Supporting Families, Preventing Tragedies




Monday, 1 December 2008

My Story;

I like my midwife and will have her when I birth again, except next time, I will choose to birth in the safest place – a hospital.

As a first time mother-to-be, my options I knew were Wellington Hospital or Paraparaumu Maternity Unit. I was given a book called ‘Tummy Talk’ and after reading this and looking at the homebirth site decided on having a homebirth as it seemed to be the safest place as the book suggested and I couldn’t find any negatives on homebirths but it seemed to be that hospitals were not very safe and always opting for c-sections and giving drugs. (I know now there is nothing wrong with this).

I was assured by my midwife that ‘we don’t wait for emergency’s to happen’ I also found out that my friend was told this line also.

In antenatal class they showed us a video of a women giving birth at home and avoided questions I had on pain in pregnancy.

My friend was pregnant at the same time as me and she too was opting for a homebirth after hearing it was the safest option also.

Well that safe option was far from it, she was left to birth in a pool at home while her midwife went home for a sleep even after being overdue by 10 days.

As a midwife lay asleep, a baby’s heart dropped. As a midwife lay asleep a baby went unmonitored and a mother without care. As a midwife lay asleep a baby was struggling. As a midwife lay asleep, a baby was in distress. As a midwife lay asleep, a beautiful baby girl’s heart stopped. As a midwife lay asleep a mother sat in a pool at home, waiting for a call that never came.

As a midwife lay asleep, that beautiful girl Stevie died in her mother’s tummy.

I have seen the devastating pain that losing a child causes.

I was due 1 month after this and decided against a homebirth. I also choose to have a late scan which showed everything was fine, baby was in correct positioning. I birthed at the maternity ward. Paranoid, continually asking for the heartbeat, my birth could too have gone terribly wrong, if it had not been for the fear that was in me. My boy had mecconium then his heart started to drop, the resus table was bought in. I was told to push with my contractions but I did not feel any, I had pushed with all that was in me to get my boy out alive. His cord was wrapped around his neck and he had been posterior during my birth. But I am so fortunate that Jake is alive.

After the birth I learnt how wrong things can go in even a healthy pregnancy and even when everything is in correct position. I learned just how unpredictable birth is and that anything can happen so quickly. I also felt I had been so uninformed about the risks involved, so misguided about birth. So brainwashed by a book.

I know now that I never want to risk my unborn child’s life on a ideal birth and I know now that there is nothing wrong with hospitals, and have learnt just how important time is when something does go wrong.

My Concerns;

I want women to be fully informed, not just to hear the negatives of hospitals. I want people to stop falsely advertising that homebirths then maternity wards are the safest option when they can’t possibly be. Based on what facts, facts that are registered wrongly, because when there are tragic emergency’s that are left to the last minute its hospitals that are left to try to pick up the pieces and if they cant its recorded as a stillbirth at the hospital even though it may have all stemmed from home or a maternity ward? It is about time women hear the devastating truth about some births so that our decision on where we birth is made with knowing the true facts.

I am not against midwifes, I just want women to be rightly fully informed and not have hospitals perceived as somewhere horrible and unnatural to birth at.

In the case of my friend, how can they call it an ‘investigation’ when they only have a one-sided story? How can a midwife continue to deliver babies after having four deaths? How can a midwife not be held responsible for not monitoring a baby and failing to care for a mother? How can this happen, because there is no guidelines because there is no real investigation and because there is no fair complaint system in place. Why are deaths recorded as a ‘stillborn’ when in cases it is clearly negligence.

Ironically I was told by my midwife that ‘you are closest to death at birth’. I would believe this to be true.

There needs to be change.


Red Flags

        RED FLAGS

  • Lack of monitoring
  • “Normalising” the abnormal
  • Lack of action/delay in getting emergency care
  • Going over due date
  • Failure to progress in labour
  • Meconium-stained liquor (waters)
  • Lengthy handover during emergency
  • Inconsistent reporting and documentation
  • Your concerns being ignored

    Click here to read more about common warning signs


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