better miscarriage care. I’m asking you to include a manifesto commitment to improve miscarriage care for all women by 2020.

 

 

Wandsworth Schools Admission Distances 2014

Our discussion boards go into overdrive every year in the days leading up to and immediately following the announcement of primary school offers.

It is something every parent worries about.

So we asked Wandsworth Council to let us know what the catchment areas of the borough’s schools actually are at present.

Here’s the info they gave us.  Distances are given as at the primary school offer date and may change by the start of term as offers are accepted and refused and the waiting lists move.

School Furthest Distance offered under proximity
criterion (distances are in straight line metres)
Alderbrook 1113
Allfarthing 255
Beatrix Potter all applicants within the priority areas + children outside of them areas with sibling priority up to a distance of 334m.
Belleville 238
Brandlehow 520
Broadwater 561
Chesterton 402
Earlsfield 306
Fircroft 1212
Franciscan all applicants with sibling priority or within the priority area + children outside priority area up to a distance of 1269m.
Furzedown all applicants with sibling priority or within the priority area + children outside priority area up to a distance of 405m.
Honeywell Infant 182
Hotham Bilingual class – all applicants with sibling priority+ children living up to 566 m.  Open places – all applicants with sibling priority + children living up to 875 m.
John Burns 435
Penwortham all applicants within priority area + children outside of it with sibling priority up to a distance of 474m.
Ravenstone 1276
Riversdale 742
Ronald Ross 1274
Rutherford House 877
Sellincourt all applicants with sibling priority or within the priority area + children outside of it up to a distance of 406m.
Shaftesbury Park Bilingual class – all applicants with sibling priority + children living up to 1092 m.  Openplaces – all applicants with sibling priority + children living up to 1468m.
Sheringdale 435
Swaffield 795
The Alton 1231
Tooting 543
Wix Bilingual class – Applicants with sibling priority up to 995 metres.  Open places – all applicants with sibling priority + children living up to 515m.
Undersubscribed Schools where all applicants were offered a place
Albermarle         Eardley       Falconbrook       Granard       Griffin       Heathmere       High View       Hillbrook         Mosaic       Smallwood       Southmead       St Anne’s     St Mary’s Catholic Battersea           West Hill       Westbridge

The borough’s faith schools are not included as they don’t operate on a distance basis.

What’s clear is that the real squeeze on places is confined to a few distinct areas.

There weren’t enough places in Earlsfield at all leaving some children without an offer of a place at all, and others with the prospect of having to travel to the Mosaic school which is currently sited on the Putney/Roehampton borders.  The Council has now addressed this by adding an extra class to the intake at Smallwood school, Tooting this year (nearer but still not actually in Earlsfield).  Next year a new free school will open on the old Atheldene site in central Earlsfield which should ease the pressure.

The other hot spot is the ‘Between the Commons’ area around Northcote Road.  Honeywell’s catchment area is down to a tiny 182m and Belleville’s isn’t much bigger.  By our calculations that means that unless you live in either of the two green circles shown on the map below – you are going to have to look elsewhere.

If you live on Chatham Road though, you are totally sorted!

Most of the area south of Broomwood Road, does fall within the catchment of Alderbrook and High View on Lavender Hill (just up from Clapham Junction) was undersubscribed so you will get a place there.  Little consolation if you live on the same road as one of the best primaries in the borough but can’t get in.

Middle Class Parenting Fails Bingo

We own up.  We are guilty of more than a few of these.  There was the particularly nasty incident with the toddlers, an upturned trolley and, sob, several smashed bottles of wine that has earned Ocado our custom forever.  We can’t even remember how many times we’ve forgotten the school cake sale.  Our children will never have a sound grasp of economics having watched mummy shell out £24 for a dozen cupcakes that their teachers then sell for 50p each.  Middle class problems, indeed!

Middle Class Parenting Fails Bingo

The mystery of Tooting and Waitrose.

It started with Antic’s Tooting Tram, carried on apace with Meza, Tota and Soho House’s Chicken Shed and with ordinary looking semis like this one now being advertised for £1m + it seems Tooting is rapidly catching up with it’s Balham neighbours in the gentrification stakes.

The question is, is it middle-class enough yet for a Waitrose – the benchmark of respectability for the ‘yummy mummy’ class?

There have been rumours for months.  Waitrose first denied this saying via Twitter in March that it had “nothing planned for Tooting in the short term”.  But the rumours just wouldn’t go away and as recently as the end of April, Waitrose had to confirm that they “still have not plans in Tooting. Sorry to disappoint”.

Case closed then?  Well no, because we received this leaflet from the local Conservative council candidates at the beginning of May.

waitrose tooting
So just days after Waitrose denied it via Twitter, local politicians are crowing about the new store.  Have they got it wrong? Are they just referring to the rumours same as everyone else?

We sent Waitrose the leaflet and asked them what was going on.

Capture

Clear as mud then but we suspect something is afoot.

 

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