Sometimes the health professionals don’t always know best, especially when they are discussing issues with you over the phone. I’m sure pregnancy and motherhood builds a natural instinct in us all to do what is best for our babies, born or unborn. If you think something is wrong then get it checked out, even if it is nothing, at least you gain reassurance. I wish I had…
During my pregnancy I had a low lying placenta, which I had 2 extra ultrasounds and 2 transvaginal scans to locate it specifically enough to know if it was in a safe place to give birth naturally. I also had am issue with a lower amount of amniotic fluid than what would be expected for 32 weeks. I had to go to the hospital twice, once in suspected early labour at 28 weeks & the second around 30 weeks with slowed movement.
However, with all these extra issues I never once went to the hospital/rang without a valid reason. So, when I rang explaining I thought my waters had broken, to be told ‘unless you’re soaking a sanitary towel it’s unlikely.’
The Wednesday before I gave birth on the Saturday I noticed an increase in fluid loss. Thursday this had continued and I rang triage to request to be checked out. This was brushed off. I then rang again twice on the Friday…again with the same outcome. When I rang I was asked if I was a ‘first time Mum’…how is this relevant? Midwives are soon to say every pregnancy and labour is different, so don’t imply I don’t know my body just because this is my first pregnancy.
On the Friday night I had started in slow, early labour, the pain was manageable, so much so I was wrapping the last of the Christmas presents (yes I was that organised my Christmas shopping was pretty much done in October.)
The Friday night I didn’t sleep what-so-ever, I had 3 baths to ease the achiness and cramping. Then the Saturday morning my Mum phoned and gave them little choice over whether they were going to check me over.
So 6:30am Saturday we went to the hospital, to the examination room of the labour ward. I was asked the same questions, told the same answers.
The midwife who was late 50’s I’d estimate, very zaney and a strong Irish accent did put me at ease slightly.
I was laid down for 45 minutes to pool some fluid. Then a young, female Dr came, highly arrogant and patronizing. ‘You’re probably just overreacting, I bet you’ll be at home in a few hours having lunch’ is one of the first things she said to me. When she examined me she did infact find what I had suspected…MY WATERS HAD BROKEN!!
After she realised she was wrong with this she went on to ‘helpfully’ clarify that I wasn’t in ‘established labour.’
She then left the room and I adamantly informed the midwife I wouldn’t allow her to be my Dr during labour. I was then taken to a labour suite, told I would be induced and wouldn’t little without my little bundle.
The next Dr who assessed me confirmed I was 4cm dilated, so not far off established labour, my waters were fully broken and then I was induced.
The speed of labour onset & increase of pain was insane. I have obviously never given birth and progressed purely naturally but I have been informed being induced is far worse.
Some hours later, after agonizing pain, sickness & shaking, I opted for an epidural which had to be attempted 3 times.
At 16:49 Saturday 29th October, I gave birth to my beautiful little girl Emily-Grace.
However, the enjoyment was short lived as I was sick, she was handed to her Daddy. The rest is a blur but before she had lived her first hour of life she was given a canula for antibiotics because the hospital had allowed chance for infection to occur. We then had to stay in until Monday at 5pm…in my notes midwives wrote that they missed my obs because they were too busy.
I don’t blame one set person here.
The midwives – Too stretched work wise, exhausted and un-appreciated. Probably didn’t prioritise what could have just been an overreacting first time Mum.
NHS/Government – Making too many cuts so the NHS can’t function properly or safely. But this has to be done because of the state of the economy.
Myself – If I had been more adamant I could have saved my little girl from having a canula fitted soon after birth and use of anti-biotics at such a young age. But I put my trust in the knowledge of the midwives who are highly trained and most of the time get it right.
I respect midwives, nurses, doctors and any other health/care professional immensely, don’t mistake this for a slanging match against them, they work incredibly hard for not enough recognition or reward…but sometimes they are so stretched the fail to see the warnings. This could have been an entirely different story if it had been left for another day or two.
Basically my message from my own experience is trust your body. Trust your instinct, as an expectant mother you get a sense of what is normal, far better than someone can advise over the phone. It is better to be safe than sorry, so insist you get examined. This post is mainly about pregnancy and birth but can be applied to any situation. You know YOU best!!