I have two really different stories for you- one much more positive than the other (bet you've heard that a lot!). After some bleeding I went in and was told my waters had gone although nobody did a swab or internal... from then on we were against the clock. Once again nobody told me that the "doubling risk" of infection was from 0.5 to 1%... I walked frantically but labour didn't start. Pessary went in- I got hypercontractions which nobody had warned me about, and was made to feel I was making a fuss about nothing. By the time the drip induction started I was exhausted and fed up with the pain so threw away my birth plan and asked for an epidural.
The epidural was messed up. Twice. Nobody told me that either. Oooh we will just resite it. Oooh might turn it up. It wore off at 9cm and I panicked from the sudden pain. The buzzer was pressed, the forceps came out. So did my little girl.
Forever so thankful that we got a delayed cord clamp and skin to skin and a first feed straight away amid all the fear and pain. She was perfect.
The crazy headache and nausea I had weren't. I couldn't stand up without vomiting from pain. They told me it was just a reaction to the drugs. I tried to go home.
Dr Google told me it was a dural puncture. Local midwife agreed. We had to go back in for jaundice treatment which I was deeply upset by, but at least I could get the dural puncture fixed. Nope.
No consultant available until six days after I had given birth. Still immobilised by pain and nausea. Baby taken away and given to Daddy while I went to theatre. Then a very scary procedure involving putting blood from my arm into my spinal cord. Nice risk of paralysis on the consent form.
Head fixed, realised the extent of the damage to my perineum. And that I had mastitis too. I kept feeding despite desperately sore bleeding nipples and a pus filled bleb because I felt it was the one thing I was doing right. I was a mess of anxiety and had nightmares and flashbacks. Intercourse was painful and a flashpoint.
Steadily got better over time. Fell pregnant, it was ectopic. The multiple vaginal ultrasounds were pretty triggering.
Thankful to have escaped surgery, in spite of being told to sort some childcare out. Fast.
Fell pregnant again quickly! This time right place.
After 12 week scan the nightmares were back. Asked for help here on IG as brushed off by midwife. Found hypnobirthing- a miracle! Two listens and the nightmares were gone. Things could be different.
And they were.
Woke up six days overdue and felt something was happening- baby arrived within the hour, at home (unplanned) delivered by my Mum.
I couldn't believe my body had done it- I could do it all by myself!
And no pain, no fear, just pressure
Episiotomy scar opened again, as I merrily announced to everyone from the shower
But jolly friendly young midwife arrived and sorted it.
Stitches so much better this time! Sore for a week then sorted.
Baby boy fed like a dream, no boob issues.
And no hospital!
So from one extreme to another. I think the things that made my birth experience good or bad were the amount of agency I had- almost none to complete charge.
But I feel angry still about my first birth- if my body could do it, what went so wrong? Why was nobody honest with me?
And I feel sad for those who don't get to experience the euphoria I got second time around.
Thinking about retraining as a midwife- always been a thought but becoming more serious. Want to be one of the good ones- treating women with honesty and respect, and giving actual care not checkboxing. Will see how it goes!