To wonder if anyone else has had an "atypical" labour?

(38 Posts)
bgmama Fri 28-Oct-16 08:40:10

I gave birth to DS 10 months ago but this still bugs me.
At ante-natal classes we were always told to wait until we were contracting every 3-4 minutes before going into hospital. My labour lasted for about 24 hours but I never had such frequent contractions. They were usually about 6-7 minutes apart. I called the hospital three times during labour (at the beginning, after 12 hours and once towards the end when I was literally screaming with pain) and all the midwives told me I was in early/non-established labour and I shouldn’t go to hospital yet. At the end, we just decided to take a taxi and go anyway and when they examined me at hospital they found out I was well into the second stage. The baby was born 45 minutes after arriving at the hospital.
Giving birth was much easier and less painful than I expected. I am grateful for that and one of the reasons for this was probably everyone insisting I was not in established labour. However, sometimes I still wonder how common my experience is and what would have happened if labour was complicated and the baby was put in danger as a result of the midwives trying to keep me away from hospital. For example, when they broke my waters they found thick meconium and the baby had to be suctioned to make sure he hadn’t breathed any right after birth. If I had waited at home a bit longer and eventually gave birth at home, we wouldn’t be able to do that. I know I sound precious, but somehow I feel that the system has failed me.
IABU to think there must be other women with similar experiences? I am obviously not talking about hard and fast labours where people don’t have time to get into hospital.

PotteringAlong Fri 28-Oct-16 08:50:55

But the system didn't fail you. You went in, you were not sent away, you were treated well and you and your baby were fine.

I wouldn't focus on what if's. You can imagine any scenario but the reality is that none of them happened.

Pootles2010 Fri 28-Oct-16 08:54:54

Same here. If I'd done as they said, baby would have been born at home. I guess it's a result of them being so lacking in resources that they can't just say to come in in early labour?

BeattieBowRisenFromTheDead Fri 28-Oct-16 08:58:26

Basically it's all guesswork. I was examined at home and told I had a loooong time to go yet. Baby was born 3 hours later.

The problem is that going to hospital too early can also cause problems, cause labour to stall, expose you to nasty bugs. So there's no perfect way to approach all births.

I'm very glad that all went well in your case flowers

BolshierAryaStark Fri 28-Oct-16 09:01:18

I had same with both my labours, take paracetamol for the pain hmm & wait, I ignored them both times. DD was born an hour & half after hospital arrival & DS 45 minutes.

knifeforkandspoon Fri 28-Oct-16 09:03:56

I went in when contractions were 4 minutes apart and I was howling with pain. Nurse laughed at me and told me I'd prob be another 12-18 hrs. Which I was, I just am clearly a wuss in the pain department. My first had to be suctioned as well.

What's a typical birth anyway?

bgmama Fri 28-Oct-16 09:06:52

I know they are understaffed and I don't blame the midwives for basically doing their job and advising me to stay at home as they thought I was not in established labour. I just wish the NHS was properly funded to make sure all the women get the support they need, even if they are not having a textbook labour.

Bloopbleep Fri 28-Oct-16 09:06:52

I was told I wasn't in established labour after a 3 day induction. Midwives all went on a tea break and I started to need to push. My oh went to tell the on call midwife who said I wasn't registering strong enough contractions but by then I was mooing like a crazed cow and the registrar who happened to be passing at the time confirmed my cervix went from 2-9cm in minutes. I ended up with emcs as baby got stuck but I never had contractions down below, they were all at the top and side of my stomach. Had same kind of contractions with mc so assuming that's my normal. Was really annoyed that the midwives kept telling me they knew better than me about what my body was doing.

29redshoes Fri 28-Oct-16 09:11:47

Mine wasn't the same situation but I also had an atypical labour in that when my contractions started they were immediately intense and 2 minutes apart. At our antenatal classes we had it drummed into us that we should not come into hospital too soon, that every single one of us would probably drive to the hospital only to be sent home again etc etc. It was quite a shock actually and I remember saying to DH at the time "well, they feel like contractions but surely they can't be? This isn't what they said it would be like at all!"

As a previous PP said, try not to dwell on it too much. I also have a few issues with how the labour/birth of DD was handled (different to yours though) and sometimes I get down about it. I think it's common with first births, and I try to tell myself that at least next time I can be more assertive as I'll have some idea what to expect and won't be so clueless as to what's going on.

ohidoliketobe Fri 28-Oct-16 09:14:51

The '3 in 10 mins each lasting at least 1 min' is like most things with pregnancy/ labour/ child rearing - It's just guidelines. You have to go with your instinct a lot of the time.

With 1st labour I went in at that point and DS was still another 10 hours before he was born. With 2nd labour I never reached that point. I was feeling the urge to push with contractions dtill 5 mins apart and lasting only 30 seconds. I went to the hospital at that point (and it's a good job we did as DD was born within 5 mins of me staggering into the maternity unit. I only just got my leggings off). I wasn't waiting at home for the magical "3 in 10 mins lasting 1 min", I genuinely thought it would be a bit longer. Then thought oh Christ these are hurting now. . . Oh shit I need to push! Luckily we only live 10 mins drive from hospital.

Wrinklytights Fri 28-Oct-16 09:15:10

I don't think the system failed you; you are just a good example of why you need to listen to your body in labour and not just the midwives. You knew you needed to go in and you did so. Try to focus on how you made a good call rather than the 'what ifs'. And yes, I've had similar. MWs trying to take the gas and air off me and offering me pethidine (I refused) as it was 'early days' and I was going to get very tired - he was born within the hour. I could tell they thought I was being a wuss, but he was my third and I'd managed the other two with just a bit of G&A towards the end so I knew I wasn't luckily.

Dontpanicpyke Fri 28-Oct-16 09:17:56

I think you are still in shock op from labour. I felt like this with ds1 and 3 other children and 27 years later I still do really.

It might be worth asking to chat to the chief midwife at the hospital to go through your Labour with you and talk your issues through.

Don't minimise or feel bad about your feelings. Giving birth is quite traumatic and shocking and personally I don't think feelings like yours are talked about enough. flowers

honeysucklejasmine Fri 28-Oct-16 09:22:27

Mine was atypical I guess - I was induced and started contracting almost immediately after pessary, and soon was suffering from "hyperstimulation", or from my end, "never ending contractions". The midwives were very surprised and kept checking the monitor and expressing surprise.

To their credit, the brought in a cylinder of entinox and I was down on the delivery suite within 4 hours.

Not what I expected from being induced!

Near misses are scary, and you can only hope that they learn from them. In my case I hope they are a bit more likely to believe someone when they say they are contracting so soon after the pessary.

Crystal15 Fri 28-Oct-16 09:25:31

I was 6cm dilated and sent home as I wasn't text book contractions. Minutes later my son was born. I was fuming tbh as I was treat like crap throughout

datingbarb Fri 28-Oct-16 09:27:02

Yes I have had 4,

each one I had very mild (not painful) tightenings/contractions and there was no patten I had around 5 over a 12 hour period then with my first I woke with dull period pain and huge pressure, called the hospital and they told me I wasn't in labour... being the scared 21 year old I was I went in anyway and it was a good job I did as I walked into assessment my waters broke, pain started and dd was born 10 minutes later

With 2nd, 3rd and 4th same thing so just go straight into hospital as soon as the random tightnings start and sit around, and I'm always between 7-9 cm when checked on arrival... pains start and dc's arrived 15,12,13 minutes later

I'm hugely grateful I labour this way, when my pains start they are constant for those few minutes and I can i anyone having to go through that for hours

Ginger4justice Fri 28-Oct-16 09:29:52

There's a lot of focus on making sure people don't panic too early and go in. My contractions with DC1 never got to more than 10 minutes. I got to 10 cms at home and only found out because the midwife was supposed to be coming to do a sweep came over anyway to check on me (I'd been have contractions every 10-15 mins for 3.5 days at that point). I was exhausted and had to have lots of intervention and dissasociated. I wish I'd kept going in rather than waiting for them to get closer together (I got sent home once at 2cm). With DC2 I told them I was coming in. They were very sure they were going to be sending me home. I didn't care if they did I just wanted to be checked. I was much more relaxed and less exhausted so my labour was sooooo much better.

bgmama Fri 28-Oct-16 09:33:52

Thank you very much for your perspectives and experiences, they help a lot. It's the first time I get to discuss this with so many other mums as most of my friends don't have children. I moved abroad after the birth so no chance to discuss it with the midwives now.

Beth2511 Fri 28-Oct-16 09:37:00

Both mine were a bit on the traumatic side. The worst bit by far though was my sons illness being missed which resulted in sepsis and a week in hospital. That's the bit where I feel let down.

Dontpanicpyke Fri 28-Oct-16 10:17:26

I think then just accept your feelings which are perfectly understandable.

Throughout your life you will have near misses with your children until you die you never relax totally.

My dd was involved in a fatal accident and badly hurt. She had changed seats half an hour before it happened with another child who suffered life changing injuries. You can't ever rationalise crap like that. Accept your feelings and try to focus on the positives and don't dwell on what might have been.

GoodLuckTime Fri 28-Oct-16 10:21:15

Yes i think they did let you down. In an ideal world, there would be enough resources for all women to be cared for by midwives they knew, and they'd be able to make choices together, based on a relationship which has built up over labour over where to labour and when.

But sadly there isn't the funds for that, either the personnel or the space.

Also, it is totally reasonable for you to reflect on it.

The 'well your baby is safe, that's all that matters' line is bullshit.

yes it is great your baby is safe. But that doesn't make your experience of labour, or the care you got, irrelevant. And to claim it does is to negate and silence the totally normal and reasonable reaction you are having to how things went.

It's just another way of telling women to put up and shut up. Fuck that.

If someone has a major life event, e.g. a car accident, even if they walk away fine, we consider it normal that they might be shaken up by it, and might need to process it through talking about it, counselling, reflection, whatever.

Why should labour be any different?

It is a major life event. Emotionally speaking it is on a par with death.

The habit of the medical world, to just look at physically what happened in labour, and if your baby (and if you are lucky, you) are fine, to say it was 'normal' and no further discussion is needed is just one more way of repressing women.

When someone close to you dies, no one ever says 'well it was normal and expected, so no reason to be upset'

OP I also had a lot on my mind about my first labour. I did a lot of reading and in the end did a course with Michel Odent, who really opened my eyes to how labours naturally run (as you have found out, big variations!) and how that interacts with a patricarchal medical system that likes control. It really helped me to understand what had happened and why (I was the classic good labour went bad due to standard medical care. So not that they did anything 'wrong' on their terms, but that the very protocols in place created problems where there were none, and the things I needed: warmth, food, sleep, to feel safe, were either not provided or removed). And from there I was able to let go of dwelling on it and move on.

UnicornPee Fri 28-Oct-16 10:21:23

Similar to you
I was in excruciating pain at home. Went to hospital. They hooked me on a baby heart monitor and fucked off. I was in agony and they didn't believe me at all.
Eventually I demanded they do something so one midwife begrudgingly checked my cervix only to shit her self and realise I was ready to give birth. The room filled with people and he was born within the hour.
It still pisses me off that they never bothered to believe me when I said the pain was unbarable and just assumed I was being a fanny

Batteriesallgone Fri 28-Oct-16 10:27:30

Yes I did.

Worst thing was them changing on the phone from oh don't come in yet to oh you feel like pushing? Phone an ambulance hmm

Thankfully 999 were a bit more fucking sensible and encouraged DH to drive us in rather than wait for ambulance as we would be quicker than them.

Got in there and there were four midwives on shift and NO OTHER LABOURING MOTHERS. I was like WTAF you were insistent I shouldn't come in too early yet the unit is empty?!

I know, I know, paperwork, theatre, postnatal antenatal wards - having the delivery midwives free to help out doesn't mean they are all sat round drinking tea. But still. They could have been slightly less 'fuck off and don't come in' on the phone.

MustDashMoustache Fri 28-Oct-16 10:28:36

I had exactly the same with my first labour, by the time I was fully dilated the contractions were about 1 in 10, they never regulated and were spaced out and all over the place the whole time. As a nervous first time mother I was repeatedly told I was not in labour, they only admitted me to hospital because my waters had broken. I was terrified it would happen again with subsequent labours but thankfully it didn't.

RitchyBestingFace Fri 28-Oct-16 10:31:50

Completely agree with everything GoodLuckTime says. Don't let anyone minimise your feelings about your labour.

tickleyourpickle Fri 28-Oct-16 10:33:33

Yes, twice.
I laboured at home with DS until I could take no more. Went to the hospital and was told to sit in the waiting room as they were "very busy" I was ignored, Despite me mooing like a crazed cow, DS was born in the toilet.

DD was beyond scary and I still thank god now that she is even here. I won't go into detail but I was ignored again, nobody listened to me when I begged them to help as I knew something wasn't right, was told I was 2cm, I had to ASK and BEG them to put a heart monitor on. No heart beat. I was rushed down and I pushed her out on the operating table less than 4 mins later. She wasn't breathing. she is my miracle baby

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