Birth · Parents · Uncategorized

My labour story

I had always imagined my labour to be easy. Well as easy as labour could be. I had planned a water birth and wanted it to be as natural as possible. Due to a prolapsed disc, I had spent many years dosed up to my eyeballs on painkillers and anti-inflammatories so hoped that I could cope with bringing a child into the world without being as high as a kite. Boy was I naive!!

One week prior to labour commencing I met up with my fellow mummy friends and with one of the little ones bouncing on my tummy, contractions started. I got all excited as it wasn’t as painful as expected, it was only like a period pain. It lasted for a couple of days and by Saturday night they were stronger and closer together so we called the birthing unit and we were told to come in. After hours of waiting and hearing ladies screaming, getting excited that soon the baby would be here (albeit two weeks early) but we would have our family. Again, so naive. I was only 1cm therefore told to go home.

By the Monday, the contractions had pretty much stopped therefore I got down as nothing was happening and it was back to washing piles of clothes and waddling around.

Thursday came and again I saw my mummy friends. I think one of them needs to start a rent-a-kid business as my contractions started at 7am the next day, my contractions progressed and back to the birthing unit we went. This time it felt different, I felt like this was the time for baby to come out. The midwife gave me some wonderful drugs as my lower back was starting to really hurt. We had previously been told baby was back to back but at our last check up we were told baby had turned back into the normal position.

Come Saturday morning, the change of shifts happened and the new midwife told us to go home. I was still only 1cm and taking up a bed for someone else that needed it. I reluctantly went home and tried the recommendations they had made to progress my labour, however my back pain was increasing. The actual contractions weren’t bad, but holy crap was my back in agony!

Saturday evening we returned to the birthing unit. At home I had been screaming as my back was now locking every time I contracted. I was contracting every 2-3 minutes but due to my back I could not sit or lay down. Poor hubby was my punch bag. Having seen the way I was reacting, the midwives transferred me to the labour ward as they recognised the way my back and contractions were going was not right.

Having been seen by a consultant, explaining to them that my contractions weren’t too bad on the pain scale, however my back was the worst it had ever been, they gave me diazepam. I was told I had not progressed, but hopefully the diazepam would help with the back issue and to go home and rest. In the morning hubby was told to take me to A&E as my back was not easing up, it was not a pregnancy related issue.

Apparently now it is just a back problem. A&E refused to see me as I was so far into the pregnancy and referred me to Labour ward, who refused to see me as they didn’t have spare beds. The maternal assessment unit told me I should go to A&E again and when we explained the situation they told us to go to the birthing unit. We knew this meant that I would be moved again as the birthing unit could not provide the medication needed to help my back but alas we went there.

The midwife who had kicked us out the previous morning was on shift again. She recognised us and told us she will get us to the right place. She called A&E to see why they refused to deal with me and they hung up on her. She called for an orthopaedic consultant to see me and was told they didn’t deal with pregnant women (sorry what???!!!) She then asked for a consultant from the labour ward to see me who only wanted to see my drugs chart. She tried to explain my situation was not text book and required to see me in person but he refused.

It took three hours for someone to see me in person. Finally, when we were seen they told me I was to be induced as I was only 2cm and something obviously was slowing down my labour.

So 3 and a half days later I finally entered into “established labour” and 7 hours post induction I was ready to push. By this point we both had only managed to get 4 hours sleep since the Friday 7am wake up call.

After several doses of oramorph, diamorphine and an epidural I felt on top of the world. I had managed to sod hubby’s back up when the epidural was administered. I was too short to put my feet on the floor therefore the doctor asked him to be my foot rest and apparently I pushed too hard on his shoulders. Whoops!!

After nearly two hours of pushing I was exhausted, I couldn’t do it. I felt like I’d failed as a mother but more importantly, I felt like I failed as a woman. This is what we’re created to do and here I am falling at the last hurdle. They brought in people to prep me for a C-section and I was devastated. The midwife had told me she could see the head, so why couldn’t I give just one last push? After being re-examined by the consultant/doctor/Father Christmas for all I knew in my drugged up, exhausted state – he told me that there was no need to be moved and have a c-section, however they did need to perform an episiotomy and deliver the baby via forceps.

I thought forceps were similar to the tongs used to serve salad…. Naive again right? Out cranked these massive tools, I felt like my nether-regions were being hacked to pieces and then came the cranking. I felt like he was trying to replace a tyre, not deliver a baby!

Then out came out baby boy. This little bloated, dirty, blood ridden baby. But he was our little bloated, dirty, blood ridden baby. I held him attempting skin to skin, but I had a top on and then he was ripped from my arms.

He wasn’t breathing. I freaked out. But at the same time I was so exhausted and out of it from the drugs that I felt numb. Looking back I hate that I wasn’t acting like my husband, how a parent should react. I try to reassure myself that having been through 4 days of absolute agony both mentally and physically that it is understandable to not be coherent enough to be the distraught parent. But rationality and my PND are at loggerheads and this is one of several things that (I want to say traumatised but feel that’s too strong) lets just say affected me.

Whilst all the doctors, nurses and midwives were fighting to get the baby to breathe I told hubby that he wasn’t to be called Ethan (the name we were 90% sure he was to be called) I wanted him to be called Benjamin. Benji for short, never Ben. (Oh how it has changed – he is rarely anything but Ben!) Hubby agreed and that was settled. I think at that moment in time, we needed something positive. Hubby nearly puked and almost fainted. I kept puffing on the gas and air (one drug I solemnly swore I would not touch as I didn’t want to feel out of control)

The doctors managed to control Bens breathing by putting him on 100% oxygen which he was on for the next 24 hours and he was taken to NICU. My heart sank and still sinks whenever I see pictures of parents in the delivery suite with their baby, Their first family photo. My first photo with Ben was a very rushed photo, I look horrendous and Ben isn’t clean. Hubbys first one is with tubes and wires all over Ben. I guess this all comes with having a child that requires additional medical attention, which of course I would always choose over a silly photo, but it’s the small things that can build into a big thing.

Sometime after the birth, we went for a birth reflection meeting where they admitted that there were wrong doings with the consultants and admitted that had my back issue been dealt with sooner, then the labour COULD have happen quicker, and the reason for Ben requiring help breathing COULD have also been prevented potentially if I had the strength to push him out as I was too tired for that last push. (After 96.5 hours of labour can you blame me?)

The whole incident has put me off of labour, but then who actively gets pregnant ‘cos they want to squeeze a melon out of a hole the size of a lemon? I’m still umming and aahing over having a second child. I hate the idea of Ben being an only child, but then he will never want for anything. I need to be selfish and think of me. Could my back cope with another labour? Could my mental health cope with another incident similar to the above or just with another child in itself?

I have a few years before my implant will need to be replaced to allow me to weigh up our options. But for now, I have my family, I have this little boy who thankfully is a healthy child.

Please if you’re still reading my blurb, donate any clothes to your local NICU. Ours were so thankful when we returned with tiny baby vests and sleep suits. Or money, money is always a good thing for the NHS.

Thanks for reading  x

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3 thoughts on “My labour story

  1. Gosh what an ordeal! I think it sounds like you did absolutely amazingly given the circumstances, and especially that no one at the hospital seemed to be able to/want to help you with your back (shocking!). I hope you can, in time, process and move on from this, but birth leaves such a deep and lasting impression on mothers, and this can often be forgotten. Perhaps writing this post helped you in some way?

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  2. I’m sorry you had such an ordeal with your back. I had an assisted delivery with a ventouse, I’m told assisted deliveries are so common with a first baby, i know a lot of women who have had ventouse and forceps. I hope you don’t let it put you off having another and hopefully the hospital have taken steps to ensure anybody who is in your position again doesn’t have to go through what you went through.

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