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How did Pethidine affect you/your birth experience/your memory of the birth

(31 Posts)
emmx Mon 12-Oct-09 22:29:45

Hope this is the right place to post this question:

I just had my first baby in May, a boy, at Redhill East Surrey Hospital. It turns out I had been in labour all day - rushing up and down to the loo with an upset tummy every half hour or so - I thought thats all it was. Hubby got home at 8pm with a curry (!!) and the pains went from every 15 mins to every 5 to every 2 mins apart in the space of about 15 mins. Within 2 hours they were 1.5 mins apart and we started preparing to go to the hospital. Got there about midnight and was told I was 3cm dilated. They put monitors on me and found the baby's heart beat was high so at somepoint they decided to break the water - there was meconium so they decided to continue monitoring me - my waterbirth went out the window! Within an hour I was 4cm and by this point gas and air wasn't doing anything for me (apparently I virtually bit the plastic mouthpiece of the entonox in half!)and my body was pushing involuntarily because the contractions were so intense - my husband was literally having to hold me down on the bed - they offered me pethidine and I was in so much pain I accepted. However after this I have virtually no memory - just snapshots like after a heavy night out on the town! Apparently the pethidine didnt help with the pain and they decided I needed an epidural - I was so out of it with the pain and drugs(so I'm told) my husband had to consent for me (I think!). I ended up getting to 9cm by 6am but they did two scratch tests and decided my baby had to come out NOW and so I went down for an emergency c-section, which my hubby also consented for as I was still on a different planet. I didn't get to see my son as soonn as he was born and my hubby didn't get to cut the cord as they whisked him away to check him over. All I really remember is his weak little whimper as they took him out. He had to be taken away to have a canula put in his little hand poor thing as I tested positive for GBS and they didn't have time to get enough antibiotics into me in the labour (I'm allergic to penicillin). He was away for about an hour before they brought him back to me. He wouldn't latch on when I tried to feed him and long story short he went from 7lb 10oz to 6lb 13oz in the first week because he wouldn't feed properly so we had to formula feed him instead (and he's still not caught up with the other babies born in my group at the same time or after!). I don't know if all that had an affect on him or me - and I know I love him to death but sometimes I look at him and he looks at me and I get the feeling that the look is saying "who are you? I don't know you" and I feel numb for a split second before I can shake it off (hope that makes sense!!). For some reason my parents have stayed completely away and apart from when they came to see us in hospital the day he was born I didnt hear or see them for the first 6 weeks (and its basically stayed like that for the last 4 months apart from when I ring them/invite myself down to see them/invite them up to see us at ourr house) same with my "friends" - both my mum and my friends ahve said they wanted to give us "space" - whatever the hell that means, which also means I've had to cope with no support/advice at all from anyone other than my husband who works in the centre of London and works shift-type hours which means I'm basically "on-duty" 24 hours a day. I'm knackered - but don't get me wrong I love looking after him I just wonder what effect the birth has had on me and the baby - I certainly would do my best not to have pethidine again!

Sorry for the long post! I guess there was more inside me than I thought!!!

fruitspooksbatsintheeaves Mon 12-Oct-09 22:45:25

I had pethidine during the birth of my first child.
I found it helped but it was rather like being very drunk and at one stage I remember trying to climb up the bed away from the midwives as I was convinced I couldn't possibly be having a baby!
However I had a second injection only 2 hours before birth so my daughter had to be whizzed off for another injection to reverse the effects as she was sleepy and rather blue!

I had pethidine prescribed and available for my second birth which I had at home. However I never used it and forgot about it until I found it about a month later and took it back to my GP!

I don't think the pethidine had any lasting after effects although my daughter did sleep for about 14 hours the day after she was born!

TBH it sounds like you could do with a bit more support from your family and for someone to give you a bit of a break. Could any of your friends have your baby for a few hours so you could have a rest or go shopping on your own?

sb6699 Mon 12-Oct-09 22:52:00

Sorry you didnt have a positive experience - I take it this is your first baby.

I had pethidine with my dc1 (DS) and it just made me feel really relaxed. I can remember everything about my labour although I did have problems with feeding as all he seemed to do for the first week was sleep (apparently due to the effects of the pethidine) and we were not allowed home for more than 2 weeks.

I think it is difficult for friends and family when a new baby arrives. Some new mums do just want "space" to bond with their lo or to rest after a long labour. I don't think you should take their attitudes personally they probably think they're doing the right thing in waiting for an invite so they know you're feeling up to visitors.

One thing I learned is that if you are feeling knackered dont be afraid to ask for help - most folk are more than willing. I, for one, love new babies and felt privilidged when my friend asked if I could look after hers for a couple of hours just so she could sleep.

If you feel you are having difficulty bonding with the baby, would you feel comfortable speaking with your HV. This can be a sign of post-natal depression or could just be as a result of you being tired and overwhelmed after such a traumatic birth.

As your lo settles into a routine things will get much easier - and the night feeds dont last forever smile

splodge2001 Mon 12-Oct-09 23:01:01

You poor thing. I had pethidine with DS - didn't get any memory loss - unfortunately for me but it did interfere with feeding, managed to sustain breastfeeding but it was hard as DS was zonked out. Was going to have Pethidine with DS but they offered me something else - can't remember which drug, that helps babies stay more alert, maybe diamorphine (smack!!) anyway didn't indulge as DD slid out quite quickly.

I can see how it could seem as though the pethidine had been the trigger to everything that followed, you may well be right but it seems as though there are other factors, compounding your problems like - NO HELP! - for this you can't blame pethidine. And as for the weird thoughts about you child - I had the idea that DS was actually the devil's child and I was the only one who realised it, going round my head for a week!, talk about post puertal psychosis!!!!

You are projecting an imagined consequence of your guilt onto your child. There is no way on earth he is thinking 'who are you'. The quicker you loose that idea the better, otherwise you'll start entrenching all sorts of weirdness ie. You'll think he's distant, so you'll be wary of him (therefore distant), so he'll be wary of you and round and round until....You're really distant from each other because of an imagined idea

pipWereRabbit Mon 12-Oct-09 23:02:30

Emmx, You've had a really tough time of it haven't you? I think a lot of new mums need to go over the details of their birth, to make sense of it all and to put it in some kind of proportion (and to fill int he gaps where needed smile, and to compare noted with other mums.

My first birth was an induction, when I was finally put on a syntocin drip the contractions kicked in hard and fast and I quickly moved through TENS machine, to gas and air, to pethidine, to an epidural (which was a bit hit and miss), to a little top up of some morphine related stuff....

My memories of the birth are rather patchy and disjointed. I think the pethidine sort of seperated me from what was happening and meant I was not really in control, or in a fit state to fully understand what was happening to me. It also affected the baby, she was born at 8pm and had a little feed, but then slept through til morning (the following night she was a screaming insatiable banshee).

However, I only had a gas and air for my second birth and bits of my memory are similarly patchy. I wonder if it's something to do with the body/mind dealing with the pain and just not making memories effectively??

And of course just when you could do with a nice rest to recover from all this, you are hit by the all-consuming, unrelenting, physically exhausting, mentally draining, scary and deeply wonderful experience of caring for a newborn.

Take support and advice where ever you find it, your HV, your antenatal group, MN, join a mums and babies group or similar. Sharing experiences will really boost your confidence and give you the reassurance that your experience is 'normal'.

Sorry for the long post in reply - oops.

P.S. Some people have a realy bad reaction to pethdine, and it's advisable that they don't take it again (although my friend liked the sensation so much she didn't mention her over-reaction to the MWs second time round as she wanted a repeat experienceshock.

TeamEdward Mon 12-Oct-09 23:16:52

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

emmx Mon 12-Oct-09 23:17:15

Thanksfor your messages - he's been sleeping through pretty consistently (8pm - 8am) for about a month or so, but I am "on" 24 hours a day so knackered even so. my hubby is knackered from working long hourrs and it would take a steam train to wake him so he never hears the baby when he does wake occasionally in the night.

You're probably right in a way about people stayign away its jut that before he was born my mum in particuclar said he would come and stay for a week and of course (like the rest of my life) that never materialised - she still works full time and is so busy looking after everyone else in the family (my middle sis has two boys and live round the corner from my parents - whereas we live 40 miles away) she (as always) doesn't have the time to fit me in - quite often her first response when I call to arange to see them is "I'll have to check my diary.. I'll let you know". I had no idea how to look after my baby and neither of us (me or the baby! Husband sleeps in spare room) had any proper sleep fo the first 10 weeks or so - until finally my mum ended up telling me to just put him in his cot in the nursery (not in our room) and just settle him when he cried - not to pick him up, etc. Other than that we;ve been left on our own - I hate hate hate asking for help as I've always had this thing in my head that everyone is too busy with their own lives - the one time my mum did offer to come up (in response to my hormone induced crying at 2 weeks in) I felt guilty at taking up her time (lots of past issues there!) and said no don't worry. Wish I had said yes, but you know there are lots of times I ring just to say hi to her and she snaps down the phone that she can't talk she's too busy doing this for this person or that for that person..... I finally blurted some of this out to my friend the other day and she said she realises she hasbn't been a great friend to me since the baby was born and now she keeps saying to me just call if you need anything but it just feels like its out of guilt and I don't feel comfortable getting help that way - besides I know she's really busy in her life too. If the offerss of help had been forthcoming in the beginning (and offered instead of me havin to ask) maybe I wouldn't have so much of a problem asking....

I have asked my HV if I could take advantage of the volunteer helpers they offer with Homestart (or is it Surestart?) but she said I wasn't eligible because my child isn't on the At Risk Register (???). I do struggle to keep on top of the housework and have sometimes resorted to leaving my DS to cry/scream jut to get something to eat/go to the loo/have a bath, etc. and as my DH is not here most of the time it really difficult - I was thought to be at risk of PND before the birth as I have suffered from depression for years but I guess I've been on autopilot since the birth and tried not to think about all these things for a long time as I know its a downward spiral - however the last few days they've pushed their way to the top of my thoughts if you know what I mean (and other issues) and are becoming harder tot ignore. Basically I feel that my mum should be here to offer help/support/guidance - she had 3 daughters so has experience - but on the flipside I feel guilty at feeling so upset about her absence because I know she has a lot on her plate too - but I feel very lost and at sea and quite vulnerable too. I don't want my boy to suffer because my depression might come backc. sorry for waffling (I even feel bad for going on about it on here!) Thanks for reading. Hope it all makes sense.

pipWereRabbit Mon 12-Oct-09 23:26:52

Feel free to waffle, we'll listen and hopefully help....

I know it's hard to ask for help (I too am one of life's copers), but you need some help and support, and you deserve that help and support. Bite the bullet and call your mum, ask her to come over and give you a break - even if it's needs to be booked in her diary at least you will have something to look forward to. And if she gets booked up in advance, try and get a regular date in her diary so you know that you'll get every other Monday evening off (or whatever you agree).

And talk to your HV about your PND concerns as it sounds to me as though she should be keeping an eye on you to help you avoid slipping into depression.

People are very happy to help, but sometimes don't like to offer in case it offends someone who is doing OK. I know that I would be personally thrilled if someone asked for my help, I just hate to offer in case it's unwanted IYKWIM.

TeamEdward Mon 12-Oct-09 23:31:10

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

craftynclothy Mon 12-Oct-09 23:32:01

I had pethidine with dd1 an hour before she was born, which made her v sleepy afterwards. She wouldn't latch on and we formula fed. I can remember the birth but I know that the pushing stage was a combination of me being totally asleep one second to totally awake when I got a contraction and I felt really out of it. The whole birth affected me for ages afterwards and I only really came to terms with it when I had a debrief at my local hospital (2 years after). Might be worth looking into when you feel ready smile

FWIW you are entitled to use Homestart - they're for anyone with children/child under 5.

sb6699 Mon 12-Oct-09 23:35:45

Dont think you have to be on the "At Risk" Register for Homestart to help.

Could you talk to your GP, he can refer you or you can refer yourself, just go on their website (have looked for you and it seems fairly easy to do, just click on the link). He might be able to put your mind at ease re the depression as well.

There really is no shame in asking for help especially when its your first baby. I can remember the day I went home from hospital with DS and looking at him thinking "okay, what do I do now". Tbh it was probably a blessing in disguise that we were kept in so long because of his feeding as it gave me time to learn the simple things like how to bath him, change a nappy, and I had a fantastic auxilliery nurse who spent hours showing me the best ways to feed, wind and settle him.

lilyrose123 Mon 12-Oct-09 23:38:59

i feel like i want to just come round for a coffee and help!
i had three epidurals cos first two failed and several lots of pethidine in my 48hr labour! it didnt dull the pain of contractions but i was too 'drunk' in between to worry about the next one!
its difficult cos everyone has a different relationship with their mother, mine was never that good, it got better when i moved out, even better when i was pregnant and now i have dd 16months old its really nice, but i think your mum should be there for you 40mins away two other daughters or not, whilst you sit here agonising over whether you are putting too much on her plate, i hope she is thinking she wishes she had more time for you xxx

i found it hard at first with dd she cried a lot, sometimes for 5-6 hrs, so i would just go out, i was never in, change of scenary, where out in car, puschair at a friends or them coming to me even if was an hour i pretty much sorted something out for most days that hubby was working.

i used to ring a friend and say what are you doing? fancy coming over i'll make you a coffee you hold the baby whilst i get my washing done for half hour then we'll have a gossip, any chance you have any friends that can help you?

i went to my local sure start centre and went to baby massage and baby yoga that got me out, learnt some techniques to calm her and it was free, just had to turn up, perhaps hv could give you info on this? i also joined waterbabies swimming classes, which are expensive but worth it, it was a time when just me and dd were in the water no phones ringing, no house work, just us helped to bond, cos like you said i operated on autopilot for some time and didnt stop to enjoy those moments enough x

emmx Mon 12-Oct-09 23:48:27

Thanks everyone for your kind replies - and what you say about laying it on the line to my mum about my needs, its just that I think I would be the straw that broke the camels back for her. Its her own fault as her life is the way she's made it herself but that doesn't get round the fact that she's flat out with everyone else. She's been promising she'll buy me a nursing chair for the last couple of months but it hasn't materialised and I can only guess that she hasn't had time to order it. Again I don't want to ask as I had to do that with something else she said she'd buy for my LO which didn't materialise and I don't want to have to do that again - feel guilty (yeah yeah I know....) I guess its always been like this with us - I moved away from our hometown because when I lived round the corner she was just the same and it really got me down, and I felt that it would be easier to tell myself I dont get to see them very often because of the distance if you know what I mean. Its just that now I really do need her and I need it to be without guilt, without feeling like I'm just one more drain on her. To cap it all, I guess me and DH are struggling on another level because we separated when I was 4 mths preg until just before the birth - another reason I could do with some support as although our boy has actually brught us together and helped us be closer obviously its been quite stressful dealing with being a new mum, and getting back togethr again - I just really need my mum!!!!!! : ( (God you're going to think I'm a troll when you hear it all!!! I promise I'm not this is all real) On top of everything else a month after my baby was born my husband was put on redundancy notice of 3 months, which has been upped to another 3 months ending at Xmas, and Ive now gone onto SMP and we're also really struggling to keep it together financially (hence my mum offering to buy a few big things for us - sometimes feel she does it to avoid feeling guilty for not being around?)

Sorry - I know nothing you can say can really fix this for me ....I guess Ive opened the floodgates now - not sure I have the strength to go to the HV and discuss all this/possible depression and keep it together so I don't slide back down into depression : (

Thanks again and so sorry if I sound like a complete basket case!

sb6699 Tue 13-Oct-09 00:03:02

Oh, love you dont sound like a basket case - sending you some un-MNly hugs.

Can I urge you to speak to your GP, just get on the phone first thing and make an appointment. Suggest to him about Homestart (not sure why your HV wouldnt refer you) and at least you will feel as if you are making a positive step towards making things better.

emmx Tue 13-Oct-09 00:11:28

TeamEdward - thanks, I'm in Crawley WSX (but only 10 mins up the road from ESHosp)

LilyRose - thanks also - I also wish you could come roudn for a cup of tea! But I would be ashamed of the state the house is in! Unfortunately with two cats and a 6'4" husband nothing stays clean/tidy for long, even when I've spent 3 hrs cleaning!

(all my friends from "before" work full time so the only time they could come round to help is weekends when DH is here and in which case he should be helping!!)

I guess part of my feelings of guilt for feeling this way are also a litle to do with my (so called best) friend telling me, when I was pregnant and had been diagnosed with pre-natal depression linked to splitting with my DH, that I was only pregnant and women got pregnant everday and that there were people with terminal cancer who carried on with life so I should too. I feel like everyone is/has just been telling me to carry on as normal so thats what Ive been trying to do - and that hasn't helped my guilt! God! I am a fruit and nutcase! Please also feel free to tell me to shut up and stop whinging! I'm sure I'll be ok, I guess I can't afford to break down - no-one else here to take over if I do!

Thanks for listening girls - I do try to stay upbeat, it just sometimes gets me down thats all.... sure I'll feel better tomorrow - Ive also arranged to meet another Mumsnetter who lives locally to me this week for coffee so who knows?? ...

cat64 Tue 13-Oct-09 00:28:45

Message withdrawn

cat64 Tue 13-Oct-09 00:30:08

Message withdrawn

emmx Tue 13-Oct-09 00:38:41

cat64 - re. Homestart - I guess that makes sense... if they haven't got enough MWs to cover the demand I guess they're certainly not going to have enough volunteers to help you do your housework/get some sleep!!!! LOL

I should be in bed now really! Silly me for stayingg up so late, its jsut been good to talk wihtout (too much) guilt about all this - guess it helps speaking to strangers, and also to know that others have gone through the same. Thanks again everyone x

pipWereRabbit Tue 13-Oct-09 12:52:28

Hello again,

Have you heard of Children's Centres? I think that they are being gradually set up nationally in order to provide umbrella access to a variety of children/family services. Our local children's centre includes things like baby massage, buggy walking, messy play sessions, access to speech therapy etc. etc. plus more targetted help for families with specific problems. All very easy to access, generally free and mostly on a drop-in basis.

I've done a bit of research and there seem to be childrens centres based in Bewbush, Langley Green and Broadfield in Crawley. Are any of these close to you? Would you like me to try and find out more about any of these for you?

madmissy Tue 13-Oct-09 17:06:54

not read through yet just marking my place to reply properly tonight

but pethidine left me with awful memorys etc

emmx Tue 13-Oct-09 20:11:00

Hi pipwererabbit - I'm in Langley Green and Bewbush adn Broadfield are nearby thanks so much for finding out for me. If you know where to look I'd really appreciate some more info thanks : ) You all really are very kind and so helpful.

Well today I took my LO to the park and we had a sit on the swings and then while he slept in the pram I sat on a bench in the sun reading the paper. It felt very indulgent - I guess I also still havent got to grips with the whole maternity leave thing either! It was lovely tho!

Just given my LO his tea and I'm just having a cuppa then taking him up for a bath. My hubby is working away again tonight so I'm on my own - again! Oh well: )

Sorry - I guess a lot of what we've been talking about should really have been posted in the "relationships" forum....

Thanks again for your support and advice


RainbowJelly Tue 13-Oct-09 20:35:16

I had pethidine on my 1st baby - but to be quite honest with you - I think I was out of it before I had the pethidine. I can remember asking DH for "something else" (for the pain) but I can't remember the the midwife coming in or giving it to me. (she did give it to me because I remember her saying "Won't be long now Rainbow, and the Pethidine will kick in" Then I can remember thinking.....

hmm you silly old bat, I haven't had pethidine hmm

I think my vagueness of the birth started when they broke my waters. Then labour progressed a little faster, and with A LOT more pain!!! wink

I think a lot of new mums who have their babies whisked away straight after the birth have feelings like you have. It's fairly common to feel that way.

You could try some skin to skin with him which may make you feel a little better. Even though you aren't breastfeeding, it will make you and him feel really calm, and there's nothing saying that you can't do it unless you are breastfeeding. Give it a try. Or maybe a bath together???

As for the parents and friends thing....
I think a lot of new parents complain that they always have visitors and that they are fed up with the doorbell ringing, waking the baby up and not letting the exhausted mum sleep. I think that maybe your family and friends are being a bit too good, and don't want to disturb you. I know when I had my 1st, I used to pretend we weren't here because I was that tired I just didn't want to talk to anyone.

Tell them how you feel - tell them you feel isolated. You could also join a baby club where you will meet new friends. Athough I still keep in touch with my old friends, the ones who don't have children, don't seem to have the same interests anymore. They talk about alcohol, clubs, men (some of them) and work. I talk about babies, children, school and nappies!!! Our interests have changed and although we are atill friends, we don't really see that much of each other, but I have other frinds now who share the same interests as me - we met through the baby club and now our oldest children have started school, I now go to baby club with my youngest.

I hope you feel better about all this soon, but try not to forget that he is only a few months old, and having a baby means some major restructuring of your life! Don't be hard on yourself. I'm sure that you are being the best mum you possible could, and when he is looking at you, he is looking at the one person in his life who he loves and relies on for everything.

Sometimes its good to get it out of your system.

I hope this helps.

funtimewincies Tue 13-Oct-09 20:51:32

Pethidine takes people in different ways. I agreed to it during the transition phase when I was getting a little weird and it had been a long night and dh was getting a bit freaked out. I remember nothing of the pushing bit. I came round convinced that I needed a poo, was told it was ds' head and was conscious for the crowning.

The hours afterwards are quite hazy as I alternated between feeling/being sick and dropping back off to sleep at a moments notice. Ds was born at 8.30am and it wasn't until about 12 hours later that I began to feel in control again. By then ds was in a cot and asleep himself for most of the next 12 hours. 24 hours later and I'd hardly held my baby sad.

I keep asking dh what happened during the lost hour or so (what I said or did, etc.) and he just says 'nothing much' and I wonder whether the mw told him never to confess!

Sorry you had such a bad experience too. My hospital now gives Diamorphine which is supposed to be better, but I intend to stay well clear.

emmx Tue 13-Oct-09 21:32:12

funtimeswincies - I have asked my DH many times to tell me my birth story and bless him he always humours me and goes over the whole thing each time its just so hazy but I have this unbelievable urge to try to remember! Initially after my boy was born I thought it was a good thing I couldn't remember the pain etc. but now I keep trying to replay it like a film - its just that the video tape is warped!! I've been reading on another thread about the possibility of having a debrief - and i'd def be interested in that - just not sure how to go about getting one! Its got to the point where I wish I could go throug it again so I can get the experience I didn't get last time.

Don't you ever press your DH to tell you the details? I would just keep going on till he had to give in and tell me!

pipWereRabbit Tue 13-Oct-09 23:30:04

Hi emmx,
Glad you had a nice day - sometimes it's that sort of time that gives me a boost and gets me through several pants days later on...

Bewbush Children and Family Centre 01293 651761 - Dorsten Square, Bewbush

Broadfield Children and Family Centres 01293 651777 - Creasys Drive, Crawley

Central Crawley Children and Family Centre 01293 651798 - C/O Crawley Hospital, West Green Drive, Crawley

Langley Green Children and Family Centre 01293 651747 - Langley Drive, Langley Green

There seems to be a bit of debate as to whether the Langley Green Children's Centre is open yet - but that might just be the physical building, they may already be providing services using other locations locally.

I'd really encourage you to give them a bell and find out what they have on offer in your area - my local Children's Centre is fab (lovely people too).

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