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Can I refuse to see a midwife and consultant?

(33 Posts)
UpDuffWithoutPaddle Tue 19-Oct-10 04:07:32

I have PTSD related to hospitals and I'm newly pregnant with DC2.

I'll be classified as superextramega high risk due to existing medical problems. But last time all the obstetric appointments made me feel so much worse - and I was forced to have men in the delivery room. Even having an indepedent midwife and trying for a homebirth didn't help.

Can I refuse it all and just give birth privately in a deserted field?

Has anyone tried it?

Or would Social Services try and intervene?

SofiaAmes Tue 19-Oct-10 04:22:48

I refused to see my gp halfway through my pregnancy and then my consultant after he made me cry when I asked for an amniocentesis. But I did agree to see a midwife (lovely one that I had picked out). Midwife was my champion and kept everyone else away from me. And no one called social services.

AliGrylls Tue 19-Oct-10 04:31:27

Legally no-one can make you do anything and you are entitled to do whatever you want in relation to your birth. The medical profession really is there to advise you of the risks and because they will be trying to cover their own backs they will probably be conservative rather than risk anything happening to you and baby.

I understand where you are coming from - I had a rough labour last time and am now classified as high risk. Every time I go to hospital with this one I feel like they are determined to worry me. I had the independent midwife too, who I have to say was excellent but again she has to look after her reputation and me.

I am trying hypnobirthing in an attempt to help me get through the experience. I have less than a month to go now and TBH I am positively dreading the thought of being on continuous monitoring again (which I know I will have to be).

I also like the idea of a deserted field. I will let you know if the hypnobirthing works. If it does maybe it is something for you to try.

SofiaAmes Tue 19-Oct-10 04:33:11

But then again I wasn't proposing giving birth in a deserted field....don't you think that might be a little cold?

I do agree, men in the delivery room were fairly useless in my case...but midwife put them straight.

UpDuffWithoutPaddle Tue 19-Oct-10 05:11:29

I'm due in June... so it shouldn't be too cold. Unfortunately, I'm actually serious.

I did hyponbirthing last time and it was incredibly effective in rendering the labour almost completely pain free. But it didn't help with how terrified and violated I felt, and didn't take away any of the memories behind the PTSD.

moirasings Tue 19-Oct-10 05:48:59

Well... it's legal to give birth in a field unassisted. But wouldn't you be better off getting your PTSD treated? I know you've likely tried, but better try again rather than put yourself at risk.

SofiaAmes Tue 19-Oct-10 07:16:34

I too had a traumatic, violating first delivery. I had 40 hours of labor followed by an emergency cs. I received poor and abusive "care" that should not be inflicted on any living being.
The cs put me in a high risk category for the second time. I was completely traumatized by the whole experience and still have nightmares about it and ds is almost 10. I was determined to never let that happen to me again and stood up for myself the second time around. When my out of area gp dropped me because I complained to the practice manager because of the badly behaved staff, I was temporarily assigned to a gp who was awful. There was a shortage of gps in our neighborhood, so I couldn't get another one. I was supposed to be getting shared care between gp and hospital, but I told the hospital that I wanted to do all the care there. They said I was in the wrong post code. I said fine, I'll just do the visits to the hospital and skip the ones to the gp. After trying to tell me that it "wasn't allowed" and me telling them repeatedly that I wasn't going to get mediocre care just because I was in the wrong postcode, they eventually agreed to let me do all my visits at the hospital. I then had an awful 20 week visit with the consultant who was a complete twat and made me cry. I left his office and went straight upstairs to the natural birth ward and insisted on speaking to the head midwife. I told her I refused to see the consultant again and that I wanted a VBAC on the natural birth floor. She was amazing and organized everything for me. She explained how I could do it without constant monitoring (there are handheld monitors for this) and delivered my baby herself. However, a word of warning....I did have a post partum hemorrhage and would have died if I had not been whisked up into theater straight afterwards....so given my experience I would not personally recommend the deserted field route (in addition to my view that there is no such thing as warm weather in the uk, even in june).

If I had had it to do again, I would have had an elective cs with both babies. But having said that, I certainly recommend a VBAC as an effective tool in helping to diminish the memories of the trauma and violation of my first delivery.

Pootletrinket Tue 19-Oct-10 10:38:46

Our hospital offer counselling for people who are traumatised with their first birth experience - am thinking of using it myself - I didn't have men, but one of the women in particular, as well as lying to me on more than one occasion, made scathing comments about "at least we know she's a genuine redhead" as she was stitching me up.

LooL00 Tue 19-Oct-10 12:51:28

Will your mw see you at home? mine didn't offer until I was about 34 weeks but after that I never went anywhere except to see horrible consultant once (I'm over 40 and it was easier to go than argue and I dislike hospitals but do not find them traumatic) until dc3 was born at home. Would you mind seeing the mw at home?

mosschops30 Tue 19-Oct-10 12:59:44

upduff I too am left with PTSD (amongst other things) after a botched 3rd delivery.

I know I couldnt give birth again, physically or mentally so I think you are very brave (luckily I was on dc3 so not an issue for me).

Can I suggest you get some treatment for your PTSD. I am still having counselling a year on and it has helped tremendously. I was sceptical because Im not really a 'therapy' type of person but I couldnt go on having nightmares and flashbacks like I was.
I still have issues relating to hospitals, I am having a relatively minor op next week under GA because I wouldnt cope being awake. But I have managed to at least go through with it, and have also returned to work in the same hospital.

Just think how bad things could be if you gave birth alone.
Get yourself a mw and a consultant you trust and can build a relationship with (where do you live?).

I wish you all the luck in the world smile

omaoma Tue 19-Oct-10 13:04:36

for some reason all the midwives came to my house for appointments - even they didn't know why! it just started out that way and without my even knowing it wasn't normal I had mw appointments at home which was brill. sometimes being ignorant (or deliberately ignorant) can get you a long way with bureaucracy...

are there any midwife-led units near you? they have great medical facilities but are most like home. perhaps worth going private?

I met good and bad consultants in the NHS - so hard to know you're going to get somebody you trust and like. You poor thing

UpDuffWithoutPaddle Tue 19-Oct-10 14:07:19

Thank you, everyone who shared their stories. I'm sorry that so many others here have had traumatic births.

For me, the PTSD goes back to being sexually assaulted several times in a hospital years back. I had a very long and complex medical procedure a few weeks back (I'd begged for a GA but they refused) and it was quite honestly the most frightening two hours of my life, worse even that what initially happened. I've tried every form of therapy possible to get over it, and nothing has sufficiently helped. So whatever else I try, realistically is not going to be enough in time for DC2's birth. And TBH, I've lost hope that anything will help.

A midwife-led unit or birthing centre wouldn't be an option as I'm too high-risk - NHS protocols dictate that I would need to be delivered by a consultant with continuous monitoring.

A homebirth with an independent MW was what I tried last time - but the labour got complicated and she called an ambulance and the medical staff just took over. I always thought that if I got pregnant again I'd have another independent midwife. But now I can't face the thought of it.

I just don't want anyone to touch me. Ever again.

mosschops30 Tue 19-Oct-10 14:18:23

Have you tried CBT or EMDR? Even starting the therapy would be better than nothing.

Can you afford to go private, unfortunately this is the way ive had to go, but it has been my saviour, physically and mentally, I would not be where I am now if it wasnt for the brilliance of my obs/gynae consultant. I really do think that private healthcare is better (and I work for the NHS).

Im sorry youve had to go through so much crap with no one listening to your worries

UpDuffWithoutPaddle Tue 19-Oct-10 16:22:56

CBT, yes. EMDR, no.

I've got to do something here, certainly.

<disappears to google>

Pootletrinket Tue 19-Oct-10 16:54:32

Your situation sounds horrific and, without half the trauma of what you've experienced, I could happily never have anyone touch me again.

As another alternative, can you insist on females? Would this make any difference to you.

Good luck xxxxxxxxx

LoopyLoupGarou Tue 19-Oct-10 17:03:29

EMDR has helped my PTSD, also traumatic birth related.

I have the opposite problem though. Cock-ups led to the stillbirth of DTD1. I am pregnant with DC3 and would dearly like them to take the situation more seriously, with more intervention, but again it is a postcode lottery and they think everything will be fine as her post-mortem came back with nothing that can be acted upon.

For me, I can go through any amount of pain, trauma and flashbacks if it means that my children will survive.

japhrimel Tue 19-Oct-10 17:43:22

From a legal point of view, it is fine fo you to give birth unassisted (legally, not medically!) but it would be illegal for your partner or anyone else who is not a qualified registered MW to plan to act as your sole birth companion. If you had an emergency birth where you couldn't get healthcare professionals there in time, then of course your partner can assist you. But planning to do so without a midwife - i.e. to knowingly take on the role of the MW - is illegal.

Have you tried meeting with the Supervisor of Midwifery to ask for advice and support. I have heard of cases where a senior MW is assigned to you and you meet the 2 or 3 MWs who would be on shift before the birth. That way you get to have someone you have met and who knows your case with you at the birth, who can help you deal with the issues (e.g. minimal VEs, no male staff in room unless essential, everyone to ask permission before touching you...). And you know when you go into hospital that you will have a senior female looking after you, not just whoever is on duty.

AliGrylls Tue 19-Oct-10 18:45:04

Seriously, you sound so traumatised would you feel better off having a CS? I hate to sound negative (if that is the way it sounds) but the way you come across you don't sound like you are in a position to get over your PTSD in time for your birth next year.

Casserole Wed 20-Oct-10 10:23:38

Oh upduff I feel so sad for you.

I had a real phobia of labour before I got pregnant first time around, stemming from trauma not a million miles away from what you mention, though not in hospital. For me, counselling and lots of working through it was needed before I could even countenance getting pregnant - I'd told DH that he would need to accept we couldn't have children.

For my first pregnancy we hired an IM and tried for a homebirth as I felt v scared of being in hospital. As it happened I ended up with an emergency section after labouring at home as DS got stuck in a funny position. But I did all my labouring at home, which was really the bit I was scared about. The c/sec for me was fine.

I'm pregnant again and planning an elective section - like you, I am considered too high risk now for a midwife led unit and can't stomach the thought of labouring in a consultant led unit with all the monitoring and restrictions etc. Would an elective section feel any less invasive to you?

I think, in the most gentle voice possible, that whichever option you go for you need to have another go at working through some of this. All the options mean some loss of control and I think all of them could potentially feel like further trauma to you in your current state of mind.

Japhrimel is correct on the legal side of things. I considered an unassisted birth first time around, but DH really didn't feel comfortable with it (and tbh neither did I, I think I was just panicking at the time) and so we went for the IM.

I would investigate getting some therapy, I'd have a look around again at IMs; maybe meet with some and talk through your concerns, and have a think about how an elective would make you feel.

There IS hope. I know you don't feel that there is, but there is. There are women who feel just like you do, who come out the other side more whole and strong for it. You CAN be one of them.

Tangle Wed 20-Oct-10 10:51:47

Oh UpDuff, it sounds like you're in a really tricky position. I've no experience, but it does sound like talking through as much as possible with the SOM or HOM or a consultant MW, in your own home if possible might be a way to find the least bad solution. The nice thing about hospital policy and protocol is that, as a patient rather than an employee, you have no obligation whatsoever to follow them. It may be presented as gospel, but there's invariably wiggle room in there and sometimes not just one room but a whole penthouse apartment of flexibility.

Just to clarify, the legal position re. unassisted birth is that its illegal for anyone unqualified to plan to act as a MW. My understanding (I'm sure I've read a reference but can't find it at the moment) is that this is not intended to cover precipitous birth, or birth partners - but the law is untested in the circumstance of a woman choosing to birth without a MW but with her husband for emotional support. In theory its not illegal for your DH to be there as your sole birth companion - unless it could be proved that he was planning to act as a MW. IMO its not cut and dried, but neither is it an area I'd want to test out personally.

I really hope you can find a way through this that doesn't add to your trauma. Thinking of you

japhrimel Wed 20-Oct-10 11:14:23

I'm pretty sure I've read of cases where fathers have been fined for acting as sole birth partner and planning to do so knowing that it is illegal to take on the role of a MW in a non-emergency situation. So afaik, there is legal precedent that planning to be the sole birth companion is equivalent to planning to take on the role of the MW.

Obviously, this doesn't cover emergency/unexpected situations.

OP - I would definitely ask to meet with the SoM soon. Hope you find someone to help support you through this.

Tangle Wed 20-Oct-10 12:19:04

There was the case of Brian Radley:

In the one case in recent years where such a prosecution has been successful, the baby's father, Brian Radley, had stated explicitly to the health authorities that he intended to act as a midwife for the birth, and this statement of intent helped the prosecution's case. His wife was told by the health authority that, if she called a midwife, the midwife would arrive and immediately call an ambulance to take her to hospital. Mrs Radley had vowed never to enter the hospital again after she received poor treatment during there when having her first baby. Given the health authority's unsupportive attitude, the Radleys felt that conducting the birth themselves was their best option. Brian Radley was fined £500, but his fine was paid by a doctor who was appalled at the way this couple had been treated by the medical profession (from the homebirth website)

I think if you didn't go around publicising that this was the plan then it would be very hard for the CPS to get a conviction - but I still wouldn't want to be in the middle of a court case with a newborn, even if my DH was found not guilty. And I kind of feel like we're digressing from the original question blush

japhrimel Wed 20-Oct-10 15:20:20

Yep, definitely. Sorry! blush Though it did start from the OPs comment about giving birth in a deserted field!

UpDuffWithoutPaddle Wed 20-Oct-10 17:06:46

No please, keep talking, I'm listening, it's helpful.

I've just managed to make an appointment with my GP and calmly explain exactly how I'm feeling. She's not really a listener, but she seemed to understand, and said that she'd help me stay out of hospital as much as she could.

Whereas everything everyone has said has been helpful, the comment which really sticks out is loopy's

"I have the opposite problem though. Cock-ups led to the stillbirth of DTD1. I am pregnant with DC3 and would dearly like them to take the situation more seriously... For me, I can go through any amount of pain, trauma and flashbacks if it means that my children will survive."

Honestly, I am so sorry. A real lesson there for me.

In relation to the suggestions of a CS, no, it wouldn't help. My PTSD is related simply to being in hospitals and being touched, regardless of how or what is happening. An ELCS would require me to stay on a ward overnight, and I just couldn't handle that.

I've got a list of all the IM's covering my area. I will phone round tonight. I will.

Pootletrinket Wed 20-Oct-10 17:24:17

Well done and sometimes it does take someone else's tragedy to help us get some perspective - in all types of problems.

Glad your GP was supportive and good luck with the IMs

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