Supporting Families, Preventing Tragedies


Near Miss


Friday, 27 January 2006

This is a very emotive issue; there is nothing more emotive than your own birthing experience. For me my first labour haunted me for a long time, it wasn’t until the birth of my second child that I could put it to rest.

Luca, my first born arrived safely by emergency c-section over 3 years ago. I had wanted a homebirth. My midwife was very positive about this and we both agreed that birth experience should be empowering.

Luca was immediately diagnosed as breech and under stress when I arrived at Waikato Hospital after I had laboured for 2 days and nights at home.

While incredibly pleased with the final outcome I was disappointed that Luca’s breech position was not discovered earlier, despite 3 internal examinations at home (and the midwife claiming she could feel his fontanel’s). There was a reason for my extremely slow labour after all.

I also worried that I had put him at risk by staying at home as long as I did.

I am grateful that the midwife chose not to break my waters at home to speed things along, as things could have turned out a lot differently. I appreciate that she was in a difficult position that she had a responsibility of helping me stick with my birth plan (home birth with very little intervention).

With hindsight it is always too easy to see how things should have been done differently.

But I did feel so alone on that Friday morning when the midwife left me to “rest and consider” (I hadn’t slept in 2 days, I was physically exhausted from the regular contractions and mentally shattered from the disappointment of my slow progress the last thing I could do was res. I still wonder how long she would have left to me labour).

While disappointed I sympathise with the midwfie; if Luca hadn’t been breach we may have been singing her praises. However, overall we felt let down that we did not receive enough guidance and support at home, that she did not challenge her assumptions regarding my progress (i.e. consider other causes for my slow labour) and that afterwards I had to pursue her to get her to visit me to have debriefing.

We were fortunate that I decided to go to Waikato on that Friday morning, avoiding a possible tragedy. My partner was angered by the events, and we changed our LMC for post-natal care. I have since had natural birth with my second baby and I was pleased with the care I received from that midwife.


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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