How long is too long to ask for a debrief? :((40 Posts)
My eldest son is 13
My experience at the hospital where I gave birth and subsequent "care" haunt me still and due to a baby being born into the family yesterday I have spent the night tossing and turning upset and angry all over again.
To this day I have no idea why Ds and I recieved such dreadful care....both at hospital in the community.
If I try and list what happened as I remember it will you -nicely! - tell me if I am being silly?
I went into labour early at 37.5 weeks.
No idea I was in labour - thought it was sciatica - but I felt really weird and as the midwife said I has mild eclampsia the day before at my appt she advised going to get checked at hospital.
(I had 2 scans in my pg....12 weeks and 20 weeks....all fine.)
They Put me on a monitor and heartbeat was slow so I had a scan....sonographer said all fine and baby would be about 7lbs.
I went home.
Pains started to get regular but I still didn't realise I was in labour.
I started timing them about 6pm and they were 4/6 mins apart.
When they got closer I got Dh to strap on the tens and rang the hospital.
They were quite dismissive but said to go in.
So I did.
They didn't even examine me. Put me on a monitor.
Just said I was in early labour and told me to take some paracetamol.
I went home.
As I was getting ready for bed, I went to the loo and found I was bleeding.
I rang the maternity unit and was told to go back in.
So I did.
They examined me this time and found I was 5/6 cms dilated.
I was put into a room with a trainee midwife who frankly, irritated the hell out of me.
I was managing fine with the tens machine and breathing and she just kept on at me to try different methods like gas and air and pethidine.
By the time I was 8cms I was exhausted so gave in and had some pethidine - all this did was make me sleepy. Really wish I hadn't had it.
Midwife shift change and someone new came in at 7.30am
They broke my waters and ds1 was born quite quickly after at 8.37am
I had a second degree tear which was stitched and tbh didn't really cause me any issues after it healed.
But......Ds1 was only 4lbs 15oz. And no one could tell me why (or indeed seemed interested)
I didn't understand how the sonographer had got it so wrong at the scan just 18 hours before.
I had the injection to speed up delivery of the placenta (a woman just came in the room and jabbed my leg then left)
The placenta wAsnt coming away quickly enough so the midwife pulled it out - it was scraggy and thin and not healthy looking.
Due to her yanking I was left with retained placenta - didn't know this for a few days though.
We were taken up to a ward.
He had jaundice and despite trying to feed, my breasts weren't producing milk, and when the midwives tried to hand express blood just came out. I was crying in pain and they didn't care. It was just blood.
He was getting no milk at all.
He was so so small.
I was so worried.
I was made to feel silly. "We've had much smaller babies on this ward!!"
The night midwives were horrid to me. One almost broke the bed she pulled Ds crib so hard! Again they tried hand expressing til I cried with pain.
I was refused a bottle of formula for him.
I was so desperate to leave that we left 36 hours after his birth.
I was very sore and starting with an infection from the retained placenta.
By the next morning Ds was floppy and not feeding.
The midwife came round and was very dismissive til she took one look at him and sent us back into hospital.
We were sent to the children's ward, not scbu and were treated appallingly.
He was under the lights and by this point was on an ng tube which broke my heart.
One nurse shouted at me "you need to decide how you are feeding this baby!!" I was so upset I couldn't bf and felt an utter failure.
After a week we were allowed to go home as he had got back up to birth weight (!) but he was still not right and I tried and tired to tell the midwives and hv but they didn't listen.
After 6 weeks of hell of watching my boy get weaker and weaker and feeling utterly helpless the hv agreed with me that he was still jaundiced and back to hospital we went.
Again they were very dismissive but did a blood test and sent us home.
The next day I got a phone call from the head haematologist to say we had to take him to hospital staight away has he had a strep infection in his blood.
He was in for a week on iv abx.
He picked up after that and started to feed and gain weight although by this time he was far far behind his peers.
In fact for some weeks we thought he had cp.
Because he was in hospital they didn't do his 6 week heel prick test.
The midwives blamed the hospital and they blamed the midwives.
It got done eventually.
We were given NO help or guidance in how to help our son who was to all intents and purposes a 32 prem - as that's when they think my placenta stopped working.
My experience was such I waited 5 years to have another baby and went to another hospital to deliver.
I struggle going back to that place even now.
I will wait until my family member is home to see the baby....I cannot go onto that post natal ward
Am I being stupid?
I was told some years ago my notes were "lost"? Surely that's just the hand held ones?
Every midwife and nurse I death with (except one) treated me like an idiot.
I was a new mum, vulnerable and as it turned out, ill.
I feel very fortunate my Ds made it tbh. It was despite their "care" rather than because of it. It transpired he was an IUGR baby but undx.
I get so sad and bitter when I hear of new babies - why did their mums get good care? Why did their babies get looked after properly? Why not me and mine?
Unsurprisingly I got late onset pnd....a direct result of my experiences I believe.
My son is now doing well, after a very hard start.
It's been 13 years.
Do it need to just suck it up?
If you got through all that, thank you x
Didn't want to read and run.
I'm afraid I don't know much about how long after a labour and birth you can have a debrief, but wanted to say that I don't think you are being silly and should suck it up at all. All of that sounds absolutely awful. I think that if a debrief is what you would like you should try and get one.
I'm not even sure how to go about it....
I think you wrote to the hospital and request a debrief? Maybe try emailing and ask what their procedure is
If the hospital isn't able to give you a debrief perhaps look into getting some counseling.
for you. I had a shit birth (although not as bad as yours) and I know how awful it is
My local hospital says 25 years, so yes, it would be possible. I'm sorry you went through that.
I have never - before or since - felt so vulnerable and alone
I really thought we would lose him a couple of times
Thank you for replying
I will look into contacting the hospital
either a hospital debrief or private counselling. Certainly 13 years ago they should have known better. The care you received sounds more typical of the 1950's.
I had a poorly strep b baby, and a similar experience to yourself, baby would not feed, unable to breastfeed, and jaundiced. She was readmitted at 3 days old. I also waited almost 5 years before having dd2. I struggled a lot afterwards and had pnd. I had a debrief about 3 months later. I also had some counselling I arranged privately. I think medical notes are only kept for 7 years, so you may not be able to have a detailed debrief. If I were you I would contact your GP and ask for a counselling referral instead. I'm sorry you feel this way and hope you find something that helps. My DD is now 5 and I'm pleased to say things have got easier and I rarely think about it now.
Oh thank you all so much!
I was starting to think I was being silly
I wish I didn't feel this way - perhaps you are right - perhaps counselling may be the way to go
I have also been wondering this - but wondering whether it's going to be constructive to dredge over old ground. Expecting DC2 and, although it wasn't the most awful delivery ever and we are both healthy, the impact it potentially has on decision making for this child is massive for me (c section or not).
Sorry you had such an awful experience, and that things have been stirred up for you like this.
My hospital also keeps notes for 25 years. You could try ringing to speak to the supervisor of midwives, who should be able to advise about a debrief, or you could approach your hospital's PALS. You could also make a formal application for your medical notes, which usually costs up to £50 (mine cost £20); there may be details on the hospital website or, again, PALS may be able to advise.
In the event that a debrief isn't possible, I would definitely recommend counselling, perhaps with someone who has experience of birth trauma. You could also look at the Birth Trauma Association's website.
I had a debrief this week, ten months after DS's birth (failed induction and EMCS; despite some poor care, nothing that bad happened but have found it difficult to move past). It took place at the same time as our meeting to discuss the official complaint I made, and the hospital handled it really well. I found it very healing. I'm also having counselling separately, which I am finding helpful too.
I would strongly recommend that anyone who even thinks they might benefit from a debrief looks into it, especially if pregnant again or thinking about it. My hospital was very keen to reassure me about care in future pregnancies and actually told me, without asking, that I could have an ELCS if that was what I wanted.
I do birth debriefs and would be more than happy to do someone who had a baby 13 years ago. You shouldn't have to pay to get the notes. Ring the labour ward and ask about the service, or ring and ask to speak to a supervisor of midwives if labour ward can't help.
Hopefully your notes will have turned up by now. But even if they haven't it is possible to do a birth debrief without notes. Good luck.
I had DS 5 and a half years ago, am currently pregnant with DC2 and have been offered a debrief as my experience with DS was awful. I've been for one appointment already but they didn't have my notes (despite me ringing 3 times beforehand to check) so I have to go again next week.
My experience wasn't as bad as yours, as DS was fine, but the post-natal care I received was appalling and led to me being re-admitted to hospital with sepsis when DS was 2 weeks old. Hoping next week will provide some answers as I've spent the last 5 years not knowing what happened and am petrified it will all happen again this time round.
I hope you are able to have a debrief, good luck.
I am sorry that you had such a terrible experience.
I was told by a midwife after my recent birth that the 'oldest' debrief she had given was 17 years.
21 years I believe.
You can make a claim for injury to the baby up to 3 years after their 18th birthday so I suspect they should keep your notes for that long.
I'm going to get an e mail for the supervisor of midwives and try and get some answers.
Feel upset and angry again tonight.
If your still experiencing anger over the birth a debrief is wirthwhile. You can start with the hospital but speaking to either birth trauma association or birth crisis might be worthwhile.
For what it's worth I'm sorry you were treated badly you didn't deserve it and it's not your fault.
I feel an utter fool tbh but my reaction to my nephews birth (and mistakes that have been made) has shown me I need to talk to someone
Reliving it all is not fun
I've e mailed the ceo and pals as I can't find any info on supervisor of midwives.
Thanks for the advice and sympathy x
OP I can relate to this. My ds is also 13 and both of us were ill during labour and nearly died after a traumatic birth.
I can't really complain about the care I received in hospital but had the most awful treatment after coming home by an utterly vile locum midwife.
She definitely pushed me into PND with her nasty comments and condescending manner.
Like you, but I became extremely anxious and disturbed when a baby is born in the family.
I had counselling on the NHS and it helped a lot and, a year or so after the birth my nightmares and flashbacks stopped.
I highly recommend talking therapy.
I will see what happens with the e mails - I may ask about counselling
Thank you all - I would not have taken this step without your support X
Really really struggling today
Just spent an hour sobbing on my sister
I'm phoning the hospital tomorrow
Oh, you poor thing - it stirs it all up, doesn't it? for you, and I'm glad it sounds as though you have some real-life support. I would really recommend counselling - I should warn you that you may feel worse before you start to feel better, but I feel more positive now than I did a few months ago.
In addition to the other suggestions on here, I have also just bought a book called How to Heal from a Bad Birth (published in June this year in case I've got the title wrong, it's available on Amazon). I've been dipping in and out of it this week and am finding it very helpful, both in terms of helping me to see my feelings are perfectly valid and not "silly" in any way (though my debrief was handled very sensitively and has also helped in that regard), but also in terms of how to make peace with the whole experience. I'd really recommend it.
Finally, one thing I've found helpful is writing. I've spent a lot of time in between counselling sessions trying to tease apart what happened, how I felt about it, and so on. It has felt quite cathartic just to get some of it out of my head and onto paper.
Let us know how it goes with the hospital, I hope your experience with them is positive.
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