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Why wouldn't they give me G&A?

(31 Posts)
ThisLittleMonster Fri 02-Nov-12 17:16:18

I've been reading the thread on TENS and the one on the refused epidural today, and they have both hit a nerve with me.

My DD was born in the MLU attatched to the main maternity unit, so I suppose by choosing that, an epidural was a low priority for me but the option technically remained open. My plan, encouraged by my lovely mw, was to cope with G&A initally and see if I felt I needed further pain relief as time progressed.

In actual fact, my labour was very quick, maybe 4hrs from first contractions. I was encouraged to stay at home when I called the unit for advice when I started having severe D&V maybe a contraction or two.

An hour later I called again having intense contractions and asked to come in. Again, she told me to have bath and stay at home as this was very early labour. I could hardly talk to her and contractions varied from a couple of minutes to maybe 6 minutes, so not regular but didn't really die down much in between either. Still, I trusted the experts and stayed at home.

Less than an hour later my waters broke and I KNEW we had to go NOW. Contractions were a minute, then three minutes, then four, then other words, irregular but close. My DH called to say we were coming in. He was told to calm me down as it didn't sound like I was coping very well with the first stages of labour, and to stay put for a few more hours if we could until contractions were regular at two or three minutes. We left immediately anyway.

I'd managed to give instructions to my DH in the car so the minute I staggered into the room he asked for some form of pain relief (for me!). To be honest, I didn't care what pain releif at the time, I just knew that if this was 'early stages', I couldn't possibly cope for much longer and with worse pain. I was examined and was found to be fully dilated and had the sudden urge to push.

Obviously an epidural or pethidine was out at that point, but they wouldn't give me gas and air. My DH asked specifically and they said no. An hour later, our beautiful DD was born. My contractions never did have a definite peak and then a lull, nor did they achieve the holy grail of total regularity, in fact, they stopped entirely for a minute or two when she was half way out!

I understand what the mw said about first labours taking ages and staying at home as long as you could, but I was clearly distressed and in severe and constant pain on the phone. What was it about me which meant she didn't take my word for it- I was in labour!

Also, and my main question- why refuse me gas and air when I did arrive? I've read on here several times today about people using gas and air for the delivery, I've got friends who tell me they used gas and air as their epidurals wore off for the delivery. I accept that it's not as strong as other forms of pain relief, but surely anything is better than nothing? Does anyone know a possible reason?

At the time I felt like I was causing a lot of fuss for nothing - but it wasn't nothing, I was prob 9cms when I was listening to the mw on speaker telling me things were just starting and to calm down! I was so shell shocked I passed out in the shower after having her and could barely stand for a couple of days and was wobbly for a fortnight. What did I say or do which implied I would be better off fobbed off with the 'have a bath' line, rather than 'this woman is about to have a baby!'?. I know I should've insisted on going in earlier- then I'd have felt more in control rather than throwing myself at the mw before even exchanging hellos, have some pain relief options, not be panicking about either labour going on like that for hours or giving birth in the car!

Sorry this is looooong blush, I seem to have just blurted it all out! But the truth is, part of me craves another baby (DD is 17 months btw), but a bigger part remembers this and the sheer panic I felt that no one seemed to take me seriously and puts me off. If there is to be a next time, I need to know what to do differently so I am taken seriously- why did they think I wasn't in labour then that G&A wasn't appropriate for me!?

ThisLittleMonster Fri 02-Nov-12 17:18:49

Too long blush, sorry

Lougle Fri 02-Nov-12 17:25:13

Some midwives feel that gas and air doesn't allow the woman to concentrate during pushing. I had it for #1 and #2 but had it taken away for pushing with #3.

BillyBollyBandy Fri 02-Nov-12 17:29:45

The midwives hear listen to you on the phone when you are having a contraction to see if you need to come in (as well as all the normal questions of course)

I had dd2 quickly and was still offered g&a. It makes me projectile vomit so no use but was at least offered.

You can take comfort in dc2's being taken as coming more quickly and so they should have a plan in place for you. My friend was a very short labour and she went into shock. Dc2 and she was told to come in as soon as she could. DC2 decided not to hurry up and she had amuch longer labour.

It's good to talk about it though, helps you work through it I think

MissZombRee Fri 02-Nov-12 17:35:28

Your story could have been mine except I was already in hospital before I went into labour (waiting for induction when my waters went).

My MW told me that if she'd spoken to me on the phone when I was 10cm dilated and ready to push, she wouldn't have believed me! In fact she (and all the other MWs) doubted me the whole way though! I had a 4 hour first labour too.

I think we just need to be able to take comfort from the fact that WE knew what our bodies were telling us, even if the MWs doubted it. If you shout loud enough, they have to listen.

I have no advice on the G&A but wanted you to know you're not alone in your experience of being ignored/doubted!

RobinSparkles Fri 02-Nov-12 17:38:51

Because they feel that you concentrate on pushing while sucking on the G&A.

I had it during labour but they didn't take it off me during pushing. I couldn't concentrate so I didn't use it while I pushed, I just had it in my hand.

Welovecouscous Fri 02-Nov-12 17:43:01

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

happy2bhomely Fri 02-Nov-12 17:50:23

I was told to stop with the gas and air while pushing with dc3 I wasn't even breathing it in, but held the mouth piece between my teeth. I found it comforting, but the midwife insisted it was distracting me from pushing! I had a very long transition and the contractions stopped for ages. The midwife tried to remove it, and I remember making a real fuss, so she left it. I also got to the hospital fully dilated, but was so calm that they were very patronising and insisted that I 'hop up onto the bed so we can actually check whether you're in labour, lovey.' I laughed out loud as I heard her mumble 'fully' to the student midwife. She apologised afterwards and I apologised for being rude.

With dc4, a homebirth, I made the midwives promise that they would not, under any circumstances, remove the gas and air from my reach. I was convinced that there was no way I could manage without it. In the end, the valve broke and I was left delivering an 11 lb baby without any pain relief at all.

ThisLittleMonster Fri 02-Nov-12 18:27:04

Welovecouscous shock Surely being on a labour ward having had labour induced is a fair indication that you are about to have a baby!?

It's interesting what a few of you have said about concentrating on pushing. I suppose I was a bit panicked, and a not great conversationalist by the time I got to the MLU, but that was largely because I couldn't marry up what the midwife had told me on the phone about the stage of labour,the knowledge that first labours should take hours, and what my body was telling me. Maybe I came across as unlikely to listen to instruction and she didn't want the G&A to compound this!?

Next time, if/when it happens, I will definitely trust myself more and when I think it's time to go, GO!

Thanks for all the replies, I know 17 months is a bit long to be dwelling on this still.

StarlightMcKenzie Fri 02-Nov-12 20:04:50

That happened to me too. For no. 2 I had a birth plan that stated I would be using gas and air the second I arrived and would be using it through second stage too. It helped me relaxed during stage 2 and so didn't push at all. Baby just slipped out nice and controlled with no effort at all from me.

cbeebiesatemybrain Fri 02-Nov-12 20:08:04

Op the same thing happened to me with my dc1 and it still troubles me 3 years on. I felt like all my choices were taken away from me because of a mws wrong assumption that it would be ages yet and I was making a fuss over nothing. I was given gas and air but not shown how to use it, made to lie flat on a bed and shouted at to be quiet. angry Most women get support and choices in their dc's birth and I wanted that too, its not fair that we were denied it at such a vulnerable time.

With dc2 I went for a hb (the thought of going back to the hospital scared the shit out of me especially as no one had apologised) and hired a doula to be my advocate and it was a lovely birth. There were no attempts to make me hang on a bit longer once I told them how fast my first labour was and being believed really made a big difference.

JamesAndTheGiantBanana Fri 02-Nov-12 20:17:51

I actually faked it on the phone to the mw with my first, because I was having regular hurty contractions but as soon as I called her they got scared off! I faked it, she said "you'd better come in" and sure enough they started up again when I got off the phone! Bloody performance anxiety grin

They took the g&a off me too, I hated the bitch for it. But in hindsight I was off in my own world not listening to a damn thing they said so I can understand why. ish.

ZuleikaD Sat 03-Nov-12 06:14:12

The G&A doesn't actually make that much difference, pain-relief wise, when you're at that stage and when you need to push it can mask the beginning and end of each contraction, making it hard for you to work with your body to push. Also, technically, Entonox isn't pain relief - it has no anaesthetic qualities. Instead it works by making you not fear the pain, because fearing the pain makes it worse (the human mind is a powerful thing). It takes away the fear by giving you a tool to cope with it and relaxes you, makes you feel more in control of your body.

When you remember the event I would try and separate out the telling-you-not-to-come-in (which they will do if you can talk through a contraction) from the G&A refusal. Two separate decisions on their part, and the refusal to give you gas & air at the point you went in was almost certainly the correct one, even if they had incorrectly told you to stay at home.

Next time, tell your booking-in midwife how fast your labour was and that you clearly have a high pain threshold for early contractions, and that should go in your notes so they'll let you go in sooner. You might get some Entonox then!

HastaLanugo Sat 03-Nov-12 06:23:32

Just want to add my sympathies. I never had regular contractions either, but as I was having then preterm I was already in hospital for monitoring and was having regular VEs so at least we all knew it was definitely labour. I had the G&A taken off me just as I started to push (I was angry).

Now pregnant with my second and really hoping I don't have to face the uncertainty of irregular CX again, especially not from home.

lopsided Sat 03-Nov-12 06:37:40

I'm sorry to hear you had a difficult time. I used gas in my first labour and it was taken from me at the pushing stage. I didn't bother with it for the other 2. My first labour sounds like yours (irregular contractions) is there a chance your baby was back to back?

This is no comfort I know but on my 3rd I arrived and said I was in labour and I was ready. They said things didn't seem to be progressing but as it was my third they would let me stay for a bit (usually they said they would have sent me home). My baby was born within the hour.

Sometimes you just know your body, fortunately they are more likely to take your word for it next time.

StarlightMcKenzie Sat 03-Nov-12 10:09:57

Zu, it is NEVER the right decision to refuse gas and air to someone who says they need it hmm

RalucaV Sat 03-Nov-12 10:34:38

stories like this made me decide that I would go straight for ELCS. I never want to be in the hands of midwives only because they unfortunately act mostly in this patronizing (and in my view sadistic) way. Sorry.

wheresmespecs Sat 03-Nov-12 10:37:00

I think the most important thing OP is that you have been left without trust in MWs or with any confidence that they will actually just LISTEN to you when you tell them how you feel.

How the hell anyone thinks any mother to be can try and give birth confidently in that situation is beyond me.

Not that I have had one, but a birth debrief might be useful - and if you are likely to have your next baby in the same place, a meeting with the Head MW or Consultant MW or whatever they have there.

I think it is important that they know how you feel about your treatment and yopu can try and get some confidence in their future care. If they have an actual policy of 'no gas and air during delivery', you need to know. If it is down to the individual views of a whatever mw you get on the day.... well, that's not responsible healthcare in my view, and you need to clarify what they will refuse if you ask for it.

ZuleikaD Sat 03-Nov-12 12:57:06

Well I was bloody well of the opinion that I needed it during the pushing phase of DC1 and it was taken away from me. Which was the right decision, as it was masking the beginning and end of contractions and I got along better without it. So yes, sometimes it IS the right decision to refuse it.

cbeebiesatemybrain Sat 03-Nov-12 13:12:01

With dc1 I wouldn't let go of it but I don't think there was any attempt to take it away - not that it did me much good anyway as I didn't know how to use it!

With dc2 I voluntarily put it down during the pushing stage too difficult to scream through the mouthpiece

Wheresmespecs makes some very valid points in her post, you should get things agreed beforehand so that you're not worrying about it through the pregnancy. It is very hard to fight your corner during labour! Fwiw when I was in labour with dc2 I was given g&a as soon as I asked for it and the mw gave me a quick recap on how to use it effectively - I could have kissed her!

WantAnOrange Sat 03-Nov-12 13:35:29

Welovecouscous I had a similar experience of MW not believing me that I was very far along and leaving me alone after induction. I was in agony and crying and panicking and she was insisting on examining me before letting me go up to delivery,where I could have G&A. I refused the examination without pain relief so they had to bring me a canister down to maternity ward, examine me, relent and agree that I was about to have a baby after all then wheel me up to delivery. I wouldnt have got this if DH hadnt been there and put his foot down. That MW said I was 4cm, 20 mins later I was examined on delivery by another (wonderful) MW who said I was 7cm. Everyone was amazed at quickly I had progressed, but think the first MW played it down so that she didnt look like she'd ignored me. DD was also back to back so no usual contraction pain, just constant pain in my back and no-one picked up on it so I did the whole thing on G&A only. It was awful.

But back to the OP, I had it taken away at the pushing stage in both my labours and was told that "it wasnt doing any good anymore"

NAR4 Sat 03-Nov-12 13:37:02

Welovecouscous That was me who gave birth alone, unless there is someone else on here who had the same.

It was following being induced with my 3rd child. Hubby was sent home because visiting time was over (although he believed I was in labour so hung around outside waiting for midwifes to call him back in). The midwife said I wasn't in labour I just thought I was (think this was mainly due to me not screaming the place down about the pain) and I gave birth 9 hours later on my own. I even shouted that the head was coming out and still noone came until another mother hit the emergency buzzer and fetched the midwife. A midwife coming onto duty found my husband outside and bought him in with her to find out how I was.

Like you it left me rather trumatised and I didn't go back to that hospital for my next birth.

PinkFondantFancy Sat 03-Nov-12 14:53:48

OP that sounds horrible. Maybe next time consider a homebirth - no need to worry about when you need to go in, allowing you to just focus on the job in hand

fishandlilacs Sat 03-Nov-12 14:59:54

Is there any chance you could contact your community midwife/HV and ask to see your notes-it's a long time past but you still have a right to a debriefing which will probably answer your questions. I'd phone up and explain to them everything you have said here. You sound a touch traumatized and it's worth trying to work that through.

schobe Sat 03-Nov-12 15:06:15

I honestly think some are just bastards who think women are making a big fuss about nothing.

Ok I can understand the point about some thinking it hampers pushing but treating the labouring woman as a child and just saying 'no' is outrageous to me. Or pretending the G&A is coming whereas really either nobody can be bothered or has time to get it, or they're hoping you won't ask again. Which you may not since it's so hard to be assertive in mid-labour. Ditto pethidine, epidural or any other type of pain relief.

We are adults, talk to us as such and take us seriously fgs.

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