Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Wrexham North Wales
PTSD after childbirth - anyone else?
My life was completely altered after the birth of my daughter Leah and I do not envisage that ever changing. For those of you who do not know the story, here is Leah's birth story:
Leah was born after Prostin gel induction, when I was aged 26. When originally given the gel, I did not go into labour, but suffered terrible pain for which I was denied pain relief, simply because I wasn't significantly dilated. I was insulted and left, humiliated and sobbing with pain on a general antenatal ward. My community midwife came onto the ward and was horrified at the terrible pain I'd been left in. She gave me pethidene immediately and apologised for the callous behaviour of her hospital based colleagues. When the drug wore off, I did go into 'proper' labour. Leah's birth was precipitate, and followed a really powerful and extremely fast, second stage of labour.
It was hideously, indescribably painful, but, when asked for help I was told not be ridiculous and called stupid. Leah was delivered as I was sat in a moving wheelchair, and landed, at great speed, on the floor, hitting her head with extreme force. The violence with which she was born caused her to travel so far from me that the traction on the umbilical cord partially abrupted the placenta, causing in turn a post partum haemorrhage. Leah took just one tiny gasping breath as she hit the floor, and I begged for them to help her. Instead, the auxiliary pushing me hit her with the wheelchair footplates whilst the midwife ahead of me called me 'ridiculous'. Leah was, after several minutes on the floor, eventually rescued and passed to me, spending several further minutes blue and lifeless in my arms until taken from me for rescuscitation. I estimated that the time taken to rescuscitate her was in excess of half an hour (not good), during which time she received the attention of two midwives, one auxiliary and two paediatric staff. She was then transferred to SCBU, where, along with other treatment, she was tube fed against my wishes and given oxygen.
Leah suffered many injuries. The side of her head that was in collision with the floor suffered extreme bruising and immense swelling. Her face was cut in several places – gashes were visible on her forehead, her nose, both her lips, and her chin. This was due to the collision with the (still moving) wheelchair footplates as she lay with her head to one side on the floor.
No-one would listen to me and all my pleas for help, first for me, and then for my stricken and dying baby on the floor, were met with scorn, insult and abuse. If it had not actually happened to me, I would never believe it, and I am sure that there are many who hear my story who think I am some kind of psychotic lying nutter!! That hurts - one thing I crave is acceptance and understanding of what I went through that night
I made a complaint about what happended to us and some awful, dreadful things were done to me to stop me making what had happened public. but, in the end, the midwife concerned got away with what she did and yet we continue to suffer. Legal action to get damages for Leah to help pay for the special educational assistance that she needs, have failed, and the whole thing, almost ten years on, remains distressing and disgusting.
My life will never be the same and the worst of it is that I can't quite shake off my own guilt. If only I had refused to get in that wheelchair. Initially, I did refuse, but they bullied me into it even though I knew the baby was coming - well, you do, don't you?! With hindsight, I cannot adequately explain why I did as I was told (it's not normally in my nature to) except to say that I was in terrible, terrible pain, scared out of my wits, and had no-one else to trust.
I'm not the only woman to suffer this kind of abuse in childbirth - that much I know for sure. Has anyone else had to come to terms somehow with the people who injured their child being let off scot free? I'm not sure it will ever reach the point where it doesn't make me want to howl with rage.
NB: I am in the UK.
Never give up, never surrender!