The Aftermath

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So after the actual birth of my baby girl, I was duly moved onto the observation ward. This is where things got even worse for me. Where I felt completely invisible and not worthy of any help. I was on this ward for about 7 hours and it was better care than I received from the general ward, but still below acceptable in my opinion.

When the baby started crying, it took ages for anyone to come to me and help me. This is bearing in mind that I was still under the effect of a spinal so could feel absolutely nothing from my lower body. I was huffed and puffed at when I asked if someone could help move me up the bed, and told I had to wait until there was more help available !! So I led there, all the time slipping further and further down the bed. And as I began to feel my legs and toes again, I started to feel how incredible cramped my feet were against the end of the bed. So being uncomfortable I attempted to move my way up the bed. Big mistake. All I achieved was to pull out the line in my back for the drugs. So there I am hanging off the bed, trying not to pull on it too much, trying to get anyones attention. After awhile, a midwife came to help me, saying ‘ well I hope you don’t want any pain relief put in this line’ whilst fully removing it.I then asked if I could go for a shower and was shown to a bathroom and left to struggle on my own. Not easy when in loads of pain, have a catheter in and trying not to get the bandage wet.

By lunchtime I was moved upstairs, where I was dumped and left again. Because I was mobile I asked for the catheter to be removed, as it had been in place for 10-12 hours by then, and I could get to the toilet. I lost count how many times someone was coming to remove it. I eventually had it removed after 28 hours, after threatening to do it myself and crying like a complete fool. To be honest, it was so sore and painful by then, I should have done it myself earlier.

I noted there was maybe 5 midwives during the day, and just 2 over night. That was the longest night ever. I hit my buzzer to get pain meds yet no-one came, even though I was meant to get them ever 4 hours. After what seemed like forever ( which was probably 2 hours ) and being told yet again countless times the meds were coming, I crawled to the front desk. This is no joke, I actually crawled, and then begged and cried for pain meds. By the time my husband arrived for visiting hours the next day, I had told them I was discharging myself. At least at home I could get some help, and pain medication. So I left that tea time to face the longest most painful drive there ever was, with no pain meds again.

I got home and hubby got me upstairs and put me to bed. I didn’t sleep, well you don’t after major surgery and just paracetamol for pain relief. The next morning the GP surgery were fuming I’d been left with nothing for the pain, so I finally got something to take the edge off. I could not bath myself, stand or even walk. The pain was excruciating. Every midwife visit for the next 12 days went the same way, being told it was normal and I was healing well. I knew different but was too ill to argue.

On the 13th day after the birth, my health visitor came and introduced herself. I crumbled, I sat there and sobbed my heart out. I told her how much pain I was in and how awful I felt I had been treated. She took one look at my wound and said you have a major infection. My stomach had actually turned black from the ECV and C-Section. Within 2 hours this amazing lady had got me even better pain killers and antibiotics that I so desperately needed.

It took 4 weeks of antibiotics, which included about 6 different types to get the infection controlled and cleared. I can still smell that distinct smell of flesh rotting ( sorry if this offends ). I had nightmares and flashbacks every time I shut my eyes for a very long time, to the extent where I couldn’t sleep at all. I suffered with mini panic attacks and my love of horror films is well and truly gone for good.

I missed out the first 2 months of her life because I was out of it on so many different pills and I feel bitter, angry and guilty for that. I’m not sure I’ll ever get over this experience but I have learned to cope with it. And I also know there are ladies that have had a much more traumatic time, but for me this was just horrendous.


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9 responses »

  1. Oh my god how you were treated is just shamefully wrong! Is that typical for inpatient maternity?! I once worked maternity as a unit clerk…they had ME answering call lights! All while the nursing staff sat on their sizable bottoms at the nurses’ station reading magazines and knitting. I am not kidding or exaggerating. I was horrified. So happy to return to my home unit of general surgery, where the RNs and the aides answered the call lights, even answering each others’ when the assigned nurse was busy. I had a great unit. I’m not sure they make them like that anymore. And yours sounds like it was in fact one of the rings of hell. The risk of a fall alone should have been significant enough for them to sit up and pay attention, not to mention the fact that you were suffering horribly.

  2. Tammy, reading this is just so awful. A lot of your after care sounds just like mine and no wonder you were always bang on with your replies to my posts back then. I’m so so sorry you went through this and I am so sorry that I understand completely how you felt/ feel. Sorry because nobody else should have to go through what you did. I am going to be doing a post on the aftermath of L soon and will link this in if thats ok. Big hugs to you. You know where I am
    XxX

  3. This is just a horrendous story, I really can’t believe you were left like that. At least your HV was there for you in the end but the damage had been done by then. I’m so sorry that you’ve experienced this and missed out on the first couple of months of your daughters life but at least she won’t remember xx

    • Thank you for your reply, and after reading so many comments I now feel confident in the bad care I was given. There has been many times where I felt like this was just the way you are treated, which so obviously is not the case. Thank you again for taking the time to comment x

  4. Oh my goodness. I feel so grateful that DD was born overseas. I had no idea that this kind of treatment was possible in an NHS hospital. It is totally unacceptable and unforgivable and frankly, people should lose their jobs over this – it’s negligence. If it had happened to a child it would have been all over the papers. I hope that sharing this has helped you to start to move on from this terrible experience.

    • Writing about has had two effects, it has made it all come flooding back, but has also felt a little like personal therapy. I hope it doesn’t put anyone off, as I have had 2 bad experiences and 1 very good one. I shall write about thoses too soon. Thank you for your kind words.

  5. This has made me feel so very lucky that I had no complaints about my treatment, despite a traumatic birth. In fact I was really well looked after despite it being one of their busiest nights of the year! (only found that out later) It just goes to show it CAN be done properly. What is so awful reading your post is that – yes -we can all understand staffing issues, but they were just plain rude and uncaring. I think a lot of staff could do with reminding what the S stands for in NHS. I too however had a bad infection afterwards – no fun at all. I hope it’s onwards and upwards for you now hon xxx

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