Okay, this has been a while coming. My little man is 7 months old now and has just started teething (another story for another time) and I have been meaning to get this down for quite some time, and in fact have 4 pages of unfinished notes jotted down SOMEWHERE about my birthing experience.
I’m going to start by saying it wasn’t a positive experience for me and talking about it with several health carers from the day after I arrived home from hospital I have been urged to write a letter of complaint to the hospital where I had my son at. Hence the 4 pages, kind of wish I knew where they ended up as my memory 7 months on has gotten foggy and details blur together.
I’ll give a little background on what my pregnancy was like, looking back I should have heard the alarm bells loud and clear right from the start.
The first 8 weeks were bliss. I felt great, I glowed, I was in heaven.
I was recommended by a friend who had all her babies there, including her latest who was born about 3 weeks before mine, to attend Sandringham public hospital.
It’s a smaller, older hospital in the area I was living at the time, and as I hadn’t heard anything negative about it, and a few positives I booked in there happily.
At 8 weeks I had a bleed and went to the emergency department where after several hours I was told to hope for the best but expect the worst. It was night time on a weekend so they couldn’t do an ultrasound to check on bubs and told me to see my GP the next day.
We did that, had an ultrasound and bubs was fine. Just a fluke, but I had to start Anti D injections early as I am A- blood type and it was assumed that bubs was positive and that was the stem of the issue.
My first appointment with the midwives at the hospital was positive, but due to my BMI (I’m very short) I had to see OBGYN’s for the remainder of my pregnancy and was classed as high risk, probable C-section. I wanted a C-section anyway as my hips are twisted and I didn’t think bubs would be able to get out anyways. However when I tried to discuss this with my OBGYN I was flatly told I would be having a natural birth, c-section was not an option to discuss unless I had a recommendation from a specialist who she refused to give me a referral to.
I was however referred to the head anesthetist because of my weight to see if the hospital would would actually accept me in the first place.
He questioned why I needed to be seen in the first place, saying my weight would only have been an issue if I was so fat that they couldn’t get to my spinal area in case I needed an epidural. He assumed I was there to discuss a planned c-section, we told him our OBGYN said I couldn’t have one and he apologized for wasting our time,.
Most of our appointments left me upset and down on myself and none were actually positive or exciting.
By 6 months I could barely walk due to the pressure on my hips, getting up and down the 1 step in my house was difficult and nearing the end I needed assistance getting up from a chair, had to roll myself out of bed and If I happened to get down on the floor there was no way I could get up on my own. I couldn’t even bend enough to get my cats bowls off the floor to feed them or load the washing machine I was in so much pain.
I also had morning sickness continuously from the 8 week point to the very end. I had to eat breakfast, then throw up and eat again in order to actually keep anything down.
Still a C-section was not even to be discussed.
So, now you know a bit about the pregnancy, here is my labor experience.
My waters broke at 1am on the 29th of July. I felt it coming on and managed to get out of bed and stand over a towel I happened to have left on the floor. I was 38 weeks and 6 days according to the hospitals scans from 21 weeks (38 and 2 if the original scans I had done independently early on are correct as mi told they were probable more accurate based on when they were done) I told my husband, who promptly went back to sleep and I rang my Mum, who is a 4 hour drive away. She and my middle brother drove down together straight away so she could be with me in the delivery room. I also rang the hospital and was advised that as long as I was happy to stay home and relax, try get some sleep and make sure my bag was packed ready for later, call back if concerned, etc, etc.
she also advised me to keep them posted on how I was going, contractions and my mental state and to call every couple of hours to update them. So I did that. Didn’t manage to sleep though as the contractions, while not painful were very uncomfortable if I lay down. So I stayed up and cleaned my house, made breakfast, got my snack bag ready. Mum and Jeremy arrived at about 5amand Jeremy set up shop in the lounge for a sleep after working the night shift, getting home, getting a call from Mum and jumping in the car for the drive down.
By 8am the contractions were about 3-5 minutes apart and lasting a minute and more at a time. Very irregular but close together and getting intense so I decided it was time to go. Woops, peak hour, city bound, what would usually have been a half hour trip was an hour. Oh well, I think I can be forgiven for not thinking of peak hour traffic in labor.
We get to the hospital, go to the birthing suits, are sent into one and then have to wait 2 hours to be checked in. they had to decide whether to send me home or keep me there. Well they kept me, told me they would give me something to speed things up a bit and by the end of the day I would be holding my little baby boy.
My waters had already broken, I was having contractions, I had started dilating (not much though) so as the word “induced” was never used it didn’t cross my mind. I unknowingly consented, was then promptly strapped to machines, had needles jabbed in me multiple times as they couldn’t get into a vein and had to get an anesthetist to do it, who strapped my arm up so tight I ached and turned purple before he could get a vein anyway. And my hand didn’t stop hurting until a couple of days after I had the baby!
I was not allowed to use the shower for pain relief, a water birth was totally out of the question despite having the facilities and them not being in use. I was confined to the bed with straps around my belly to monitor the baby, and when they kept slipping off the midwife insisted on using the scalp monitor on him. I objected strongly to this but she persisted until I, in tears finally gave in. from that point on she wouldn’t speak to us.
There was 1 chair in the suit and I had my husband and Mum with me. We asked if there was another chair and were told to go to the waiting room to sit down. My husband fell asleep on the bed at one point (I needed to walk anyway) and was woken and shooed to the waiting room.
I was gassed up to the nines, at some point it wasn’t enough and I had the pethidine. Over a few hours I had 3 doses of pethidine. The pain in my hips was excruciating and barely dulled by all these drugs. As the pain was worst during contractions, the midwife on duty at the time (my third) ignored me entirely when I told her it was my hips (connection from legs to hips to be precise)that were the issue and I couldn’t bare it much longer. Eventually the anesthetist came and we went down the epidural path.
This should have ended the troubles. Nope.
Once again, did not even dull the pain in my hips, though I could no longer feel the contractions themselves. The midwife ignored my plea’s to see the doctor and after my husband demanded she go and get her she left the room and we hardly saw her again. We did not see the doctor. The Anesthetist eventu ally came and after 4 doses of epidural anesthesia he sat down and we talked about what was going on with my pain. After actually talking to me and not just the bitchy midwife he agreed it was my hips and not the contractions themselves giving me trouble and that no amount of painkillers they could give me was going to change that. Also considering after 25 hours I had only dilated 4.5 cm total it was only going to get worse and probably not progress without further interference anyway.
I was flat out refusing forceps or suction and he agreed with m y hips C-section was going to be the end result anyway and went to get it organized.
Less than an hour later I was being wheeled into surgery with my husband, was given a gross liquid to drink as I had been eating on and off through the whole labor which made me nauseous. So with another lot of anesthesia (total of 5 via Epidural, 3 Pethidine and a shit tone of Nitrous Oxide) at 2.50am 30th of July, I was vomiting my guts up while my son was delivered into the world.
As soon I laid eyes on him I said to my husband “he’s got your chin” and “oh he’s a monkey!”
It was magical. My little boy looked so cross and serious but stopped crying as soon as I held him. He was my little monkey. As his daddy held him for the first time (first time he held a baby) I was filled with so much joy and pride I didn’t know I could be so happy.
He was taken across the cavernous (I’m sure it wasn’t as big as it seemed to be) room to be checked and cleaned. I couldn’t take my eyes off him. Everyone in the team (with the exception of bitchy midwife) congratulated us and commented that he was “actually a cute baby” which filled me with pride. They weren’t just saying “oh isn’t he lovely” to be polite, as you do to any mother. He was “actually” a beautiful baby.
He was taken to the ward with my husband and I was wheeled to recovery.
Withing a half hour I had sat myself up and was eager to go. The bitchy midwife came to do something with paperwork and the nurse with me asked her to take me up to the ward. She refused. Soon after an orderly took me up to my baby.
We named our little man Elliot Nicolai Thorne Kelsey (Jakes sisters name is Nicola and my Pops middle name is Thorne. Later found out it’s actually a family name passed down so he was excedingly proud)
6 hours after a c-section I was up and walking and feeling better than I had in months. I was on such a high I hardly slept and that afternoon I was aching to go home. A surgeon came and checked me over, asking repeatedly if I was sure I had had a c-section less than 18 hours earlier and had to check for himself before giving me the okay to go home the next day.
The next morning I was all ready to go by breakfast time but had to wait for the nurse to discharge me, which she kept putting off until mid afternoon. When Jake came to pick us up we were given some paperwork and sent on our way. No goodie bag I’m told I should have received. The paperwork only half filled out, we were not escorted to our car and our seat was not checked.
In the days following I developed an infection in the wound and went to Frankston hospital instead where I was treated with kindness, respect and was thoroughly cared for. My home visits with the Sandringham nurses were great, very thorough and they urged me to lodge complaints about my treatment while in hospital.
Today, 7 months on I am fully recovered, I have a thriving baby boy who I adore with my whole being and all those wonderful Mummy hormones are already making me want baby number 2. considering I would be able to book in for a C-section this time, I’m actually considering it.