I met a new fantastic man, I told him from the off that Megan would be my only child and further into the relationship explained why, he said he understood but something in his eyes made me sad. I fell pregnant in a happy accident though I wasn’t so happy at the time, the whole pregnancy I was fraught anxious and terrified, luckily I had a fantastic team around me who accepted my many demands – trust me there were many – so when Lucy was born, it was a planned section, calm , peaceful, almost serene – I was WIDE AWAKE, Tim was there, no one else was allowed to even know I had given birth til later that afternoon and then still not allowed to visit until the following day, Tim & I sat with our pink bundle and bonded, truly bonded, precious previous hours of just us, me absorbing every detail that I missed out on before, an entirely different experience.
I fell pregnant again with Emma, at a really awful time, I was in the pits of depression being treated on medication that was new and untested on humans and we learnt caused miscarriage and skeletal deformities in animals, I was terrified and the pregnancy was a right off, there were so many dark days, if it wasn’t for Babycentre I’m truly not sure whether I would have made it through. I was getting more and more anxious and frightened in the run up to the birth and so they took me in and did the elective early, I felt pretty relaxed after Lucy’s experience and it happened like this
I arrived after a bad nights sleep, noone else was booked in so was taken straight to delivery room to don the horrific hospital gown, have a ‘panic poo’..nerves always get me like that…
So put on surgical stockings (worst bit for me!) and discussed with midwife my pain, eg music, screen, breast feeding , skin on skin etc…. in comes the anaesthetist who I know as I had her last time and is lovely, we have a good chat about the fact that I am worried I am going panic on the table and get nauseous again like last section, she says that she will give me something to stop my BP ditching like it did last time and making me sick, I practise the curl up for her to do the spinal and we then walked down to the theatre, Tim goes to get his scrubs on…
I start to panic and bp starts racing, they then say that they want to scan me first to assess baby position so surgeon knows what’s what when he starts, they scan me and people look concerned and it all goes quiet but say its fine to proceed, I sit back up and pop my feet on a stool and assume the spinal position… anaesthetist is struggling as I start to shake uncontrollably and literally have to be pinned – Tim isn’t there yet – takes her about 10-15 minutes to get in spinal (5 attempts) I am terrified at that point that it’s going to have to be a general.. and after Meg I can’t face that.
I start crying again and they bring in Tim, he tries to calm me, BP is going like a steam train and whatever the anaesthetist has given me now needs to be reversed as its doing me more harm than good as I am in and out on the table.. I come to a bit and someone (nurse) is actually on their knees on the table with me just in front of the screen (so just under my boobs) and I can hear the surgeon shouting, ‘push harder, pull harder, squeeze, hold down, DO IT NOW’ and feel like the screen is hiding Mike Tyson who is knocking seven shades out of me… the surgeon comes up to the top of the table and tells me not to be alarmed – so of course am instantly frightened to death, he says that baby is wedged and they are struggling to get her out without doing some serious damage to me and need to increase the incision to give them more room, so I gibber that they need to do what it takes… some more enormous moves on the table where I swear my whole lower half came off the table for a second and then they said she was out…but no crying… I panicked again and Tim went to over to the paed rescus table and then she screamed and I swear I held my breath the whole time, felt like an age… she was really bruised and they forcepped her out
Then surgeon came up to top again and said that this would now take longer to repair so led there for about another 45 mins whilst stitched up, was out of it really on magic cocktail that I think was only a hairs breadth from a general
Up on the ward and all drugs start wearing off and I have a massive pain from right ribs to shoulder and a killer headache, so they dashed me down to xray to tell me that I have a fractured rib and a collapsed lung from the exertions of getting her out…(nurse on table) more pain from that than anything to be honest, BP crashed again that night and was pretty unwell as I had lost quite a bit of blood. Recovery was awful, holding her painful, the surgeon has made me swear I must never do this again he said I was minutes away from a full hysterectomy and the chances of bladder damage if I do it again are 90% the scarring adhesions were so bad. I ended up MRSA after this one, had to give up breast feeding, and be readmitted which frankly was just awful but am focussing on the positive, I didn’t get PND after this one miraculously, I was alert for it and had pre emptive counselling throughout.
I suffered from terrible PND after my 1st child based mainly around the birth circumstances of Meg I made a conscious decision to not allow this birth experience to swallow me up again, it happened, it wasn’t great, but I had a healthy baby, and a healthy(ish) mummy.. I have accepted that I am pretty rubbish at a)being pregnant and b) giving birth, and to be honest I can deal with that, some women can and some women cant, I fit into the cant category but reassure myself that I am a lovely mummy and my family are blessed to have 3 children all healthy and happy. Im training to be a counsellor now, I want to focus on pregnancy and birth experience as one of my areas, I won’t let the manner of their arrival defeat me, I’m turning it to a positive which under the circumstances is the best thing I can do.
If you have been affected by birth trauma, please visit the Birth Trauma Association to see if they can help.