Supporting Families, Preventing Tragedies

Sophie 2

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Damaged Mum

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Sophie

28/10/2008

Our firstborn arrived, it was an absolutely textbook labour and pregnancy, went into labour naturally at 37 weeks and baby was as healthy as can be. Our midwife made this experience possible, her care was faultless and her experience and skill as an LMC absolutely glowed! After this birth though I had a bit of discomfort going to the toilet, as it turned out I had an anal fissure so was prescribed cream for this by our midwife and told to make adjust my diet for the next wee while to make sure I had the chance to properly heal. The pain and the fissure both resolved and all was well.

Two years later I fell pregnant with our next child. New midwife this time, and another textbook pregnancy. I reminded her a few times throughout the pregnancy about the fissure but I’m not sure how much notice was taken of this. I went into labour naturally at 36 weeks (my body obviously just doesn’t want them in there to term!) and my waters did not break first this time. I have training in maternity care so am pretty onto it support wise, and know my rights as an advocate and am not shy in telling how I want things. I labour well and without a lot of pain and drug free so was a bit surprised this time to find out I was quite sore. It wasn’t a frontal pain, but down below and not in the region you would expect it to be in. I spent a good amount of that day in the large bath at the maternity unit and it felt wonderful – weightless and the pain that was there was gone. I was fine when I got to the magic ten centimetres, started pushing, my waters broke and that’s when the serious pain hit. It’s like someone had a knife and was cutting right down the inside of my back passage. I’ve never felt pain quite like it but I knew exactly what was happening – my fissure had torn open again. I remember biting my partners hand because it was so painful, and screaming at my mother for help. It was all just put down to ‘normal childbirth pain’ but this wasn’t birth pain at all, it was an injury. When our baby was born she literally flew out onto the bed, no-one caught her, I had a third degree tear that required an hour and a half of stitching. Having your feet up in the lithotomy position when you have just given birth is bad enough without feeling your fissure lying open too.

An obstetrician was called in to do the repair work (my midwife had said to my other half that she didn’t feel confident doing these stitches and if there was an OB available then she would get them to do it). I wish she hadn’t just got the first one she found. He stitched the tear but the fissure had re-torn, and was longer than the first time around. I asked them to check it but he said there was no need, that it will be fine and the pain would have been all from the vaginal tear. He didn’t even look at it. I could tell it wasn’t fine at all, and all I could feel was this dull throbbing pain that whenever I sat down it felt like my tail bone was going to slide right out and my rectum pulling in either direction. Over the next few months no amount of cream fixed it, going to the toilet was a one hour mission and I lost a lot of weight through the fear of knowing whatever I ate could do to me. I have had the fissure stitched but if anything it has made the problem worse, I think for me it is the fear of it returning and causing me more pain. I have a lot of scar tissue from the tear repair too so you can imagine how frustrating that has been and it has now been found that I have a prolapse too.

This child is nearly five now and I’m still going to specialist appointments in order to try and find some permanent ‘fix’ for these issues. I have had no luck going publicly, and one option is reconstruction surgery. I still can’t sit properly, I perch. I still have to look at the food I eat and wonder if it’s going to be worth the trouble. I’ve haven’t seen that OB again either but hate to think of who else’s repair he has botched up. We would love to have another baby at some stage and I’m an advocate for natural childbirth, but a caesarean seems like a nice idea for next time around.

Concerned Mum

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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