It's a nerve-racking time becoming a new parent. You follow the advice of your midwife and believe that what they say is in you and your baby's best interests.
I've previously shared my story of the trauma I experienced but this is what happened in the lead up.
Every woman's pregnancy and birth is different. Mine started out with difficulty because we had IVF. Once we were successful we had our six week scan and we were transferred to the NHS for the remainder of our care. It went downhill from there.
I contacted my GP and they informed me the midwife would be in touch.
Eleven weeks went by and being a first time mum I assumed this was normal. I decided to contact them again. I could tell by their reaction this was anything but normal. Of course, the midwife was apologetic and made an appointment for me. After my 12 week scan and blood tests I was told I had an iron deficiency and was suffering with severe morning sickness. I was put on medication.
I saw a consultant once at the hospital, after that it was all registrars, a different one every time. When I first met the consultant he asked why I was there. I was quite annoyed he clearly hadn't read my notes. I expressed my concerns. I was worried that I may not give birth naturally. I asked about a C-section - it was laughed off and I was told it was nerves. The midwife gave the same reply.
Over the months I brought this fear up. It finally came to the time for my birth plan, which unsurprisingly, was late. It wasn't my midwife that came round, she had moved surgeries. I understand staffing issues in the NHS but I believe having the same or even having two different midwives that you see regularly will help any misunderstandings as you build a relationship with them at this scary time.
My birthing plan consisted of me filling out a form and ticking boxes for which pain relief I wanted. I had no clue what the difference in pain relief truly meant and what would happen to you if you were not given that pain relief. I'd heard of women singing about an epidural. 'Take it I was told.' I'd heard of gas and air, everything else was new to me. Once again I stressed about delivering her naturally as I suffered with historical gynaecology issues.
I went into labour four weeks prior to my due date. I was terrified. My waters didn't break. I guessed that I was in labour, my husband timed the contractions. I arrived at the hospital and was told I was four cm dilated and would not be going home. I heard screams - the midwife said 'it's not that bad. Some women just like to scream.'
I was transferred into a room, things were going well. I thought, this really isn't that bad. Until a student midwife entered the room. I was on no pain relief at this time and was standing up as lying down was not an option. It hurt so much. My baby was back to back and stayed that way all the way through. They had to break my waters for me.
Still no pain relief.
The trained midwife sat on a chair writing up what I can only assume to be my notes. I look back now and after having the IVF I lived in a bubble for eight months. I ate the right things. I did the right things. I was looking to the midwives for them to tell me what I should do.
Should I have an epidural? Can I? What now?
I finally had gas and air and pethidine. It took the edge off.
I remember my husband arguing with them to do something as I was in and out of consciousness. I look back and I was right. I believe that a woman truly knows their body and yes, a doctor can give their medical advice, but it should not be laughed off. An explanation and some empathy is not too much to ask.
I think we need a more in-depth one to one regarding our birthing plans and not made to feel we are just an anxious mother to be. If they had listened to me I may not have suffered the trauma I did that day. Or feel like the failure I do.
I was left traumatised suffering with PND and PTSD and left with injuries from which I am still recovering.
What is your opinion on this? What would you change?