Epworth Freemasons Maternity – Never Again! 

Our delivery at Epworth Freemasons was perfect! The staff were fantastic. We were made to feel calm, safe and cared for. 

I have blogged about delivery yesterday so I won’t revisit it in detail but want to elaborate on our experience with Epworth Freemasons East Melbourne. 

From the moment we left the recovery area of the Day Procedure Unit it all started to go downhill. I was shocked that we were wheeled through the main reception area of the hospital and into the lift to go up for Level 2 to the Maternity Unit. As soon as the lift doors opened we were greeted by our waiting family, whilst I was happy to see them, I had hoped that we would be in our room before we saw everyone so they would get a proper first look at her and not a quick glance whilst we are still doing skin to skin breastfeeding. 

In recovery I had been medicated and allowed to sip on some water. Upon arriving in our recovery room on the maternity ward we allowed our family to come in to meet our little Alessia Lucia for the first time. It was here that we told them her name. We had kept it to ourselves until this point as wanted it to be special. 

The midwife on the ward was abrupt and frankly quite rude. I had asked my mum for a glass of water and the midwife advised that I wasn’t allowed! I mentioned that I had been allowed to sip on water downstairs so didn’t see an issue in continuing, plus I felt really well. She reluctantly agreed provided I sipped it. We tried to order Adam some dinner from the menu and were advised that we had missed the cut off for the kitchen by 30 mins , despite having been in the room for almost 2 hours at this point. I felt that if there is a 4:30pm cut off then there should be a courtesy “if you’re staying and wanting to order some dinner that you will need to do so by 4:30”. Funnily enough when we asked if she could enquire with he kitchen if it was possible for him to get just a light meal she responded that she couldn’t as she was due to go on her dinner break -ha! Looks like Adam is having Maccas! 

After everyone had left we asked we could please have a roll away bed for Adam so that we could try and get some rest. ( The first night post C Section I was in a single bed with a catheter in). 

We were told that his bed would be in the hallway and he needs to bring it in and set it up without assistance. The position where he was told to put it would have meant that the midwife would have had to have stepped over him during the night so he put it under the window and needed to move my bed and Alessia’s crib to fit it. 

Now you might think that these things are petty, but these “little” things just kept happening! 

Due to being doped up on pain relief I don’t remember what time we went to bed but around 2-3am I woke to a splatter in Alessia’s crib after she sneezed. Lots of gunk had come out of her lungs/mouth so I pressed the call button to get the midwives help as it needed to be cleaned as it was all over the side of her crib as well as her linen and swaddle wrap. 

When the midwife started she told us that if we needed assistance we were to call her mobile/cordless phone from our room phone and avoid using the call button. Due to it being the middle of the night when this happened I instinctively called out to Adam to wake and help and hit the call button. When the midwife walked in, rather than ask what we needed assistance with she said “I told you to call my phone if you need me!” 

I almost threw the bloody phone at her head! My baby was 12 hours old, has just spluttered black shit from her lungs and this stupid woman is gonna tell me off for not calling her phone?!?!? Turns out the nursing staff/midwives are rated on their response rate however this is avoided when using the cordless. 

The following morning we met a lovely midwife , she helped me up to the loo and then requested I have a shower. I felt great so Adam helped me shower. We mentioned our disappointment with the staff from the afternoon/night before and she passed it on. 

As I was mobile and felt ok we were moved two doors down into a bigger room with a bigger bed. A lady who advised she was in charge came to discuss our concerns with Adam not being able to order dinner the night before. I was shocked when she wouldn’t even look at me and rather focused on my electronic chart. She simply stated ” dad doesn’t normally eat on the first night!” WTF! They don’t eat?!? Ok Then! 

The midwives continued to come in and give me medication despite me expressing to them that I felt ok and am not one to normally take pain relief. I was given a concoction of Endone,Tramadol,Panadol & Voltaren. As I was demand breastfeeding (still am) they would ask to see how I was going when feeding so I would breastfeed Alessia with them present and take on board their advice. Thankfully my milk came in on the morning after delivery. I knew it had come in and told the afternoon midwife. She wanted to check to be sure and it squirted her in the face 😂😂 – serves you right for doubting me! 

I was seeing a haematologist in pregnancy due to my blood condition and was prescribed blood thinning injections-Fondiparinux to take for 2-3 weeks due to developing an allergy to Clexane. Each 6 days it cost me $140! I had filled my script and taken the medication in with me. On night one the midwife took the medication from me and advised she would store it in the drug store. 

On Tuesday night I was so exhausted having been up every 2 hours feeding so come 8:00pm I was ready for bed. I had been told to take the blood thinner at the same time each day and as it had been administered at 8pm on Monday I requested that I get my injection at 8pm so that I could get some much needed sleep. 

The midwife came in with another nurse and grabbed my wrist to check what I was allergic to before giving me pain relief – I advised them that I didn’t want pain relief as I felt fine but would appreciate them getting my blood thinner so that I can get some rest. 

They advised me that the meds have already been dispensed so I needed to take them. They also mentioned that they were having difficulty locating my blood thinner but as soon as they locate it they will bring it in and administer it. I just wanted to sleep and was so disappointed that this was happening. 

I had been told by several midwives throughout the day that they normally have 6 patients each and currently had 9-12! Ummmm not my problem! My Private Health Fund is paying $8220 for my 5 day stay….. get more staff! 

The combo of medication they were giving to me made me feel like I was off my head and I was falling asleep constantly during the day. I kept advising the midwives that I did not want them. It got to a point Wednesday that I just refused to take them. I was sick of being drugged, I was sick of falling asleep on my guests. I made the midwife leave the medication and advised that I would not be taking them unless needed. That was 5pm Wednesday (50 hours post op) and I haven’t taken any pain relief since. Not even a panadol! I told you I felt ok lol. 

Wednesday morning Alessia had her hearing test and passed without issue. The lady that conducted the test was lovely. 

Hearing test – passed

When the midwife was bathing Alessia on Wednesday afternoon, Alessia turned her head and put her nose under the water which allowed her to inhale water and choke. The midwife scooped her out of the bath and when Alessia finally regained her breath and started crying the midwife made remark “due for another breastfeed are you?” …. ummm she just choked on water. Pretty sure that’s why she is screaming!! 

I stressed to the midwife from about 5pm that my blood thinner is due at 8pm. I think i mentioned it twelve times. I just didn’t want it to be late again.

Sure enough, 8pm arrives and no blood thinner. I called the midwife on her cordless phone and was advised they’re having difficulty locating it….. again!!! Around 30 mins later they stroll in to give it to me. Not acceptable!

Thursday morning at 7:15am we had a new midwife come in with a student nurse from ACU and asked if it was ok if the student was present – everyone has to learn so we agreed. Adam bought it to my attention that one of them stunk of cigarettes. This didn’t sit well with me. Especially since this is a maternity ward and you’re dealing with babies. 

They weighed Alessia and she had gone from 3.16kg at birth to 2.95kg . Length was deemed to be 49cm however when we measured her she was 51cm (later measured as 53cm by health nurse using a proper measure and not a tape). Alessia has screamed due to being naked for her weigh in so when the student midwife went to take her heart rate she was unable to get the reading. The trained midwife discussed with the student that you cannot take a heart rate when the baby is crying. I thought nothing of it at the time but later glanced at Alessia’s chart when I noticed her heart rate had been recorded for 7:30am! And midnight….. how on earth did the overnight nurse check Alessia’s heart rate if she didn’t go anywhere near her? 

I was sooooo angry! They were making up Observations of my baby – not acceptable and frankly it’s unethical!

Final hospital weigh in

Later than morning I was laying down on my tummy (yes, I felt that good post op!) when a lady entered and advised that she was calling to offer for us to be moved to The Park Hyatt Hotel. We took one look at each other and said “if we are well enough to go to a hotel then we are going to go home!” We were told that we would need my Obstetrician to give the approval but couldn’t foresee an issue. The hospital would send us a $200 gift card for going home early. (They still get the full $8220 from Medibank so are grateful if we leave early and don’t go to Park Hyatt as they save money) 

After what felt like an eternity, Dr Sgroi came and gave me the all ok to go home. Alessia had already been seen by the Paediatrician that morning and was deemed perfectly healthy. After removing the gause from my wound and giving me some booklets to take home we were sent on our way. Made to make our own way to the car, they didn’t even check that we had a car seat installed! Get me out of here now!!! 

It was such a relief to get Alessia home! I finally felt like a mum. I hated being in hospital and so did Adam. We were starting to get a bit of Cabin Fever! 

Home Sweet Home
I emailed my concerns to The Epworth Freemasons and had my Ob & Hospital Staff member call me to apologise. I was then contacted by the hospitals Patient Liason Administrator. That phone call was a complete waste of time! She made an excuse for every single thing! And advised that they spoke to the midwife about the obs and they distinctly remember taking them……. hmm! So my word against theirs. 

I am grateful that my new Ob Dr Joseph Sgroi delivers at Frances Perry House & St Vincent’s too. As one thing is for sure, I will never stay at Epworth Freemasons again!!!! 

I would go back to the DPU in the event I require another laparoscopy however I made it very clear to my Ob that I refuse to go back to the ward of their maternity unit. The thought of it makes me angry. 

I felt like I was fed and drugged the whole time we were there. I appreciate that it was a busy time of year but get more staff! The nursery was so full that we weren’t even allowed to walk in there! 

I hope that no one else has to experience such a shitty stay there but made the official complaint and decided to blog about it to share our experience so that they make sure it doesn’t happen again. 

I know some of my points may seem petty but it wasn’t just the fact that I wasn’t allowed to have a drink of water, it was the tone in which I was spoken to. I understand that their focus is on me and my baby but if you’re allowing the husbands to stay then at least tell people if they want to eat they need to order by 4:30. I registered with Epworth Freemasons in July 2016 so they had plenty of notice that we were coming…. 

anyway I’ll wrap this one up here as I’m mindful that it’s a long one. I simply wanted to share this with you all as I was so disappointed with my stay that I felt I needed to share it. 

I’d love to hear about others experiences with them..

I do want to mention that we had a positive experience in delivery room. Recovery downstairs as well as with our Obstetrician – Joe even gave us a beautiful gift and his receptionist came upstairs for cuddles after work on Monday! Our paediatrician was also lovely! 

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Epworth Freemasons Maternity – Never Again! 

19 thoughts on “Epworth Freemasons Maternity – Never Again! 

  1. Claire says:

    I am so glad I found this post. I had my baby October 2016 at Epworth and it was horrible. So many things were not done well and I’m still upset almost 2 years on. I’ve spoke to other mums who also didn’t have good experiences there but until today had not found anything online. I was so excited about going to Epworth before the birth but after my experience, like you, I say NEVER again! I’m not going into details because I don’t need a troll picking apart my pain but I just wanted to thank you for taking the time to write this.

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  2. Claire says:

    I am so glad I found this post. I had my baby October 2016 at Epworth and it was horrible. So many things were not done well and I’m still upset almost 2 years on. I’ve spoke to other mums who also didn’t have good experiences there but until today had not found anything online. I was so excited about going to Epworth before the birth but after my experience, like you, I say NEVER again! I’m not going into details because I don’t need a troll picking apart my pain but I just wanted to thank you for taking the time to write this.

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  3. Bianca says:

    I too had an unpleasant experience at Freemasons. I delivered on Oct 16 and I still regret the decision of choosing Freemasons instead of returning back to Northpark (could not fault their maternity!) where I had our daughter.
    I found the Freemasons staff on the whole to be really quite rude. I too had the issue with being scolded about not using the telephone after I would press the call button. Don’t want those response times to look bad to the auditors! (I was told several times when I was there don’t press it, we’re in the middle on an audit, right!)

    The first night my son was put out of arms reach, he was screaming I couldn’t get to him, I pressed the button. No response for 20mins, I get up, bad idea 10 hours after a c section but my baby is hysterical and I can’t get to him or get help. Any Mum would do the same. The midwife finally arrives, she was the only lovely midwife I encountered during my entire stay, she says they’re busy, lucky it wasn’t an emergency!

    We had an issue where they assured us a room at the Park Hyatt as we lived over an hour away it was so exciting for my little girl, she had looked forward all week to getting to stay with her little brother and bring him home. They arrived at 3:30pm to be told an hour later no there’s no rooms left for you over there. She was already dressed in her pj’s. I called the Park Hyatt to get a room for them as I couldn’t break her little heart, no vacancy, it’s spring racing. A midwife then says we can give her a rollaway and she can stay in the room with you and your husband. Excellent, she was still excited! What do you know, 8pm rolls around, no rollaway I call they say it’s coming. 8:30pm I call again, they say it’s coming. 9pm I call they say it’s on its way. 9:30pm,with a tired and grumpy toddler the door opens, a midwife , no rollaway. She proceeds to tell me they don’t have one, but she can just squeeze in the bed with my husband and I. Oh yep that’s a great idea put a toddler that fly kicks in her sleep in bed with a lady that had a c section 4 days ago! My husband had to drive home, only to return at 7 am the next morning to take us home. After they left, I heard the midwifes talking about me outside my door, hello the door is not made of concrete I can hear you! Professionalism anyone?! One midwife then comes into the room and says “I looked at your file, I know where you live it’s not that far”. I thought maybe not for you but for a tired two year old who now has a broken heart it is, you cow!
    There were many other things that happened. My delivery was horrible, it wasn’t a warm and memorable experience like mine at NP, rather a cold and just another procedure the midwifes had to tick off for the day, thank god for my OB and Paed!
    My room was next to the staff room, I got to listen to them laugh, slam the microwave door and talk loudly at all hours, I get that’s what you do on your break but a bit more insualtion wouldn’t go astray!
    I got no help with feeding, something that was a challenge with my little girl, so I wanted to get it right with this Bub. The midwifes at NP would sit with you, set you up, make you feel comfortable and confident in yourself and say I’ll come back and check on you (and they actually did!). Here it was like what do you need? What do you mean it’s not working?! Support levels, zero! Lucky I had grown a lot more in confidence since my little girl and understood I couldn’t break him by trying to feed him.

    I do sometimes think I shouldn’t compare it to Northpark as each hospital is different, but I just had such a positive experience there that I went into my delivery and stay at Epworth Freemasons thinking I’d get the same , and I was sorely disappointed. I would never return to the maternity ward and I wouldn’t recommend them either.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Anonymous says:

    WOW!! Wish I’d not read your post I am now terrified about our eminent arrival which will be at FEH…. here’s hoping our experience has no similarities but thanks for the heads up on the recovery to ward transfer via the reception area!!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Arabella says:

    I had my baby October last year and 
I had a despicable time at EFH Maternity, it was nothing but a nightmare experience. I had to spend some time there before I gave birth and the treatment was soul destroying.

    I would ask my OB to be discharged every week just to go home for sanity before I’d come back in again to be readmitted. When my husband was around, they would treat me well but in his absence, it was appalling and it really marred my experience into motherhood. Unfortunately my OB, she only had admitting rights to EFH so I couldn’t go anywhere else.

    

I hope that you can put your experience behind you, you have such a beautiful daughter and I love reading your blog. You seem like such a lovely genuine person (and couple)

 Best wishes, Bella

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Bella for sharing your experience with me. It’s so disappointing that this is not an uncommon thing.
      I’ve since had midwives from the hospital make sly remarks about my blog post.
      I’ve even had a letter from the director of the hospital

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  6. Anonymous says:

    Omg I read this because I know midwives at Freemasons. So you know why you get pain meds? If the pain sets in , the pain meds won’t help, you need to stay on top the meds, to keep the paIn away. midwives are amazing , your rant is a pile of dribble and you should be embarrassed.

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    1. You’re the one who should be embarrassed! I wouldn’t have stopped taking pain meds so soon if I was actually in pain! Fuck off troll! And tell your friends if they did a better job they wouldn’t have blogs written about how shitty they are!

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      1. Your *
        If you’re going to try and insult me then please learn to spell!
        I don’t really care what the midwives think of my blog.
        I have had many messages advising me of horror stories at Epworth Freemasons, and it is my right to share my experience.
        Let your “friend that’s a midwife at Freemasons” know that I don’t really care what they think of my blog.
        I’m sure that Sandra & Elaine will look forward to my email letting them know which one of their midwives “friends” is sending “anonymous” disrespectful comments to one of their patients.
        I’ve forwarded your IP address to a good friend in IT, you’re clearly uneducated and may not be aware that I will soon know who you are thanks to the wonderful thing that is technology!
        I really appreciate you taking the time to contact me!

        Like

  7. Liz says:

    That’s so bad. I’m sorry your first few days of motherhood were tainted with horrible treatment.
    Overall we had a good experience (maybe we got lucky with good midwives) but I agree that being transported through the hospital pre & post delivery via the main reception is just wrong. Not sure how they would fix it though as I don’t think there are any other lifts. But given that our insurers have been paying top dollar they could find the funds to make a private lift for patients.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. sewingbutterfly says:

    That sounds awful!!! I delivered at Calvary John James in Canberra and my experience was totally opposite to yours. All the midwives and ataff were friendly and lovely. They didn’t take my baby’s heartrate at all during the stay, no need for a healthy baby. They just checked the chart I kept for him for wet/dirty nappies, feeds etc and as long as that was going well, they left him alone. They let us bathe him with the midwife watching towards the end of the stay. The Paed my OB works with visited every morning and he was the only one who did heartrate and other obs on baby. I wasn’t given any pain meds after 48 hours (and I was only on oral slow release morphine anyway) except panadol unless I really required it. Endone was prescribed but they wouldn’t dispense it unless I asked for it. My husbands bed was just a fold out from the recliner that was already in the room, though he did have to pack/unpack it himself which is fair enough, he’s a grown man 😉 they showed us where the extra linen was for his bed and bubs bassinet but were happy to come and help us change it. It was a fairly busy time but there were definitely enough staff to cope. They even organised for a physio to come to the ward and check all the mums for abdominal separation etc.

    Each morning, my OB, Paed, Anaesthetist and midwife would come and check on us before breakfast! I was glad to go home at the end of my 5 days but loved my stay there.

    So sorry they don’t seem to take your concerns seriously 😦

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I had a girlfriend deliver at your hospital and had a horrible experience so I guess it comes down to the staff at the time.
      We had our Paed come every day too to check Alessia but the midwives were apparently checking her too based on her chart 😒. I had a physio come in also on day 2, that was nice – although I didn’t need her.
      Hubby was more than capable of moving the bed and making it. It was more that she told him to put it near the entrance and he actually said “won’t you be coming in during the night? If I put it there you will need to step over me.”
      When I mentioned this in my email to the hospital I just said if dad is staying then it could just be a little spiel “hi dad, congratulations! Just a quick one to let you know if you’re planning on staying you’ll need to order your dinner by 4:30pm. Bed will be in the hallway at 8pm, you can set it up over there”.
      I would have been happy with that.
      We had no spare linen in our room. We were given a small packet of Huggies newborn nappies and made to bring our own wipes…. first time parents and left to fend for ourselves. Thankfully we knew what we were doing.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. sewingbutterfly says:

        Really? Almost every woman I speak to had an amazing experience but I guess it totally depends on the staff! That’s why I was glad the bed was fold out from the recliner, it was already positioned away from the entrance etc. We also only had a packet of huggies given to us, but as we have used cloth fulltime since coming home, it was enough. We had to bring our own wipes too, but the midwife at our prenatal classes was super helpful in letting us know what they provided. We were mostly left to fend for ourselves. My MIL was horrified we had bub in our room the whole time 😂 she asked why he didn’t go to the nursery so we could sleep…she was astounded there aren’t nurseries anymore for healthy babies!

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      2. Our hospital had a nursery but it was full all the time. My Ob wanted us to put her in for 1 night. I wasn’t keen on it and was glad it was full as I was able to use that as the excuse 😂. The same women who were putting their babies in the nursery were the ones ordering a glass of red with their lunch and dinner. Not a hotel honey. You just had a baby… maybe spend some time with it

        Liked by 1 person

      3. sewingbutterfly says:

        Our hospital only had a special care nursery as they really emphasised bonding. Even if they had one, I wouldn’t have used it. I felt guilty enough leaving my son for 2 hours yesterday to go to a dance class!

        Liked by 1 person

  9. Oh my goodness. That’s sounds terrible. I went public here in Perth and I had a terrible experience also. I was quite traumatised by the whole birth experience. I also want to write about it and may make it my next blog post.
    I’m so glad you were strong enough to push back when needed. Only you know yourself. And that did seem quite the concoction of medicine to have while breast feeding. I was only allowed panadol which did nothing. So I didn’t bother taking it. And yes, it’s hit and miss with midwives. Some are amazing and some are just plain rude. I hope your next experience (when it happens) at whatever facility you decide is much better. For now just look after yourself and your family.

    Liked by 1 person

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