From the moment I got out of hospital after giving birth, I’ve felt so much sadness about everything that happened there. This sadness has been with me every day and is crippling at times. However, recently I’ve become aware of a change in how I am viewing what happened during Joseph’s birth and I only realised it the other day when I was having a therapy session. I’ve been having CBT for the past 6 weeks and I’m finally starting to feel some change. In the past week I have started to feel angry about what happened to me and less sad. I am still grieving for the birth experience that I didn’t have, but I am now feeling angry about how I was treated and how I still feel left in the dark about a lot of it. I know this change is a good thing. This anger has actually spurred me on to finally request my debrief at the hospital, although it took ages for them to get back to me only for them to tell me I had to request it through my GP who is probably the least useful person I have ever met.
I’m angry about the total lack of proper information at the antenatal class that we did. Yes, they spoke about what will happen in a general way, but very little was said about what could go wrong, or how to cope if things didn’t go to plan. Nor did they mention the fact that breastfeeding may be difficult if you have a traumatic birth/c section/blood loss. As a result, when I did struggle to breastfeed, I felt like a failure. I know not everyone wants to know what could go wrong, but personally, I would rather have been better informed and not been so naive. I had this expectation that it would all be ok if I just did my breathing and didn’t labour on my back.
That brings me on to my next point. I’m angry about the fact that I couldn’t move when I was in labour. I had to be continuously monitored throughout labour due to meconium being in the waters, so I was on my back permanently, which is everything I had been told not to do. I knew it would slow down the contractions, and lo and behold, it did. I kept saying I didn’t want to be lying on my back or on the bed at all, but I was mostly ignored. Our first midwife at one point allowed me to get on a birthing ball, but the monitors on my belly kept slipping off, so I had to get back on the bed.
I’m angry that I allowed them to intervene so much, when I knew that the minute they started with their interventions, it would lead to more and I’d end up not having the birth I wanted.
I’m angry that I was put on a hormone drip to speed up the contractions without any real discussion, and I’m angry that I allowed two midwives to attempt to put in the cannula 5 times, leaving me with puncture marks all over my hands. One of them was actually huffing and puffing at me, as if it was my fault she couldn’t find a vein. I remember internally screaming ‘just f***ing get it done!!’
I’m angry that when we had that rude anaesthetist (spoken about here), I wasn’t in a better frame of mind to ask for someone else, or for her not to shout at me. I was so taken aback by her rudeness and was in such a state anyway, that I just cried.
I’m angry that, when they decided I was going for a C Section, I didn’t speak up and ask them if my baby’s life was in danger. I still don’t know the real reason why I had a C Section – what I was told at the time and what is written in my notes are completely different, so I don’t know if it was absolutely necessary to have one. Obviously if it was necessary, I’ll accept it. I find it ridiculous now that the consent forms were given to me to sign, as I had no real choice in the matter.
I’m angry that when I was shaking violently on the operating table, no one told me why or acknowledged it. It may be normal to them, but to me it was terrifying. I’m angry that no one seemed to notice or care that I was losing consciousness when I was losing blood, and I’m angry that not one person told me why I lost so much, or where the bleed was coming from.
I’m angry that my baby was taken away so quickly, and that we didn’t get skin to skin. From what I can gather, there’s no reason why we couldn’t have had it. Even when we were back on the ward, no one suggested it. I was so traumatised and exhausted that the thought didn’t even come into my mind, I had no idea what to do. It would have been nice for one of them to suggest it, being that it was in my birth ‘plan’.
I’m angry at the way I was made to feel like I was a bad mother for struggling to breastfeed, instead of being supported to either continue trying, or supported in my decision to stop (spoken about in a previous post).
I’m angry at the casual way a Doctor (who was coming to test my blood to see what infection I had), relayed a conversation she had with someone on the way to see me where she told them, ‘I’m on my way to see someone with sepsis’. Turns out I didn’t have sepsis, but I’ll never forget the worry I had that I was going to die. I’m angry that I still do not know what infection I did have, or where it was.
I’m angry at my community midwife for how she treated me when she visited us at home after the birth. I was crying my eyes out telling her about the birth and all she said was ‘I’m not discharging you today, because I don’t think you’re ready. See you next week’, without so much as a shred of support or empathy. When she left I cried even more as I then felt there was something wrong with me and had no one to support me. I was just left alone with my baby. I’m angry at my GP for how she treated me at my 6 week check. I had built this up in my mind so much beforehand, as I knew something wasn’t right with how I was feeling and I thought ‘finally I’ll get some help’. When I was sobbing, explaining how traumatised I was she pointed at Joseph and said ‘Well it’s really affecting him isn’t it?!’ as some sort of weird joke, before handing me a list of counselling organisations to contact.
I feel so completely let down by 90% of the medical staff I’ve encountered over the last few months and I have lost pretty much all trust in them. I actually can’t believe some of them are in the medical profession. It’s supposed to be a caring profession, yet I felt completely ignored and disregarded throughout the whole thing. I’m holding on to this anger, it feels good and I know it is progress. The more I think about it the angrier I become actually, but it’s a relief to not feel so sad about it all the time. Having a C Section is supposed to be a rare thing and yet I know of a fair few people even in the last year who have had similar experiences to me. And although I’m not relishing the thought of going back to that hospital, I’m hoping that my debrief will finally give me some answers and who knows, maybe even some closure to the whole thing.