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(15 Posts)
FartnissEverbeans Thu 16-Feb-17 10:59:46

Hi there everyone, I'm not 100% sure what I want from this post but I'm trying to piece together what happened during my labour in the absence of any sort of medical debriefing. I gave birth abroad and there was a bit of a language barrier. My DS is now 4mo but I still feel a bit traumatized by the birth, even though in comparison to other people's experiences I suppose it must sound easy.

My waters broke one morning, contractions started immediately. Baby was born seven hours after my waters broke, with attempted ventouse and episiotomy. I have no idea what time I went into established labour.

I read posts from women on here who say labour wasn't so bad, but I found it indescribably, terrifyingly, sickeningly painful. Near the end there was no space between contractions. At one point I had to be put on oxygen because I was panicking and I begged my husband to do something because I just couldn't keep going. I screamed a lot, and was told to be quiet; I wasn't allowed to move around during labour even though I had sciatica and my leg was cramping up - instead I was made to labour on my back; the room was full of nurses and two doctors who kept doing things without telling me (at one point they tried to catheterise me with no warning). The nurse kept putting a mask of gas and air on my face which made me breathless and sick, until I shouted at her to stop it. The nurses kept touching me and rubbing me which I know was meant to be reassuring but I just felt overwhelmed and ill. My dr rolled his eyes at me and asked how he was supposed to work under these conditions as I cried out in pain. I was coached through what I've seen called 'purple pushing', and they wanted me to hold my breath to push, but I just couldn't stop yelling out, it was physically impossible. I also couldn't stay still the way they wanted me to.

I missed my opportunity for an epidural as it progressed so fast.

The baby got stuck, and I knew he was stuck because I could feel it when they did a pelvic exam. The nurse told me that the baby had 'got a bit lost'. My dr then arrived and carried out the interventions, and if my husband hadn't told me about them then I would never have known what had happened as nobody explained it to me or even told me that the ventouse was involved.

My healthy, crying baby was taken away from me immediately after the birth and I didn't get to see him properly for about half an hour. They wouldn't let me stand up but eventually I did anyway because I wanted to see him. In the intervening period the dr stitched me up without telling me, which hurt, and 'cleaned' me by sticking something inside me without warning.

The whole experience of labour was awful.

I suppose I'm left with a few questions.

Do I just have a low pain threshold? Was I a wimp? I actually apologized to the dr afterwards for being a bad patient blush I've heard pain can be affected by your emotions, so if I'm in a calmer environment next time might it be less painful?

Did I have a normal labour? Are such interventions going to be necessary next time I have a baby? Why did he get stuck in the first place?

Why does it still hurt when I try to have sex with my husband? It hurts inside - have I torn? Did my dr not tell me about this?

If a ventouse fails (it's listed on my notes as 'attempted') is it normal for the dr to reach in and pull the baby out with his hands as my husband says he did? Has my husband got this wrong?

It all happened really fast - it felt like one minute I was laughing and joking through contractions and the next minute it was unbearable. Is my next labour likely to be fast as well? It was really scary as I'm a first time mum and I expected a long labour.

I don't know what I'm looking for really but none of my google searches are throwing up any answers. I'm fine now but I keep replaying it and I just wish I knew why it was so bad.

OP’s posts: |
Snifftest Thu 16-Feb-17 12:26:35

Sounds very very like my labour, which was in England.

I found the pain intolerable. It last 21 hours (from waters breaking to baby being born) had the purple pushing etc. I wasn't screaming though, I just kept falling asleep as I was soooo exhausted.

Sex was painful for almost a year after birth and still isn't great now, 13months on. It's scar tissue, which in the words of my dr needs to 'melt away'.

Whilst your birth sounds traumatic, it doesn't sound particularly out of the ordinary from all the birth stories I've heard. I have PTSD and mild PND from mine, and i'll never have more children, I found it far too traumatic.

pinguina16 Fri 17-Feb-17 09:53:17

OP You don't have a low pain threshold and you are not a wimp.
All antenatal classes focus on managing pain and there is a good reason for that: labour is incredibly painful. If you baby is big or is not in an optimal position (baby should be anterior but some babies come in a posterior position (commonly called back-to-back) or with their hand on their cheek or breech). A back-to-back labour is generally more painful because baby is not following the curve of your spine and a lot of the time those labours are much longer than anterior presentation.

I don't know what is relevant for your case but I just wanted to point out that there are many factors that influence the level of pain in childbirth.
Undermining/negating women's experiences of childbirth is also common place unfortunately and some people will prefer letting you think there was something wrong with you rather than acknowledge that labour can be an incredibly painful and unpleasant experience.

Hope other posters can answer other points you have raised in your post.

Scrumptiouscrumpets Fri 17-Feb-17 12:27:53

Hi OP, sorry to hear you had such a hard time. It sounds like you were treated quite badly by the HCPs who attended your labour. Not asking for consent, not explaining procedures, looking down on patients (your dr rolling his eyes is just awful, awful manners, he should be ashamed!) should not happen, but unfortunately is still often the case in many hospitals.
As pp have said, you definitely don't have a low pain threshold, labour is very painful for nearly all women. Some women cope with the pain by screaming, some don't scream but that doesn't mean that they didn't find it painful. I completely lost it during my first labour and screamed the place down, the contractions were unbearably painful. My second labour was a different story, much less painful. This is the case for many women. Unfortunately, there is no way of predicting the future to see if your second labour would be the same, similar or completely different.
I had a very fast first labour and asked my midwife if my second was likely to be fast as well. She said yes and she was right, I had another short labour. If you know that you are likely to have another short labour you will find it much easier to cope.
As for the attempted ventouse - what your husband says isn't possible, perhaps you could ask him to use other words to express what he saw?
Why did your baby get stuck - there are various reasons, but it is impossible to know which one applies to your case. I would urge you to get a debrief in order to get some clarity. It will also help you work through your emotions surrounding the birth of your baby.

hellomarshmallow Fri 17-Feb-17 12:38:22

It sounds horrendous, so many things that would not happen here and should not happen anywhere! Yes, labour is painful, but the care should be much better than the treatment you received. You did nothing wrong!!

Can you get online counselling for a proper debrief? You should also see a doctor about the pain with sex.

PopcornBits Fri 17-Feb-17 13:02:20

Sounds just like my labour! Mine was at Lincoln hospital.
Dr rolled his eyes at me too, several times. Midwife just stood against the wall hands behind her back watching.
I kept saying I was exhausted, they had kept me up till 3am prior to that morning, and didn't tell me that they'd be inducing me that day either.

Eventually the matron on the ward came storming in and asked the dr and midwife why they hadn't taken me through already, why they were just stood there doing nothing.

I had episiotomy and forceps. I too got to a stage where there were no breaks in contractions, I couldn't even yell at that point I went into a weird meditation and closed my eyes whilst having strong pain, they weren't sure I was even still contracting.
I dreaded the moment I saw the dr who rolled his eyes at me coming into theatre and I was very very fortunate to get a lady doctor last minute who performed my delivery, she was very clear and concise with me all whilst I was in and out of consciousness.
I believe she was the only person there that knew what she was doing in the end.

I think a lot of labours can be scary like this, and I don't think you're alone at all. I think the language barrier made it more difficult for you as you didn't know what was happening next .

I would try to put it behind you now and focus on baby flowers

MrsDustyBusty Fri 17-Feb-17 13:06:42

You're not a wimp. I had a similar birth - I relived it reading yours - with the exception that I did have an epidural. I was completely traumatised for months afterwards, as was my husband. Our daughter is coming up for two and I still don't really understand what happened.

Sparrowlegs248 Fri 17-Feb-17 14:43:56

It sounds awful OP where are you?

I gave birth on Saturday, and had read a lot beforehand as was terrified. It seems it's perfectly normal to feel totally overwhelmed, out of control and panicky in the stage before pushing. I'd had a background epidural by then but was still feeling a lot of pain. I was terrified I couldn't do it, but didn't actually realise I was nearly done (knowing this would have helped!) I thought it was going to get even worse.

However, I was kept informed about what was happening, including failed ventouse and forceps. I didn't realise I'd had episiotomy but that could well be because I was totally out of it.

I have read about babies being helped out by hand as it were, on here I think.

Fear will amplify pain, also it doesn't sound like you had adequate pain relief. I'm sorry you had such a bad experience. Mine went from.calm to emergency situation and at this,early stage I feel OK about it as I understood what was happening and why.

DoctorMonty Fri 17-Feb-17 22:52:47

So sorry to hear about such a terrible experience. Irrespective of whether you get any answers, I think it sounds like you need some counselling regarding the whole experience, and to see a specialist about the pain with sex.

Regarding the birth, it does sound like the main issue was a combination of disregard for communication and consent on part of the doctors together with the language barrier.
If your labour was as quick as it seems to have been, it probably wasn't a failure to progress that prompted the attempted Ventouse, more likely worries about the baby's heartbeat. Either that, or perhaps the midwife felt you were suffering so much and the baby so close to coming out that a quick and easy suction-assisted delivery would be the kind option, and what you might want?

If the baby's head is turned to the side, a Ventouse can allow it to rotate whereas standard forceps can't, so this could be your baby "getting lost" (although if their English was broken, they could also have been trying to say baby was getting distressed?).

Finally, with regard to the "attempt" - it's quite common for doctors to be called into a room to deliver a baby with Ventouse or forceps for one reason or another, and make preparations, but due to sudden maternal effort the mother "beats them to it". Deciding if and when to deliver a baby with instruments takes experience, and most doctors will have had occasions where they've been either about to put the cup on and the head has delivered, or even tried to deliver, the suction cup pops off, and the head delivers naturally with the next contraction!

It is possible for a doctor to put their whole hand into your vagina, and they might do this to assess the position of your baby or try to rotate it, but they can't pull the baby out like that (as someone else mentioned). However, just occasionally - and it's a frustrating situation - the baby is essentially crowning but coming very slowly. It's too tight and close to delivery to fit the cup back on, but it isn't delivering for whatever reason. They might do an episiotomy then, and also might use their fingers or hands to stretch and pull your perineal skin from around the baby's head to make more room and encourage delivery.

Obviously, all of this is speculation, but perhaps something might sound like it makes sense. If at all possible, you could try to get a copy of your birth record, although you may then need to pay a translator or find someone who speaks that language to help you go through it in detail. Best of luck.

PastysPrincess Fri 17-Feb-17 23:08:57

I'm so sorry this has happened to you. I had a very traumatic birth although in a different way to yours. It was horrifically painful so I understand what you are saying; in no way are you being a wimp. In my memories of the worst parts I am floating above the scene watching myself and the scenes unfold. My therapist says I have disassociated myself from the event because it is too painful to deal with. I have had lots of treatment for PND & PTSD and I am happy to say it is possible to recover.
My hospital offerred a debrief service where a midwife uninvolved in your case goes through your notes with you to explain what happened. I'm not sure if this will be available if you gave birth abroad.

Are you able to see a doctor just to get them to check for any reason why you have pain now? I had an episiotomy and when they stitched me back it wasn't quite lined up properly which caused my body to go into overdrive to heal itself. I had an operation to repair it and I'm good as new now.

Slippersandacuppa Fri 17-Feb-17 23:16:20

Oh Fartniss, reading your story makes me sad and so angry.

I too gave birth in a foreign country. The first time was in a hospital with a consultant who spoke English. There was no language barrier but there was total disregard for the natural process. I had been in labour all night and was progressing slowly but well. He wanted to break my waters for no reason other than to speed me up. We declined. He sulked. I have birth without intervention much later than he wanted (we found out he'd been on since 5am that morning and wanted to go home and play golf - his words).

I decided that wasn't happening with number two. I found a team of midwives who were happy to attend a homebirth. There was a huge language barrier but that was completely irrelevant when I was in labour. They just let me get on with it. One of them tried to massage my back early on and I just shook my head very slightly (couldn't talk!) and she stopped. I couldn't even tell you how many there were, they just sat quietly and attentively, keeping an eye on me but letting me take the lead. It was so different.

It sounds to me like your baby may not have been in the optimal position (maybe back to back?). Yes, labour is incredibly painful but that sounds really tough. If that was the case (and in any case), being on your back would have been the worst position for you to be in. My first was born with me on my back so that the consultant could see (his words again). My others, when I was allowed to follow my instinct and move around were born while I was on my hands and knees.

Your needs were complete disregarded by people who think they know better than you. As a woman in labour for the first time, you are so incredibly vulnerable and for them to not even explain what was going on is unforgivable.

I hope you find some way of coming to terms with what happened. Be kind to yourself, you didn't really have a choice - you would never have done anything to put your baby in harm's way, which is no doubt what they would have told you if you'd question them. flowers

Slippersandacuppa Fri 17-Feb-17 23:19:04

Sorry Pinguina just noticed you'd already mentioned back to back labours.

Snoopysimaginaryfriend Sat 18-Feb-17 22:51:36

Op I'm so sorry you went through this. Your labour sounds almost exactly like mine except four hours of mine was pushing.

I was in the midwife led unit in St. George's in London.

After two hours of pushing the midwives changed shifts and DH heard the first one tell the second I had been pushing long enough and baby was back to back so she should get a doctor. I was too out of it with all the pain to hear any of that conversation. Anyway, the second midwife ignored that advice and I was subjected to two hours of 'purple pushing' before a senior midwife intervened and I was taken to the labour ward to see a doctor. I could not fault the doctor, she was absolutely amazing and had dd out quickly with ventouse. The doctor also stitched my episiotomy and did an amazing job.

I honestly wasn't expecting labour to be that hard and fast. The antenatal classes had stressed that first labours were usually slow and prone to stop/starting. I hadn't even had any Braxton hicks or tightening. It was just bam, waters broken everywhere and full on contractions.

RusticMEGan Sun 19-Feb-17 10:11:06

My labour only lasted for 2 hours from start to finish. Like you I found I had intense contractions 1 minute or less apart from the start and was overwhelmed. That was for 2 hours so you did fantastic lasting for 7 hours. I too was cut and stitched and actually found that more painful than the birth, I had a tampon 'shoved up me' before and during stitching so that could have been the same for you? I still struggle to have sex 5 months on and the doctor has also told me scar tissue, although I won't let them examine me to actually find out as I cant bare the thought of something up thereblush

Sorry no advice though

FartnissEverbeans Sun 19-Feb-17 19:03:32

I've been a bit scared to come back here and check on my thread as I was worried nobody would reply, so it's nice to come back to so many lovely responses. Thank you everyone for being so sympathetic and kind - it really means a lot. It's a shame so many of us have experienced unnecessarily unpleasant labours.

Snifftest, thank you for sharing your experience- it sounds horrible and I hope you're feeling much better now. Of course I would never wish it on anyone, but it does help when other people know what you've been through. I hope my pain does 'melt away' eventually. flowers

pinguina16, thank you for your comments about pain. I didn't go to antenatal classes (I didn't know where they were) but in retrospect I should have done. I thought I'd handle the pain better than I did. Thanks for making me feel better about it and less of a wimp!

Scrumptiouscrumpets, you've made me feel a bit better about doing it again! The shorter the better I suppose, and maybe it won't be so bad next time. I'll ask my husband to explain again - his memory might not be great as he was horrified by he whole thing!

PopcornBits, your labour sounds like it was really scary - and for that to happen in the U.K. Is just awful. Thank goodness for the matron. This sort of thing just shouldn't happen anywhere. Thanks for sharing flowers

MrsDustyBusty I'm sorry you had such a horrid experience as well. Thank you for sharing, it's nice to know people understand flowers

Nottalotta, I'm in the Middle East. The standard of medical care in terms of cost etc. is excellent but the manner in which procedures are carried out is very different to the U.K. I'm glad you were kept informed during your labour - that must make a big difference.

DoctorMonty Thank you for your detailed answer - a lot of that makes sense (e.g. The bit about stretching the skin as the baby's crowning). I've asked for a printed medical report so maybe that will help shed some light on it too. Is this your line of work? If so, I hope you stick around as your responses would be very much appreciated by lots of women on mumsnet.

PatsysPrincess I'm sorry you had such a horrible experience, and I'm so glad you're in recovery now flowers Thank you for sharing, it's really appreciated, and you're right - I do need to go to a (different!) doctor.

Slippersandacuppa complete disregard for the natural sounds about right. I wanted desperately to labour on all fours at one point but I was hooked up to so many machines that I couldn't turn over and they wouldn't let me anyway. I'm glad your second experience was so much better - hopefully mine will be as well, now that I know exactly what I don't want!

Snoopysimaginsryfriend Thank you for sharing flowers I thought exactly the same thing about first time labour, and I think that's one of the reasons why it was all such a shock. On One Born Every Minute it all seems so calm and slow - it was like watching a horror movie in fast forward! More information should be given about quick labour.

RusticMegan Two hours!! shock I'm not surprised you were overwhelmed - so scary! The tampon thing makes sense, the blood-soaked swab the dr held up while he indignantly shouted 'What?! I am cleaning!' kind of looked like a tampon. Thank you for sharing flowers

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