WRITTEN BY SAMANTHA WHITTALL
Samantha is sharing her (trigger warning) *traumatic birth in a pandemic, story with us. There is a huge stigma around birth & not every experience is a positive one!
I wanted to tell my story as we sometimes underestimate how strong we are as women.
So I conceived before the pandemic but carried and gave birth during the pandemic.
My journey starts with my first trimester where I was always throwing up, everyone around me except my partner kept saying its morning sickness it will go but it didn’t, to the point where I couldn’t eat anything and had to go to the doctors where she signed me off work for a couple of weeks and gave me meds so I could at least eat, my second trimester was better and then I got into my third trimester where I started swelling up and couldn’t walk far without getting breathless and didn’t really have any energy I would spend most of my day sleeping.
TRAUMATIC BIRTH IN A PANDEMIC
So I was at my last scan my feet were swollen which I was told later was a warning sign and the midwife even commented on it but wasn’t concerned but when they did the scan they said that melody had dropped of the growth and I needed to go into be induced, I was all booked in for that at 39+5 but when I was 38+4 16th August I woke up threw up and felt like I had bricks on my chest but still insisted we went to see my partners parents as they were part of my bubble at the time and I’m so glad we did as when we got there my partners mum said she doesn’t look good but we just thought it was normal because of how my pregnancy had been but she insisted I called the midwife department so I did I explained everything and she said I’m not worried about the throwing up but if your feeling bad about your chest you should just go to your local A&E.
I wouldn’t of normally bothered but something just told me that we should go anyway so we went and got a lady who had just come of maternity leave (what are the chances) she took one look at me and got angry at the lady I had been on the phone with as she explained I should of been told to go straight to the bigger hospital that can deal with pregnancy as they don’t have a maternity ward, she took me into the back, did an EKG and spoke to another doctor I was then told I was going to the bigger hospital and had to have a cannula put in so i’m glad my partner was allowed in with me because I don’t think I would of done it otherwise (side note I struggled giving blood as I fear it and I hated having this done too) so that went in my left arm then after the tears and fear of having that one put in they then get a message from the bigger hospital saying they wanted a pink cannula put in and guess what I had a green one in so they then put a pink one in my right hand and left the green one in just in case.
So I go to the bigger hospital and they do a Covid test on me and I’m put in a room without my partner, the lady then comes in I haven’t been told what’s wrong only that I’m being induced today so they shove a hormone pill in my cervix (not sure if she said behind it or not) so already freaking out because I don’t know what’s wrong, I haven’t got my partner and I’ve just had the induction started. Then I’m not sure when or why but I was taken up to the delivery suite which is when my partner was allowed to come in (so thankful for that) when I got up there I was hooked up to the hormone drip and that is no joke when that goes in the contraction come fast and painful which I read about after. The midwife finally told me all this was happening because I had pre-eclampsia, so as the hormones are coming and the contractions are horrendous and feels like she’s trying to come out my bum (such a weird feeling) she wasn’t reacting well to the stress of the hormone her heartbeat dropped every time the hormone went in, at some point they then broke my waters which was a whole other experience it felt like internal deep cat scratches.
I then spent hours in agony with the contraction and fully taking advantage of the gas and air so they decided the epidural was the way to go, I was bricking it and of course I ended up with the doctor that can’t read the situation I had the epidural done and the second it was done he said ” I don’t think I’ve done this one right so might have to do again and blood is coming back into the line” (don’t say stuff like that to someone who is a nervous wreck) so we tried with the first epidural and it hardly did anything and I was pushing that button and maxing out that epidural and I still felt everything so then another doctor came in and did a SECOND one telling me the first one had a kink in it. This one I got a little relief but could still feel the contraction even with maxing that one out too I was asked to vocalise every time I felt one (definitely didn’t disappoint with vocalising that) hours had past and its a bit blurry with timing of everything that happened but I remember them checking and I had only got to 3cm all that and only 3cm.
Melody’s heartbeat still kept dropping every time the hormone went in and I had been doing this for a whole day then someone came in and was really rough with my down below/ cervix and I remember crying to partner saying she hurt me and I don’t want her touching me again (thankfully I didn’t see her again) then a female doctor came in and wanted to take a sample of melody so a cry later I was huffing on the gas and air while they stretched me to get to melody so they could get some blood.
I was still on the hormone drip and having horrendous contraction when the decision was then made sometime in the morning (so I had gone from the afternoon of 16th to the morning of the 18th with no sleep) that I was going in for an emergency c-section. I had a catheter put in and wheeled into the theatre they said they were going to do the spinal block but my partner wasn’t there and I remember freaking out but the really nice assistant said “we don’t usually let the partners in for the spinal block because they either faint or don’t take it well” but my partner was allowed in and they did the spinal block, they then waited and tested it with cold spray which i’m glad they did as left side of me wasn’t numb but the right side was.
I was actually scared they would still go ahead and it a weird feeling to have a contraction only down half your body so I was put up again and they upped the amount in the spinal block and my partner was told to keep me awake (again very hard with recollection due to drugs) I remember him telling me to stay awake and I needed to keep my eyes open, all I wanted to do was sleep so badly I remember closing my eyes then all of a sudden my baby was in my partners hands with a cone head and absolutely beautiful, I remember I kept rubbing my eyes to wake myself from the drugs and push through them because I wanted to see my baby.
I had a peco dressing put on my c-section then after that I was in after care for 3 days that was horrible only seeing my partner for an hour and the staff really wasn’t the best and was only told after I got out and was with my doctor that my liver function wasn’t where it should be and I had high blood pressure so was on tablets for them and my partner had to jab me everyday for 10 days and had to look out for jaundice I am also suffering with gallstones and going through the process of trying to get them sorted.
But I have a happy healthy 7 month girl and would go though it again just to have her and that in itself shows how strong we women are.
Thank you so much to Samantha for sharing her traumatic birth in a pandemic with us.