For those not in the know, The Portland Hospital, part of HCA Healthcare UK, is the only fully private maternity hospital in the UK dedicated to the healthcare of women and children.
Liz Hurley and Victoria Beckham are rumoured to have given birth at the prestigious hospital, which delivers over 1,600 babies a year.
It's hardly a wonder why, with the undeniable allure of private rooms, dedicated chefs and luxury goody bags. There's even an “advanced security system” which comes in the form of an electronic bracelet given to both mother and baby and applied at birth, so the baby’s location can be monitored the whole time they are at The Portland.
It's not just the fluffy robes and gourmet breakfast options that make The Portland such a sought-after option.
'Essentially we are a maternity hospital, but we have a little extra as we can tailor our care and give a lot more time to each of the women," Luzie Schroter, a midwife at The Portland, explains to us, "when working for an NHS hospital you often felt like your job was unfinished, where here I can sit down with the women and really take the time to help."
Luzie is a Midwife at The Portland and has been since August 2016. During her time at The Portland, Luzie has delivered a total of 71 babies, four of which were born on the same night! From having to deliver babies in toilet cubicles to delivering babies conceived through IVF, Luzie certainly has plenty of incredible stories to share.
We spoke to Luzie to find out what it's *really* to be a midwife at The Portland...
So, how did you get into midwifery?
I had a bursary and went to Bournemouth University. I’d always done customer service – I had done Cabin Crew before this – and customer service is a massive thing for me. I do think maternity care, or any kind of healthcare is really leaning towards customer care because people know what they want and what they’re entitled to. I feel a lot more satisfied with my job because I’m able to look after people better. It’s important I give people my time and that’s generally what they want in maternity. A new mum wants someone to sit with her and show her how to breastfeed or a pregnant lady wants someone to talk to about their worries or concerns. For me, career-wise, I was angling towards private care so I could give time, time with people, being able to feel like you’ve finished your job. When I worked at the NHS (not that I want to badmouth the NHS, they are fantastic!) I just felt that sometimes jobs felt unfinished and you didn’t have enough time to give people.
One of the nicest things about here is that we are a really small team and you feel like it’s a family. You know all the midwives personally and you know a bit about each other. You know your doctor as well.
Are new mums sent home from hospital too soon after giving birth?
I know from when I used to work for the NHS and a lot of my friends still do, is that you do what you can, but you are exhausted. You sometimes sit there and think, ‘I really wish I could sit here for another half an hour or hour, or come back and check on you’ and know that would really make a difference, especially first-time mummies. You want to give them a hug and say, ‘yes it’s scary, but you’ll be fine!” I think sometimes when you don’t have the opportunity to that, just as a human being, it doesn’t feel great if you can’t help somebody.
Did you always want to be a midwife?
It just kind of happened! I always wanted to do something medical, I fell into being cabin crew for a bit and then I realised I enjoyed the medical aspect of it. Then later as my friends started having babies and talking about midwifery and I thought, ‘this sounds quite interesting!’
I liked the fact you still get to know people and there are different situations, different people. It came from wanting to work with people, really.
What’s the best part of your job?
Definitely delivering babies and supporting people though as well. It’s lovely seeing someone come in and be really excited about the pregnancy, then her bump. It’s almost like seeing your friends because you see them so often.
"Oh and we don't eat that much cake for the record!"
I still ring in the middle of the night! If I've left a couple, I wake up in the middle of the night and I always ring in and go, 'have you had the baby yet?' If I have a day off, I always ring in and I will always see them the next day when I'm back in. It's almost like unfinished business. You just want to make sure everyone's okay and that they've had a good experience.
It's always really touching when mums send you a 'thank you' card. Sometimes they came through six months later with a little picture and it makes you feel so broody! It's a good job I'm a midwife, really.
What advice would you give to mum-to-be?
Mums never ask enough questions! It's a massive thing with women having babies is that they don't ask enough questions in labour. I think it's because it's all very scary and they just don't know what to ask at the time. Afterwards, when they have enough time to think about it and process everything, they start to ask me stuff.
Also to enjoy it! I think we're all control freaks in this day and age, where you're looking at the next appointment, then the next appointment and trying to race through. We meet some mums at ten weeks and then before they know it, they're due and they don't know where the time has gone. I think people overly panic due to lack of information. They're trying to overprepare themselves, but all the baby wants is their mum and dad!
How do you reassure a mum who's worried?
It depends on what kind of person they are. Talking to them and figuring out what people are scared about often works. Often they're worried after listening to other people's stories. Before people find out I'm a midwife if anyone even mentions birth, people's birth stories come out and some I've heard aren't even medically possible! I'm not even surprised people are scared of having babies, I wish they'd keep them to themselves, sometimes - especially to someone who has a massive bump.
"Some birth stories I've heard, aren't even medically possible!"
Pain is another factor. We're taught from a young age that pain is a bad thing and all of a sudden, we're like, 'no pain is a good thing, it's a positive thing!'
So yeah, it's important to talk to them and see what it is exactly, that they're scared of. For some people, it's just becoming a mum. It freaks them out a little bit. Because they've initially gone 'Yes, I really want a baby!' and you do really want that baby, but the actual thought of having a baby... one of my best friends said to me recently, 'I kind of just realised that I'm going to responsible for a whole human... for all of the time!' Sometimes you think, how did my mum do it?
For more information on The Portland Hospital, visit their website, here.
For more information on HCA Healthcare UK, visit their website here.