So it’s been a standard morning; I was feeding baby boy whilst having a nose on Mail Online (I admit this quite shamefacedly; I know it’s a load of crap but it’s an easy read at 6am)! Anyway up popped a headline screaming “Behind the scenes at Britain’s ritziest maternity hospital – where even the doctor’s an aristocrat, the bill can top £500k and you never have to change a nappy”.
So of course I had to have a read. The article focused on a new TV show exploring what goes on at the maternity ward at the famous Portland Hospital, the London hospital of choice for celebrity mums.
Obviously it is a private option, and a bloody expensive one at that with the cheapest room being £1,200 a night! Apparently the bathrooms are kitted out with luxurious Molton Brown toiletries; I should bloody well hope so for that price! There is an extensive menu of food options including caviar (just what every Mum wants after birth right…..fish eggs….), champagne, and oysters. Not only are you well fed but upon delivery you have dedicated nurses there to wind, change and soothe your baby to sleep so you literally don’t have to do a thing. There is due to be one lady featured in this programme, Anna, the glamorous Home Counties wife of a property developer, who has given birth to daughter Skylar (…. yep….!!!) at a cost of £13,000. She says the hospital has a certain cachet among her set. ‘It’s like a club. I can say my baby was born at the Portland.’
As Portland Hospital CEO Janene Madden says: ‘It’s like having a holiday. After two to three days you leave fit and well. You only have to pick up Hello! magazine to see the patients we have here in the hospital.’
OK… and now for my thoughts on this (and you know me, I’m so good at holding back)….. what a load of bollocks! I’m sorry but you’re having a baby not going on holiday! You are bringing life into the world in the most painful, bloody and undignified way not sunning yourself in St Barts! Having a baby is the most amazing and rewarding thing you can ever do but it is NOT a holiday!!!! And it certainly shouldn’t be seen as further competition as to where you’ve delivered; there’s enough stupid mummy competition as it is out there! Do we really have to start it before we’ve even had the baby!
I gave birth in an NHS hospital in Great Yarmouth. I got some funny looks for that alone; most people would have chosen the larger hospital in Norwich to deliver, but having done my research I felt comfortable and utterly confident in the Paget and what they do for new Mums. They’d already looked after me outstandingly well during my rather difficult pregnancy so I knew I wanted to deliver there. And I cannot praise it enough. As you lovely readers know I had a hard and long labour ending with an emergency C Section. At this fancy Portland Hospital over half of births are elective C Sections; as I’ve mentioned in previous posts a lot of women see this as the easy option. Some women amaze me; the recovery from a C Section is bloody hard. You might be sick from the anaesthetic, you are recovering from major abdominal surgery with no sleep and caring for a newborn. How on earth can that be the easy option? But my point is, the staff where incredible. Whilst I was completely out of it, throwing up and telling everyone I was terrified before the operation, I was surrounded by kind and reassuring NHS staff telling me how well I’d done and they’d get me through this last hurdle.
Given all that, when I had Josh all I wanted to do was get home as quickly as possible; I wanted my own bed, my home comforts. And as much as the hospital and the staff were incredible, I am sure they would understand that. Even if the place had been decked out in the fancy beds and private rooms that they have at the Portland, I still would have wanted to get home to my own bed. I only spent two nights in hospital and the midwives that looked after me were incredible; when I called, they came and helped me. They didn’t take Josh away to wind him and soothe him like is on offer at the Portland, they helped me and showed me how to do it. Because I am his mother, and I should be the one doing that. I chose to have a baby and I have to learn how to do these things. The first night after my C Section my midwife did indeed do the nappy changes for me; I couldn’t get out of bed very well and I was extremely grateful for the help. But after that I was shown how to do things, offered help and left with the reassurance I’d be able to do these things once discharged and back home.
I have no doubt the nurses and midwives at the Portland are amazing but so are the NHS staff that deliver everyone elses babies. The fact is all midwives and nurses are amazing, kind, and supportive. Yes you sometimes encounter ones who are slightly more old fashioned, but at the end of the day your health and that of your baby is always their top priority. That doesn’t matter if you are in a shiny fancy hospital like the Portland or the standard NHS run hospital in your local town.
I am sure on paper all the perks of this hospital, at an immense cost, sound amazing. But if I had a choice I’d 100% be having my second baby at the same hospital where I had Josh. I will never forget their kindness, their dedication, the way you could see how much they genuinely cared about me, their constant reassurance and the fact that even when I felt miserable they made me laugh and cheered me up. And that goes for the aftercare to; I was well looked after and kept an eye on the weeks after birth and given my low moods, I really needed that and I truly believe it helped me nip any further low moods in the bud quickly.
I really hope some of the team who helped me deliver Josh get to read this and I will be trying to contact them to know I’ve written this. It’s important to me that they know how grateful I am, still after 4 months.
I am sure I will watch the programme on the Portland out of curiosity but from reading that article some of the people featured may make me what to throw things at the TV! I’ll be very interested to read what the rest of you mummies make of it.
All I can say is this; after having Josh I was given the best cup of tea and slices of toast known to man. There is something about that comforting combination after birth, and having that whilst having snuggles with your amazing new baby, it is one of the nicest and most memorable moments of your life. Keep your caviar and champagne; cuddles and a cuppa will do me fine!