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Feeling traumatised by not getting the pain relief i asked for, anyone else

(96 Posts)
Naty1 Sat 18-Jul-15 19:51:03

Had dc2 friday, and been feeling upset about not getting the epidural i asked for (3hrs before delivery)
I had it clearly on birth plan.
I asked for it then said pethidine while waiting and ended up with g&a too.
Mw went off to request epi and said its a busy night theyll be there when they can.
I clearly couldnt cope with what i had and remember begging. Saying i want it now.
I just shut down and willed the contractions to stop.
Was saying the baby was stuck (as dc1 was )
But i think what has triggered my anger/ upset is reading my birth notes. My birth plan isnt there and on the computerized printout as its not a question- no mention of my requests or why it wasnt done.
It feels like they want people to be too late for pain keen to send home, refusal to check dilation.
Not caring how it feel afterwards to be ignored, patronised 'havent you done well with no pain relief.'
I did have epi with dc1 back to back, stuck at 2cm, sytocin, failed ventuose and forceps, episiotomy.
But i think the issues were more to do with being back to back.
It just annoys me the illusion of choice but if your choice isnt natural you are being judged. Made to go on a bit longer until its suddenly too late.

madwomanbackintheattic Sat 18-Jul-15 19:54:42

The anaesthetist may have been busy with emergencies who were a higher priority than you. Epidurals for pain management are obviously a lower priority than a lot of other scenarios - please try not to let this cour your first few days with a newborn - not getting a requested epidural is just one of those things I'm afraid - it depends so much on what else is happening.

LibrariesGaveUsPower Sat 18-Jul-15 20:01:42

Not getting it can happen for a lot of reasons. If you asked three hours before delivery it can happen.

I would ask why the request didn't go into your notes though.

Naty1 Sat 18-Jul-15 20:08:48

Yeah i know, i think if it had been like 20mins or 1-2 hrs then i would see that. But it was like 3hrs which seems longer than a CS.
I think it annoys me i held out so long trying to walk through the pain etc but they wouldnt examine more than 3hrly so already 5cm.
I think if i didnt know they push you like this i would accept it as a fact, but i dont trust them due to being pushed in dc1 birth so doubt(am skeptical) it wasnt possible.
So feel bullied.

Naty1 Sat 18-Jul-15 20:17:53

Though its not in my control when i asked for it. They wont let you have it before 4cm. Wont let you be examined before 3hrs so some people could be giving birth by then!
Its not like its a well i'll hold on till nearly the end and then expect the anesthetist to prioritise my request.
If i could have got on the list when i walked in the door - i would have/even it noted before i came in (it was in birth plan) but it doesnt work like that. The mw controls you and your access to pain relief- if they think you can cope.
Pain can make you tense up.
This would be why i was happy when the baby was breech so i didnt need to be reliant on 'when someone can get there' and someone elses opinion of your pain.

LibrariesGaveUsPower Sat 18-Jul-15 21:11:49

I didn't mean you delayed asking. I meant you progressed fast from the point you

Three hours isn't actually long. If you were pushing for 20 minutes and looked very close immediately before that, it may only have been a couple of hours. One emergency section and maybe popping in to see someone having difficulties with theirs could take that couldn't it? I mean, mine was a straightforward one supposedly (not section ) and she was easily with me 30 minutes. And with a section they obviously stay throughout.

I don't think the issue here is really that though. It is your fear you were lied to. Can you ask to speak to someone about the missing info in your notes and why the anaesthestist wasn't available?

Ashwinder Sat 18-Jul-15 21:36:19

Congratulations on your new baby.

I sympathise OP. The worst thing by far about DSs birth was the pain. I ended up with no pain relief at all as it was so quick. DS was back to back as well. Afterwards everybody was saying 'oh well done you, you did it all naturally' like I was supposed to find it empowering. I personally didn't find anything empowering about being deranged with pain. I was very, very distressed and upset by the amount of pain I had been in (and I'd had a previous unmediated birth so I think I have a relatively high pain threshold).

One thing that really helped me was a debrief after the birth. The supervisor of midwives went through my notes with me and explained why things had happened they way they had. It was tremendously helpful and really helped me make my peace with what had happened. I think this would be particularly beneficial to you as you think important issue is missing from your notes.


Naty1 Sat 18-Jul-15 21:56:34

Thanks for the replies,
Libraries, I wasn't sure so just thought I'd clarify. I guess though leaving people as long as possible will create a backlog where some will be too late especially with emergencies.
Ashwinder I'm glad talking it through helped you so much. I will consider that approach. It's certainly true the pain from birth to birth can be very different. So it's hard to know what pain relief you might need.
I found back to back to really radiated down the legs.

Whatabout Sat 18-Jul-15 22:04:38

When j had my first child I felt like you, completely dismissed and prevented from accessing the pain relief I wanted. I got my EPi when the shift changed and the new midwife organised it immediately. G&A gave me panic attacks and I was on ctg so no ability to move. At the second shift change I realised the midwife had knocked out my epidural. They didn't want to get anaesthetics to check, I insisted and had it resited, I told them it was that or a section. I had my son about an hour after that, I'd held out for it to be done.

It is horrid not knowing if someone is coming and being in so much pain you feel beyond coping. I did feel the midwives were trying very hard to get me to give up on having one.

I'm having c section this time, no chance to be mucked about!

Naty1 Sat 18-Jul-15 22:25:29

Luckily it was DC2 for me or I'm sure I would be doing the same about CS. But I would still worry that as an elective, if I went into labour (dc1 was 39w) I might not get CS. (I'm probably paranoid) but as I say my trust feels abused.

AnitaManeater Sat 18-Jul-15 22:33:29

I felt the same, all 3 of mine were back to back. I argued with the midwife (politely as I could) that if I had come into hospital with this amount of pain for something other then childbirth, surely they would be able to offer me something stronger than a paracetamol. Every time the early stages have been excruciating and with my last DS, out of fear and the fact an epidural clearly wasn't on offer I accepted pethidine and it was truly awful.

waitaminutenow Sat 18-Jul-15 22:34:28

Our local hospital doesn't offer epidurals as pain relief at all.....eeek! I've done it once I'm hoping I can do it again....

waitaminutenow Sat 18-Jul-15 22:35:23

Congratulations btw!

smileyhappymummy Sat 18-Jul-15 22:37:22

Sounds horrible and must have made you feel even less in control. Congratulations on your baby! I think I would ask for a debrief - you may find that understanding what happened and why helps, and if there has been an error then a genuine apology may also help.
Fwiw, I had a section lasting 4.5 hrs - unfortunately it can happen that emergencies do just tie up all available anaesthetists.

Alanna1 Sat 18-Jul-15 22:38:11

My first baby was back to back, but by the time I asked for an epidural I was told it was too late. To be fair, my baby was born a few minutes later, so it probably was too late!

UrethraFranklin1 Sun 19-Jul-15 01:16:37

Unfortunately you cant always have what you want. Birth is unpredictable, hospitals are busy, its just the way it is. No point in taking it personally, you arent being judged, there was no conspiracy to keep the epudural from you, its just how it happens sometimes. Your baby is healthy and so are you, so it was all successful. Be thankful for that.

Midwifeoncall Sun 19-Jul-15 02:14:15

Hi ladies, being both a mum and a midwife I have been on both sides of the delivery room. From reading the comments it's sad to see so much that is so poorly understood! I'm sorry u feel u have had a bad experience, and I only wish you could see the stresses that the team that looked after you may have been under but no doubt still tried their hardest to look after u and bring your baby safely into the world. It's horrible to think that this part of your labour is the bit that u are remembering and not your beautiful baby. Hope things are looking up for u now. X

ChristineBrooke Sun 19-Jul-15 14:25:01

What is poorly understood? The notion that women think that pain relief should not be withheld on the whim or prejudice of a midwife? It is not a midwife's job to tell a woman 'you don't need it' as if she is being weak for requesting it; 'you can do it'; or even 'you're doing really well without it,' as if anaesthesia is some sort of moral failing.

If it's an issue of availability, perhaps we should be campaigning for more anaesthetists, rather than more midwives.

ThroughThickAndThin01 Sun 19-Jul-15 14:29:12

Agree Urethra.

spillyobeans Sun 19-Jul-15 14:39:18

I totally understand how you feel traumatised by what happened - i had my first child a couple of weeks ago and my first stage of labour (dilated up to 7cm) was brilliant, i had tens machine and gas and air then went in birth pool and pain was easily managable. However when my waters broke there was meconium and i had to get out of the pool and back on a bef lying down which isnt what i wanted. I then pushed for a while but baby was stuck. I asked for pain relief but even though i would have had time for morphine i just didnt get it despite begging. I then had to have a vonteuse and episiotomy with nothing but gas and air. The sheer pain of it all made me feel like i had post traumatic stress for a good week after - i kept getting flash backs.

Thats the thing with childbirth though isnt it, you can make plans and preperations but when it comes down to the event you just have to go with the flow and try to deal with the pain the best you can flowers

spillyobeans Sun 19-Jul-15 14:42:45

However i feel i should add that the midwive looking after me was the most brilliant person and i felt so well looked after and emotionally supported that i feel that she is the reason i could get through it, and i think the suite was very busy when i was in so i dont think they could have done more for me tbh

PatsyNoPasta Sun 19-Jul-15 16:20:53

I'm sure some MW are totally wonderful and do the best they can with the skills that they have. Unfortunately, if any woman asks for some decent pain relief the MW has to run off and find a suitably qualified HCP to organise an epidural. Employ less MW and more multi skilled HCP.

I totally understand you OP, I don't want my birth plan ignored. I don't want anyone to tell me that the ward was too busy to care for MY needs. I don't want people to tell me after a traumatising birth that "I was poorly understood" or that I should be grateful for the safe birth of my baby and "haven't you done well".

You are right OP, some MW give you the illusion of choice. In reality you are at their mercy.

UrethraFranklin1 Sun 19-Jul-15 17:00:58

Wow, the paranoia here is rampant. You think midwives have nothing better to do than plot and scheme who to give epidurals to and who not? Is there some kind of betting go on at the nurses station, maybe a roulette wheel? Maybe they give you secret raffle tickets and pluck them out of a hat? hmm

OR maybe its simply that if you have a baby in an NHS hospital, you don't get your very own anaesthetist, and sometimes there aren't enough to go around? You can write all the birth plans you want and make all the decisions you want, but frankly at the end of the day you are one of thousands of women having a baby on any given day and it isn't the job of the midwives to make it exactly what you want. It's their job to get you through it with a good outcome for woman and baby to the best of their ability and with the resources they have. And these underpaid, underfunded, undervalued women generally do that very well. They don't deserve the abuse because you didn't get precisely what you expected.

Midwifeoncall Sun 19-Jul-15 18:06:26

If there were less midwives I fear you would be delivering your own baby without even the notion of any analgesia. I myself had a traumatising delivery, which took me sometime to deal with but one thing I have learnt is that no matter what our plans are, our unborn babies and our bodies have plans of their own which are out for anyone's control. I just want to say though that in all my years of practice I have never or have I witnessed a collegue refuse a woman analgesia, we act as an advocate for our women in an extremely stretched service and there are times when sometimes it is extremely difficult to get an anaesthetist eg he/she is maintaining the airway of a woman who is bleeding to death or has had a massive bleed in the brain while delivering her baby. Perhaps if anyone requires a service where they get a epidural when their fingers are clicked a private team of care may be what is needed. It's really upsetting as a midwife to see what women really think and as a mother to see that is thought of what I think is an amazing health service that we all use.

Naty1 Sun 19-Jul-15 20:12:46

But then it is also upsetting to be on the other end of it too. (Twice)
I won't feel guilty that my experience didn't impress me of the amazing nhs.
And yes I would consider paying for the pain relief.
Fine no guarantees of availability but then accept the job of mw May become redundant to an extent as people opt for elcs
And Tbh mwoc you are actually counterproductive as you are convincing me of a lack of caring, compassion and exactly the attitude I'm referring to.
Of suck it up
I know someone who delayed getting pg and moved abroad to avoid giving birth in UK. Yes best outcome for baby, epidural dont always have bad effects. And as above, can be handy if intervention is suddenly needed as with dc1 I could have quickly got to theatre.
Anyway maybe a bit of honesty at mw pays about the chances of epi at your chosen hospital. Like say stats on how many requests were not able to be fulfilled. But looking at my notes it's not even on there.
Thanks for all the replies

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