Wanting to be listened to


At 40+1 I had a midwife check up at the hospital where some concerns about the babies growth were raised, and a scan booked for the following day. At the scan I was told that my baby wasn't growing well anymore and there was a chance my placenta was no longer working effectively. I was given the option to 'come back to be induced or wait a week but risk a still birth'. Clearly that didn't feel like a choice at all and so the next Sat (which happened to be New Year's Eve) I went into the hospital to be induced. I don't know if it's normal, or was worse because of the holidays, but the ward was woefully understaffed and there was no consistency in midwives who were checking me every few hours.

At around 11pm nothing was happening so I sent my husband off to see in the new year with friends while I got some sleep.

At 2am ish I started to feel some pain, rang the bell to call a midwife but was told it could only be very early signs of labour so there was nothing they could do. By 3am I was in a lot of pain and called for a midwife again. I was again told it was early signs of labour but they could give me a paracetamol.

At 4am, still with no examination from a midwife I called my husband and asked him to come back to the hospital. By this point I still believed I was in early labour as the midwife had told me (without assessing me) and was panicking that I wouldn't be able to cope when labour was in later stages and would need lots of drugs (which I didn't want).

When my husband arrived at 5am he was told that I was in early stages of labour and 'was not coping very well'. When he came into the room to see me he was very concerned and went to find another midwife. Luckily he did, as this midwife finally examined me and told me that I was 10cm dilated and to not push as I wouldn't make it to the delivery room in time if I did! At that point I finally relaxed as I knew that I was in late rather than early stages of labour and could cope with it.

I was rushed to the delivery room and our baby daughter was born 14 minutes later. In a way of course I was lucky because the labour was quick and there were no complications. However, a simple examination would have saved me so much panic and stress, instead of being in pain and thinking that this could go on for days. This would have made a world of difference to my labour and made me feel more confident that I could cope. Instead, I felt like I was being a nuisance when I called the midwives and that I was not strong enough to cope with the pain, which made me fearful and scared. I appreciate that midwives do a very difficult job in understaffed circumstances (and that holiday periods are more understaffed than usual), but I would have loved to have felt listened to and my pain taken seriously.

© Make Birth Better CIC 2019

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