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The Birth of Charles
The worst experience of my life


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#1 PopperPenguin

Posted 10 March 2012 - 01:42 PM

This may get long...

My pregnancy was pretty straightforward - I had several weeks of morning sickness, and then continued to vomit everyday (but not feel sick) until week 26. I finished work at 33 weeks because my job requires me to be on my feet all the time and I got too tired to continue. In the last few weeks of my pregnancy (probably from week 35) I experienced swelling in my feet and hands and face but they weren't extremely bad and I attributed it to being the middle of summer. From about week 37, I started having bad headaches.

Friday Feb 24th, I woke feeling strange. I couldn't put my finger on the feeling, I just felt odd in the head. During breakfast I noticed that baby was unusually quiet - usually at breakfast time, baby would wake up and start to give me a few good kicks and rolls. I considered calling birthing suite to mention I couldn't feel movements but decided to wait, as I had my 39 week checkup in the early afternoon. I went out to lunch with a friend and experienced several sharp stabbing pains in my abdomen. After leaving lunch I drove to my midwife appointment. It was while I was driving that I realised that the cramping feeling I'd had all day was peaking in pain every 5 minutes or so. I began to wonder if I was in labour. In the waiting room I continued to have the pains every 5 minutes. I told the midwife that I thought I was in labour and that I hadn't felt baby move since very early morning. She checked baby's heart rate which was normal and suggested I go into birthing suites for fetal monitering. I called my dad to pick me up as DF was 45 minutes away. As I was waiting outside for him I felt a hot gush of fluid run down my legs - I thought I'd wet myself! I looked down and it felt like my heart stopped - running down my legs was bright red blood. I knew that there could be blood mixed in when your waters broke, but this was solid, thick, bright red blood. I called my dad again in a panic to see how far away he was then went back inside the health centre. The midwife calmed me down and said it was very likely my waters had just broken. Dad came and got me and we drove to the hospital where DF met me.

In birthing suite they hooked me up to monitering devices. Then they checked down there and everyone seemed to go pretty silent. I heard one midwife say to the other - that's a lot of blood. They went and got the doctor who felt around my belly to see if my placenta had abrupted. Then they checked my cervix thinking my cervix was bleeding, but after they examination they concluded the bleeding was coming from inside my uterus but couldn't pinpoint where or why. Because of the amount of blood they decided to start me on syntocin and induce labour. I had wanted to give birth in the bath without any drugs except gas but understood that they wanted to get the baby out. So I was hooked up to the drip and not long after contractions started to get stronger. After a while I asked for the gas which helped me concentrate through contractions. They struggled to get a good balance of syntocin as the contractions started coming on top of each other, but when they lowered the amount in the drip, the contractions slowed down and were not strong enough to dilate. I was contracting every minute. After 4 hours they checked me for dilation - only 2 cms. It was then I asked for pethidine. The pethidine was great - it allowed me to feel like I was sleeping between contractions - even though they were only a minute apart. After another couple of hours the pethidine was wearing off, they checked me for dilation again and found that I was full of waters. They then broke the waters and it was like being set on fire - the contractions became so fierce that I thought I was going to die, and on top of that I got the overwhelming urge to push. I was only 6 cms so the midwife and doctor were saying 'don't push, don't push, don't push' while I'm laying there trying to force my body NOT to push. As the pain got more intense I begged for an epidural. Thankfully the aneathetist came very quickly and after the epidural set in I was finally able to rest. The night passed slowly and DF was able to get some rest now that I wasn't pulling his hair or breaking his fingers. At 4.30am they checked me and found I was fully dilated. The decision was made to wait an hour before pushing. Watching that clock for an hour was terrible. At 5.30 am we began to push. My legs were put in stirrups as I could not feel a thing. As each contraction came the midwife let me know to push. I pushed as hard as I could for as long as I could but not well enough. By then, the midwife handed over to the doctor as we were not getting anywhere. The doctor decided to try to use the ventouse. She attached the ventouse to babys head and in doing so discovered that baby was facing the wrong way - face down instead of face up. Using the ventouse she turned the baby around while two midwives manipulated my stomach. I could not feel any pain, but the pressure and the sounds of sucking and squelching and just the force used to turn the baby made me feel sick. She then tried to pull him out on the next push. As I was pushing and she was pulling, the ventouse popped off the baby's head. On the next contraction she tried again with the same result. Every time the ventouse popped off, the doctor would literally be thrown back across the floor. It scared me how much force they were using to try and get my baby out - what was that kind of force doing to my poor baby?
I was starting to go into shock and things became very hazy. They then told me that they were going to have to try and use the forceps to get the baby out, which meant having an episiotomy. Again thanks to the epidural I felt nothing. Doctor then tried to get the forceps around baby's head - no luck. She could not get a grip on the head at all. Baby's heartrate started to decrease so they made the decision to call in the head obstetrician from home. He arrived at around 7am. He said - if I can't get this baby out first go, we will need to perform a c-section. He inserted the forceps and thankfully was able to get them around the baby's head, then waited for the next contraction. Then it was - push push push as hard as you can! and I saw the OB pulling as hard as he could. Next thing I hear this popping sound, and I was told baby's head had come out finally. On the next push the Ob guided the rest of the baby's body out and my son was put onto my chest. He was covered in bright red blood and DF and I just burst into tears that he was was finally here. But he just lay there and would not cry and less than a minute later he was taken off my chest and a team of paediatricians and midwives started working on him - getting him to breathe and respond. I felt lost - I kept saying 'why isn't he crying, whats wrong with him, is he ok?' They reassured me that he was fine, breathing, just stunned. Then they told me he needed to go to Special Care Nursery and took him out of the room. I was getting stitched up and I just lay there thinking - this whole night has gone by, it's been so violent and graphic, and where is my baby? I became violently ill - vomiting and then I fainted. I lay there for several hours before feeling well enough to go see my baby.

He looked terrible - he had great big forcep marks on both sides of his face. And his head, his poor head was swollen and bruised from the ventouse. The SCN nurses warned me that he was probably going to get jaundice due to the bruising on his head, which he did. He was popped into a humidicrib with phototherapy lights. I was still thinking perhaps it will only be for 24 hours and then he will be back with me and we could go home. But everytime anyone moved him he would scream in pain. 24 hours turned into 48 then 72 and noone could tell me what was wrong with him. He was on a drip for fluids, iv antibiotics, under lights and on pain killers. An ultrasound on his head showed nothing structurally wrong so it was concluded he just a whopper headache. It was 8 days after he was born before I was able to take my darling boy home.

I would not say my birth experience was disappointing as I got my beautiful son Charles Llewellyn. But i've certainly found it very traumatic and I am utterly terrifed of having any more children. I believe the only way I will ever consider having more babies is if I can deliver via c-section. My placenta has been sent away for tests, they think perhaps I had undiagnosed Pre-Eclampsia, even though all throughout my pregnancy my blood pressure was fine and I never had protein in my urine.

Thanks for reading if you made it this far.

#2 T2Mum

Posted 10 March 2012 - 01:52 PM

Holy crap. All I can say is well done to you for surviving such a traumatic birth. I can't believe that they didn't do a c-section when you had the first big bleed!!!!

Please don't hesitate to ask to be put in touch with someone for counselling if you need it.

I hope that your bub is now doing really well with you at home.

#3 Lakey

Posted 10 March 2012 - 02:36 PM

Feeling for you, both my births were very similar.  I think ventouse and forceps should be banned.  My DD was also under lights for 8 days, she was 4 points off needing a blood transfusion.

I'm glad he is ok, but keep talking about it, and your DF too, it is traumatic for them too.

#4 ali27

Posted 10 March 2012 - 02:45 PM

sorry the birth was so traumatic. Hopefully your son is recovering now and you can start to move forward. Congratualtions on his arrival and I think you have chosen a lovely name. wishing you, DF and little Charles lots of happiness.

#5 Expelliarmus

Posted 10 March 2012 - 02:49 PM

DD1 was born with forceps as well, I feel for you, it's awful. Congrats on your little man, OP and I hope you feel better soon.

#6 frogsong

Posted 10 March 2012 - 02:55 PM

I'm sorry you had such a terrible birth experience.  Best of luck to you all and may you enjoy have little Charles home with you.

#7 Rainbow Brite

Posted 10 March 2012 - 03:02 PM

I'm very sorry to hear of your traumatic experience but congratulations on the birth of baby Charles. I hope that now you are at home you are settling in and having lots of big cuddles and bonding time.   You are amazing to have gotten through this experience  and I certainly would have been traumatised too.

#8 sparkle-tiffany

Posted 10 March 2012 - 03:12 PM

Wow, you did an amazing job mama! What a scary thing to experience. I am so glad everything is ok with little Charles. I also delivered a posterior baby via ventouse and it was the most horrific thing I have ever experienced. I definitley will not be going back to have any more children.

#9 PopperPenguin

Posted 10 March 2012 - 03:55 PM

Thank you very much everyone. It's nice to know that I'm not overreacting about how the birth has affected me iykwim.

I see a psychologist so I'll be getting some good counselling over Charlie's birth. Even just talking about it, writing it down has made it a bit better to deal with.

Myself, DF and Charles are doing pretty well at home. We had a horrible start as Charles was so used to being in constant light and noise in SCN so trying to get him to understand nighttime was a challenge. However he is a surprisingly placid little boy and has made the transition quicker than I thought he would.

Thanks again.

#10 Suzewantstwo

Posted 10 March 2012 - 03:56 PM

Ths brings back horrifying memories for me too.  My DS (7months) was an emergency c section after a placental abruption where the blood loss was just shocking.  This was also one of the worst (and agonizing) days of my life so I understand your trauma.  My DS was whisked away not breathing and was also in the SCN for a week being tube fed and kept warm...we have ongoing problems now and I believe it is due to his prematurity but the doctors say they can't be sure why we are having the difficulties that we are...I feel for you.

Edited by Suzewantstwo, 10 March 2012 - 03:58 PM.


#11 hopinfor5now!!

Posted 11 March 2012 - 02:40 PM

hi fool,

i dont post very often but when i read your story i couldnt not reply.

i had almost a carbon copy of your delivery. however, i didnt have forceps. my DD was my 4th & the previous 3 had gone smoothly without any complications. when i got to the hospital, i was fully dilated & told to push & she would be here very quickly. almost 2 hrs later, they found she was posterior & stuck. the ob on duty did everythng he could to get my baby girl out, incl what i see as scare tactics, to get me to give it everything i had left in me. i had the exact same experience as you with the vac, the noises etc, & the desperation in the ob's & midwives voices & eyes will never leave me. he however gave it a bit too much & my daughter had her skin removed from her scalp leaving literally a bloody round open wound on her head. she spent 4 days in the nursery as she developed an infection & wouldnt feed.she too had scans etc to make sure there was no other damage & thankfully she was given the all clear.  i also had a PPH which i had never had before & lost almost a litre which i was not given a transfusion for & for close to 5mths walked around in a daze & lived on iron tablets.

to say it was the worst experience of your life is not over dramtising, in my opinion. i spent almost a yr trying to fight what i now know was PTSD. i had months of counselling to come to terms with what happened to her & me,mentally & physically. i can understand your fear of not wanting to have any more. but i went on to have another. i had counselling during the pregnancy to better prepare for the possibility of things not going the way i planned.

i dont want to scare you, but i had another posterior baby with shoulder dystocia but i was hell bent on avoiding the vac & forceps. i did avoid them all be it was a difficult delivery again, but this time the midwives & the ob & myself where better prepared & the outcome was alot more positive.

i still went to counselling after that one too but only because it brought up issues from the previous one. i still have guilt issues & thoughts & memories still pop up almost 4 years on. but definatley seek counselling. i tried to do it alone & i tried to talk to friends but i got more upset that they kept saying things like 'you've got a beautiful baby. everythings fine. move on'. it was a traumatic experience that i found i had to deal with in order to be able to move on. birth isnt always the wonderful thing we think it is.

all the best to your little boy & all the best to you.

#12 ememem

Posted 11 March 2012 - 05:49 PM

I'm sorry you didn't get the birth experience you were hoping for. sad.gif

I could've written your post myself almost 13 years ago. Word for word! But I went on To have a second birth experience which was no drugs, no intervention. original.gif whether you decide to have another baby is yours and your hubby's decision. Block out those "oh but you have to have one more so Charles doesn't get lonely". Pfft. Load of bollocks that is! It's fine to stop at one, just as its fine to have 10!

Also remember you don't have to decide today whether you'll have more. That's a bridge you don't have to cross until you're ready.

Take the time to speak with someone about how you are feeling, as it is a very traumatic thing you have been through. Allow yourself time to process, deal, heal.

Take care x

#13 IShallWearMidnight

Posted 11 March 2012 - 06:38 PM

im' sorry you had a traumtic experience!

#14 Dauntless

Posted 11 March 2012 - 10:58 PM

I am very sorry that you had such a hard time. Rest assured that in time it will become easier to remember it as the trauma will fade and your son will replace this memory with beautiful ones of his own making.

My first son's birth was quite traumatic and ended in a high forceps delivery. His early photographs are marred by the huge forcep bruises on his little face.  I was so traumatised (physically and mentally) by his birth that I asked for and received a c/s for my second birth.  It was a calm and happy event and what I needed at the time.

Later I regretted it as I have now had 4 c/s and to try for a 6th baby would make it my 5th c/s.  But I imagine that would not be  a problem for many women, as they do not want 6 children, lol.

Give yourself time to heal and then decide what you want for your next birth.  Do not feel guilty either way, as a calm, scheduled c/s can be very positive and a happy occasion. I recovered extremely well from my first, second and third c/s, in fact, the recovery was much less painful than my forceps delivery which involved a large episiotomy (sp) and tear.

If you try a vaginal delivery, that could also work out completely differently and very positively.

I hope you are enjoying life with your new bubba  original.gif

#15 Hello_Kitty

Posted 13 March 2012 - 07:09 PM

I couldn't just read & not reply.

You are an inspiration, and I'm so sorry you had such a traumatic time. I hope with therapy that you will overcome the negatives in your birth experience.

Glad to hear that you, DH & baby Charles are doing well original.gif

Take care x

#16 mumandboys

Posted 13 March 2012 - 07:19 PM

Wow OP, I admire you for getting through that with your head still screwed on.

I had no such experiences myself, but supported my sister through a 19 hour labour which ended in an emergency c-sec.  Nowhere near as traumatic as your experience, but still opened my eyes to what can happen in the labour/birth process.

Agree with the PP who said your memory of the trauma will fade with time, and with counselling.  Very pleasing that your little one is doing so well after such a rough start.

All the best to you OP.

#17 runnybabbit

Posted 15 March 2012 - 06:34 PM

OMG OP I almost burst into tears reading your post, and I'm not usually a cryer -- it just sounded SO frightening. You sound really brave so I am glad you are getting help dealing with the aftermath. How scary, and how wonderful that you and bub are well.

#18 whydoibother

Posted 20 April 2012 - 02:53 PM

My first birth was similar but my OB was very experienced and could see the ventouse would not work (she was posterior and stuck well he turned her first) and went straight for forceps-DD was fine luckily but yeah she was a cranky baby and had an awfully flat head and bruising for the first few weeks.  So I guess she had a sore head.  Unlike you I could feel it all and Dr had to use local to do the episiotomy.  

I am just thankful I have my DD.  I was scared for the next one but I only tore 2nd degree and he actually did worse than DD and the same with my last!


#19 Kay1

Posted 20 April 2012 - 03:40 PM

Wow, you poor thing, what an ordeal! I hope it helped a bit to get it off your chest and write it out here.

Your son is just divine, I am so glad he is home with you now.

#20 rose36

Posted 28 April 2012 - 12:09 PM

Congratulations on the arrival of your beautiful boy!  He really is just divine.

Congratulations to you for being such a strong woman and making it through such a horrific experience.   I'm glad you're getting counselling.  What a traumatic experience you have had.  

I, too, had a traumatic first birth which completely did my head in (PND,PTSD).  Just wanted to tell you that I went on to have another child, also a vaginal delivery.  I was completely terrified.  I had an early epidural.  Ended up having a venthouse (apparently my pelvis is at a steep angle for exiting).  But it was all so much better second time round.

Best of luck!

#21 tibs

Posted 28 April 2012 - 12:37 PM

QUOTE (T2Mum @ 10/03/2012, 01:52 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Holy crap. All I can say is well done to you for surviving such a traumatic birth. I can't believe that they didn't do a c-section when you had the first big bleed!!!!


That was my first thought too  ohmy.gif

Congratulations on your gorgeous little boy.  There is no shame in requesting a c-sec next time around if that will make you more comfortable and less anxious original.gif

#22 Natttmumm

Posted 28 April 2012 - 12:50 PM

That's a traumatic experience. Glad you are see a psych to help you through it. I had a hard birth and didn't get help and I'm sure it still impacts on me. I did have number 2 and all went really well.

#23 3cherubs

Posted 04 May 2012 - 11:59 PM

Sounds similar to mine. It takes a long time to get over the trauma and only now we have found out my son at age 5 has SPD (Sensory Processing Disorder) in which it is almost certain to have been caused by the birth trauma. Talk to a counsellor if you need to and definately take him to a chiropractor that specialises in babies as often the spine becomes misaligned, which can cause irritability/relux/fussiness/pain, from the use of forceps/ventouse and the pulling of the head and spine. Your son is probably fine but it wouldn't hurt and would actually benefit his wellbeing/health anyway. After my hideous hospital birth I went on to have 2 more children - girls, born at home in a birthing pool and they were both AMAZING, empowering home births. I just wish I knew about home births before I had my son sad.gif

Edited by 3cherubs, 05 May 2012 - 12:10 AM.





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