Tuesday, 27 November 2007

1 in 4 women... (in advance this is a TMI post!)and long,scroll for scrapping goodness below!)

... are left alone in hospital to give birth. I heard this today on the news. It's pretty scary. I guess there were points during my pregnancy with Ben that I felt 'abandoned' by health care But because I had already had a baby I guess I managed and knew about more than I would've if it had been my first.
With Emily I was under lots of health authorities, I fell preg in 2003/4 and worked in Cambridge and had all antenatal care up to 32 weeks there. My midwife was practical and did things by the book. I then went on maternity leave back to our home (I only spent weekends in our house because I was a live-in nanny up until then) and I had a bunch of midwives in Derbyshire and I was under a Staffordshire hospital (Burton on Trent Queens). My main midwife was Anne and she was LOVELY. You know when you connect with someone? She was one of those women. And the others were all fabby too... I cannot say how much they made my pregnancy go from some hugely scary experience with high bp and reduced movements to some, still scary but wonderful experience. And when I gave birth to Emily, the midwife Andrea was amazing. She was a mum herself and told me all about her girls and helped me along. I'm not the type that wants a midwife there constantly wiping my brow and all of the whale music stuff. It's my pain, I have to deal with it... (and an epidural will help :))
Once I had Emily, apart from one pretty ferocious midwife they were all SUPER lovely. And I totally can say the amount of NHS care I had then was amazing. I could not fault it at all. With Ben it was a different kettle of fish.
I bled early on and I had countless trips to hospital and countless tears shed over this much wanted bubba, I cannot say any care was bad here. It was great after a few mis-guided starts but my midwife was pretty unhelpful. Half way through my pregnancy she went to work on the delivery suite and so I had a new midwife, who was IMHO (and other women's in the waiting room) rough! ~ No such thing as an epidural here either!!! The whole part of this did daunt me and took the magic out of this pregnancy.
Ben measured big for his dates and I had extra scans (and worry!) and had to wait an eternity for appointments. I had lots of aliments and felt pretty rough and seemed to be going through it all alone! At one of my last antenatal appointments I saw two new midwifes who were on cover from my new midwife and they were lovely. I guess they explained everything that she hadn't and I felt alittle more reassured.
I told them about my 'pains' which I knew was on and off labour (not braxton hicks) for nearly 3 weeks and she said ' you won't make 40 weeks! ' I was happy at that, With this one I had truly had enough. Although I suppose having a toddler to contend with as well doesn't help!
At 38 weeks I went in for a growth scan and was told he was already 8lbs at least and sent home. This was the Monday. Tuesday, I had awful pains all day... those who have had a baby know those pains that you have when you know this is it. And at midnight on Tue/Wed my waters broke in bed everywhere. The familar 'pop' and 'gush' then flood... I pushed Kev out of bed, grabbed towels, cleaned up and called the hospital. I had to go in ~ even though my pains weren't bad right then and see the midwife. So at 1am my MIL and FIL were called around, Kev went and fetched them (as neither drive) and we went off to hospital.
This is when I really felt 'un-heard'. My midwife met me, examined me. Told me she did not think my waters had broke etc... She told me to go home ~ I felt as if she was accusing me of lying about my waters breaking!!! And so I went home. We had a scan booked for tomorrow to actually see the extent of my water loss (if any ~ as she put it! GRR) and so that was that.
Wednesday ~ I had a scan and the sonographer said there was 'suficient' water but they do replenish themselves... and sent my upto the labour ward. I went up, waited an age and was not even let in ~ I was told to go home I was ok. Despite now being in quiet alot of pain. Seens as I knew my own body (luck it was my 2nd bubba!) I went with Kev to tescos and we did an enormous shop, knowing this baby was coming. I seriously now think I must've been hillarious waddling round tescos clutching the trolley in labour. I know how bad the pains were then on and off, that trolley was my lifeline to stand up. When I got home my MIL and SIL were both there watching Emily and once i'd settled down the pains sub-sided to dull aches and nothing more than i'd had for the pass months on end. I had a bath, put Emily to bed and Kev and I had haddock for tea (weird at all the stuff you remember!?)
At 11:30pm I woke with the worse pains i've had in my life. I was truly in agony. This was labour. LOL. At just gone midnight I sent Kev to get his mum and dad (again!) and I managed to get my stuff together slowly and mid pains which were now just one on top of the other. Continually coming. I remember standing in the dining room hanging onto the little cubby-shelf under the stairs panting and praying it would end right now, I wasn't ready. I'm sure all women in the throws of labour would do any deal with God to make it stop. My MIL came in and said 'ooooh, yes she'll have that baby tonight...' :)
So off we went to the hospital. Me swearing at Kev to go over the road humps slowly or this baby would pop out and me panting and grabbing onto the car door handle tightly. I remember in the hospital carpark me hardly knowing how I was going to walk across to the actual doors and get inside, and then nearly crying when there was no handle to grip onto in the lift.
On the labour ward we saw the same midwife as the previous night who joked, as I stood oblivious to life around me, gripping the hospital walls, go to the end room when that cdontraction ends. It didn't but somehow I hobbled down to the furthest room and get inside. She asked me for a 'sample' which I could not do for fear of Ben actually being born right then. And somehow Kev managed to get me in my night shirt and get me on the bed.
At this time it was 2am when the midwife came back in and saw me. I remember her examining me tummy and telling me off for pushing! 'Are you pushing??!! Stop pushing!' and then she examined me properly and said 'oh, ok push...' So much for continuity of care and knowing your patients. Not once did she ask me how I was... Or i'd of told her, ok I did say 'of course i'm bloody pushing!'
The gas and air tap had blood all over it and she had to clean it before I could use it. She was called away a few times while I was there with Kev. She handed Kev a wet flannel and asked him to 'mop' me and rub my back. I just snarled 'don't even touch me' I guess looking back now, when did she try and know me? Luckily Kev did and stayed well away, lol.
Ben was born at 2:35am all healthy and well. He breastfed straight away and I felt happy. I was rather promptly booted to the wards and Kev sent home but my baby was healthy and happy.
I had no support with further breast feeding at all, which upset me an awful lot. I did express when I went home and fed him what I could from the bottle. When I talked to my midwife about it, she told me she had too many appointments that day to help me and to try myself... or carry on what I was doing now.I had a toddler and a new baby and I just wanted help. I guess maybe it wasn't entirely her fault but I can quiet see how women are left during labour.
My labour with Ben, or rather my antenatal care with Ben was VERY poor in my eyes, however with women being totally left in labour... My GOD! this is bad. Something needs to be done right now because pregnancy and birth are magical, precious times that should be remembered with a semi-fondness (not entirely tho, with all that pain!) and with women not getting adequate care I can't see how these times can be. All I can wish is that there are more women like Anne, Andrea and Tanya who do support women and promote their wishes to have happy, healthy pregnancies and births and beyond.


michelle said...

Wow. First I just want to add that during my first pregnancy I had no idea what the hell Braxton Hicks was and when I told my doc I wasn't having any contractions he said, "yeah, you are, you just don't know it." thanks doc.
secondly, that the lord almighty or whatever higher power you believe in for epidural. Had one with both my sons and I wouldn't go without it. Those went without it you are truly my heroes. Thirdly: My first one I wanted everyone there with us. With my second, I just wanted me and my husband. I didn't want visitors and I just wanted to go home. It's funny, though. I never thought Sean would be my last baby and now that I know he is, it makes me kinda nostalgic for pregnancy again.

Wendy said...

hmmmmmmm my experience with the NHS was just to shocking to mention. I cannot have any more but if i had i would go private! i will not be treated like that by anyone again!!!

Nina said...

Ohhhhh more labour stories! Whats wrong with us?!

Anonymous said...

Midwives are getting such bad press in very difficult times. They WANT to give 1 to 1 care, they WANT to have time to build a relationship with women, they WANT to make the childbirthing experience beautiful and fulfilling. Why do people not understand that midwives are individuals and have their own persona, why are women not tolerant of this?
I absolutely understand that some midwives leave a lot to to be desired and this makes me sad.
Somtimes when things are said in all innocence and in a way to impart as much information as possible, is taken the wrong way by women who are incapable of realising that not everyone is like them and are not tolerant of others as individuals!
In my years as a Midwife, I have met and made lovely relationships and these women have come back happily.
Please, please understand that in this day and age it is very difficult to please all of the people all of the time, it makes me cross when I get reports from my women of what has occured during A/N appts, During labour or Postnatally. It Hurts because I know that with a little bit of thought it does not need to happen.
What are we to do? Do I, along with many many others, leave a profession, that after the years of training as a Nurse and Midwife, have loved and felt fulfilled? Tolerance and understanding, not Mistrust and damnation, is what is needed, on BOTH sides. The profession has changed enormously over the years and it is definitely NOT for the better.