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Bad first birth but considering another....advice please!!

(10 Posts)
Polina Wed 02-Mar-05 20:09:01

I'm aware that I have been faffing on about my birth experience on lots of threads so before I drive everyone nuts I thought I would lump everything stressy together here and pleased for some advice, particularly as we are thinking about having more kids but the idea of having to endure this again brings me out in lumps.

I'm quite an old mum, having got pregnant at 37, but had a really good pregnancy, managing to stay active right up until week 37 (I was in a singing and dancing show up until wk 24 so I kept reasonably fit!) Unfortunately it all went a bit tits up after that - at week 37 I suddenly felt grim and started throwing up, put on four and a half stone and couldn't eat anything other than a bit of fruit every so often. My blood pressure went up but not that much, and although my lovely midwife referred me to the hospital they said I was OK and discharged me.

Then my nice midwife went on mat leave (well, I suppose they have to do it too!!) and I got a raving homebirth evangelist, who told me off for going to hospital and basically washed her hands of me, and told me late pregnancy was rough and just to stick it out, and that no way should I be induced. I rang her up at wk 40 saying I thought I was in labour - she told me if I only thought I was I wasn't (if you follow me) and to ring back when I was. 2hrs later went to hospital - consultant took one look, said OMG you have raving pre-eclampsia and induced me there and then, except that when she examined me I was 5.5cm dilated. Turned out I had double amniotic sac - poor ds trying to get out! - anyway, to cut long story short was given an epi to get my bp down (didn't work, although helped with contractions - and I COULD still feel all the relevant urges, which really surprised me), ds got totally stuck and after lots of dithering decided on cs, but once I was on the table ds decided was coming anyway and I had him with forceps and a massive episiotomy on the cs table.
Must say at this point that hospital mws were absolutely great and really supportive, and consultant also v supportive and kind.

DS went to SCBU although he was fine as I went into shock, had a massive pph and was taken to intensive care for several days. Line for blood transfusion cocked up and ended up with no use of left arm for 3 months. By the time I came back to the postnatal ward I had missed all the bf help and was left to muddle along on my own, eventually calling big sis in to help!

Well, we got there in the end so I guess all's well that ends well. My biggest problem was the attitude of the community mws afterwards (least helpful comment: "that's why we don't encourage epidurals") towards my whole mummy experience - I was generally made to feel that it had all been my fault and that if I had listened to their warnings about hospital births I would have had a happy breastfed little boy with no pain relief. We DID manage to establish bf in the end but my milk didn't come in for days and ds was not amused by this rubbish food I kept giving him. Eventually we started mixed feeding him at 3 months and he is now fully weaned at 9 (his choice, not mine!)

Anyway, I am just getting over the way I was made to feel about my feeding and birthing problems, and we are blessed with a fab boy who sleeps well, is very sunny and has switched from boob to bottle without a whimper from day one. We know we are very lucky. But - we must be mad - we want another one....

Trouble is, I don't want to go through all that again. I would rather not opt for an elective cs either - not after all the effort to have a vb. Added to which I can't give birth at the same hospital - the consultant units at that and a lot of the local hospitals have been converted to GP/midwife units that won't take me (thanks, NCT!!!) and most of the ones that do have consultant units have a catchment area policy that I don't fit into.

So - where can I have my next one, if I ever have sex again, and what steps can I take to avoid the same hassles? All advice very gratefully received!

almost40 Wed 02-Mar-05 20:23:46

Hi Polina, I also had an awful first birth experience, and many of my friends have as well. But as anyone will tell you, every birth is different, just as every child is. The birth experience itself is just 1 day (hopefully not any more) in your life, after which you will (hopefully) have a lifetime with a beautiful new baby. You should put the bad experience behind you, and hope for the best. Do what you and your DP or DH want to do - just try to stay healthy and strong and have a good pregnancy. Good luck! Sorry I'm in the U.S., so can't give any advice on where to have your next one, etc.

bunny2 Wed 02-Mar-05 20:25:24

Cant give any advice but can offer some hope. When I gave birth to ds, it was horrendous - 27 hours from being induced till he was born by ventouse, it was agonising and I vowed never to give birth again. In the days after the birth I was depressed and weepy, I kept reliving the labour and all its horrors. I told dh I would only consider another baby if I could have an elective caesarian. When I did get pregnant again I was anticipating another long and painful labour but it was so very different. My entire labour lasted less than 90 minutes. The firsdt stage was 58 minutes, the sesond stage 8 minutes and the 3rd stage even less than that. Yes it was bloody painful but over so quickly, I couldnt believe it. Consequently my recovery was almost immediate and I now feel so positive about giving birth, in fact I'd love to go through labour again now! I am so glad my first experience of labour didnt put me off doing it again, my second one was fab.

pupuce Wed 02-Mar-05 20:25:49

Well what a story !
Have you complained ? I think there is LOADS of grounds to complain... just print what you wrote and send it to the head of midwifery of the trust you were in!
I can't believe (I don't mean I don't believe you!!) how these MWs behaved !!!!!
First of all there is every chance that the next birth would be easier... if you did have pre-eclampsia (though it tends to be only a 1st pregnancy disease) you would be closely monitored.
If you didn't have pre-eclampsia there is NO reason why you would not have a better birth as your body has done it once and would be far more efficient.
You could look into an independent midwife or a doula for the next time. They would focus on you (after all you are paying them!) and they would make sure you are looked after properly.

PrettyCandles Wed 02-Mar-05 20:37:30

Wow Polina, no wonder you need to talk abut it! That's horrible! But please please please don't feel guilty about it - no way was your experience your fault. If anything, you took control of it by going to the hospital againsty your midwife's advice, and so made sure that in the end you have a wonderful baby.

A 'perfect' birthing with no pr - ha ha ha. Ditto for breastfeeding. Neither is the be-all and end-all. Nice if you get them, but we wouldn't consider them so important if they weren't drummed in so much.

Every birth is different. You're a heck of a lot wiser now, and you know that your body can do it. My first birthing was not very nice (I can hardly say that it was horrible, not compared to yours - but then for me it was), but the distress it left behind was completely wiped away by my second birthing - which was faster and easier. But more painful because I had no pr.

When I was pg with no2 I had a long session with the Liaison Midwife at my hospital. Her role is specifically to 'debrief' women who have issues with their labour, whether immediately after or years after. She had all my notes ready, went through them with me discussing what had happened, why, and what I could do to prevent the likelihood of such a thing happeneing again. She effectively gave me permission to refuse certain things that I might have found difficult to refuse otherwise. It was a very healing experience and helped to calm my anger at things that had happeneed previously. If you could do such a thing I think it could help.

You can give birth at any hospital you wish. Your situation should make it easier for you to persuade your GP to refer you to the hospital of your choice.

milward Wed 02-Mar-05 20:39:37

Polina. You got through a very difficult experience. I've had a pph so can agree how terrible that is. You got bf going& sorted yourself out Why wont the gp units take you? could your gp help you find somewhere that you could visit & talk with some m/w's there. Hope you get this sorted xxx

serenequeen Wed 02-Mar-05 20:40:19

what a terrible story!

i used an independent midwife for my second birth after a pretty miserable experience with my first. one of the most important aspects was the ability to have a good debrief of the first experience with a knowledgable person who wasn't defensive about what had happened. i got continuity of care during the ante natal period and had a fantastic birth with dd. if you are in london i can recommend my midwives, otherwise look at the Independent Midwives Association website.

i wasn't sure exactly what you wanted to be different for your next birth - better ante natal care? you don't seem to want a mw led unit or a homebirth or a cs?

hth.

franke Wed 02-Mar-05 20:42:55

Just wanted to add my support. I had a difficult one first time round which ended in an emerg. cs ( not as horrendous as your experience though). The trauma really stayed with me and I was fully prepared for a repeat performance second time. But as everyone has said - every birth is different. I had a fantastic vbac - ds came out at 6am and we were home in time for lunch.

I think because of the problems you had last time with pre eclampsia you will get better care this time (shout and scream until you get it, even though you shouldn't have to) and it also shouldn't preclude you going for a vb, if that's what you want. Good luck

pedilia Wed 02-Mar-05 21:08:48

I had a horrendus first birth with an extremly long labour, so was dreading the second. I had no pain relief, very quick, perfect. So try not to worry, every birth is different.

Polina Fri 11-Mar-05 18:06:49

Many thanks for advice everyone - sorry for the long time in replying but a bad outbreak of computer collapse slowed me down! It has really helped to have hope that next time might not necessarily be so bad, and that other people have gone on from rough first births to have perfectly survivable subsequent ones (and many thanks to all for sharing advice!)

Serenequeen, I would love a gp-midwife unit but as I am over 35 and had a complicated delivery all the local ones I tried have refused to handle my care. There is some hope though - one of the local hospitals is starting a midwife unit within the hospital, so that if anything went wrong they could transfer straight away without the Hell Ambulance Ride, and they might take me - although I am outside their criteria for age, but they have agreed to see me for a chat so that may be a start!

Many thanks again to everyone

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