Apologies for not writing on here sooner. Welcome to 2018.
So Lucy Mia Freya was born on July 6th.
Via emergency c-section.
So not the birth i wanted i know they rarely are, but i had pleaded for a planned c-section and the result to placate me was to book me in 3 days after my due date. Lucy was born 2 days before her due date!
Following a visit to hospital due to having a bleed, but was told it was a 'show' and brown blood was normal, i continued to bleed. I saw my consultant for a sweep a few days later to again be told the brown blood discharge was normal. I had period pains and the week pre Lucy being born felt like early labour to me. At my sweep i was 2 cm dilated.
However, as feared things changed on the evening of the 5th July after Paul had left for his night shift. At around 9.15pm i thought my waters had broken, but upon inspection i was haemorrhaging red blood. I quickly sit on the kitchen floor and phoned 999. I really thought i was miscariaging and was terrified.
I phone my dad to come up and stay with Callum and manage to reach Paul to come home.
I get blue lighted to Harrogate hospital.
Apparently it was heaving so i say i'll go anwhere, but as i'm booked in that is where i go, they were afterall getting extra staff in.
So i arrive and get taken to the delivery suite, but get a slot in a room of several pregnant mums all with some complication or another and all at various points of pregnancy.
So no privacy. Again i am asked all the questions about my family and again i have to mention Harry re previous births and again explain that he has died.
I discuss my desire for a planned c section. I am asked to explain why i want one. Well because i am haemeraging blood for one and terrified that my baby will die. I then explain about Harry, aware all and sundry will hear too and that is not fair to them and me. Nobody reads my notes!!
My blood pressure is through the roof. I keep saying it's anxiety, they test for pre eclampsia as is routine. I have to take tablets to bring my blood pressure down. Paul is with me and feels helpless and powerless.
I need a wee and am told to use the toilet. I am bleeding, but told to put a pad and pants on! I refuse and a bed pan is reluctantly brought to me!
At 4am i accept nothing will be done to induce me and i am told my case will be discussed again at ward round. Knowing hospitals i knew this could be mid morning, so i suggest Paul goes home to get some sleep.
I am left alone, lying on my side, not daring to move as my baby girl's heart beat is being monitored and it keeps going up and down. I have to buzz periodically for assistance, nobody routinely checks me.
I use my mindfulness techniques to keep me focused.
The point of mentioning all of the above in such detail is that for me and my mental health, i wanted to avoid being in this situation. It brought back too many flash backs of Harry. This brought tears to my eyes and again this is all misinterpreted. I was grieving all over again, thinking of Harry, but nobody knew this. I kept having different people answer my call button. One doctor seemed to get me, but then he seemed to be bumped off by a consultant whom sadly did not have an empathetic bean in his body.
So wait till morning i did.
Then at 8am my contractions start. I can't reach my phone to contact Paul.
I monitor them for 10 mins, then realise they are coming close together. 8am signified the change of shifts and doctors.
The new consultant comes and sees me and i tell her about my contractions. She does an internal inspection and finds that the umbillicol chord is blocking the entrance for a safe natural delivery. She was completely different in manner to the previous consultant. She seemed to have read my notes and was aware i had requested a c section in the first place, i felt joyous at being helped and being listened to. I sign emergency c section papers and get rushed down to theatre. I call paul to come back.
Since the spinal block did not take affect quick enough i had a general anaesthetic too.
I missed seeing Lucy come into this world. Paul missed her arrival too. Due to having a general he was not allowed in theatre.
He was terrified too as though Lucy was born at 9.02am he was not informed of her arrival till 9.30am, but also not told if she was ok till he was able to hold her some 30 mins later.
So the arrival of Lucy was traumatic.
I felt very aggrieved about this, as i had tried very hard to articulate myself during my pregnancy to have a controlled birth. Something i felt i needed.
I feel in some part i do suffer from post traumatic stress disorder. Not all the time, but i guess due to being frequently in a medical environment because of being pregnant, it brought back a lot of flash backs for me. I was also concerned about my age, disabilities etc etc and i was failed.
Usually i can control my flash backs which to be honest in the main part are not frequent, but the hospital environment brought it all back and i think mainly my lack of control of events brought back how i felt about Harry at points, particularly in the last 3 months of his life. I was never in control re lucy's birth. I was never listened to. My notes had never been requested re my previous births. Basically i had no trust in the system.
For me i needed to control events as far as was possible. If i had been given a planned c section at 39 weeks the above would have been avoided.
My stay in hospital was filled with each member of staff asking me if i had other children and ages. Again i explained each time about Harry. Well the woman in the next bed had just had her 3rd child, so i could hear from conversations and i wasn't going to deny that Lucy was my 3rd either.
This went on for the 2 weeks after Lucy's birth as i saw different midwives and each asked me if my first.
Again this happened at my 6 week check at the doctors!!!
I have to say the first few weeks of having Lucy was a lovely whirlwind with Callum being off school. We visited friends in Scotland and went to Dumfries in our caravan with Lucy being 3 weeks old. We went to kettlewell for the scarecrow festival and stayed again in our caravan, when she was 5 weeks old!
When callum went back to school, it all hit me. The birth, having Lucy, what to do all day as Callum was at school. My fear of baby groups, meeting new mums, talking or not talking about Harry, but most of all Harry's pending 10th birthday on 12th sept. Oh how i suddenly really missed him. Lucy reminded me of Harry, which brought great memories, but sadness too.
I suddenly felt paralyzed. I ended up in uncontrollable tears when taking Lucy for her 8 week injections. I told myself it would be fine as i'd had no issues taking the others.
What i didn't bank on was whilst holding Lucy tight i had a flash back of the numerous times i had held Harry to have injections. Tears rolled down my face.
I thought i had booked in with a well known nurse, but she was on holiday. The nurse knew nothing about me and again misconstrued my tears. When i explained about Harry i also garbled on about everything else. I was an emotional wreck.
I had been trying to put Lucy's horrible birth behind me, but the way i was not listened to, was how i felt many a time when managing Harry. That horrible helpless feeling.
I endeavoured to get some counselling and did this via Candlelighters. A week later i had my first session.
3 sessions later i felt more me again. I had attended a baby group and also i had written to my consultant stating my concerns over my care, despite my continued efforts to emphasise my anxieties and reasons for wanting a planned c section. I wasn't sure what i would achieve, but via writing the letter i felt i had put some closure to Lucy's birth.
I eventually was contacted by my consultant and invited in to chat to him. Until he had got my notes of Lucy's birth i don't believe he knew how i was admitted etc. I had seen him in passing after Lucy's birth and the way he reacted was as if i got my wish for a c section.
Upon my discussion i felt he was sorry he hadn't given me a planned c section.
He also was able to say that my care was substandard in the sense that it had been unfortunate that upon every visit i had seen someone different, so my discussions around my anxieties were never followed through. He also said that my notes from my previous births should have been requested, but hadn't.
Whether lip service, the meeting made me feel better and i felt i could move on.
I also wanted to highlight the importance of listening to patients, particularly when they have had trauma in their lives and openly discussing anxieties. These are real and are as debilitating as physical problems.
I very much wanted to get across that not only did i have to heal physically from the c section, but mentally as well.
I felt he got this and he said he will take on board what i had said and he has learnt from my experience. I will never know, but i have tried to ensure others are listened to more.
Lucy is now 6 months old.
Callum is so proud to be a big brother. It seems to have helped him. He does still very much miss Harry. He wishes we were a family of 5, which we are, but not on this earth.
I have been to a few baby groups and met a few mums now. Sometimes i mention Harry, sometimes not. It helps that a couple of people i know have recently had babies and so already know all about Harry.
Lucy has a smile like Harry's and has the ability to put a smile on other's faces, just like Harry did. Lucy means light afterall.
She is feisty like both my boys.
She is gonna have spirit and create much mischief!