I wanted to share my birth story but anonymously as I've kind of only recently accepted and started being open about having PTSD.
I gave birth to my twin daughters very suddenly at 30 weeks gestation. I was having an amazing, healthy, problem free pregnancy. One night I started getting strange twinges in my lower back, they got progressively worse, I didn't sleep, I googled the crap out of it and as I could 'move the pain off' I convinced myself I had hip dysplasia as the twins were growing at speed. Early the next morning I took myself, (on the bus!) to maternity triage to get checked out. Looking back now the pain at this point was ridiculous, but I think as it had slowly built up perhaps as well as having a fair bit of denial mixed in I gritted my teeth and coped with it.
An hour or so after getting into triage I was examined and told I was 7cm dilated. My heart literally stopped, it was like an out of body experience. They wheeled me through into the labour ward and started pumping me full of steroids (for lung development), fluids and all sorts of other stuff. Less than 8 hours after realising I was in labour I was taken into theatre with a cast of thousands. There were two neonatal teams (one per Baby), a standby c-section team, two anaesthetists, a team of midwifes as it was shift change and the doctor who was at my feet between the stirrups as well as her assistants.
I had no other option but lay on my back as they needed to monitor the girls' heart beats, I was sweltering under the lights, I wasn't allowed a glass of water as it had to be a sterile environment, I hadn't eaten in over 24 hours as they thought they were going to operate on me, I hadn't slept in 40 hours.
I was told I had an hour to push the babies out. I presumed that then they'd move to a c-section. I'd been offered pain relief once, much earlier in the day, I said we hadn't thought about what we wanted to do as we thought we'd got at least another month to think about it. I wasn't pressed for a decision, but I wasn't asked again. I presume by the time I was in theatre it was too late to administer anything due to the potential for me to be out under general for the section. I don't know, nobody really spoke to us about it.
Anyway, back to the birth. I pushed and pushed, but twin 1 was small as kept sliding backwards, she really didn't want to be born. I also hadn't had my birthing classes or read that part in my pregnancy book, so had no idea what we were facing. An hour went by. They stopped, I consigned myself to the fact I was going to have a c-section. They got the forceps out. I had an episiotomy, they placed the forceps inside, still with no anaesthesia and after about 9 minutes by first daughter was born. She didn't cry, they quickly placed her on my chest, I don't remember much about it other than the fact she was alive. The neonatal team took her off then we moved onto baby number 2.
Her heart rate started to increase, so it was back to the forceps. She came out much easier and I do remember her making a little cry-like noise. Again, she was placed on my chest then whipped away.
I have flashbacks of what my thoughts were at that time, I remember thinking that if they were going to have to fight for life but end up dying it would be kinder for them to die sooner rather than later. I remember making excuses not to go and see them in NICU because I didn't want to get attached to them.
I waited 5 days to hold them, 3 weeks to try and breastfeed them and 53 days to take them home. The entire time your babies are in neonatal care you are under a cloud, you feel like crap, but you expect and understand that you feel like crap because you don't have your babies with you. The shock is when you get them home and you still feel like crap, because everything you've been through hits you like a brick wall.
The lack of support I received from the NHS was borderline shocking my mental state was ignored and I felt it was presumed we didn't need any of the care parents get when they take full term babies home because we'd got to know our babies through the plexi-glass of the incubators. My PTSD lingered, worsening my moods and developing into a complex stress reaction where I'd get unbearably anxious and rage filled, flipping out at the slightest thing. It was horrific at times. It was only due to the realisation that my babies would grow up seeing this erratic behaviour that I realised unneeded help.
What would I do differently. Not Google the crap out of things. Listen to my body. And not be afraid of being a pain in the bum.