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Thread: My birth stories - long

  1. #1
    reddwarf Guest

    Default My birth stories - long

    Eithne’s Arrival

    When I was 8 weeks pregnant we found out I was pregnant in 1998. We were thrilled to be expecting our first child. On 24/12/98, when I was about four months pregnant, all that changed. I was working at Centrelink and a customer came in and went crazy. He went around destroying the office. I couldn’t believe what was happening and I froze. Then everybody was running – I ran too. I ran into the staff toilets with about 20 others. We could hear him smashing up the office. I was scared. Then I realised we couldn’t escape. There were two doors but one we couldn’t run through because it was locked and the office on the other side was empty. The other door was back into our office where the customer was.

    Eventually (what seemed like forever, but in reality was probably only minutes) the noise stopped. We slowly ventured out. The police had him and took him away. We surveyed the damage to the office – broken furniture, computers, printers, files everywhere – about $40000 damage all up. I couldn’t believe what had happened. Up until this I had felt safe in this environment – even though when we went to open plan I was sceptical because customers could easily come around to us.

    We asked the managers if we could shut the doors and were told “no, we have customers to serve”. The day went on. Each team leader (manager) came around and established who in their team was capable of working – i.e. not a blubbering mess. I was in shock but looked fine and so was sent back to work. We continued to work around all the mess and police scene examiners. We were eventually allowed to clean up after the police had finished. We were made to do this whilst we were serving customers.

    About six hours after the incident staff from other offices arrived to take over so we could have a debriefing session. What a joke! I was still too dazed comprehending what had happened. We were given a phone number and told “if you have any problems ring the number. Have a good Christmas and we will see you next week”. That was all the help we received.

    I went home for Christmas. I was in denial and tried to ignore what had happened. The next week life in the office went on as normal except…..I was on edge. I was afraid to be there. I would jump (as did others in the office) if a customer raised their voice. I felt like we had no support from management. We would hear a customer raising their voice at a staff member and watch the managers hide in their offices or run to the opposite side of the office to avoid it. I was scared of going to work. It was hard to go back day after day but everyone else was doing it so I forced myself to. I didn’t tell anybody how I was feeling. I didn’t let them know I wasn’t coping – the mood swings, insomnia, loss of concentration.

    I remember having the routine screening test for gestational diabetes. Instead of talking to me about the results my obstetrician, Dr T sent a letter with a referral for a further test. I was sitting at my desk at work when I read it. I burst into tears. I was a mess. I remember my team leader walking past and asking if I was ok. I said yes. Clearly I wasn’t but he didn’t push it. He was Vietnam veteran and was of a very ‘pull your socks up’ mentality. I phoned Dr T’s office in tears and spoke to the receptionist. I asked if I had to have the test. She said if he has ordered it, then yes. I said well I’m not. I don’t want to know. I’m not going to have it. She was worried enough to have Dr T talk to me. He told me “you have to have it, if you don’t your baby will die”. I had the test. It came back positive. I was devastated. Dr T referred me to an endocrinologist, Dr L.

    I was freaking the day I had to go see her. I was scared I was going to need daily insulin like my mum. I am petrified of needles. Dr L was very gentle with me and I felt comfortable with her. She wanted me to do a BSL before every meal. I couldn’t do it. I had to get Brett to do it before breakfast and dinner. I didn’t do lunch because I was at work and just couldn’t bring myself to ***** myself. She didn’t push it. I remember going to one appointment with her and opening up about how I really felt. I told her “I can’t do this. I don’t want to be a mother. I don’t want this baby”. She replied “everybody feels like this, you’ll be ok.” I had reached out and was told it was normal – I didn’t reach out again.

    I didn’t tell anybody else how I was feeling. Brett wore the brunt of it. I would hide how I felt in public (to a degree – some of the hormonal swings were unavoidable) but at home I was a *****! The closer my due date came, the more scared of having this baby I was. I was scared of having a baby I didn’t want. At least while I was pregnant I didn’t have a baby to look after. I threw myself into work. I was regularly working 10-12 hour days with a half hour lunch break. I was also volunteering with SES for up to 20 hours/week. I even did my first aid course in the last two months of pregnancy and did the test on my due date!

    Then the closer I got to my due date Dr T started talking about the possibility of a caesarean. He thought the baby was very big. He sent me for a pelvimetry that said my pelvis was small to average. I didn’t know at the time pelvimetries are notoriously unreliable. He said you are having a big baby, you will never be able to birth naturally. I believed and trusted him to do the best for me and my baby. With this option given to me and with how ambivalent I was feeling about the impending birth I started to think it was the best thing. This way I could avoid the whole birthing process. I demanded a general anaesthetic. He said “no, we use epidurals these days”. I said “no bastard is coming near my spine with a needle”. He referred me to an anaesthetist to talk me into an epidural. He was happy to give me a general anaesthetic.

    I went back to Dr T the following Monday 40 weeks and 4 days pregnant. He said “you are really overdue” – now I know a normal pregnancy is 38-42 weeks – “Your cervix is as tight as a rock. I could induce you but you would be in labour for 24 hours and then we would have to do an emergency caesarean anyway, so let’s cut the bull**** and get this baby out now”. Talk about demoralised. With no confidence in myself left, I said do it. He booked me in for 12.30pm that same day. I went straight over to the maternity ward of the hospital and was booked in.

    At about 12.15pm I was taken to theatre. Everyone was there, anaesthetist, paediatrician, and nurses but not Dr T. Brett wasn’t allowed to come in because the paediatrician wouldn’t allow it – everyone else had agreed to it since Brett worked in a hospital and knew operating theatre protocol. Finally Dr T and his assistant showed up. He said “sorry, I forgot about you”. As I went to sleep I was thinking I don’t want to wake up.

    In recovery I could hear the nurse telling me to wake up as I had a beautiful baby girl. I didn’t want to wake up and certainly not if I had a girl. I was having a boy. I refused to open my eyes until they told me I had a boy. If I had a boy I wouldn’t have to go through this horrible experience again to carry on the family name.

    I eventually opened my eyes and looked at her. I felt nothing. I didn’t want to hold her or touch her. I sent Brett home about 4pm to get some sleep as he had worked the night before and he hadn’t slept. I really needed him with me but he needed some sleep. The next day when he came in, he told me he had driven to the Gold Coast with Mick to celebrate with his cousin Robert. He got home about 2am. I was angry. How dare he do that! I was thinking of him when I sent him home and he went out drinking!

    I look back at photos of this time and I look so detached from the whole process. I was feeling awful. I was unhappy. I wondered how I was ever going to get out of this mess I had created. Where could I go? I would pretend whenever I had visitors that this was great but felt without hope.

    On the Wednesday at about 9pm, Brett had gone home, and I remember sitting on the floor in a ball in hysterics. A nurse came in and found me and the baby crying. She asked what was the matter, didn’t I know what was wrong with my baby. I said “I don’t want it. Take it away. I’m adopting it out”. She took Eithne to the nursery and came back about ten minutes later. She sat with me for awhile and talked but she made me feel that what I was feeling was stupid.

    Dr T came in the next morning (obviously he had been briefed on the situation). He said “you’ve just got the baby blues, it will go away”. He ordered sleeping tablets and that night I had four hours sleep in a row. This was the most I had slept since I was three months pregnant. Since then I had been coping on 2-4 hours broken sleep a night. I was exhausted and emotional but the doctors and nurses all promised it would get better.

    In the eight days I was in hospital I didn’t leave my room. I didn’t want other mothers to see what a failure I was. I never changed a nappy, bathed, or held Eithne – other than for feeds. At about 30 weeks into my pregnancy I was diagnosed with bilateral tendosynovitis, which after treatment with cortisone injections and splints had got a bit better. After the birth it became really bad again. I had an excuse not to pick up Eithne or do anything for her. Thankfully Brett had time off work so he was at the hospital as many hours as possible to care for her. All I did was breastfeed – with a lot of difficulty – no-one had ever told me how hard it would be.

    On about day four or five it became apparent I had an infection in my scar. Dr T said “it looks like you are allergic to the stitches”. He put me on antibiotics. On day eight I went home. I didn’t feel ready but Brett wanted us at home. That night the infection leaked and there was pus and blood all over the bed – it stained the mattress. I went back to Dr T and he said it will be ok.

    I remember the first day at home, Eithne wanted a feed so I set myself up. Nobody had prepared me for how difficult breastfeeding is. She latched on and stayed latched for two hours – I was never told they sometimes comfort suck. She was obviously trying to settle into her new environment. Day after day this went on until finally I cracked and demanded Brett go out and buy a breast pump. I had always believed breast is best and was adamant my baby was getting breast milk even if it was via a bottle. I was a lousy mother in every other way at least my ample boobs were providing milk. Besides this was the best thing I could do, somebody else could feed her and I didn’t have to touch her. I was just the milking machine.

    When she was about two weeks old Brett wanted to take her down to the Gold Coast to see his cousin. I refused to go. I expressed milk for her and sent them on their way. I spent the entire time they were away trying to figure out how I could afford to leave and send money back to them. I looked at what money we had, where I could go and how I could send money to them without them knowing where I was. I just didn’t have the energy to actually do it.

    I was sent home from hospital with no medication and no referrals. I kept sliding deeper and deeper into depression. I couldn’t sleep. I couldn’t eat. I stayed in the same clothes day in, day out. The only way Brett could get me to eat was to call up people to come over and then cook me something. I wouldn’t refuse it when I was ‘pretending’ for my visitors. I didn’t leave the house except for doctors appointments for weeks. I did, however manage one short visit to work to show them Eithne. I put on a brave face for this and was exhausted by the time I got home. Finally a few weeks later Dr T prescribed Prozac.

    After about six weeks Brett had to go back to work. I was scared to be on my own. Thankfully she was sleeping through from about 10pm-5am so I didn’t have to do much at night. During the day was a different story. She wouldn’t sleep during the day. I was constantly waking Brett up because I couldn’t cope with her. He was her main caregiver – and mine. He was doing all the cooking, cleaning, shopping and driving me everywhere. How he managed this and work, I will never know – considering now he can’t even clean up after himself!

    This just added to my feelings of inadequacies. Finally when she was about four months I ventured out on my own. I hadn’t driven in six months (I had to stop driving at seven months pregnant because I couldn’t get behind the wheel). I drove to the local shopping centre to do some errands. As I was driving out I saw Centrelink and nearly crashed the car. My heart was racing, my head was racing, I was shaking – I didn’t know what was wrong. I drove home and collapsed in a crying heap. I didn’t go to that shopping centre again for over two years. I still avoid it as much as possible. I have not been back to Centrelink since Brett and I took Eithne up that one time. I received a redundancy whilst I was on maternity leave – much to my relief.

    I had a number of crippling panic attacks after that first one. They were scary. I was so scared of having them I would rarely go out by myself in case I had one. I spent hour after hour sitting at home alone. Everybody I knew worked. My parents worked. I was isolated and alone.

    My panic attacks got to the point I wouldn’t sleep in my bed when Brett was at work (mind you I was still sleeping about 2-4 hours broken sleep a night). I was terrified somebody would break into the house and hurt us if I wasn’t in the lounge near the front door.

    It got to the stage we started looking for another house to buy. We accidentally came across a block of land and we decided to build. We moved in October 2001 and thankfully haven’t seen anymore of the crippling panic attacks.



    Declan’s Arrival

    Then in October 2003 we discovered I was pregnant. I was so looking forward to this baby’s birth, this was going to be so much different to Eithnes’. I had read and read and talked and talked about VBAC. I was informed. I knew what I wanted. I wasn’t going to let myself get hoodwinked by the system again.

    I planned for a VBAC, and went to Dr K, who had a good track record of supporting VBAC. Throughout my pregnancy he was very supportive and gave me a due date of 20/6/04. I thought this was great because it meant that would give me until the 3/7/04 before I was pressured for being “overdue”. At 40 weeks he started talking about caesars, I got really upset and went right off at him. My psychiatrist, Dr S phoned me the next day to see what was going on and increased my medications.

    On Monday 28/6/04 I went in for my appointment and he did an internal but my cervix was hard. He said you’ll have to have a caesar. I said but I’m only one week overdue, he said no you are 42 weeks - he changed my dates on me at the last minute. My husband, Kirsty (my doula) and I couldn't talk him around. Every time we suggested something his response was caesar. I was crushed. I wanted to be awake for this baby’s birth, but I couldn’t if I had a caesar. I asked if I could talk to the Anaesthetist beforehand and he said organise it with reception. I walked out of the appointment in tears with my dreams shattered.



    I went downstairs with Brett and Kirsty to discuss my options. I eventually just said I will just do as I am told. I went back upstairs to book the caesar. As I walked in I heard the receptionists joking with Dr K that he was going to have to sleep at the hospital with all the caesars and inductions he had booked for the first week of July. PM John Howard was bringing in a $3000 payment for people having their baby from the 1/7/04. I booked my caesar. I was able to pick anytime because there was nobody booked for the next two days. I wasn’t able to speak with the Anaesthetist that day. He would come and see me on the ward before the caesar. I said I want to talk to him today. I need time to think about my options. She also told me he had changed my caesar time to an earlier time because I was undecided on whether to have an epidural or general. I said I want more time to decide after I have spoken to him. She said that is how he does it. He will see you tomorrow. Then she told me the paediatrician I wanted wouldn’t come for my caesar. I said well can’t he come later and she said no you have to have a paediatrician there. She was quite rude. I felt like they were all treating my like a stupid woman who didn’t know what was best for her. I felt totally disempowered.

    I spent the rest of the afternoon and night in tears. I would switch between not showing up for the caesar and going for the caesar. I can’t remember how many times I phoned the hospital to talk to midwives. I spoke with private and public midwives. They all kept saying if Dr K is saying you need one, you need one. I was getting no support any way I turned.

    In the morning I said to Brett you better take me to the hospital now before I change my mind. We arrived at the hospital nearly two hours early. I was still in tears. When I got there I said I’m not going through with it until I have a second opinion. They put me in the conference room to wait for another obstetrician. Then the anaesthetist, Dr S came to see me. He went through the process of an epidural. I had taken some information of the internet about them and questioned him extensively. He said “I won’t give you a general, an epidural is safer. You are having an epidural”. Another decision taken out of my hands.

    The next obstetrician, Dr D came in to talk to me. He did an internal examination – I was 3cms dilated. This was a big change from the previous day. Brett, Kirsty and I were hopeful. In the afternoon he did a scan and a CTG. He said the baby is fine, there are some mild contractions. We made the decision to see how I was progressing the next day. We went home, I was feeling a lot more hopeful. I finally stopped crying.

    When I returned in the morning I was still only 3cms dilated. Dr D said we need to get this baby out as you are 15 days overdue and your baby could die if we don’t get it out. The pressure was unbelievable and I caved. I really believe I was pressured because the next few days were booked solid with caesars due to the $3000 payment. I believe they pressured me so they could get me out of the way. I knew my baby was ok. I had seen the scan and CTG the day before. I could feel the baby moving. I should have asked for further intermittent monitoring to be carried out and if there was a problem I would have the caesar. They left me alone with Brett and Kirsty with the papers to sign. It took me forever to get up the courage to sign away my birthright.

    They had me shower and change ready for theatre. They told me they would come and get me at about midday. At 12.15pm I said to Brett and Kirsty if they don’t get me soon I am leaving. They came in and took me down. I saw the operating room and burst into tears. It was so sterile and cold and bright and unloving. I got up on the trolley in the room outside theatre and couldn’t stop crying. I was about to meet my baby and I was crying tears of sadness not joy. One of the nurses turned to Dr D and said she’s not one of you most receptive caesar cases is she.

    I told them what I wanted for the caesar to go ahead. I had wanted skin to skin contact as soon as the baby was born but had already been told by Dr D that we couldn’t do that. Another dream shattered! So I made my final demands. Brett was to stay with the baby at all times and when I was in recovery Eithne and Kirsty were to come in. The nurses said we can’t do that. Dr D stepped in and said “I can’t give her anything else she wants for this birth, at least let her have that”. They relented. I will be forever in his debt for standing up for me on this point. I was crying as I was taken into theatre. They gave me a box of tissues.

    I was crying as I was put in place for the epidural. Dr S rubbed my entire back with the cleanser before the needle. I was saying it’s hurting – my body was covered in severe eczema brought on by the pregnancy. They then rolled me on my back and he tested me with an icecube to see if I had any feeling in the lower part of my body. I didn’t, so they commenced. My legs were spread as they put the catheter in and then it was time for the fatal cut. I felt like a piece of meat laid out in a butchers shop. I wanted to scream out for them to stop but I didn’t. The system had beaten me again.

    As the procedure went on, my chest and arms started to feel numb. I told Brett who told Dr S. He said “she is just hyperventilating because she doesn't want the caesar”. My lips and face started going numb. I was getting scared I was going to die. I told Brett but Dr S just ignored me. They got the baby out and said it was a boy and he’s big. They held him up for me to see. I could only see him from his chest up but was feeling so panicky about the numbness I didn’t care. Brett and all the nurses went with the baby for him to be weighed and asked Brett what his name was. He said Declan. I didn’t get to name my baby! I was left alone on the table, laid out like a piece of meat, numb and scared and the only person near me was Dr S, who had stopped talking to me.

    They brought Declan back in for me to hold but because I was numb I couldn’t hold him. Another dream shattered! They finished stitching me up and moved me to recovery. As the sensation in my upper body started to come back I got the itches really bad. I couldn’t stop scratching. I asked where my PCA was and she said “you don’t get one, the anaesthetist put morphine down the epidural because it works better …..but it gives some people the itches”. I realised what was happening. I had obvious severe eczema all over my body and Dr S seeing this had still put morphine down my spine. He never told me he was going to do this or the complications with it because I never would have agreed to it. They sponged me down with wet cold compresses. I couldn’t hold Declan in recovery because I couldn’t stop scratching.

    I asked for Eithne to be brought in and this they did without hesitation. I told my husband not to tell her what the baby was. When Eithne came in and I asked her whether she had a brother or sister she said “it’s a boy”. She just knew. She also went over to his crib and placed a tiny SIDs teddy bear she had bought with her own money that I thought she had wanted for herself. I cried.

    I was taken up to the ward. I was given an injection of an antihistamine but four hours later I was still scratching so Dr D called in a dermatologist. He said to cover me in moisturiser and wrap me in wet towels. So I spent the evening of my baby’s birth in bed, unable to reach him, freezing cold and wet!!! I finally asked for the towels to come off at about 10pm because I couldn’t stand it anymore.

    The next morning, a lovely nurse came in and got me up for a shower. She then put me back to bed. I was sore, tired, and emotional (this wasn’t how it was supposed to be this time)! Dr S came in and said “well that had to be better than your last experience”. I said “no, I wish I had demanded a general, it was horrible”. He said “at least you could be happy at some stage” and walked out. I was distraught and spent most of the day crying.

    It wasn’t until Declan was three days old that I actually saw he was a boy. Until then I had just taken the word of everyone that I had a boy.

    I talked alot about Declan’s birth in the first couple of months but felt people were getting sick of it and that I should be over it so I stopped talking. Now 18mths on, I get jealous of pregnant women. I get jealous of women who go into labour naturally. I get sick of well at least you have a healthy baby. I get angry at myself for giving into the system again. I can't watch pregnant women on TV giving birth e.g. Hayley giving birth on Home and Away because it just tears me up inside. I can’t read about women who have had natural births. I feel my body failed me - so much so I have eaten my way to being 95kg. I hate myself and feel like I am such a failure but I can't tell anybody because they think I am over it.

    I can't believe I was so weak and believed THEM again. I knew the research. I knew I could birth my baby. But THEY took the power again and reduced me to nothing and THEY took my baby. I can't deal with this. I knew my baby was ok. I knew we could wait but bloody John Howard had to have this $3000 and THEY thought that they had to get me out of the way. I should have listened to myself and not THEM. I could have done it. I had started dilating. THEY just pushed and pushed and pushed because they believed I was 15 days over. THEY kept saying your baby will die. I can't believe I listened to THEM. THEY won again. I am a total failure. I can't deal with this. I don't want to be in my head anymore.

    I DIDN'T make the right decision. I had started dilating. Declan’s head was moulded...he was moving down. I just was so pressured by the medical profession that I caved in. They wanted me out of the way before July 1st because of all the selfish women who 'delayed' their inductions and caesars so they could get $3000. I am sick of people saying to me well at least you got the $3000 (as if that makes up for a caesar). I didn't.....I was forced into a caesar at 12.30pm on 30/6/04. I didn't want the money I wanted my baby. If they had let me go on my dates as they had the entire pregnancy I had until the 3/7/04 before my baby was 42 weeks. They changed the goal posts at the last minute so they could have me out of the way because of the selfish *****es who purposely delayed their baby’s births. I could have done it they just didn't give me time. I hate them all. I could have done it and I can't deal with the failure I am. Both my babies have been born in sterile operating rooms because I am weak and gave in to the medical profession.

    I was discharged after five days and was feeling optimistic about how I would be able to cope better this time. I was feeling ok when I left hospital. However, after about a week things started to change. I felt the veil of depression creeping back over me. My caesar scar was also causing me a lot of pain. We phoned the hospital and they told me to come in. They called in Dr D to take a look at me. He walked in the room and without even seeing the scar he asked what’s happen, you don’t look happy. I told him I was feeling like crap and the scar wasn’t helping. He looked at the scar and said you have an infection. He went and phoned Dr S and they decided to admit me to keep a closer eye on me. The next day, Sunday, Dr S came in to see how I was going.

    During the week I was in hospital I felt dreadful. I also had pain in my back from the epidural (even today I still get twinges there if I do too much). I had no appetite and couldn’t stop crying. One nurse came in and said you can’t go home like this I’m going to phone Dr S. The decision was made to send me to psychiatric hospital on the Friday. I spent just over two weeks there and felt well enough to return home. However after about two weeks I came crashing down. I phoned the hospital in tears and said I don’t want to live anymore. They told me to come back in immediately and if I didn’t they would call an ambulance to come and get me. I ended up spending over three months in hospital.

    In that time I was taken on and off medication, as one didn’t work the next one was tried. I was eventually given a course of ECT – that was the most terrifying experience. I had to trust an anaesthetist again. I wasn’t sleeping. I wasn’t eating. I was absolutely miserable. I was so upset that this had happened again when I had made sure during the pregnancy to keep healthy, be monitored by my doctors, and take my medication. I did everything I was told to do. I couldn’t believe that after being so careful it just went haywire.

    Over the past 18 months I have felt like such a hopeless mother. I have spent six months of Declans’ first thirteen months in hospital. I felt I should be able to just pick myself up and carry on but I couldn’t. I felt like a failure again. I know I was ill and needed to be in hospital but I was also angry at myself that I couldn’t go home and just carry on like other mothers.



    Thanks and Congratulations if you got this far.

  2. #2

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    :hugs: There are no words...

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Jul 2004
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    in a land of screaming kids.
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    1,802

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    Oh my god, I am so sorry that you went thru all this *hugs*. I am glad that things are looking up now tho and I pray that things keep getting better for you....

  4. #4

    Join Date
    Mar 2006
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    Brisbane
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    You poor thing. This is a great place to be able to talk about all of these things. Good luck for the future.

  5. #5

    Join Date
    Oct 2004
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    WA y WA y A WAy
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    2,161

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    hugs to you you are very brave and i thank you for sharing your stories wishing you the very best for the future

  6. #6
    tiggy Guest

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    omg, you are the most amazing woman to have gotten through ALL of that and come out at the other end. My heart goes out to you. I hope that you can feel safe here to talk about everything and find that empowerment again.

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