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Seeing consultant post traumatic birth by c section

(15 Posts)
MayMummy11 Tue 26-Jul-11 16:58:32

I'd like some advice as I am seeing my consultant next week to discuss the traumatic birth of my daughter by emergency c section in May.
To cut a long story short, I didn't get past 2 cm for 2 days and kept being sent home though contractions were anything from 3-7 mins apart per 10 mins and I was having very painful contractions. When I finally was admitted on day 3, I ended up having an epidural at 8 cm having coped with gas and air and then finally pethodine on the advice of the midwife seeing the state I was in, my daughter was back to back, got stuck and her heart rate kept dipping, so we were rushed down corridors into theatre for an emergency c section with the consultant on duty shouting at the staff that we were a 'category 1'. Once baby came out we were also told the cord was round her neck twice. I was very frightened plus exhausted due to the previous 2 days with no sleep. I felt I had little care until things got a bit scary at which point I can say the team were amazing. I was very out of it for hours after the op due to the amount of drugs in my system. I have had nightmares since the birth, either about the delivery or about something happening to my daughter. My notes say the labour was 5.5 hours! Which is not strictly true in my opinion. My GP referred me to speak to my consultant about what happens should I have another baby. I'd really like to have an elective cs as I am now petrified of going into labour ever again! I know it is early days to even be thinking about this now but I'd like to know I have options. My GP also thinks I am suffering from post traumatic stress.
When I see the consultant what is the best way to discuss the above without getting over emotional? Has anyone else had a similar experience? My daughter and I are getting on very well and thankfully we bonded very soon after the op, but the birth experience has really upset me, especially as it took a while for us to get pregnant in the first place.
Any advice on what to ask the consultant or how to approach this appointment would be gratefully received.

hellymelly Tue 26-Jul-11 17:07:55

Hopefully the consultant will be kind and approachable and you will be able to just go through what happened .Be prepared that it will probably be upsetting and you may be shaken up afterwards.I talked with a consultant anaesthatist awhen I was pregnant with dd2, and he was lovely to me,very reassuring and helpful. Re possible PTSD,you can ask to see the mental health co-ordinator at the hospital should you get pregnant again,and have some support.

TuttiFrutti Tue 26-Jul-11 22:30:13

I had a very similar experience to you 6 years ago, and had flashbacks for years afterwards. I'm sure it was post traumatic stress but I never sought medical help for it, partly because I didn't really trust the medical team, having read in my notes that my labour was only 8 hours when really it was 23! I got the impression they were trying to cover their asses and pretend the labour was not as bad as it actually was - and also like you, the care I got was terrible until the moment when they realised there was a serious problem, at which point they were brilliant and did save my baby's life by doing an emergency cs in record time.

I would just ask the consultant to go through the facts with you so that you can understand better what happened and why. This may help you to come to terms with why you had to go through such a distressing experience.

It helped me to know that, for medical reasons, my birth could never have been straightforward, so there was no point in my wondering "what if".

I chose to have an elective cs for my second birth and I can't recommend it highly enough.

Stay strong. It does get better with time.

AngieM2 Wed 27-Jul-11 15:57:28

hi there, just wanted to say that its really good that you are seeing your consultant for a debrief and hopefully you can understand and come to terms with some of the events around your daughters birth. I'm a midwife so maybe I can address a couple of your points before you go. Firstly, your labour time - this really upsets lots of women as they feel really cheated that their labour is only recorded as X when they feel it was Y. The truth is, we record only established labour, not latent/early labour. Established labour is when your cervix is 3-4cm dilated and you are having strong regular contractions (3-4 every 10 mins, lasting 1 minute or more) and they dont subside, ease off or change in regularity - in fact, they usually get stronger! Clearly you had a long latent phase (which makes you feel like you laboured for days), the hospital would indeed have sent you home to try to establish yourself BUT after 2-3 days of not really establishing, they would wonder why and then want you in to be checked over and possibly augmented. Long latent phases can often be a sign of a problem such as poor position of the baby, baby not able to descend and dilate the cervix, or indeed cord round neck preventing descent etc. A category 1 CS simply means baby needs to be delivered within 30 mins of decision and obviously this was the right decision for you, but of course its scary being run through corridors on a bed with people shouting out order around them - and forgetting its you and your other half who is terrified. I know what you mean about those first few hours post delivery and being out of it from the drugs (as a mum, I've been there, its not good is it?) but there is a real need for you to be as comfortable as possible and lets face it, it bloody hurts after a CS, and after a cat 1 CS there is no messing about and niceties during the op, the baby needs to come out fast, and that can mean a fair bit of tugging in your abdomen, hence, drugs absolutely necessary. Re: next baby, good that your thinking ahead. Docs really have to encourage VBAC, its the easiest way to bring down too high CS rates, and they will talk to you about it. I know you probably dont believe it right now but another baby + another time = completely different labour and outcome. Dont rule out a VBAC, it can be a very healing process for women following an EMCS. However, if you want an elective, you can have one, your right to choose and you have a valid reason. You probably do have PTSD or some PND and your consultant or GP can help with a referral for this. You may find that just talking about it and understanding how and why it all happened will reconcile any issues for you. Its great to hear that you and your daughter are doing well and I wish you all the best. Ang. PS.Sorry for the ridiculously long post!

mosschops30 Wed 27-Jul-11 16:07:40

Hi may just marking my place i will be back soon to share my experience

mosschops30 Wed 27-Jul-11 16:49:37

Hi may
i had a traumatic birth with my 3rd child (previous 2 were straightforward vaginal deliveries) and ended up with an emcs.
The birth was traumatic enough but they messed up my c section and i gad to be rushed bavk in for emergency surgery on day 5.

Heres my advice, seeing the consultant who was involved is good,but you may find it helpful to see someone privately to review your notes with a fresh eye. Believe me if there were any cock ups they will not tell you, you will need someone outside the box to do that.
I did have a debrief and have been through my notes several times, however there is no medical evidence that says this is particularly helpful and some believe it can be detrimental to recovery.
Get a referral to a ptsd clinic, i was lucky my gp recognised mine early and i had counselling and evetually medication and now only 2 years on do i feel like me again.
I was very angry with the hospital and still am, but i have forgiven myself and got over the guilt.
Please PM me if you need any help or further advice.

hellymelly Wed 27-Jul-11 17:12:49

Should add I tried for a vbac with dd2,and although I did end up having another section, 1.I was so glad I'd tried and 2.It wasn't at all as scary as I knew what to expect from a c-section. I did feel that her birth healed some of the wounds from dd1's, and I felt great afterwards.

thursday Fri 29-Jul-11 00:43:04

i had a crash section 2 years ago due to prolapsed cord, cord was twice round her neck. was out of it for couple of days afterwards, flashbacks, nightmares, trauma etc (still now, sadly) i went back to see consultant after 6 weeks and tbh it was largely a waste of time. i had a panic attack being back in the hospital, and i couldnt ask any questions or speak without breaking down. i think it was just too soon to be any help BUT she was perfectly happy to put in my notes that ELCS or VBAC next time is entirely my decision and i'll get no arguments when i want a section (which i would) so that was worth going for.

they did offer for me to go back and speak to the mws but i was too scared to for ages, now its been so long they wont even remember me anyway. ask if you can do that, and i'd urge you to go. in the next few months. i regret not doing, i feel like i'm stuck in groundhog day.

AngieM2 interesting what you say about tugging about, my dd was delivered within 15minutes of the mw pressing the buzzer and i've always wondered if that meant i was more bashed about than less urgent sections. if an ELCS will hurt as much as the one i had i dont think i'll ever have another baby.

MayMummy11 Fri 29-Jul-11 11:29:27

Huge thanks for all your feedback to everyone who replied. Really good to hear about other experiences and advice. My appointment has been brought forward to this afternoon so I certainly feel a lot more prepared. Still a bit emotional about the whole thing, but I have a list of questions and hopefully talking through things will help. Thanks again all.

MABS Fri 29-Jul-11 11:40:13

good luck today

gailforce1 Fri 29-Jul-11 11:51:37

If you feel strongly about having an elective c section next time make sure that they put it in Black & White in your notes and include it in any follow up letter to your GP and make sure that you get a copy of that letter. You may well be told that "we will discuss that when your pg" but you want it sorted now so that they cannot back track. That would also allow you the option of choosing a vbac the next time should you so wish.
As for getting upset, well you are entitled after what you have been through and it is a reminder for the HCP how traumatising it is for their patients.

And a planned c section is a completely different operation to an emergency one. The pain and recovery are usually so much better. My sister had a planned c section (11lb plus baby with consultant saying as she pulled him out that she would never have had him naturally!) she never had any pain, up and about in a few hours, home quickly and driving in 2 weeks!

Good luck this afternoon and let us know how it goes.

MayMummy11 Fri 29-Jul-11 18:03:35

I saw the consultant this afternoon. He began by saying 'you are here about the traumatic birth of your daughter'... he wasn't the consultant who was at the birth though. I was surprised that he apologised for a couple of things that happened during the birth process - the fact that maybe I should have been checked more during the 2 days of early labour, where they may have realised dd was back to back (there was nothing in my notes about this until the point of c section) Re the long latent phase he also added that it could equally have just been that way anyway..and the fact it took so long for them to do the oxygen test from baby as there equipment kept failing. Maybe they had anticipated me wanting the debrief appointment?!

I did find out that there was absolutely no way I could have given birth naturally as dd's life was threatened by her position, heartrate and cord, which has given me some peace on that front. Not nice talking through the labour again but good to know it HAD to end in the way it did. I hadn't actually realised how bad things were so I'm v grateful dd is here and healthy and happy. I did talk about the fact that at the moment I'd like an ELCS if there is a next time, he said ultimately the decision would be mine but they would encourage a VBAC. However, I would not be forced down that route if I still felt strongly about it - he didn't write anything down though. A letter will be sent to my GP to recommend counselling for PTSD about my nightmares and flashbacks. I guess that will help later down the line if I choose a ELCS. Bit upsetting to be back in the hospital but good to get some closure...

Haven't processed this all yet but just glad we are ok and I do have some options for the future.Has anyone else found counselling for PTSD after a traumatic birth helpful? Or just felt that it drags things up again?

hellymelly Fri 29-Jul-11 21:46:46

Well I've had PTSD,but not related to my dds birth-although some things about the birth did slightly rake it up. I did find the counselling I had helpful,although yes,at times it also dragged up things that maybe would have been better left alone. What it did do though was help me feel supported,and it gave me skills to cope with feelings of panic/nightmares etc.

mosschops30 Sat 30-Jul-11 13:01:26

I found the counselling for ptsd helpful, but better when it was alongside meds for ptsd. I wish i had taken them earlier but i was so against it

jellybeans Sat 30-Jul-11 17:23:30

Hi I also had a crash section for prolapse cord. It was a horrific delivery and i had no idea if my baby would make it as they kept checking his heartbeat looking worried. I came round hearing that he was very ill in NICU and then passed out and was rushed back to theatre for internal bleeding. I was so scared both of losing my baby and dying. I didn't see DS till he was a few days old since i was too ill in HDU with drains and tubes. Then spent months not knowing if he had brain damage and trying to recover while having a black belly with bruising and a grapefruit sized hemotoma and extreme anaemia. It really affected me and on top of that i had 2 stillbirths which also are hard dealing with. However, my last birth was an elective and wonderful. I can't tell you how scared I was of the same thing happening all the way through but it was fine and healed many wounds.

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