Mum sent home from hospital an hour before giving birth

New arrival Freddie with, from left, Steven Meehan, Sara Smith and Jazmin Meehan (8)
New arrival Freddie with, from left, Steven Meehan, Sara Smith and Jazmin Meehan (8)

A mum is calling for an investigation into why she was sent home from hospital - just an hour before giving birth to her son.

Sara Smith arrived at Wigan Infirmary at around 7.30pm on September 27 after she started having contractions but was sent home after midwives told her she wasn’t in labour and was just experiencing Braxton Hicks.

I can’t even remember getting home I was in so much pain. I got upstairs to the bathroom and there was blood everywhere. My partner rang the midwife who told me to have a bath. I was in the bath for about two minutes when I got out because I knew I needed to start pushing

Sara Smith

But just an hour after leaving hospital, Sara gave birth to baby Freddie in the bedroom of her Norley Hall home at around 12.30am on Wednesday, with help from partner Steven Meehan and mum-in-law Marg.

Luckily, both Sara and Freddie are doing well but she fears that this may not have been the case had anything gone wrong as there was no one there to support her.

Her fears have prompted her to seek a full investigation into why she was sent home without being examined for a second time - despite having been in hospital for four hours.

She said: “When I went into hospital I was having contractions every five minutes and they were lasting a minute.

“The midwife who examined me said I was about two centimetres dilated but that I wasn’t having contractions, it was Braxton Hicks. But then she was just about to finish a 14 hour shift.

“I was passed over to another midwife who put me on a monitor. My contractions went from every five minutes to every two minutes but they asked my partner and sister to keep recording how often they were coming and how long they were lasting because they weren’t being picked up on the monitor.

“I can’t even remember getting home I was in so much pain. I got upstairs to the bathroom and there was blood everywhere. My partner rang the midwife who told me to have a bath. I was in the bath for about two minutes when I got out because I knew I needed to start pushing.

“My partner rang his mum and an ambulance. She was with us within a couple of minutes because she lives round the corner and she was talked through how to deliver the baby by the 999 operator.

“The ambulance arrived about five minutes after Freddie was born. They were lovely and joked about not being needed anymore but they checked us both over and gave me some gas and air before calling the on-call midwives to come.

“We did both get taken into hospital because my blood pressure was a bit high and Freddie’s blood sugar was a bit low.”

Sara and Steven, who also have a daughter, eight-year-old Jazmin, have met with hospital bosses to discuss their concerns in the hope of finding out more about why she was sent home.

Sara, who works as a switchboard operative at Stephenson’s Solicitors, said: “Marg was helping deliver the baby while my partner Steven was shouting out the window to his dad, Brian, who was outside looking for the flashing lights of an ambulance.

“They were all great and so were the paramedics, the 999 call handler and the on-call midwives. They both said I shouldn’t have been sent home from hospital.

“We just keep going over what could have happened. My daughter was born with her cord around her neck and if that had happened again there wouldn’t have been anyone there to help.

“I want a full investigation regarding why I was not examined again even though my contractions were getting closer together when Braxton Hicks don’t do that.

“I understand they are busy at the hospital and I know everyone is different but I was having contractions not Braxton Hicks.”

A spokesman for Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh NHS Trust said: “Due to our obligation to protect patient confidentiality, we are unable to comment publicly on the treatment Ms Smith received.

“We have invited Ms Smith to a Birth Afterthoughts meeting. Birth Afterthoughts is a listening service available to any woman who has recently given birth.

“It is a confidential service that provides an opportunity for new mothers and their partners to discuss and understand what happened during labour and birth. Mothers can also raise questions which they may not have previously asked.

“Some mothers and birth partners may have been left traumatised by the experience; others may have poor memory of events due to pain or medication, or simply didn’t understand some of the processes or actions taken.

“The chance to discuss the birth in detail can also be very important in helping to better prepare for the next pregnancy, labour and birth.

“The Birth Afterthoughts meeting enables everyone, mothers, partners and midwives, to come together to have honest and frank discussion around the birth experience.”