The story of how a traumatic birth resulted in PTSD and how sometimes it can be a struggle to access any help.
It show’s how important communication is in birth. It also sadly shows how little support there can be after for those affected. Are we listening to those affected by birth trauma?
(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.)
If you wish to contribute a story, or an experience or something else please contact us.
Four weeks before my due date I developed pre eclampsia and was admitted to hospital. It was never explained what it was or what it could do, but there were lots of checks on baby and I had total bed rest. They couldn’t stabilise my BP so I stayed in hospital for 4 weeks before they said they would induced me. Still with no idea of all the potential side effects I just thought my BP was a bit high (turns out dangerously so and the protein in my urine was causing concern but no one thought to tell me ).
On the day I was induced I was hooked up to a drip and labour started. 18 hours later I was taken into the delivery suite and asked if I wanted an epidural as the pain was so bad but labour was very slow. I was so swollen with fluid that the anaesthetist couldn’t find the right place and after a few tries stopped.
I was led down and my legs were put in stirrups and told to push. I told the midwives that nothing was happening but they just said I needed to try harder. I could feel that the baby was stuck and every push was agony my insides felt like they were being ripped. I was screaming in pain but the midwives just told me to concentrate. A doctor came in to see what the noise was and insisted on examining me. I thought it was weird that he shouted at the midwives that I shouldn’t have been left and yelled for the ventouse and forceps. My Baby was stuck, her hands were on her head and every contraction was tearing into me. With no warning he cut me and pulled my baby out. She was covered in blood, they thought it was hers and in the commotion they ticked the male box instead of female on the form. I heard the student nurse say ‘she’s lost about 1500ml is that okay ?’ but no one listened as they still thought my baby was bleeding. The Doctor stitched me up and left, but I felt odd like I was drifting.. I thought I had weed myself and pulled the sheet back to see myself haemorrhage. I said to the midwife ‘is this normal’ and she ran out of the room shouting crash. I didn’t know why.
The other midwife started shouting my name telling me to name my baby, I didn’t know why I still didn’t know if she was a boy or girl they hadn’t told me. She said it was a girl and just kept yelling name your baby. I felt so far away. I hadn’t held her and I hadn’t really seen her. The midwife said favourite flower . Karen focus.. so I said Rose..She told my partner later they thought I wasn’t going to make it and they wanted baby to be named by me. Doctors came running in I can remember being hooked to drips and the bed being tilted so my legs were high. That’s it.
A few hours later I came to, I heard the midwife telling my partner ‘if the bleeding doesn’t stop in the next few minutes she’s going to theatre for a hysterectomy ‘. Then nothing.. A few days later I met my baby..
In a quiet few minutes I found my notes and read them, no one would tell me what had gone wrong only to be grateful for my daughter. Turns out she was stuck, as they pulled her out they pulled me apart causing internal injuries. The blood was not hers it was mine but no one told me. I’d lost pints of blood but was given iron as my count was borderline for a transfusion and I’m a weird blood group. When I was let out, or wheeled out the pre eclampsia came back. I thought I was dying but the emergency doctor the midwife called said I was in danger of having a stroke. I was put on beta blockers , total bed rest and daily visits from him and the midwife. I didn’t get up for 6 weeks. My aunt gave me bedbaths. I felt so ill and out of control I wrote goodbye letters to my family. I thought that was it. Doctors spoke to midwife and partner but not to me. It was the worst time of my life it should have been so lovely.
I started getting panic attacks and anxiety, they put me on prozac. I felt like I was in a pit of blackness . I didn’t see my friends or family for 6 months. I couldn’t I felt such a failure. I’d screwed up I’d done it wrong I hadn’t tried hard enough. I get flash backs even now, if I see childbirth on tv I am sick and I cry. I have anxiety, ocd and depression. After 11 years I found out I was pregnant again and asked for a termination. For the first time a doctor spoke to me about having Rose. She said I had PTSD but that was it. No counselling offered just persuaded me that it would be okay.
It was a different experience but I was in a state of terror the whole pregnancy and the labour was so traumatic. I panicked so much I couldn’t push, I was hysterical and incoherent I was so scared. MY children are 16 and 5. I still have anxiety which phases in and out but is always there, I have bouts of depression , panic attacks and OCD.
Yet still no one wants to listen.