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Debrief- what should I ask?

(6 Posts)
Junosmum Tue 02-Aug-16 15:50:50

I had a traumatic birth with my son in January- long second stage, failure to progress, cyctocin, forceps, retained placenta. I'm now incontinent of urine (was both but thankfully now only urine). I'm still very much struggling with flash backs and emotions around the birth. I've booked a debrief on the advice of people here. But what should I be asking? What can I hope to get out of this?

LazyTabloidJournalistCunts Tue 02-Aug-16 16:00:25

I had almost exactly the same kind of birth except for the retained placenta part. And thankfully I didn't suffer incontinence (although, by the extent of my tearing I should have done - not sure how I got away with that.)

In my case it was due to DD being a very big baby. Which no one warned me about until I was already at hospital. At which point the MW refused to let me in the birthing pool because i was measuring too big.

If I had a debrief, my first question would be: why did no one warn me earlier that DD was massive, so I could've prepared for a different type of birth experience?

And my second question would be: if they could tell quite early on that I was going to struggle with her size, why did they let things go so far, to the point where I had to be rushed into theatre and torn open?

Sorry if that is just me projecting onto your debrief!

I guess you could start by asking them at what point they could tell things weren't going to be straightforward and why they then took the action that they did.

ACatCalledFang Tue 02-Aug-16 20:48:19

That sounds really rubbish, flowers for you.

I had a debrief recently following a failed induction (failure to progress) and EMCS. So different scenario from you. I had some specific questions around the poor care I received at the hands of one midwife (who refused to allow me to move; doubt spending 7 hours flat on my back helped any progression that might have happened...My debrief was combined with a formal complaint). They confirmed there was no clinical justification for this, nor for the contradictory and incorrect advice I received around whether/when I could have an epidural.

I also wanted to provide feedback on how the whole experience had made me feel, eg baby being taken out of theatre 5 mins after birth to be weighed (no clinical reason but we were separated and DP went with him so I was left alone in theatre for most of the op). Apparently they tell staff not to do that.

My main questions boiled down to: why did the induction fail? Why wasn't the super slow progress flagged earlier, and could anything have been done at that point? Are there any factors which would be relevant to a future decision to VBAC?

I would encourage you, if you can, to think through your birth step by step. When, in your mind, did it start going "wrong"? What happened, did staff communicate clearly with you/your birth partner at the time, were you happy with how they handled it then and how do you feel about it now? Do you have questions about whether the incontinence is due to poor care or whether it was preventable?

How would you like to feel after the debrief? I wanted to know I had asked certain questions, even if the hospital couldn't answer them. I wanted to feel listened to, and to feel I'd closed some doors. You may feel differently.

I've also found counselling to be helpful.

Good luck, let us know how you get on.

pinguina16 Wed 03-Aug-16 16:59:45

Similar birth 2 1/2 years ago.
I had a debrief 8 weeks after giving birth. Like Cat above we had a few complaints to go through. One of them was the fact that I had been told I would have a follow-up appointment with an obstetrician because of what happened (can't quite remember now but I think the major blood loss was the main reason behind a follow-up?). I never heard from them so at the debrief we mentioned it and the following week I saw an obstetrician who answered further questions I had.
Both the midwife who did the debrief and later the obstetrician answered basic questions such as 1)why was my baby stuck or 2)why did I loose such much blood (1)don't know 2)don't know 1)probably uterine atony+epidural+exhaustion 2)tear).

I know it's unbelievable but for months after the birth neither my husband nor I understood I was seriously injured so when I attended the debrief I still didn't understand anything about severe tears etc.
I'm pointing this out because as far as I understand now my tear was not repaired and this can be a cause for litigation. What I'm trying to say is that the midwife should answer all the questions you may have but s/he will also be cautious not to make the hospital look liable.
I'm not suggesting you should sue them (although it may be something you might consider later on), just that if your questioning gets into grey areas (could the birth have been handled in a different way? or no one explained the risks involved, why is that?), you may not get an answer.

For what it's worth, I don't feel like I have just been hit by a truck anymore. It took severe depression, 2 months on a mother and baby unit, a year of counselling and antidepressants and time but I got there. Talking and writing all of my story down helped a lot. The debrief was one way of verbalising what had happened.


giveme1reason Wed 03-Aug-16 21:51:50

I do wonder if it's possible to ask for second debrief also what is the time limit and who are you allowed to take with you can that be for example solicitor?

elliejjtiny Thu 04-Aug-16 02:48:59

I had a debrief for my failed vbac turned emcs. I wanted to know about what happened to ds when he was first born (he was resuscitated), why the induction didn't work, what would have happened if I'd chosen not to be induced. I also asked about what would happen if I got pregnant again, although this is unlikely as DH has been snipped.

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