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Will I ever forget?

(26 Posts)
kellieb7 Fri 02-Sep-11 20:44:24

Sorry for the long post but here it goes. . . .I went into very sudden labour at 34 weeks after an OK pregnancy. Labour progressed well (or so I thought) until there appeared to be lots of whispering between midwifes and consultant etc. The next thing I knew a random doctor was trying to forcibly move DD both internally and by applying pressure to my stomach, I passed out at this point due to the pain and woke up in theatre face down being sat on by 2 men, I later discovered that I was having a spinal block but because I was contracting so strongly they needed to hold me still. DD was delivered very quickly with the use of forceps, she needed a little help with breathing and was very very bruised and had a cut on her head, I had a 3rd degree tear and was bleeding excessively. I had told everyone who would listen that I wanted the baby placed on me as soon as possible after the birth but this didn't happen and instead a midwife was holding her (at this point I hadn't even being told the sex of the baby or if she was ok!)

When I was in recovery (about an hour after the birth) I finally held my precious baby and immediately felt better, however I was then told that I would not be well enough (due to loss of blood etc) to look after the baby for the next few hours and therefore DD would be taken to NICU as this was the only place thet had space for her, I was absolutely distraught for many reasons including the fact that I wanted to breastfeed and knew the importance of skin to skin etc, I begged and pleaded with the staff and my DH even offered to stay with me and DD for the rest of the night and just bring DD to me when she needed a feed, this was declined.

After a horrible 14 hours, DD finally came back to the ward but I was horrified to see that she had a NGT fitted, they offered no explanation as to why they had done this apart from "she was early"
We spent 8 long days in hospital as DD developed severe jaundice and needed triple phototherapy, it was horrible as I wasn't even allowed to really do anything with DD and the staff were really inconsistent with their advice, and although I kept asking for help it was day 4 before DD actually had her first direct breastfeed (I was already pumping which she was given through NGT), thankfully DD was a natural and although she was still sleepy she managed really well.

When we were discharged, I can honestly say I had very little bond with DD as I had being made to feel guilty whenever I held her or tried to breastfeed her. I really struggled for the first few weeks and looking back I can clearly recognise signs of PND.

Thankfully I now have a thriving, beautifull 8 month old lovely little lady who is the light of my life and I love her more than I ever thought possible.

DH mentioned having another baby in the future, however the thought of this honestly made me feel unwell, I realise that this may not happen again but I do feel scarred by the whole thing. This is actually the first time I have even gone into any sort of detail about the labour/hospital stay etc and it feels quite good to get it out.

Did anyone have a similar experience and then go on to have another DC?

thisisyesterday Fri 02-Sep-11 20:51:07

oh my goodness. that sounds absolutely horrific!!!

I haven't had a similar experience, but I think you might find it useful to have what they call a "debrief" with your midwife, where you go through all your labour notes and can talk about what decisions were made and why and basically get some answers as to why things happened the way they did.

I presume DH was with you? did he consent to all these things happening? (am assuming you weren't able to consent?)

Taking your post at face value (ie, assuming things happened exactly as you say) then I would also suggest that you speak to PALS and consider putting in a complaint about your treatment. specifically things like the doctor trying to move your dd in utero and pushing down on you (this has a name and i don't think they are supposed to do it any more? and you SHOULD have been told before he did it)
the NGT on dd... why do it? whhy wasn't she placed on you as per your birth plan (assuming she didn't need resus etc)

I am sure you can get through this and eventually move on and have another baby if you want to. But tbh 8 months is early days even for people who had a great birth experience! so don't feel like you are rushed for time

kellieb7 Fri 02-Sep-11 21:01:44

Thanks for your reply, DH was with me but we were both petrified and in shock that I was actually in labour so he pretty much nodded the whole way through as he just wanted a healthy baby and Mummy. We put our faith in these people.

I think the debriefing idea with midwife might be a really good idea as I have soooo many questions which at the time I felt unable to ask so thanks for that suggestion.

stella1w Fri 02-Sep-11 21:07:23

I had a bad birth experience - but in no way as bad as yours. The supervisor of midwives came to my home for 1.5 hours to talk to me. I found some of what she said helpful and some unhelpful. I am considering putting in a written formal complaint as a way of trying to get some closure.
I can't answer your question about going on to have another child, although I have heard of people being offered elective c-sections because they were so traumatised by their first birthing experience.
Perhaps you could try to have your second child in another hospital? with an independent midwife?
I have also heard hypnobirthing can help people who had had traumatic experiences..

kellieb7 Fri 02-Sep-11 21:12:27

Thanks stella1w, I think I would honestly have to consider another hospital if I go on to have another as I am sure I would have some sort of panic attack just going back to that place sad

EyeoftheStorm Fri 02-Sep-11 21:36:34

I had a premature baby - that was a terrible experience though thankfully he is fine now. But what made things worse was that I felt panicky, out of control and that staff did nothing to alleviate that. Things happened without explanation; some staff made what I felt were unkind comments.

18 months later it was still going round my head getting bigger and bigger. It wasn't like me to obsess over something - even though I'd had a traumatic experience I thought it would have faded by then. My reaction felt disproportionate.

I found when talking to friends and family that I held back and minimised it because I didn't want them to worry about me. Instead I saw a counsellor (about 8 times) which helped enormously. Like lancing a boil, I was able to tell someone clearly from beginning to end what had happened, how it made me feel. I was able to go back over things until the heat went out of them.

Two years on, I rarely think about the birth and, if I do, it is with detachment. DS2 is a joy and his birth is the tiniest part of him.

kellieb7 Fri 02-Sep-11 21:47:45

Eyeofthestorm many of them feelings that you have mentioned are so true and I definately minimised the situation to everyone who asked which is probably why it is still bothering me. I truly hope I can move on with this. Thank you very much x

ZhenXiang Fri 02-Sep-11 21:53:56

I think you should consider putting in a complaint about the lack of communication and support during your labour and after the birth of your DD.

Before you do you should make a Data Protection Act 1998 request for your maternity notes and they will reveal the clinical decisions that were taken during your labour and afterwards with your DD.

You can then use these decisions as a basis for your complaints alongside how you felt about it. Like thisisyesterday said you may find it useful to discuss them with your midwife.

I had an EMCS after failed ventouse and forceps, DD was not put on me straight away as I had epidural and couldn't hold her until my arms were back in use again. In my case DH was allowed to hold her in my stead.

My niece gave birth at 35 weeks the other day to a very small baby and her DP was allowed to hold the baby whilst she was in theatre to remove her placenta and stay overnight, unless there was good reason i.e. your DD needed special care then I don't understand why he was not allowed to look after your DD until you could.

Although I have got over it enough to be pregnant again now, I have made sure that this time round I am much more informed and I will be sticking to what I want and questioning decisions made by midwives and consultants rather than just trusting outright.

You can move on, but first you need to understand what happened to you and DD and why, and then you can start to feel more informed and in control again should you decide you want to try again.

MollieO Fri 02-Sep-11 21:58:24

Lots of people do say they forget their birth experiences. Personally I can remember every minute of every hour of mine and frankly would never ever want to go through it or anything similar again. Ds is 7 (years) and is an only.

EyeoftheStorm Fri 02-Sep-11 22:04:13

People would tell me how well I was handling everything, but inside, I was on my knees. DS2 needed surgery, DH got sick due to the stress, and I just had to hold it together for older DC. I just pushed everything down inside and got on with it - not healthy!

Seeing the counsellor was something I did for me and only me. I did not worry about what she thought of me, I just laid it all out.

DS2 is our last baby and my family is complete (3 DC). When I was still lost in his birth, I felt that if DS2 had been DC1 or 2, I may not have gone on to have another. But now, I think it would be ok. I would go into my next pregnancy and birth knowing myself better, perhaps having lower expectations of how I would be treated, but also I would be clearer about how I wanted to be treated and not just go with the flow and believe others know best.

kellieb7 Fri 02-Sep-11 22:06:50

ZhenXiang I think thats a really good point, maybe if I understood there decisions I would start to feel better about things. Its mad really because it is only in the past few weeks I have finally allowed myself to think about it.

kellieb7 Fri 02-Sep-11 22:11:25

Eyeofthestorm I really feel as if I want to talk/get answers now (which I suppose is why I posted), I will definately give some consideration to a counsellor as I do feel this may help. Thank you for sharing your experience with me x

EyeoftheStorm Fri 02-Sep-11 22:21:06

Hey mumsnet is just like a counsellor - a place to get it off your chest without holding back.

kellieb7 Fri 02-Sep-11 22:22:30

It is crazy, I have being more honest on here than I ever have in RL hmm

bibbitybobbityhat Fri 02-Sep-11 22:25:25

You won't forget but you will accept that it happened and move on, in due course, in my experience.

kellieb7 Fri 02-Sep-11 22:27:33

Thanks bibbitybobbityhat, I hope so wink

squinker45 Sat 03-Sep-11 10:02:05

I complained about my bad birth experience, but i got a lot of stick from a 'friend' whos mother is a midwife. She said she would never complain, no matter what happens if the end result is a healthy baby and a healthy(ish) mother. Her reasons were to do with resources, how complaints take up time and energy that could be being spent on women giving birth, over-stretched nhs etc.

My take on this is that if no-one complains, then nothing will change. Even though traumatic births and rubbish care are common, complaints are rare because women are so knackered and traumatised after the birth that they don't have the mental energy to do it. I didn't in fact, and never would have done had my mum not been there and seen what happened from beginning to end, she actually wrote the complaint letter for me then I read it before she sent it. The process really helped - the hospital called in a load of people, head of midwifery, consultant, lawyer etc, and we had a meeting for around 2 hours during which they said they had definitely made mistakes and would take on board our points. I also had shiatsu massage and other alternative therapies which really helped me physically get over the trauma.

Counselling will help but complaining helped me more because i was actually able to tell the people who were there how shit they had been, and they were able to acknowledge it which made me feel less like a madwoman.

dairyair Sat 03-Sep-11 16:17:00

with regard to having another baby, maybe it would be worth your while talking to Birthcrisis ? They're specialists in this area. Your experience sounds absolutely horrific, I'm so sorry. I really hope you find the help you need.

Poppet45 Sat 03-Sep-11 19:31:05

My DD was born 13 days ago at just 27 weeks, so obviously she was whisked away to NICU, and I was warned that would be the case too. It was traumatic but in fact my whole healthcare team were amazing and that's helped me and DH get through a tough time so far. I feel so sorry for the treatment you've received. I too think that the doctor pushing the baby out from the top of the bump is now regarded as very poor practice, and their lack of communication on other issues has left you very unsettled and that's not right. My DD's currently fed by a NG tube too, and I was asking today when she would be coordinated enough to suck, breathe and swallow (so I can hopefully ditch the pumping and try feeding her instead) and they said not until 35 weeks. Perhaps this was why your DD was taken to NICU and put on a tube? Because she was a week earlier than that and they were being cautious. Certainly I've been told that if she didn't get it right and inhaled her first feed that wouldn't be much fun. But if that's the case then someone really should have taken the time to talk you through it. I'd second getting yoru notes btw. I got them after a very traumatic time with DS in which I ended up in HDU and found it helped me piece together what happened.

bibbitybobbityhat Sat 03-Sep-11 19:56:38

I didn't complain after my terrible experience, but I really should have because there was something specific that the hospital got terribly wrong.

But, at the same time, they saved me and my baby by giving me a crash c-section with 10 people in attendance at 10 minutes notice. So I had very mixed feelings about it all. Still do.

Had I complained, it wouldn't have been about compensation unless dd had suffered disabilities. I would have just not wanted the same mistake to be made twice. And I realise that complaints take up a lot of NHS time and resources, but if they prevent other people from going through the same trauma??

As it happens I was too busy with a new baby to start thinking about a complaints procedure and after a while things start to fade into the background and you find it hard to summon up the energy to begin the process. I am sure this happens most of the time with birth trauma ...

smelli Sat 03-Sep-11 20:00:57

At the time, I felt a bit like you too, although your story sounds much more traumatic than mine.

But I have completely forgotten nearly all of the detail. It's like having a collection of photos rather than the DVD.

I did have a second child, albeit 6 years later by elective C Section. It was easy peasy compared to the first.

I also think as the children get older, it starts looking like a better deal: what's a week of pain, misery and loss of control, compared to the lifetime of joy a child brings? The method of birth seems less important and the outcome is the main thing (i.e healthy baby).

I would definitely talk to the midwife or sometimes the hospital have sessions afterwards. Maybe they can find ways to reassure regarding future children.

kellieb7 Sat 03-Sep-11 20:37:12

Thank you everyone, I am definately planning to request my notes because although I am eternally gratefull for my healthy DD, I do need to try and make sense of what happened.

poppet45, I hope your LO is doing ok and your managing to look after yourself.

silverangel Sat 03-Sep-11 22:04:10

Kellieb, I'm sorry you had such a bad experience. My twins were delivered at 31 weeks via emcs after placental abruption, I lost 3 litres of blood and to cut a long story short was misdiagnosed with a UTI for two days before the abruption and blue light transferred to a hospital over an hour away from where I live. It was traumatic but the end result is me and my babies are ok and that's what I focus on, not how they got here.

twotesttickles Sat 03-Sep-11 22:06:24

Sounds awful. I had a horrible time with my first. I went through my notes with a midwife and that, and then going through a pregnancy with my second, just made it fade away. I know it's awful now. But it does get better with time. Childbirth can be so traumatic. Feel free to vent here - that helped me a lot. smile

Samvet Sun 04-Sep-11 11:42:57

Kelleib - I second the councilling suggestion. I had a horrid time and only realised how much it affected me after I had a panic attack when I saw some stirrups for an internal ultrasound that I needed due to problems some months later. I had cognitive behavioural therapy and went through the entire thing. Never cried so much but felt alot better. I had my notes but I couldn't hold the envelope they came it it was that bad. I do want a second and it will be on my terms and not involve the situation I had before or any of the horrible midwives I had the misfortune to encounter. Ask your GP for info on councilling if going through the notes isn't enough.

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