For The Mt Carmel Mama’s- My experience of private and public maternity care

I was saddened to hear the news that Mount Carmel hospital was closing. I feel sorry for the staff and sorry for all the mama’s in waiting whose birth plans have been thrown up in the air. I felt nostalgic too. I had my two of my babies there and have been an in-patient there too on a couple of occasions for non maternity reasons. It was highly unlikely though I would have ever given birth there again because for me the public maternity system was an all round much better experience.

mt carmel

The following is written from my own experiences only, I am no birth expert. I had my first two children in Mt Carmel. I had my third child with the Community Midwives in Holles Street and I am currently under their care again now with my fourth pregnancy. My second labour and birth did not go that well and third time round I felt midwife led care was the better and safer option for me.

Ways in which Holles Street Hospital and Mt Carmel Hospital are the same:

Ultrasounds- the same.

Blood testing- the same.

Labour rooms- the same.

Ante-natal check ups- the same.

Gas and air- the same.

Bed- the same.

Pillows – the same.

Ways in which Holles Street Hospital and Mt Carmel Hospital are different:

Waiting times: Holles St – I have never waited more than twenty minutes for an appointment. Mt Carmel- my average wait time was an hour.

Rooming In: In Holles St your baby stays with you. Mt Carmel have a nursery. For me this was not an issue, I never availed of this service in Mt Carmel. In fact, I had to plead with a nurse to leave my baby with me one night in Mt Carmel.

Breakfasts: Mt Carmel wins this one hands down. There are no menu options in Holles St.

Breakfasts are the only thing for me, that Mt Carmel beat Holles Street on in my maternity experience. For me, every other aspect of care was met and exceeded in Holles Street.

There are three maternity hospitals within 10 miles of Mt Carmel. There are options. Horror stories happen in every hospital. You hear more from the bigger hospitals purely because they deliver more babies. Sadly in Ireland, I don’t think any mother can have full 100% trust in any hospital but you can be informed, ask every question and have a strong advocate with you when you give birth. My husband knows my wishes when I give birth. I need him to because usually I lose all ability to talk apart some pretty impressive, vicious cursing.

A general impression people get of maternity hospitals is over crowding. A personal anecdote for you: When my son was born in 2008 there was a “baby boom” ( the midwives words) in Mt Carmel that day. He was to be the third baby born there that day. The two delivery rooms were in use. I had to wait. That is the short version of the story. Things went wrong. They could have gone worse. It ended up ok in the end. With hindsight, I should have insisted on a different midwife and should have roared and shouted more loudly when I was left alone in a cold room. It wouldn’t happen me now but wisdom comes from experience.

When my daughter was born in 2010, Holles St had delivered a record number of babies that month. When I finally got past the persistent admin man with his many forms, I walked straight into a large roomy delivery room with en suite. “Baby booms” are handled differently in bigger hospitals.

I appreciate there are many women who choose Mt Carmel due to past traumatic birth experiences or because they are high risk but there are hundreds of women now looking at their birth options who are coming from consultant led care despite having normal pregnancies. In my experience, mid wife led care trumps consultant led care hugely. I have found midwife led care to be much more person centred and with a greater attention to detail. I believe it is statistically safer but like I said I’m not an expert and this is all just my experience anyway. Anecdotally, I believe the consultant I was under in Mt Carmel with my first two children, had her own children under midwife led care in Holles St.

Best of luck to all the mothers to be in 2014, if you’re in Holles Street in a couple of months time, I’ll be the one ordering breakfast on the phone to my husband because, for me, the food was the only thing better in Mount Carmel for maternity ante and post natal care.

9 thoughts on “For The Mt Carmel Mama’s- My experience of private and public maternity care

  1. Maud says:

    Also, Mt Carmel has a very high c-section rate. Which for me would be a reason to avoid.

    I was born there, mind you, so I’m sad to see it close.

      • Anita says:

        I agree, why you. All the stories I have heard I would not go for natural birth. With C cecton I know what I can expect anyway I would’t last long in the hours of pain. Im not too posh to push, I am not able for the pain. My body gave up on me alot during pregnancy and this was a big strain for me as well. Don’t judge someone because they want C section. it is their free choice and a little bit of comfort involved in the birth.

  2. tric says:

    It is sad to see it go, as it provided choice and perhaps peace of mind for those in the opposite situation to yourself, who were running from the public system. After three children I finished with a homebirth on my fourth, because like you I trusted the midwife to do a good job.

  3. Anita says:

    I gave birth to my child in Cavan hospital. There were some small issues which I will try to point out this time. I love nurses there, they do so much and are very kind and helpful. Speaking about doctors, only one is a pleasure to “work” with and that is Dr. Essajee. Good spoken english, gentleness and ALWAYS answers all questions. I don’t recommend other doctors as I had to deal with other 3 out of 4 they have in their team and I hear from women only bad things reg their approach. Regarding food in Cavan it is a slop… terrible food, mostly gravy , stinky potatoes and over cooked vegies. POOR catering.

  4. office mum says:

    I’m sad to see it go too – it’s definitely better for people to have more choices. And as you say above, many chose it for second and subsequent births after bad experiences elsewhere. I had my three babies in Holles Street and had a very good experience each time. But I also know people who didn’t have a good experience there. Similarly I’ve heard good and bad experiences for The Coombe and the Rotunda. On the food: yes, food from husband was the only way to go. The Pig and Heifer is nearby – yum 🙂

  5. Caitriona - Wholesome Ireland says:

    I’ve had the semi-private experience in Holles St and then the public system in the Rotunda. I cannot speak highly enough of the public system. Particularly as I needed to stay a couple of times before I gave birth due to some health complications. Yes, in general hospital food in Ireland is dreadful, not just limited to Holles Street!

  6. craftysorcha says:

    I think it’s sad when a place like this closes.
    I thought your piece was well thought out and fair, it makes a change from people making silly comments about how it was only for posh middle class people etc etc.
    I gave birth to my son in a private clinic here in France and for me it was ideal (someone with a relatively easy pregnancy and ordinary labour).

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