I recovered at Darley unit

I just wanted to let you know how horrified I was to hear about the potential closure of Darley Birth Centre once again.

Having read all the recent stories in the Mercury I can confirm that I was also not told about Darley by my midwife, but luckily I knew about the centre anyway via other local mums. I was booked to give birth there but had to divert to Chesterfield on April 8, 2011, instead due to complications. I had a very difficult birth experience (an emergency c-section under general anaesthetic) and then suffered a major haemorrhage afterwards, resulting in me being in intensive care on a ventilator after further surgery at Chesterfield.

As you can imagine, my recovery from all of this has taken some time and whilst the staff at Chesterfield were fantastic, they were keen for me to make progress and leave the hospital as soon as I was able to. I was certainly in no fit state to go straight home though so I was able to transfer to Darley to continue my recovery there for another week.

I was very traumatised by what had happened and the staff at Darley were incredibly supportive in helping me come to terms with the events and I suspect this probably resulted in a reduced risk of me developing post-natal depression, which is much more common after such traumatic birth experiences.

My consultant at Chesterfield, Mr Steve Smith, also agreed that Darley would be the ideal place for me to recuperate after what had happened, and I understand that a number of women have used the Centre for this vital recovery time after a difficult birth.

I also find it astounding that there is plenty of evidence to suggest that birth in a mainstream hospital is more likely to result in, often unnecessary, medical intervention which in the long run will of course cost the Trust more if they do close Darley, as well as resulting in greater psychological distress for mothers and their partners.

Whilst in my case the medical intervention was necessary, this appears to be an exceptional case rather than the norm as the majority of births do not need to be a ‘medical’ event. Birth is, after all, a natural process!

Dr Lena Palmer

Clinical Psychologist