Monday, 24 June 2013

Why I support the #BountyMutiny - My Post-Op Story

My initial stay following the birth of my second child was short and sweet. I must have seen the bounty people as I went home with a bounty pack but I don't really remember. I was discharged  about 12 hours after the birth.

Our first hospital stay.

However my post natal experience didn't remain as smooth. The full story can be found here

At 13 days post partum I got ill with an infection. I remained at home for 6 days until the symptoms flared up and I became really sick. I'd given birth in a different town to accommodate my birth plan, but was admitted to my local hospital when I was poorly. I was in hospital from day 19 until day 25.

When I first met the Bounty Lady on the ward in my local hospital she already knew I was a "readmission". I don't think she knew why but she asked loads of questions as if she was just another employee on the ward.... Why had I given birth in another hospital? Why had I come back in? Why wasn't the baby with me? I'm a pretty open person and I don't mind sharing. To be honest a lot of the questions are things I would have usually be fine talking about. But this was the morning of day 20. I'd been taken by ambulance into A&E the night before, had little sleep, been pumped full of fluids and drugs to try keep my sky high temperature down and hadn't seen my 3 week old baby (who I was struggling to breastfeed) for about 16 hours. All I wanted was sleep and my baby.

Over the course of the week many women and their new babies came and went, while the doctors struggled to get my temperature low enough for a blood transfusion so I'd be strong enough for surgery. I didn't have my curtains closed often and a lot of the other ladies kept their curtains open so we could chat. It was a very friendly bay. My baby was allowed to stay, but some times he went home with my partner when I was very unwell. At one point I got another Bounty pack. The Bounty Lady thought I'd like one since they have slightly different things in from hospital to hospital. I think the subject of photographs came up a couple of times. I probably polity declined, was unwell, tied to a drip or didn't have baby with me. I don't exactly remember as my focus was on being very sick.

On day 24 I was finally fit enough for surgery and it was clear that antibiotics alone wouldn't get me better. I needed a scrape to remove a little bit of left over placenta. Our toddler went to stay with family for the day and my partner came in to look after the baby while I was in surgery. I had the operation in the maternity theatres at the end of a list of women having elective C-Sections. I had a general anaesthetic, but was back on the ward pretty soon after surgery.  If you've had a GA you'll know that afterwards you feel a little odd for a while. Everything seems a bit unreal, a bit more colourful and just not as it usually does.

Back on the ward I had made it as far as being allowed sips of water when the Bounty Lady was doing her rounds. I can't have been back more than an hour. As I said, our bay was a very open bay and there is little doubt that the Bounty Lady knew I was having an operation. I'd probably mentioned it myself at some point, in the context of "Your still here?" .... "Yes just waiting on the doctors to decide if they will operate"...She was friendly, but then I'm sure she's paid to be friendly. I'm also quite sure I must have said I'd just had the operation.

Anyway, I'm there a bit spaced out. My partner is there a little shell-shocked from the fact I've just had an operation. We have no toddler running around and the baby is happy and content having been given a bottle while I was in surgery. She asked us if we wanted his picture doing, no pressure, we could just do them and decide if we liked them. And of course its not hard to get some beautiful pictures of our happy content baby.

Which then leads to the hard sell. Talk of this package, that package. How this deal is really good and if we do this, this and this it will cost less than usual. Before we know it we've spent nearly £50 on a selection of photographs we didn't really want and definitely couldn't afford. We justified it as "its nice to get something done after all we've been through". They are nice pictures, but we have others that are just as nice that we could have got printed for cheaper.

The Bounty Lady caught us at a very weak moment. She used her friendly nature to gain intimate knowledge of our situation and then when the time was right jumped in, took our money and no doubt got commission for it!

We can be vulnerable after giving birth. After a General Anaesthetic you are very suggestible. It's not normally something I would do. I had even said to my partner what a waste of money those photos are. She walked the wards as if another employee, no different to a cleaner, a health care assistant, the hearing test lady. She gained our trust in the same way and asked the same questions as these professionals did. But then she used that information for personal gain and to make a profit. And this is why I support the Bounty Mutiny.

For more information on the Bounty Mutiny please go to Mumsnet


Emma x said...

I totally support the Bounty Mutiny, i had an emergency c section under GA with my first and know exactly what you mean about the GA making you vulnerable, i was still realising that i had a baby when the bounty lady came. All the women on my ward were on that ward after difficult births and it was really inappropriate for her to be there.
Fab post.

Emma Day said...

But you have some beautiful photos of your baby and a load of freebies right? I didn't get the opportunity to have my twins photographed, despite being in hospital for ten days after giving birth. I was sad I wasn't offered. In fact I trawled the hallways looking for the bounty lady on day ten because I wanted my Bounty packs. She was too busy for a long chat and she apologised that I'd missed the photographer, but gave me the bags and I was chuffed with the contents. I think the Bounty lady is one of the perks of a hospital birth and I can't understand why people are suddenly against it. Xx

Celesse said...

I wouldn't say "loads" of freebies. A pot of sudocrem, a disposable nappy and some conditioner.....and one of the packs had very thin baby towel in it.

The pictures are lovely, but we were so broke when Theo was born. We really really couldn't afford them, especially after all the money we had to spend on hospital costs (taxi's, phone calls...that kind of stuff). Most photo's are still away in a drawer somewhere.

Maybe a compromise would be to keep the Bounty Lady's in the Day Rooms at a certain time of day?? You could find them if you wanted the pictures doing and pick up packs at a convenient time. That way you can opt into Bounty's services rather than opt out.