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Feeling overwhelmed and scared about birth with Strep B and constant monitoring

(38 Posts)
MrsMcJnr Fri 22-May-09 23:25:18

I'm 38+1 and am abroad. I have a DS of 16 months who was born in the UK. It took me ages last pg to get comfy around the whole birth process and in the end I had a great experience, very quick and drug and intervention free, I was very lucky. This time round things have been more scary due to the differences in the system here. I have tried to get myself comfy again and have lodged my birth plan with the hospital etc. Thing is, they are so medical here and I want the most natural birth I can have. I have a blood clotting disorder and have been told that this means I will need to be continuously monitored in labour. I don’t understand the reasons for that but to me that suggests limited movement and restricted positions. On top of that, with DS I stayed at home until an hour before he was actually born and that was great, no time for interventions but as is standard here I have been tested for Strep B and am positive and so have to go in early for IV Antibiotics. I do appreciate how serious GBS can be. I guess I am having difficulties weighing up in my mind how I can get my head around the labour and the possibility of being there for hours, being hooked up to drips and machines and how to feel positive about it all. Just venting really but would appreciate any comments

littleboyblue Fri 22-May-09 23:29:49

I have GBS and found out when I was pregnant with ds2. I was induced and had AB's throughout labour and before and tbh, it wasn't as bad as I had expected it to be.
For me, it was a relief to know that everything was as controlled as it could be. They kept a constant monitor of his heart rate and were treating for the GBS, so in my mind, the risks were now minimal. Staying in hospital after the borth wasn't nice, but worth it for the reassurance that ds2 was ok.

AitchTwoOh Fri 22-May-09 23:29:58

oh dear, you sound so stressed.
i was monitored constantly with dd1, it was FINE i PROMISE. and i had strep b as well, that bit is fine it's just a few antibiotics into one of those back of the hand injection things every few hours.
the monitoring is just a band round your tummy, (i had a bp cuff on as well but you may not, high bp's my problem) it's okay. i felt like i could move about a bit, certainly i wasn't on the bed until the end. i was on a ball for most of my labour. probably not as movement-y as the nct might have liked but it was I PROMISE just fine and a really positive experience. smile good luck.

rainbowdays Sat 23-May-09 08:44:28

MrsMc - did your waters go early with your ds? I think you may find as your first labour was so straightforward, that this one could be too, and second births are generally quicker. I got a positive strep b result for dc3, and I have mentioned this to you before, but looking at the stats, it is fully possible to even have a homebirth with strep b, a third of women have strep b at any time, but you don't see a third of women being given iv antibiotics and constant monitoring. I don't want to underplay the dangers of strep b, but when I researched it I also did the stats and realised that the danger was not as great as people assumed, and as long as you know what to watch for, then the dangers can be dealt with. The danger is that people are caught out unaware and the baby is not treated quickly enough. I would never have succeeded in getting the right time for the iv antibiotics (needs minumum of 4 hours after administration) in either my second or third labours, all I would have done was increase my risk of nipple thrush to interfer with breastfeeding had I recieved it!!!!!

The danger time is between waters breaking and delivery of baby. The shorter this time the less the risk. If you have a fever during labour, or in labour before 37 weeks or had a previous baby affected with Strep B, then these ARE danger signs.

So in conclusion, MrsMc, do get the information about Strep B and decide for yourself, what is the best course of action for you. As for your blood clotting disorder - if they cannot give you a good reason to be continuously monitored, then don't do it, if it is going to worry you. This is your body and your pregnany and your baby. You have to do what is right for you, not what is convieniently reassuring for the medical staff. Sorry I feel so bad for you that you are going though this stress, after what was last time a relatively good experience. Thinking of you.

MrsMcJnr Sat 23-May-09 20:36:28

Thanks for your responses and for your empathy. It does help to hear about your experiences smile the biggest issue I have is that refusing either of these things no matter how informed I am will not wash, I don’t have a choice here as I would in the UK but I still find it hard to accept that sad

Littleboyblue – Induction was suggested to me by my consultant but I really don’t want to go down that route. I guess with the blood condition I don’t want to increase the chances of intervention as that would increase the risks to both the baby and I from that angle. I can’t have spinal anaesthesia and they don’t have pudendal blocks here so a general it would be if things didn’t go to plan. I hear your point about being reassured that you are doing all you can to prevent the baby contracting GBS. The fact that they test everyone here and treat everyone who is positive does make me confident that they are really on the ball about GBS which is a very good thing smile

Aitch – thank you for sharing and for being so positive smile the hand wouldn’t be so bad for the Abs but apparently they like to put them in your forearm here and then put a stopper in in case they want to administer other drugs or fluids. The stopper apparently stops your blood from coagulating which is what I have a problem with anyway, I am scared that because I am treated for blood that clots too easily, I’ll lose a lot of blood through the siting of the drip even before the birth sad I’m encouraged that you could still move around a bit with the monitor. When I had DS they couldn’t get a trace because I wanted to stay upright on the ball and the monitor kept slipping off. I guess I am scared that they’ll use the monitor as an excuse to keep me on the bed where it is convenient for them. I had DS leaning over the back of the bed and in my mind’s eye I am imagining that that would work with both a monitor and a drip, presuming of course that I want to be in that position again hmm

Hey Rainbowdays smile thank you for coming to my rescue again old pal. My waters didn’t go until 15 mins before DS was born. He was also born at 41+2 and I didn’t have a fever so I am hoping that the conditions will be similar this time and that therefore the risk of the baby contracting GBS is low anyway. Like you, I don’t think I’ll be able to get enough Abs during labour to protect her adequately and so I think she’ll end up getting them herself too sad That doesn’t mean I’ll be able to avoid them though, they just don’t accept you making your own decisions like that here. Either of us getting the Abs is non negotiable however I feel about it. I think that’s one of the reasons I feel so out of control, no matter what research I have done and no matter whether or not I want the Abs or want her to have them, we’ll get them sad I find that hard to deal with. Not good to hear about the nipple thrush, I don’t want anything to interfere with breastfeeding either sad. As I rule I don’t do well on Abs and am very allergic to penicillin.

What a misery I am blush .. I guess I’d rather just have the baby on my own behind the sofa.

nevergoogledragonbutter Sat 23-May-09 20:44:13

it's just a drip.

(from a mother of a baby born with GBS infection)

AitchTwoOh Sat 23-May-09 20:54:23

that's what i had, a stopper thingie. it's a really good piece of kit imo, there is only the tiniest line into you at any one time so even with your coag problem i wouldn't anticipate too much blood loss. it goes in like an injection does, iykwim, and then they pull something back and attach the stopper bit (i think) and then tape it to your hand or forearm. if you feel strongly about the hand thing (i wouldn't i don't think, it sounds much of a muchness) then surely they'd let you change that?
i didn't have dd over the back of the bed, in the event, but i remember distinctly being in that position for a while, drip notwithstanding. smile good luck.

catinthehat2 Sat 23-May-09 21:11:17

I was similar to Aitch. Had absolutely no thrush at all.

I seem to remember a slightly sore hand afterwards when they removed the insert - would be forearm for you, probably even LESS of a nuisance. That was it.

I was more worried they would forget to give me the antibiotics and I was fine once I knew they were in my system.

(nb, had no prior issues with blood or antibiotics)

If you are allergic to penicillin, can't imagine they will gicve it to you.

The stopper will stop the blood coagulating round the site of the insertion only I would surmise(medics will give the real answer), don't see why it would have any effect on your blood as a whole.

An ordinary insertion just gunks up after a time but this sounds as if it will stay clear and clean to administer any other stuff later on if required - saves you more poking about after the birth.

Surely worth a word with your hospital medical professionals to put your mind at rest? You could list all these points and ask the questions to save all the worrying?

AitchTwoOh Sat 23-May-09 21:37:13

with me, cos of my high bp, i never even dreamed of writing anything on my birth plan other than 'please keep me and my baby safe'. i knew i wouldn't be in a pool, or a shower, that i would likely be induced (i was, actually, thinking about it that deffo accounted for one of the lines into me). in a way i think that was fortunate for me as i had no high hopes for a 'natural' delivery, iykwim, but as it turned out it was absolutely as lovely as anything. the midwife was a darling, kept the lights low, the mood calm etc, i loved it. [zmils]

i can imagine if it was just the style of medicine (rather than in my case my own condition) that was dictating it would be rather harder to take.

MrsMcJnr Sat 23-May-09 21:52:24

Nevergoogledragonbutter – I am really sorry to hear that your baby was born with the GBS infection, it must have been very scary and I cannot imagine how frightening. My issue is not with the drip per se. It is with the whole paternalist medical attitude here and getting to grips with that. Abs are not without their risks either and I am just trying to weigh it all up and be as informed as I can be so that I can be vigilent. In the absence of the risk factors for passing on the infection I have grave concerns about my baby being given Abs as a new born if there isn’t a need.

Aitch – thanks for explaining that smile they are not good at giving you info here and I personally feel that info makes things a whole lot easier to handle and a whole lot less scary. Thank god for MN and the internet.

Catinthehat – thanks for posting smile again, it helps to hear other’s experience.

AitchTwoOh Sat 23-May-09 22:00:59

that's totally The Point of mn as i see it, mrsmc. smile

nevergoogledragonbutter Sat 23-May-09 22:39:43

Having not recieved antibiotics during labour as I was not known to be a carrier. Once DS1 was diagnosed with GBS the antibiotics were given in such doses that we were told that he needed them if he was to survive but that in such high doses they were likely to cause deafness and other problems.

If i had been lucky enough to know and to be able to make a choice, I would choose the lower doses of antibiotics that prevent GBS infection that the doses required to cure the infection.

Nipple thrush may also be a problem when it comes to breastfeeding but try breastfeeding a baby who has been tube fed, has not held for 5 days and has breathing difficulties that make latching on exhausting for a tiny baby.

AitchTwoOh Sun 24-May-09 19:14:56

oh db, how awful for you...

rainbowdays Sun 24-May-09 20:14:48

nevergoogled - so sorry to hear that you did not know in advance of being a gbs carrier. I work in a hospital and have to monitor babies hearing following the administration of the antibiotics, I know the trauma it can cause. Working in NICU and SCBU units I daily see the issues. I hope you did not mind me posting the other issues that can occur when not enough antibiotics can be given during labour. I would not have achieved it in either of my 2nd or 3rd pregnancies. I would not have known in my first and I guess I was just lucky that despite ARM that my ds1 did not get GBS. Also I do want people to know that having antibiotics during labour even if you get the full doseage does not prevent the baby getting GBS, it only lessens the chance. I think this is an important piece of information that often goes under the radar and can lead to people becoming complacent about the risks of GBS to any baby whose mother is a carrier.

I also did not mean to make it sound like nipple thrush was a big issue, but I do get it each time I get antibiotics, and I have landed in hospital with IV antibiotics for myself for mastitis as a result of the subsequent poor latch too.

AitchTwoOh - I hope that you were not suggesting that I was asking for anything but 'please keep me and my baby safe'? For me taking an un-necessary half-dose of antibiotics is not keeping my baby safe. It is opening up myself and my baby to lower immunity for a period in hospital, with hospital born infections for no real reason. I took all the information for myself and looked at my own risks, this is totally different for others who experience different labours. I am not advocating it for everyone, but I am putting the other side of the story, so that people can have full information, so they can make their own reasoned decision. I have not posted this generally but I have known MrsMc for some time now and wanted to offer some reassurance for her if she chose to go into the hospital at a later time as she did in the uk. But also to make sure that she knew that if her waters broke or if she had a fever etc, that she should not delay in going in to get the antibotics. So having read previous posts by you, I am hoping that your post about the birthplan was not a dig at me, and that it is my hormones misreading it.

MrsMc - hugs to you. I hope that your dh gets better soon, and I truely hope that you get a better time of the birth than you are fearing. I hope that you have another smooth uncomplicated delivery and that things go without incident and that you and your new little one will get off to a good start. I will be anxiously awaiting your announcement in the next couple of weeks. I hope that x is being a good boy for you too!

AitchTwoOh Sun 24-May-09 20:29:39

"By AitchTwoOh on Sat 23-May-09 21:37:13
with me, cos of my high bp, i never even dreamed of writing anything on my birth plan other than 'please keep me and my baby safe'."

i actually don't care what anyone else does, it's none of my concern.

nevergoogledragonbutter Sun 24-May-09 20:33:29

i couldn't bring myself to write a birth plan second time around. but 'please keep me and my baby safe' would have worked for me.

i did feed DS1 in the end though. took 8 weeks to get a good latch but got there in the end.

rainbowdays Sun 24-May-09 20:33:29

Aitch - thanks, sorry it was obviously my hormones mis-reading what yo wrote.

MrsMc - sorry I forgot to add, make sure that they do not administer penicillin to your baby girl, just in case she is allergic to it like yourself.

AitchTwoOh Sun 24-May-09 20:35:01


Gemzooks Sun 24-May-09 21:59:41

I was tested in first preg, ONLY because I was in Belgium and like France and the US, they love to over medicalise and give antibiotics to the 30% or so of women who carry strep b.

So I tested positive and had a miserable labour hooked up to that bloody drip and pumped full of antibiotics which I don't believe in retrospect were necessary

This second preg was in Holland, where they said 'no need to test' and I had a nice homebirth in a pool.

I looked up the risks and they are very very small.

So I would urge you to make your own decision and refuse antibiotics if you feel that's the right thing to do. they carry their own risks.

MrsMcJnr Sun 24-May-09 23:08:13

Nevergoogledraginbutter – I take your point about the dosages of Abs and prevention being better than a potential cure. It’s a very good point. I agree, I am fortunate to know of the possibility of passing GBS onto my baby. Ignorance is not bliss when it comes to these matters. On the latch point, DS’s birth was very straightforward but Bfing was a nightmare and I ended up using shields from 6 weeks – 7 months due to the damage caused sad I am hoping for a better experience this time on that front.

Rainbowdays – always wondered what you did grin wink congrats on your pregnancy by the way, very excited for you! grin are there any side effects/ issues with the alternatives to penicillin that they use that you know of that I should be aware of? Good point, I truly hope they have the sense not to give my baby penicillin and shall make sure that that is one of DH’s watch points. It’s a shame I am allergic as I understand otherwise she could have had a quick (though sore sad) intramuscular shot of penicillin instead of a canula. Thank you for all your support smile DH is getting better, phew! And X is an angel; I am so blessed grin

Oh Gemzooks – don’t tell me that it was a miserable labour due to the drip and the antibiotics sad I don’t feel that there is much scope for me to make a decision against the Abs here in Spain and to be honest in light of all I know about GBS, I would not forgive myself if I decided against them and my baby got ill (or worse). I just need to get comfy with the reality of what my labour will be like and with the possibility that my baby may have to have her own doses of the Abs too. I am also keen to know what issues we both may face having had the Abs. Glad your homebirth went well though, congratulations on your new baby smile

glimmer Mon 25-May-09 00:44:49

Hi MrMcJnr,

Good you hear how close you are to giving birth to your daughter!

As you might remember I didn't get the birth I had hoped for, due to severe pre-eclampsia. I was monitored constantly and couldn't move (at some point I consented to a catheter something to avoid if you want to move around). In my case the medical treatment was called for and so I am in peace with my labour, although it was not what I wanted.

When they told me about the pre-eclampsia, induction, possible cs, etc, etc I was very upset and stressed. There was a turning point, when I realised that I wouldn't get the birth I wanted, but that I could make the best of the birth I did get. That attitude really turned things around and I had the midwifes cheering for me etc.

I guess what I want to say is, try to make the best within the limit if what is possible and you will feel good about the birth. I know how positive you are and that you will do this anyway, but changing my expectations during labour really helped me.

I am 21 week pregnant with number 2 by the way :-), so stay posted for a birth announcement in October :-) I have moved yet to another country, so completely understand how you feel about health care in different countries....

SparklyGothKat Mon 25-May-09 00:59:31

OMG!! MMJ!!!!grin I must have missed your birth annoucement and your pregnancy one too... <<SGK has been away with fairies recently>>

I had GBS with Dd1 (didn't find out till she was 2 though long story) and as a result I was given the drip with DS2 in 2007. Ds2 was premature and had to be monitored throughout my labour. I was able to give birth leaning over the back of the bed with a student midwife holding the monitor on. The drip wasn't a problem.

MrsMcJnr Mon 25-May-09 20:56:23

Hi Glimmer grin lovely to talk to you again! And congratulations grin how exciting about baby no2! grin Thank you for posting for me. I guess in a round about way that is what this thread was for, to try and find peace within what will be the case for me in labour this time, not to fight against the system as there is no point in that and that won’t make my experience any better. I guess I am still looking for that turning point you reached. I had a lovely email today from the head of midwives pleading with me not to worry, telling me that the continuous monitoring would only be in the 2nd stage and that I will still be able to move a fair bit because the leads are 2m long. It did make me feel better smile I was also talking to a friend today who had the 8 hours of GBS Abs and yet her DD still spent 5 days on a drip in the neonatal ward fighting the infection. That helps put things into perspective.

SGK grin hello old friend smile thank you for coming to rescue me and for sharing your story. I guess holding the monitor would give DH something constructive to do too wink smile

LovelyChubbly Tue 26-May-09 09:01:58

I understand your concern about having a medicalised labour. Having said that, when I had my last baby (who is fine), the intravenous antibiotics were given every 4 hours but I didn't have to be hooked up to any drips or machines in between times. My labour was just over 20 hours and I was walking around, balancing on balls, etc for most of it.

I hope that gives you some reassurance! You might like to check what would happen with your local labour ward - that might help.

And you can contact the charity Group B Strep Support who can give you loads of information.

susie100 Tue 26-May-09 13:02:43

Whereabouts are you? Sounds like Italy or Spain!

GBS can come and go as well so could you be asked be to tested again nearer the time? My indie midwife used to treat this with a garlic clove wrapped in muslim and then inserted like a tampon, apparently it does work. I suppose there is no harm in trying?

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