To ask your experiences of a birth meeting after birth trauma

(24 Posts)
TheCatsMeow Sun 31-Jan-16 15:37:12

I have an appointment in a few days to find out what happened at my sons birth. I've talked about it on my home birth thread but the main points are they ignored me telling them I hadn't felt him move, ignored him dropping from lots of movements to not many movements on the monitor, told me I was being dramatic and didn't pick up he was distressed resulting in severe breathing problems and what they think was sepsis, a NICU stay, separation, hospital transfer, and bad treatment postnatally including a midwife telling me I didn't love my baby.

My regular consultant is off and so the person doing it is the one who told me I was being dramatic and sent me home when I was screaming in pain and crying.

I am nervous. I've spoken to professionals about it and been told it looks like there was negligence, but they'll probably try to cover it up. I have blank pieces from the birth and have flashbacks, as well as feel like my babies first day was robbed from us.

If you've been through something similar, how was it? Did you get answers? What should I ask? Will they try to hide it?

I'm very scared.

twirlypoo Sun 31-Jan-16 15:58:37

Oh bless you, that sounds awful flowers

I can't really help much, but I had ptsd after Ds birth (very quick labour, arrived at 10cm and no one believed I was in labour, Ds in distress and got stuck so episiotomy and kelloid forceps with crash team trying to resuscitate him - no pain relief at all)

I was very nervous but the head midwife who did it was incredibly lovely. She went through my notes from the beginning with us both trying to piece together the time line of what happened between my notes and my memories. So when j arrived and said no one believed me that I was in labour, she said "Ahh that's was midwife X, your notes say she thinks you are calm and coping with the pain. It must of been a shock that you were 10cm" so very relaxed. She apologised for several things and said she would feed it back to the people concerned.

We also came up with a plan for the future as I didn't even have sex for 4 years in case I got pregnant again. She reassured me I could have the labour I wanted next time and made me feel sort of recognised for the crap time It was.

I recommend it, it made me feel like I had some answers and a plan for Gojng forward. Oh, and I sobbed through out - proper snotty gulps. Very embarrassing but I suspect necessary.

I hope it helps you and you can feel better Gojng forward flowers

TheCatsMeow Sun 31-Jan-16 16:11:26

twirlypoo thank you. Sorry that happened to you, that sounds awful too sad

I think I'd like a future plan as I am frightened of it hapenning again. I'm glad to hear it was reassuring rather than them trying to turf the blame onto you, as that's what I'm afraid of

elliejjtiny Sun 31-Jan-16 16:34:20

So sorry this happened to you. I had a birth debrief after DS5. The midwife went through all mine and DS's notes and explained what happened and why. I had sepsis and was fairly out of it so it was helpful to at least understand what happened to us. His birth still upsets me though and I can never get back the 5 days he was in NICU and I was in HDU and then the postnatal ward. I still remember that extremely lonely feeling when I was on my on in HDU attatched to drips and feeling terrible. PIL could only cope with our older boys for a few hours so DH had them and I was on my own. I kept thinking about all the births in friends when they have 8+ people with them. So it helped with the practical part, and nothing was hidden, but I think I need counselling to help with the emotional difficulties.

madwomanbackintheattic Sun 31-Jan-16 16:43:45

I had mine with the consultant. He was nice enough, but ultimately used a 'well, some people have it worse than you' story about breaking a baby's neck during a forceps birth by twisting the spine. (My dd2 has cerebral palsy caused by asphyxia - birth injury).
It didn't really help, tbh. I suffered flashbacks for about six years and eventually had a semi-breakdown triggered by listening to a colleague's mum at his memorial service. She spoke about her memories of his diagnosis as a baby and essentially mirrored my own feelings. I had counselling after that, which helped. Better late than never.

TheCatsMeow Sun 31-Jan-16 19:07:41

elliejjtiny that sounds awful. At least it helped somewhat

mad that's what I'm afraid of. This consultant was horrible to me at the time and as it was him who sent me home rather than immediately deliver my baby I worry he'll try to get out of it

I hope both your babies are okay

Glassofwineneeded Sun 31-Jan-16 19:34:43

Are you going alone to the appointment? It might be helpful to take along your partner or a friend so you feel someone is on your side.
Also if you do feel uncomfortable with the consultant doing the appointment then you can ask for someone else to do it. Write to or phone the head of midwifery to organise this for you.
Make some notes to take in with you so you don't leave wishing you had asked certain questions but didn't.
Hopefully the birth notes will be able to fill in the blanks for you. You can also ask for a copy of these - usually they charge for the photocopying - but this would be very useful for you to read through after the appointment to make sense of it.
It does sound as though you had a terrible time and I hope your baby and you are ok now. X

TheCatsMeow Sun 31-Jan-16 19:36:53

My mum is coming in with me. She was my birth partner and went through the whole pregnancy with me (my baby's dad is abusive and I left to ensure a better life for us), so I won't be alone.

Good idea about notes smile

BrokenVag Sun 31-Jan-16 19:54:21

I've been offered a meeting after requesting my birth notes from the hospital. It's been more than 5 years since I had DC and I think we've managed sex 6 times. The birth was quite traumatic (caused PTSD) and they still haven't fixed the physical problems I've been left with (and aren't exactly forthcoming with treatment). I'm unsure whether a meeting is going to help at all. But I'm considering it.

Haworthiia Sun 31-Jan-16 20:52:23

I hope it goes well for you - can you take someone with you? I'd also write down all the questions I wanted to ask, it's so easy to have a mind blank if you're upset.

Nowhere in the league of how awful a time you and some others have had, but the surgeon came found after my c section and explained what had happened (the spinal wore off halfway though, ouch) and it helped me enormously. I felt like I'd not really understood what what going on - they whipped ds off as he was a bit pale (we had vasa and placenta Previa so I think they were worried he'd lost too much blood) and all this happened in a language I'm not very good at. I was pretty freaked out by it tbh.

Luckily both of us were OK and everyone was really kind and professional- I think it's that sense of not being listened to or having agency over your body that's so scary.

Hope it goes well for you and you get the answers you need

KimsAss Sun 31-Jan-16 21:37:28

Cat and all on the thread, so sorry to hear of your difficult experiences. Usually just a lurker but couldn't let this one pass.

I had a meeting with a consultant midwife following the birth of my DS in 2014. Basically they refused to believe I was in established labour, wouldn't let me come in and I had the baby in the bath. Then got taken to hospital where no one gave a flying f* or bothered to tell me if he was ok just stitched me up and sent me straight home where thoughts of the bad outcomes that could have happened haunted me.

Midwife meeting was helpful, she didn't downplay my concerns, she was able to answer many of my qs and she had some ideas about how they should learn the lessons of my case. I had done my prep before the meeting which I think helped and I was assertive.

After the meeting I wrote to the chair of the NHS trust because it was important to me there was a formal record of my concerns. They wrote back formally accepting what I said and committing to actions to prevent the same thing happening again. That was helpful as then I knew I hadn't done anything 'wrong' and felt I had done my bit for mums in the future.

Part of the point of the meeting for them is to discourage you from suing so I would expect them to be conciliatory though sure this is not always the case.

Good luck, you are doing the right thing having the meeting, for yourself and for the system

Mikethenight2good Sun 31-Jan-16 21:47:03

I second taking someone with you and also taking questions in advance.
Both me and my eldest nearly died due & had quite a emotional rollercoaster afterwards. We used the birth reflection service which did do something towards the healing process. My husband really wanted to know what they would do differently so another woman did not go through something like what we went through. That is something I would recommend asking.
Good luck and be strong x

Ineedthesunshine Sun 31-Jan-16 21:55:31

Make sure you are prepared. I had a meeting within days of finally recovering from a terrible birth ; the result of gross negligence. It nearly killed me and DS. Like you OP I have a whole blank week of separation from my first born and only snippets when I was in and out of consciousness and as time goes on I get more not less upset about it.

So the hospital was obviously terrified I would sue their arses off and so they wheeled in the big guns. The meeting was full of platitudes and very 'caring' and I was just still to traumatized to be effective. I never got them to say sorry, it was all about them assuring me about 'learning experiences for the hospital staff'. 10 years on I'd now love to get them in a room and really make them answer for their terrible unfeeling midwives and doctors, for depriving me of my son on those initial weeks, by nearly depriving him of me forever. But sadly too late now.

I would suggest you write a prepared statement that you ask/demand to read at the start. And do not be afraid of doctors or consultants. They need to understand the implications physical and psychological of their actions. Ask them open ended questions i.e. Why did you call me dramatic - in the light of what happened how do you feel about your use of language and manner etc etc ? Make them squirm but my advice - be sure to get closure or you will regret it for years to come.

Bikey86 Sun 31-Jan-16 21:59:17

In comparison to other posts my birth was very straight forward. I was induced, but took a long time to establish labour, DS was fine and kept a steady heartbeat throughout. 48hours after induction, waters broken, drip, stuck to the bed as I was being constantly monitored (all the interventions I didn't want) I pushed for 2 hours but to no avail. Cue a massive episiotomy cut and he was here. There was a lot of blood and I was stitched up.

I had lost a lot of blood and has to have a transfusion of 3 pints. I felt awful. When I left hospital my stitches came undone and I was left in agony with a gaping hole and MRSA. I had to wait 3 nonths for the wound to heal. I think I also struggled to make sense of a lot of things that happened in my labour. The whys and what's of it all. I decided to go for the debrief and it was fantastic.

I saw the head midwife that was part of my care during my labour. She went through my notes and explained what happened stage by stage. She explained that I had a back to back baby hence why all my contractions were in my back. She also explained the position of my cervix prior to induction was high and closed. I was nowhere near ready to give birth. She explained that I was offered an epidural on 3 occasions so they could turn up the drip to get labour going. She allowed me to ask questions and explained that if I ever went on to have another baby she would be happy for me to go and discuss my birth plan. I left there and felt like the world had been lifted off my shoulders.

Good luck OP.

muddymary Sun 31-Jan-16 22:41:46

I've had one but found it a bit crap to be honest. I felt like it was more of an opportunity for the hospital to explain why it wasn't their fault above anything else.

ridemesideways Sun 31-Jan-16 23:00:18

Please consider declining this meeting and asking for someone else. If you received poor care from this individual, they are likely to be defensive about it and, instead of achieving the understanding and closure you desire, it could reopen old wounds. Better to wait a little longer and do it properly IMO.

clockbuscanada Sun 31-Jan-16 23:22:35

Glad to hear you have someone to go with you. I had to take DD with me, had no support with me, was told my notes were lost so there was no way of verifying the injuries I claimed to have (although, magnanimously, they had a look and said the stitches, bruising and scarring were possibly indicative of a 4th degree tear) and that all women nearly die during labour, it's just that most people get on with their lives and don't let it get to them. They certainly don't try to bring it up in conversation.

It was a half hour exercise in arse covering with a bit of gaslighting thrown in.

NeuNewNouveau Sun 31-Jan-16 23:35:39

I went for a birth review with the consultant when DC1 was about 2 as I was scared of going through the same again and wanted to sort it before ttc.

He was fairly brief but did refer me to the midwife counsellor service and I saw her three times and went through it all step by step and talked through my feelings and concerns.

Whilst it was a great experience to go through it all, it was also very upsetting. Whilst I knew it was all a panic at the time, I didn't realise until these meetings quite how close DC was not to making it.

greypinkandpurple Mon 01-Feb-16 05:48:56

TheCats if you feeling there was negligence I'd advise you to organise solicitor to go with you for the meeting
IMO women are dismissed very brutally on meetings like yours especially if you have to deal again with the consultant who is responsible

Twirlypoo friend went through similar and been left with not being able to have intercurse for over five years now

trying29 Mon 01-Feb-16 06:10:13

I had a birth debrief after my labour, which was very long, my sons heartbeat dropped for a long time and ended in an emergency c section. I spent the first six months post birth feeling like I had nearly lost him and that the medical staff hadn't listened adequately to my concerns. The debrief was brilliant. I hadn't met the midwife doing it before but she went througj everything and whilst it was upsetting at the time, she showed me from my notes that the midwifes and doctors had in fact acted much more quickly than I had realised. Tbere had just been a complete breakdown of communication during the labour. I can only highly recommend the debrief

Becles Mon 01-Feb-16 07:25:05

Please don't go with a solicitor. Have a think about what the intended purpose of the meeting is - Either you are going to review your notes and talk through the birth from both perspectives with a hope that both sides can be frank or you are going as a precursor to legal action. If you take a.lawyer the staff can rightly decline to attend or walk out without participating citing the need for the presence of their union rep or support during a potentially adversarial meeting.

Contact the supervisor of midwives with your concerns. I'm guessing that having the clinician on the day there as well as other staff like the supervisor will be helpful as anyone else will be guessing at intent behind communication.

shiteforbrains Mon 01-Feb-16 07:50:52

I found it quite cathartic. I cried through most of it which was odd as I hadn't cried about it previously!

I took DH, DS and a list of everything that I was angry about starting 2 days before the birth through to a few weeks after.

The consultant was very understanding, admitted liability for mistakes that were made with my care (DS was thankfully unscathed) and told me what she was going to do to change how the midwives etc did certain things to ensure mistakes weren't repeated.

It helped me to hear someone take responsibility.

It was all very emotional. I am not sure how I would have coped if the reason for the visit was a failing in the care for DS rather than me. I may have had to be physically restrained if someone had hurt my baby, I am not sure I could have coped with coming face to face with them.

shiteforbrains Mon 01-Feb-16 07:53:03

This thread has reminded me that the Lead Midwife was supposed to be sending me a letter of apology and tell me what training she had put in to place to avoid future mistakes but that has never materialised.

Perhaps DH was right. Perhaps I should have sued them!

TheCatsMeow Thu 04-Feb-16 18:48:50

I've had it. It was very helpful and actually wasn't the consultant I thought it was.

I saw a consultant and the ward head. First we discussed their interpretation of the birth, and the fact I was sent home despite saying my son wasn't moving. He said the CTG showed I was clearly in labour and though my son didn't look clearly distressed, something happened that made him poo. I asked if he'd been delivered there and then would it have happened and was told probably not, but they had no idea he would poo and breathe it. They also told me the test to see if my waters had gone was negative, but I'd had a leak of something green which may have been meconium stained waters. Apparently there's a rate of false negative of 0.9% and so they had no reason to think it was wrong.

We then discussed the poor care I received afterwards, which included the midwife who told me I should discharge myself if I loved my baby and withheld pain relief from me because she decided I "shouldn't need it". They were very apologetic and told me that person has been spoken to and told that she is not to do that and they've actually changed their policy and reminded all staff to not withhold pain relief.

They have also spoken to the person who assaulted me by grabbing me and forcibly undressing me while I was crying and repeatedly asking her to stop, and told me to "stop making a fuss and then you can see your baby" ignoring the fact my baby had been transferred and I couldn't see him. Apparently she was very upset when told how much she had upset me, and was extremely apologetic.

They are looking into the transfer issue, as I was separated from my baby for over 24 hours bar 5 minutes, which hindered bf (we ultimately failed to establish) and I was terrified my baby would die and I couldn't get to him. Others have complained about the same issue.

I've also had it agreed in future I will have an ELCS.

Thank you for all the advice. It was a very healing thing.

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