This is my story of being a first-time mum and experiencing a traumatic birth, I hope this will help anyone who feels alone in their traumatic birth story. I felt as though it was just me that struggled as all my friends had quick and easy labours, some even coming home on the same day they gave birth. I was of course so happy for my friends, but it also left me feeling ‘why me?’.
I found out I was pregnant just 8 weeks after my 18th birthday although it was scary and happened sooner than I had expected, if there is one thing, I had always been sure about it was that I wanted children and I wanted them whilst I was young. My pregnancy was smooth up until about 30 weeks, I had to stop work, I was in agony with my back, and was referred to a physiotherapist who was specialised in antenatal physiotherapy. I was then diagnosed with pelvic girdle pain (PGP) and symphysis pubis dysfunction (SPD). It was painful to walk, and I was given a Tubigrip bandage to wear around my bump and was ordered to rest the best I could until the baby arrived.
Where it all began
On the 27th of July, I woke up at 7 am stood up out of bed ready to get myself ready for the day as we were moving into our new home ready for our baby’s arrival in 3 weeks’ time. As I stood up out of bed my waters broke, I made my way to the bathroom sat on the toilet and cried for a good 5 minutes before calling my Mum. It was such an overwhelming day for me, I think it only really hit me when my waters broke what was to come. So, my Mum made her way to me, she took me to the hospital where they decided to keep me in as I was only 36 weeks and 5 days, and the baby was classed as being premature. After being there overnight the following days my waters were still coming and I realized the colours had changed, I spoke to the midwife who was looking after me, and he advised me everything was ok and to continue doing what I was doing and that there was nothing to worry about. I think as women, we know our own bodies and if you feel like something is not right, please do not be afraid to ask for a second opinion or ask for help, this could’ve changed a lot for me.
The moment everything changed
After being in the hospital for 56 hours the pains began to get worse, in fact unbearable. My partner went out the room and shouted in the first midwife he saw. She came into the room her name was Marysia. After examining me she was appalled that I had been left so long with a severe infection, she revealed after my waters breaking, I shouldn’t have been left for more than 24 hours without any interference never mind 56. She rushed for a doctor and suddenly there was 3 doctors and 5-6 midwifes at my bedside explaining to me they were going to have to perform an Emergency C-Section right away. I signed the forms and was then rushed down to theatre.
They attempted to give me an epidural although I was advised by my midwife and physiotherapist that I was unable to have an epidural due to my SPD and PGP, although this was in my birth plan and on my medical records It was ignored and the epidural was still attempted, after begging and crying the anaesthetist agreed it was best to put me to sleep to perform the C-Section. The last thing I remember was being led on the bed counting down from 10 and drifting off. When I woke up, I had a beautiful baby boy, and the nurse was asking me for his name ‘Freddie’ I replied whilst trying to open my eyes to see him. They popped him on my chest and told me to have a quick cuddle as he was very poorly and needed to go to the NICU ward. I cuddled my baby and sobbed into his hat as I knew they needed to take him away and I was unable to move due to the C-Section wound. We were both left with sepsis and Freddie also has Jaundice this was all due to negligence from the midwife after my waters broke.
I was so scared of losing him that I prepped myself for the worst and tried my hardest not to bond with my baby because I thought it would make it easier if anything happened, I was in a bad place. My partner wheeled me down to the neonatal unit to see my baby, I held him with all the wires attached and in that second my mindset changed. I couldn’t have been happier; I sat and cuddled my baby and told him how sorry I was for ever having those thoughts and I promised I would protect him forever.
I had never felt love like that moment, and I would do everything to make sure he was cared for and got the treatment he needed. I knew I was struggling with post-natal depression but the second I held my baby I felt like I just snapped out of it there and then. I know it isn’t that easy for a lot of people. The neonatal nurses were amazing and after 3 days of Freddie being in the NICU ward, we were allowed home with antibiotics and regular checks from the health visitors and midwives.
After everything I had been through in the hospital, I was so grateful to get back to my new home thank you to our amazing friends and family who had moved everything and set the nursery up for us. I was so grateful I had a healthy baby boy to bring home and love forever. I had Marysia to thank for everything, without her help and support I honestly don’t know what our lives would be like now. Freddie is now 7 years old and is happy and healthy – I know my birth story is traumatic, but things did get better, and we ended up giving Freddie a little brother George just 16 months later. Being a Mum is the hardest yet most rewarding job in the world and I am so grateful to have my boys by my side every day.