Being ignored


This time, seven years ago, I was getting ready to meet my little lad. I’d been in labour for a good 22+ hours, & still had a few more to go - those next hours resulted in an emergency c-section, the cord wrapped around his neck, necessitating resuscitation, & me being completely out of it.

It seems apt, that on the eve of his Birthday, I reflect upon his birth. Every woman will experience labour/birth differently, no two deliveries are the same, & sadly, some of those women will have a birth trauma story to tell too.

My actual labour, although very long, felt controlled, I was calm, breathing through contractions & had no pain relief until I was well over 15 hours in to a 24+ hour ordeal. The trauma for me occurred after birth, once I was wheeled onto the c-section recovery ward, & shut away behind blue curtains. I gave birth in the early hours, so my partner was coaxed away, & so began my week long stay in hospital. I am extremely thankful for the NHS, & painfully aware of the struggles the staff face, however, it was my aftercare where things really went wrong. I was unwell following my c-section, I was given high doses of painkillers, iron tablets & pretty much ignored. I didn’t bond with my son, I was exhausted {as all new mothers are}, I was distant, & if I’m honest, most of it is a blur. I know family came to visit, I have the photos to prove it, but I don’t really remember them there. All I remember is how frightened & alone I felt, I felt as though I was detached from my body, but still feeling the pain, I felt so weak & lifeless, & no one listened. It turns out, that I needed two blood transfusions, which helped a lot, & allowed for me to eventually be discharged & sent home, but the fog didn’t really lift for months.

I made two very good friends on that ward, we are still friends today, & they filled me in on how things were, & I think, if it wasn’t for them, helping me to see the positives & understand what happened, I’d have found my birth trauma a lot harder to overcome. I was told I was feeding wrong, I should be able to get out of bed & move around more than I was able to, & that I must pick my baby up more. One of the midwives was so abrupt & rough with me & my son that she made me cry, & I was left sobbing, barely able to move independently, & with a baby who wouldn’t feed or settle. None of these things are something that a new Mum, overcome with emotion, & recovering from birth, should have to experience, & I really did take a long time to recover mentally. Some days, I’m not sure that I ever really have - I don’t know if I’ll ever have another child, but I do know that I would be terrified at the prospect of birth if I did.

© Make Birth Better CIC 2019

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