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Traumatic birth and now possible infection - help/advice please

(9 Posts)
Benjy Tue 22-Jul-08 16:01:11


I gave birth to my daughter 11 days ago. The labour was v. difficult: back labour, failure to progress so ended up with several interventions and whole thing lasted 40 hours from first contractions five minutes apart to the birth. Drs. and midwives refused my request for pain relief until I had been in labour for nearly 24 hours: contractions by this point were practically on top of one another and lasting over a minute. Epidural then did not work but they would not resite or top it up. End result highly traumatic labour for me though amazingly baby showed no signs of distress.

She breastfed once after delivery but from then on would latch on for comfort but would not feed (I refused pethidine so she wasn't affected by my pain relief choices). I desperately wanted to breastfeed and asked for help in my birth plan and from the midwives on the maternity ward but I didn't get any other than instructions on how to do it. Nobody stayed with me through an attempted feed to show me how. End result was that I had to top up with formula because she wasn't feeding at all and now I feel like I have failed at that as well as the birth. I continued to latch her on and have expressed so she has had some breastmilk each day but I have never produced more than about 1 floz a day - my mature milk hasn't come in. Also I am only producing colostrum from one breast; I had a large lump removed from the other a few years ago and imagine some of the glandular tissue must have been lost. I have told several midwives about my difficulties but none has been able to offer help. They are surpised my milk hasn't come in and that only one breast is producing but can't tell me why or what to do about it.

The other issue I have is that she cries constantly and will only settle eventually if she is held. The second she is put down, she starts to scream. Have checked for all the usual causes of crying. I think we're giving her enough formula but am not sure to be honest how much she should be getting and at what rate to increase her feeds. She is on 60ml per feed (every 3 hours) at the moment (she weighed 6Ib 8oz at birth). I think she is just a baby that needs to be held but I'm finding this so difficult. My DH returns to work next week and I have no family or friends nearby so I am worrying about how I will cope.

The other issue is that I have been in severe pain the last couple of days with heavy bleeding. I went to see the GP today and he has put me on antibiotics for a suspected urine and uterine infection - Ciprofloxacin - so I can't feed my daughter breastmilk for the next few days. If it hasn't cleared up by the end of the week I have to go back to the hospital for a scan to see if I have any retained placenta. I wondered if this was maybe a reason why my milk hasn't come in because it was my understanding that it was the expulsion of the placenta that triggered the hormones needed for milk production but the doctor said he hadn't heard of this (he was an OB/GYN before training as a GP).

I know I have posted a lot here and will copy the post onto other boards as it crosses a lot of subjects. I know some of this isn't relevant to the childbirth board but wanted to give a full picture to anyone who might be able to reply. I am finding it hard to cope with, particularly the birth and it's aftermath and my daughter's constant crying and need to be held, so I would really appreciate any help and suggestions.

dinkystinky Tue 22-Jul-08 17:00:11

Ok Benjy - it is really hard coping with a traumatic labour and a really unsettled newborn (I know - DS was the same as your DD and I had an awful labour with him too) - but it does get better. I am sorry you had such an awful experience - maybe worth getting in touch with PALS at your hospital to complain if and when you feel up to it.

First things first - breastfeeding. Would you be able to try and get hold of a breastfeeding counsellor - try NCT or local postnatal doulas. They'll help you establish breastfeeding and may also have some advice to offer re milk production. They can also help re-establish breastfeeding (I note you need to stop doing it due to the antibiotics you're going to have to take for the infection) so well worth looking into (I know they helped a couple of my friends this way). Just ensure you express to keep your milk supply up if you can.

Crying baby wanting to be held all the time - DS was EXACTLY like this for the first 4 weeks or so after his birth. We took him to a cranial osteopath which really helped with matters. The Osteopathic Centre for Children in London is wonderful (you can look it up on line) - its a charity and you just pay what you can. It may help. The other thing I found was that swaddling and also carrying DS around in a babybjorn or sling really helped. He was just really unsettled and needed to be near an adult for company. If you're still suffering from the birth, and think you'll need a break for your sanity when DH goes back to work, look into postnatal doulas (I had one when DH went back to work, for a few hours each day, and saved my sanity - she looked after DS - and held him for hours! - so I could have shower, eat, nap etc.). Definitely worth it. And please dont worry - the crying phase will ease as DD becomes more used to life outside of mummy's lovely tummy. Give it another few weeks and DD will start smiling and these days - when you feel traumatised by the birth, totally shattered and disillusioned by the whole experience - will be a distant memory.

Romy7 Tue 22-Jul-08 17:12:37

was going to suggest cranial osteopathy smile

had similar here, too, inc infection, but was unable to bf due to dd2s issues, so ended up giving up expressing at 6 weeks. def get hold of a properly trained breastfeeding counsellor, and do it straight away - the sheer depth and breadth of their knowledge astounds me all the time.

is your dd happy and able to bottle feed?

and, last but def not least - get yourself a decent comfortable sling and cart her round the house hands free - some babies are just much easier if they are in contact, and it is much the lesser of the squawking evils!

congrats on your dd!

longlegted Tue 22-Jul-08 17:20:15

So sorry that you have had such a difficult time. You will get lots of advice on here i am sure. Please do perservere to get the support you need. The NCT helplines are really good. If they give the option of holding the line to speak to an advisor, i would recommend holding so that you can get the help you need as soon as possible.

nct helplines

What part of the country in. Other mumsnetters near you might have some local info.

The antibiotics you have been prescribed are IMO totally unsuitable, I ha a suspected uterine infection with ds and i was prescribed antiobiotics that were compatible with breastfeeding. I would go back and ask them to change it.

I really feel for you and hope things improve really soon.

Spagblog Tue 22-Jul-08 17:28:47

You poor thing, you've really been through it.

I can't offer much advice, but have you tried swaddling? My DD wanted to be held all the time, didn't like her limbs being free. Swaddling really calmed her down.

ummadam Tue 22-Jul-08 17:48:18

They may have their reasons based on your medical history and symptoms but no harm in asking if there are alternatives.

Ask specifically if a combination of cefalexin and metronidazole might be suitable for you.

leo1978 Wed 23-Jul-08 06:26:43

Poor you - I had the labour from hell - similar length, incredibly distressing ending in blood transfusion. I was just glad to be alive at the end of it. What helped me in those first shell shocked few weeks was the realisation that many many (dare I say most) people have a grim time first time round and the pain of childbirth and how violent it is - not to mention how difficult breastfeeding and looking after newborns crying constantly - is the biggest secret in the world.

My baby also wouldn't breastfeed inititally - he had formula at the hospital and then I expressed and he was cup fed. After about 2/3 weeks he fed from the boob after I had a meltdown with a visiting midwife and said I didn't know what the fuck I was doing! Even then he'd only feed from one boob only! I reckon we got it right by about 3 months. I wouldn't worry about the formula - as long as the baby is fed and her hunger sated - that's the most important thing. If you do want to breastfeed you need to keep expressing and contact a breastfeeding counseller person. It all gets easier as the baby gets stronger.

With the crying baby - if she wants to be held, I'd just hold her; sling her, wind her, give her a dummy. It is such a short period of time and goes really quickly so sit on the sofa, get some cream cakes, put on Phil and Fern and cuddle your baby all day. There is no right or wrong - you are at a very vulnerable time and it is so hard to cope initially as your life (and body) have been turned upside down. It does get a whole lot easier and before yo know it you'll be telling your one year old off for throwing raisins (or is that just me). x

Kizzipoppet Wed 23-Jul-08 06:58:42

You are doing so well, it is a very challenging time. Congrats on the eventual birth of your baby! Try and express as much as poss to keep milk supply up and remember to drink lots of fluids contstantly, which helps. Does your hospital have a breastfeeding clinc you could phone / attend? Even if you are not a fan of dummies, they can be a godsend if you have a crying baby until they are more settled. Wish you all the best, you sound really committed and you'll be a great mum x

dinkystinky Wed 23-Jul-08 09:05:06

How are you doing today Benjy? Was thinking about you last night as, hand to heart, I was in exactly the same place you are right now after my DS was born. Just please keep hold of the fact that it does get better, and life becomes so much easier, eventually - you just need to make sure that you get all the support you need (and right now you need a lot)from DH, friends, post-natal doula, breastfeeding counsellor etc. I really hope things are starting to get abit easier for you.

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