This is Beth’s moving story who wanted to share her experience of birth trauma and the impact it has had on her life but also her husband.
Please be aware that some stories may trigger difficult memories and emotions so remember your own self care as everyone will be at different stages of healing.
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My second child, Alfie was born on 1st December 2014. I was admitted 2 days before that with abdominal pain at 29 weeks pregnant. I was diagnosed with appendicitis and listed for theatre the next day. The next day was Saturday and when the consultant came to see me he decided it wasn’t appendicitis and I could have a scan but it wouldn’t be until the Monday because there are no scan facilities at the weekend.
In the early hours of the Sunday morning my appendix started to rupture and I was taken to theatre 12 hours later for a laparotomy (open operation) to have my appendix removed. They thought the operation had been successful (I hadn’t gone into premature labour) but unfortunately just before midnight on Sunday 3oth November I suffered a massive ante-partum haemorrhage and Alfie was born by emergency C-section at 00:43. I was 29weeks + 5 days pregnant. I had to have another general anaesthetic so missed his birth.
The image in my head of being wheeled down the corridor surrounded by midwives and doctors and being covered in blood will never leave me. I had flashbacks and vivid memories about that for months.
Alfie’s first day alive was the worst day of my life, it should’ve been one of the happiest! I was looked after by the coldest and least caring midwife I have ever met. No one offered to speak to me about Alfie and I had to ask to speak to a doctor. I was in an incredible amount of pain. Eventually by 8pm I was able to go and meet Alfie. The NICU nurses were awful, didn’t introduce me to him. They left me sobbing by his cot. One of the first things they said to me was that they were arranging to transfer him to a level 3 NICU because he was ventilated and very poorly and the only bed available was in Bolton, an hour away! The NICU nurses that night were horrible, told me that they were there to look after Alfie and not me and my husband and that it was my responsibility to arrange via the midwives to be transferred to Bolton as well. We could not go in the ambulance with him.
I did not see Alfie for another 3 days, being transferred to Bolton was too difficult and not possible. We were told that Alfie had suffered a significant bleed on his brain at about 4 days old and it was likely that he would develop Cerebral Palsy. Alfie was transferred back to Tameside after 5 days and spent another 8 weeks in hospital. I had major problems bonding with him but I did manage to breast feed until he was 6 months old. I saw it as one of the only things I could do for him in the early days.
Both myself and my husband were diagnosed with postnatal depression. We struggled through the whole of 2015. Some days I couldn’t get out of bed or just wanted to hide in the shower. Relationships with friends and family suffered and it was apparent who were true friends and who really weren’t. It has had a lasting effect on my relationship with several people who I thought were close friends. There were many people who thought we should just “get over it” and that was by far the hardest thing to deal with. Did they not think that we had tried and tried to do that every single day.
Our experience has changed our lives forever, in a positive but also in a negative way.