The relief of being listened to


Out of the 2 births I've had, my first one was what I would call traumatic. I was diagnosed with pre eclampsia at 34 weeks, and was admitted to hospital immediately where I had to stay until delivery. I found this upsetting as it went against my instincts, I didn't feel unwell and wanted to be at home preparing for my new family. I felt like I had no choice.

The following 3 weeks were pretty uneventful spent on the antenatal ward, reading, watching tv and seeing visitors. I was occasionally allowed out for a walk in the local park. On the whole I felt incredibly lonely and powerless. I was told I would be induced at 37 weeks, but warned that it could be a long process as it was early. I had questions that were answered such as how many pessaries and how frequently, what pain relief I could have, when was my husband allowed to be there.

On the day of the induction I was taken down to the induction suite at 8am with my husband. It started off ok, I felt some contractions and was feeling positive but they died off and I had another pessary later that day. Other women came and went and by 10pm I was the only one on there. My husband was sent home as no partners were allowed to be there overnight. The room was awful: hot, peeling paint on the walls and tv playing the Transformers film. I found being examined unbearably painful so refused it after the 3rd time.

I was made to feel like a total failure and that I needed to get a grip. I felt so lonely, exhausted, afraid. A lovely student midwife who obviously had the time to talk to me on a very busy ward held my hand and made me feel like my feelings were valid. I kept saying to them I just want an epidural I can't bear it any longer and the midwife in charge told me there's no chance you'll get one unless your waters have broken. I told her I wanted a c-section now I can't do this any more.

A few hours later the doctors came round and they said I could have an epidural since I was saying I wanted a section anyway. The relief that someone valued my feelings/opinions/decisions was enormous. After the epidural I was examined and had reached 5cm so they broke my waters and I got an hour's sleep. All went well for a few hours afterwards, however I had dilated to 10cm and the baby's head was crowning but her heart rate kept dipping and quite suddenly I lost about 500ml blood. I got taken straight to theatre and within 10 mins or so my daughter was born. I had a placental abruption due to a large clot between my uterus. I was in hospital for a further week as I had horrendous headaches from the spinal and then my kidney and liver function went a bit crazy. In all of this, the worst and most traumatic part was the night by myself in the induction suite. I was in pain, I have never felt so lonely or scared. The time I spent in theatre was actually very positive and not traumatic for me at all. I felt such relief that it was about to be over.

© Make Birth Better CIC 2019

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