As the time for giving birth nears I am filled with more and more apprehension. I cannot help but feel that birth is over medicalised and interventions happening more as a “just in case” preventative measure. (And yes I do know birth is a dangerous business both for mum and baby, where numerous complications may arise!)
Those who have followed my pregnancy journey have seen how I long for a calm and quiet homebirth, but have compromised, facing my fears, and conceded to giving birth in the hospital (as long as they have a birthing pool available!… we’ve even joked about taking our own in.)
Just as I am getting my head around things I read this on one of the closed forums I follow:
“I’m so annoyed!!
My son’s girlfriend has just had a baby in our local maternity hospital. Labour was induced at 38+4, due to high blood pressure 167/95 and oedema. I personally wouldn’t have considered induction, but they seemed happy with the decision.
Anyway, when she got to hospital they broke her waters and a few hours later set up a drip (oxytocin?) to induce contractions. Around midnight, they decided to stop this – she was tired and they thought she needed a break from the contractions, but she carried on contracting on her own. She also had pethidine at around 5am to try and get some sleep.
She was considered to be in established labour when examined at 7am. She was examined again when the shift changed at 9am and found to be 8cm dilated – so a rate of around 2cm per hour.
The new on duty consultant considered this was too slow and told her she hadn’t progressed enough, and had to have a caesarean! She was still groggy from the pethidine and can’t even remember signing the consent forms. The midwives on the ward disagreed with the consultant but were overruled. So she was taken to the theatre.
Whilst he anaesthetist was setting up the epidural, my DiL felt the urge to push, but was told by the consultant that she was imagining it! Luckily the anaesthetist actually refused to continue setting up the epidural and insisted that rather than lining up medical students to observe, that they might actually get some midwives in the room – she actually refused to give the epidural until a midwife had examined my DiL – by the time they had scrubbed up, she was pushing, and the baby was born normally 30 mins later, observed by a group of students – my son reckons in total there was around 12 people in the room.
All was fine with the baby, she has now successfully breast fed, after a slow start, but my son’s GF still had the high blood pressure – not that high in my opinion – 160/95 – her normal, non pregnant BP is a touch on the high side anyway and the 3 readings they have done today were all done apparently when the baby was crying – raising mum’s BP, surely?
She has also been very stressed at having to remain in hospital – the visiting hours are draconian – my son is still at work until his paternity leave starts on Monday and no-one but the father is allowed to visit between 9am and 6pm, so she’s on her own and feeling very vulnerable and upset.
She asked today if she could discharge herself and have a community midwife come to check her BP and she was told…(and I’m really getting quite angry just typing this) “What happens if you discharge yourself and go home and you have a stroke and die and this poor baby is left without a mother? – Is that what you want?” Seriously, that is what a hospital midwife said. Another one said that “if we let you go home and you died of a stroke, your family would immediately sue us and we don’t want that”
She was also informed that if she did discharge herself before a midwife was sure the baby was feeding properly that they would have no choice but to phone Social Services and report her for child abuse!
I would go and argue her rights for her, but as I said, no-one but dad is allowed in until after 6pm, by which time of course all the Drs are nowhere to be seen. I also found it very disturbing that on a 6 bed ward, My son’s GF was the only woman who HADN’T had a c-section. Anyway, hopefully she will be out tomorrow – rant over!
I know it’s probably an isolated incident, but it still fills me with fear. I have experienced the scaremongering- not to this extent, that’s for sure-, on the other hand I trust that most of the NHS staff are lovely and caring. Yet somehow feel the system is having an identity crisis and creaking under all the pressures from different angles. This interferes with the decisions being made by professionals who have different priorities to weight up.
Really interested to hearing your views on the case above
and on birth and labour in general?
Have you faced anything even remotely similar?
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