Please see below what is our family story relating to the birth of my son who is now 15 weeks old. This experience has left me feeling depressed, unsupported by the hospital system, and inadequate as a mother. I felt on more than one occasion that I was a pest to the staff, unimportant. I received conflicting information and sometimes not enough. THIS IS UNFINISHED. I believe there are some grave inadequacies in our public health system which certainly must have people falling through the cracks if the individual is not aware of, and proactive about their own health care, or that of their child. This is my account of events, and is likely to be rather long, so I do apologise in advance. My story will be better understood if my background is known. I am 30 years old and my husband is 35. We met 5 years ago and married 3 years ago. We were born and raised in rural/small town Victoria where our families still reside. I have a history of depression, anxiety and panic attacks, stress and difficulty coping with change, and have seen a 2 different doctors and 3 different government funded emergency counsellors/psychologists over the last 10 years. I have low self esteem and difficulty standing up for my rights and promoting myself. I can also be a control freak as this helps me feel secure. We moved to Queensland (Brisbane) in July 2006 for work. My husband changed employers in January of this year. I have worked, mostly alone, full time in an office since August 2006. I have never before been pregnant, or hospitalised for anything. My experience with the hospital system includes visiting my mother as a teenager, while she was hospitalised for cancer treatments, and visiting my husband in 2003 while he was hospitalised after a motorbike accident. I have been a Vet Nurse for 10 years before moving to Queensland so have an understanding of a variety of medical and surgical conditions, and experience laboratory testing. We decided we would like a family. Two kids would be nice. And we decided we should start work on this before we both get much older. In early 2007 I began to wean off my antidepressant medication under supervision of my GP. In August 2007 I was off antidepressants, and stopped taking the combined pill in September. I had been taking pregnancy multivitamins for a few months and eating extra well. My husband and I eat well and pride ourselves on this. Though I am prone to eating chocolate when feeling down. Our first attempt at becoming pregnant was in late October. As soon as possible I ran a pregnancy test. Negative. I ran another - negative. I knew deep down the tests were giving the correct result (as I have a lot of experience using this kind of test kit. My procedure is flawless). But it was not the result I wanted. So I went and bought another kit and tested again - negative of course! A few days later my Grandpop died. I flew home for the funeral and knew this was the reason I was not pregnant. Had I been pregnant I would not have flown home. We tried again in late November, and this time I just waited without concern. We were driving home for Christmas and leaving on December 15. We had planned to drive home because we hoped to be pregnant. On Sat 15th December I was about to pack the pregnancy test kit into my toiletries, but instead decided to run a test so I wouldn't have to do it some time in the next few days. (It was only 14 days but still...) I did this calmly and almost nonchalantly. It was a positive. I raced downstairs to my husband and siad 'guess what'. He of course said 'no way'. We both stood there with tears of happiness in our eyes. It had been so easy for us. We could never even pretend to sympathise with our neighbours down the street who were about to use their final IVF chance for a much wanted miracle second child. We were so lucky. This explained why I felt sick going to work on the previous Tuesday. I had attributed that to some anxiety. We drove home over the next 3 days and I spent each morning in the car feeling a little queasy. A few apples and dried bikkies kept me fed and ok. We came to name the baby affectionately ‘bean sprout’ . On Christmas eve I told my best friend. She was very happy for us. On Boxing Day my husband and his friend went to the test match, while us girls went shopping and saw Wind in the Willows. He told his best friend then. On the 29th we told our parents. We didn't want to be telling people this soon in case anything happened before the magical 12 weeks, but it was the only way we would be able to tell our families and other special people in person. I was craving Lasagne. Everyone else was snacking on Kabana, soft cheeses and other 'off limits' leftover foods. I do like a good lasagna but couldn't whip up a 4 hours in the making family size dish so settled for a frozen dinner from the supermarket. What a disappointment. We drove back home very happy, and I was back to work on the 7th. It was a good thing I am alone most days in the office because all I felt like doing was sleeping. The New Year period is always quiet and that was my saving grace. I was so tired I could hardly stay awake. I never vomited but spent most days queasy. Come 5pm I would battle the peak hour traffic to get home, sleep from 6 - 7pm. Make tea, eat, and go to bed. Same scenario each day. On Saturday Jan 12th we had our first Dr's appointment. She asked why we took so long before seeing a Dr. I explained I knew I was pregnant so did not bother seeing a Dr back at home for confirmation. That would just mean another Dr to see, and my time to be wasted sitting in a waiting room. To Me it was not an issue to have waited. I was healthy and confident all was ok. She asked if I wanted an early scan for confirmation, and I declined. The baby was due the day before our Birthday's !!! (my husband and I share a birthday, along with my Aunt) That was so exciting and unbelievable. We were given the orange folder with a pregnancy health record that had someone else’s name scribbled off it. That seemed a bit unprofessional to me. I am all for recycling and reducing waste, but this was my special time, and I did not feel special being handed what was to become my record, with somebody else’s name scribbled off it. I had routine bloods taken that same day at Pathology. My pants already felt tight so I went shopping for some maternity shorts to see me through summer. It was soo exciting to be buying something, just like when I bought some books and a calendar at Christmas time. It was interesting to see my body changing especially because to the outside world I didn’t even look pregnant. My breasts were tender and had grown in size. All the moles on my skin had ‘fattened’ up. My finger nails were growing well and my hair felt so soft. The baby’s name changed from ‘bean sprout’ to ‘mushroom’ as we decided that’s what it must be growing like. Each day after work I lay down to listen to a relaxation CD and fell asleep. I remember it was so hot but I was too tired to mind. On Sat 2nd Feb we had our next routine Dr's visit. All was well and we got a referral for an ultrasound at At Browns Plains, which is a bit out of the way but that was ok. I made a booking for Monday 11th after work. A Saturday would have been a lot easier to manage but they aren't open on Saturdays. On Thursday the 7th the Diagnostic Centre receptionist rang to move our appointment. They were no longer able to perform our scan that day. Appointment moved to Thursday 14th at 5.30. As my husband was working an introductory period of 4 weeks day shift this change was ok and 5.30pm meant he could be present after work. My tiredness meant I crashed my car on the way to work on the 12th. Nothing major, and I was unhurt, but the insurance company wrote it off and paid me out. Not enough to buy the same car again. We had discussed selling it anyway once the baby arrived, and now the decision was made for us. Instead I would drive out big 4wd and my husband would take his motorbike to work. Thursday 14th. The ultrasonographer was extremely professional and asked if we were having Nuchal Translucency done. I said yes, and assumed she would do it. She said no - she was not qualified for that and I would need to go to the Mater in the City. We had discussed this with our GP and she did not give any indication that it would need to be a seperate scan. Because of the timeframe she said I had just 9 days to arrange it. We went back to the GP on Saturday 16th for a referral. The Mater were extremely heavily booked, but managed to accomodate us with 1 day to spare in the required timeframe. I did not have a choice of appointment time and it was booked within work hours for 12.30. I had previously advised work I was pregnant. But as yet we had nobody to cover my position in this kind of situation. My Manager who is a technician volunteered to cover the half day for me, doing my reception job. He was extremely accomodating. I was in panic mode. I had to get to a place in the city I had never been to before, and take our big car I am not comfortable driving. I lost sleep over this until I figured I could take the bus. Even the option of taking the bus caused me anxiety. I did a trial run on the weekend just to make sure I could do it. I went and had the scan. This ultrasonographer was also extremely professional, and extremely busy. My results would be forwarded to my GP or I could wait for them. I sat and waited. It was nice to do nothing for a little while. They were taped up but I opened the tape and had a peek anyway. I 'knew' all was ok and it was a very low possibility as expected. Our Wedding anniversary was 25th Feb. We usually go away for the weekend and this year was no different. We went to Coolum Beach, bushwalked and climbed Mt Coolum. A friend asked afterwards if that had been a good idea. It never crossed my mind that it wasn’t. This was the first instance of people questioning if things I were doing were safe or not. I felt I would 'know' if anything was wrong. My husband and I had discussed with each other that the GP didn't seem forthcoming with useful information. We would be given information obligingly if we asked for it, but we needed to know that we needed to know about something before we could ask for information on it. At our first visit we had been given information about breastfeeding and post-natal depression. I did not consider either of these things to be appropriate at our fist visit. What we needed was something like a timeframe of Dr’s visits and ultrasound scans, or information on how the public and private systems differed, and how that could affect our care. I was devouring the books I purchased at Christmas and scouring the internet for information on pregnancy. I need to know as much as I can about something before I can feel confident about new situations. We didn't know anything really about birth, and the nitty gritty information just did not seem forthcoming. My boss, My mother and Mother in law, and my sister in law have all had children but information from them seemed to be glossed over and generalized. Nodody talked about their feelings. They just said it was easy or hard. I had come across Birthtalk on the internet and decided it was just what we were looking for. Our first visit to Birrthtalk was Feb 28. I was excited and took it all in. But I burst into tears a couple of times. What was wrong? I didn't know. I couldn't figure it out. My husband's comment was 'all they did was talk'. I had hoped for more enthusiasm than that from him. Perhaps the next week he would be more excited. The following week I was teary again. How embarassing. , one of the facilitators, approached me afterwards for a chat. She was extremely helpful and left me with some food for thought. We still didn't know if we wanted to go public or private. Our GP said we had plenty of time to decide. But didn’t really want to enter into discussion about which was better for us or how we wanted to birth. Our private health cover was bungled early on and we would only be covered for childbirth after August 10th. That was a bit too close for comfort for my liking. Also, I was hoping for a birth with no intervention, which I had learned form Birthtalk was less likely if we were under the care of an obstetrician in private practice, so we decided public was the way to go. Our local public hospital is about 3km away but we had not heard anything good about it. The other local public hospital we were eligible to attend was about 40minutes away. I asked around and heard many good things about their shared midwife care and only a few negative reports about the hospital in general. We decided this was the hospital to choose. Our next Dr’s appointment was 15th March. My blood results were all normal although the Dr admitted she had forgotten to request the Rubella. This was ok as I had had it tested in August 2007 as part of my pre- pregnancy planning. She wrote out a referral for my 18 week ultrasound. I rang the medical imaging facility in Browns plains who had no space for us until May. They suggested I contact another facilityrun by a competitior in Beenleigh. They had space for us on 21st April. That would be week 22 but was the earliest they could arrange. They said some people book all scans once they know they are pregnant. I was surprised at this, and wondered why my GP had not advised it if there was such a shortage of spaces. We had another session of Birthtalk on 27th March. This was extremely informative as were the two earlier classes. Unfortunately we were going to miss the 4th session due to a wedding. were fine with this and offered for us to attend any sessions in the next class that we couldn’t get to in this one. That was great as was now on rotating shifts and would be missing out otherwise. I spoke more to and realized the reason I was upset was because I was worried about how I would be as a mother. My own mum provided food and shelter for us, but worked extremely hard and was not emotionally available for us to talk to. I do not want to be a mother like this, and certainly did not want a girl as I thought my ability of providing emotional support to a boy would be greater. We had another appointment with the Dr on April 12th. She was no longer working and I saw a new GP. He was great and expected to see a copy of my 18 week scan, which of course was not done yet. We flew home for a wedding on April 19th. My feet and legs blew up like a puffer fish, but went down again in the following few days. April 21st. We had our scan. This was the third ultrasound facility we had attended. They were the most professional yet and double checked the baby’s heart as Dad has a VSD and I wanted to rule out any heart problems if possible. They checked the sex…. I was holding my breath in case it was a girl, and it was a boy. I cried there and then with joy. I was so happy. This pregnancy was going so well and we were having a boy. (of course I would have welcomed a child of either sex but a boy first meant the guarantee of a boy in the family no mater what sex our second child was). Wednesday April 23rd we had our first visit to the hospital. I went along without my husband as he was at work. They asked why we were coming to see them so late. This was a contradiction to our GP who told us we had heaps of time to choose a model of care. The midwife was lovely to talk to, noted I was getting slight and occasional oedema, and conducted a family care assessment. We decided that because of my mental illness history, social isolation, and distance from family for support I would see the social worker at a forthcoming visit. They kept my orange book. My next visit was 1 week later on May 1st to see one of the hospital’s Dr’s. They decided all was ok and my care could proceed under the BMCS (Bayside Midwifery Care Service) team’s supervision. I commented to my husband about a chart on the wall. It outlined the old schedule of visits for pregnant women, and the new schedule. The new schedule spaced visits further apart, resulting in less visits and reduced contact time with health care professionals. My next visit was 30 th May. A whole month away. I was feeling fine anyway. I was no longer tired and the swelling in my feet was only minor even though it was constant. May 30th. Week 28. My husband and I both went to this visit. We saw another midwife in the BMCS team. I questioned why the hospital had not checked my urine at any visit, as the GP had been checking at each visit. The reply was to the effect that there was no need to do so, and doing this as a routine was old fashioned. It was noted my feet were mildly swollen. I asked about the blood tests I knew were due to come up and was booked for 5th June for the Gestational diabetes check. Next visit for the BMCS was 1 month away on June 27. We saw the counselor who suggested I call my GP and make an extended appointment for the Better Health Outcomes Program. I could then access psychological care to help deal with the forthcoming changes. She also posted to me as promised some information on local playgroups and family support centres. She was fantastic in her follow through on the things she said she would do. She also gave me a web site to look up specific Counsellors on. I booked to see the GP we had seen at our last visit to the Medical centre. June 5th. Week 29. I had blood taken for Gestational Diabetes. I have taken blood from animals at the Vet clinic hundreds of times over the years but can’t stand having my own blood taken. All tests so far had been bearable, but I just ‘knew’ I was going to give a possible likely result and need to have the follow up bloods taken. A message was left on my mobile on 11th June. 12th June I was phoned at work. My result was high and I needed to have further blood taken to confirm or rule out Gestational Diabetes. Perhaps it was just the pack of marshmallows I ate the night before the test I suggested to myself. Though I had recently developed a craving for sweet foods like I have never had before. The follow up blood test was booked for 17th June (week 30) 17th June. Week 30. The blood samples were taken and the pathologist said the result would be known later that day. I would not hear anything if it were ok. Friday 20th June. I had not heard anything, but somehow knew I was diabetic. I rang the hospital who said if I had heard nothing then it were ok. Friday 27th June. Week 32. Visit with a midwife. Gestational diabetes was discussed as I did have it. I had not received a phone message left on 24th. It turned out my mobile phone number was incorrectly recorded. The swelling in my feet was noted, my belly measured and all was ok. (My medical record shows a note ‘please check amniotic fluid - ? too much’ but this was not discussed with me). Next appointment for 17th July. That afternoon I saw my GP regarding the mental health scheme. I took an assessment which showed I was moderately depressed, and suffering from low stress and anxiety. He suggested a local counselor who bulk billed. He asked about my pregnancy and wanted a look at my orange book. I told him the hospital had kept it. He seemed to think I should have been left with it. My legs and feet continued to swell. Initially they reduced in size overnight if eleveated, but then began to stay the same overnight. My toes became like little jelly beans, and my ankle bones were a dimple in the swelling rather than sticking out. My work shoes no longer fit so I started wearing my slide on’s instead. I felt fine, and so far nobody had been concerned. Friday 2nd July. Week 33. I attended the diabetes education session run by the hospital. I waited by the conference room for a few minutes as the door was locked. The educator was just running a bit late. I was the only person present. I almost felt guilty for needing her services. She was very happy with my understanding of diabetes and we had a chat about where I come from back at home as her family live near there. She advised she was going on long service leave and my future care would be under another diabetic educator. The nutritionist was also happy with my level of understanding. I just needed to cut my carbohydrate portions and reduce my overall carb. intake. I felt I was going to starve existing on the suggested portion sizes… I left with a glucose monitor and a sunken heart. I was going to have to prick my fingers 4 times a day, and keep myself full on what seemed like very little food. I was to ring her on Friday 4th July at lunchtime and report my results for review. We were investigating Doulas and generating a list of things to do and purchase. Me Contacted a Doula and made an appointment to meet up with her on July 12 th. We had stopped renovating the laundry earlier in the year as the walls were re-built and painted. The washing machine was in the breezeway draining out onto the lawn, and we were functioning without a tub. We had begun work on two rooms upstairs as they had taken priority. One for the baby, and the other which was a study. My husband had been manually stripping away carpet glue and backing from the wooden floors for moths and the contents of these two rooms were strewn around the house. The guestroom had become the study, albeit a very cramped one, the sewing machine was on the dining table, and bookshelves and books in the lounge, dining room and hallway. Other small furniture was in our bedroom and the dining room. Walls were being re-plastered or patched and painted. Window frames, cornices and architraving needed replacing. Our renovator’s delight was not so delightful now we had a timeframe to work to. Friday 4th. The diabetes educator was fairly happy with my results and the fact there were only a few highs. She gave me the name of the person taking over her position and suggested I try to exercise in my lunch break. I began to do this though my sneakers only just fit without sox and I was beginning to huff and puff with pressure on my chest from the baby. She asked me to phone her replacement on Monday 14 th to give my readings for review. Sat 5th July. Our hospital antenatal class. I was looking forward to this. I was interested to see what we would and would not be told. Of course they can only give so much information in a limited time, and everyone present would have a different interest in the subject, and capacity for understanding. We arrived and waited by the conference room door. About 5 other couples arrived. We all got chatting and waited, and waited. It was now past the start time and nobody had arrived. I tried the door and it was closed. We waited some more, and began wondering when the midwife was going to arrive. I tried the door again and it was answered (!) by a grumpy midwife who chastised us all for being late. I immediately took a dislike to her, as we did arrive a few minutes early and the door had already been closed. How dare she. We all found seats in a room that was full of 20+ couples. She gave a basic rundown on how the body works. She did not emphasise greatly that the body is designed to birth. She advised us not to come to hospital too early, or too late,but did not give enough information on how to determine this I didn’t think. She glossed over natural pain relief methods, and was more than happy to introduce us to the drug related methods, and all the choices we had. We got a demo on how to change a nappy, and a discussion on post-natal depression. She definitely presented well and was obviously very efficient, but rubbed me up the wrong way. I asked a couple of detailed questions, which received generalized answers. We discussed the class on the way home and decided we were very happy to have attended the Birthtalk classes we had so far. We had found this as an information session for people who knew nothing to be very inadequate, and it certainly encouraged participants as patients to confirm to the hospitals wishes for the convenience of the hospital. The tour of the birth ward was extremely enlightening and interesting. That was a sneak peek at the place where the action was going to occur. Wednesday 10th July my blood glucose readings were unusually high though I was eating nothing unusual or doing any unusual activity. I was talking to my Mum on the phone on Thursday 10 th July (week 34) and mentioned the degree of my oedema. By now I could not wear shoes or any footwear other than my slippers. She insisted with great emphasis that I take the following day off work and see a Dr, any Dr I could get. From my description she was concerned. She told me she had been hospitalized for weeks with high blood pressure while pregnant with both my younger brother and sister. I hadn’t known this. I managed to secure an appointment for late Friday afternoon. My blood glucose readings were also all over the page this day. Friday 11th July. (week 34) I took the day off and vaccinated the cat so he would not fall due when the baby was just newly arrived. I also investigated hire of some baby items and booked a capsule to be fitted early August. I went to the Dr. Their computer system was down so he couldn’t compare my current condition to recorded history. However my BP was 140/89 which was an increase way above my normal and he considered my oedema to be significant. My face and neck were a little puffy and I had been wearing my wedding ring for a few days on a necklace as my fingers were swelling too. There was no proteinuria but with the family history he was concerned. He wrote a referral to the hospital and asked me to go straight over. My husband was on late shift for the evening at work for another few hours yet so I drove myself. I was admitted at 6pm with a BP of 150/90, oedema and some spots in front of my eyes. I had no headaches, protein in the urine or epigastric pain. I had had so loss and was not contracting. I was monitored for the evening, with my blood pressure decreasing and my blood glucose at a level higher than recommended for pregnancy, and higher than it had been most of the time I was monitoring it over the last 9 days. I contacted my husband at work to let him know I had been admitted and was staying overnight for observation. I ate tea, had bloods taken, and a check by the Doctor and intern. My reflexes were brisky but I had no clonus. The blood test revealed increased urates and Alkaline Phosphatase, and decreased protein and albumen. My platelets had dropped since a blood test on 5 June for gestational diabetes, to the lower end of normal range. Saturday 12th July. (week 34) This morning my blood pressure had normalized, but I was having moderate regular contractions 3 times per 10 minutes. I could feel no pain from these but the contraction of the uterine muscle was evident if I placed my hand on my abdomen. I had been feeling these irregularly for weeks. The blood test revealed increased urates and Alkaline Phosphatase, and decreased protein and albumen. My platelets had dropped since a blood test on 5 June for gestational diabetes, to the lower end of normal range. There was still no protein in my urine however staff were concerned about the contractions. I had an IV catheter/canula placed in my hand. They blew the first hand so used my second hand. I do not have large or prominent veins and know from my experience placing catheters in animals I would not like to see veins like mine. I was given Nifedipine to stop these, and loaded with Betamethasone for the baby’s lungs in case it was to be delivered early. My cervix was long and closed. The staff did not want to keep me there at the hospital as it was not equipped to care for a baby born at 33 weeks if delivery were to occur. They decided to arrange a transfer via ambulance to the Mater Mothers Hospital. I rang my poor husband who hadn’t really slept overnight to tell him this and ask him to contact the Doula and cancel our meeting, and pack a bag in case it was needed as I had only the clothes I came in with the night before. I would keep him informed. A midwife accompanied me for the ambulance ride. The staff at the Mater admitted me for observation and re-examined me. I was discharged that evening and took a very expensive taxi ride home as the car was at the other hospital and my husband only had the motorbike. Nobody mentioned my blood results at the time, and their concern seemed to lie with my contractions and the welfare of the baby if he were to be born early. My records show that I had ‘questionable PET/PIH’. I was not given any instruction to take it easy or any medications for blood pressure. It seemed at the time to just be a ‘scare’, and there was no advice given to prepare me for the fact my baby may arrive early. We re-booked out meeting with the Doula for the Following Saturday 19th July. We spent Sunday 13th obtaining my work car, driving to the other hospital and picking up our own car and returning home. Work were concerned about my welfare on the Monday 14th and suggested I drop a day or two a week. However I had only two weeks remaining. They had planned a baby shower for Friday 25 th July which was to be my last day. I reviewed my list of things to do on the Sunday night and decided I would do them the following weekend as this weekend had been chewed up with the events which occurred. I had my routine appointment scheduled for the coming Thursday 17th. Monday 14th (week 34) I phoned my results to the Diabetes nurse. Apart from the strange results I had observed, and a few not taken while I was in hospital I seemed to be under control with diet alone. This was great as I did not want to have to use insulin injections. Tuesday 15th (week 34). I had my first appointment seeing a mental health professional. Rather than see the one recommended by my GP I opted to see the counsellor from the hospital in her private practice. I did not want to tell my story again and start afresh with another person. As it was she said she was no longer working at the hospital. Thursday 17th. (week 34 +1) I took the opportunity to have a day off work and went to my appointment. The Dr I saw was great. It seemed I was no longer under midwife care after the previous weeks events. He gave me an examination and asked that I have a follow up blood test and arrange an ultrasound to ‘size up’ my baby as it did not look like he was going to be small. I went to pathology while I was on site to save myself a trip. I then went shopping to get a few things for packing my hospital bag. I went home to have lunch and book an ultrasound for the following Monday 21st July. I rang four facilities before I could be accommodated. They all seemed to be heavily booked well in advance. A message came through on my mobile which had been switched off, and as I went to retrieve it the home phone rang. The Dr from the hospital asked that I come back in. He also said to please bring my bags and not to drive myself. I told him I would be in when my husband got home from work, about 3pm as he was on day shift. We got to the hospital about 4.30pm and the Dr said he was glad to see us. He had nearly gone home earlier without checking my blood results but was glad he remembered, and had waited around to ensure we arrived. (I would prefer not to have heard that he nearly forgot!) He handed me over to the Dr I had seen the previous week. I now had lower platelets and multiple elevated liver enzymes. My blood pressure was back up to 141/90 and I had palpable contractions which were irregular. I was given Nifedipine and antibiotics. A nurse bought in a penicillin based antibiotic and gave it to the midwife. I spoke up and advised I was allergic to penicillin. The baby was monitored again. His heart rate was slowly decreasing. I had blurred vision and some lower back pain. My reflexes were brisk and I now had 3+ clonus. There was still no protein in my urine and I did not have epigastric discomfort. My cervix was long and closed. I felt fine. The Dr decided I had impending PET and my condition was deteriorating. They advised I should be transferred again to the Mater Mothers Hospital as delivery was more than likely to be required. I had an IV catheter/canula placed with difficulty as my veins were used the previous week and the intern chose catheters which even I could see were too big. One of the midwives came to my rescue and placed a catheter in above my wrist. The ambulance transfer was uneventful and this time my husband was following behind in the car. *I As yet I do not have my record from the Mater Mothers Hospital so the following is from my and my husband’s memories. I was examined by a team of doctors and it was decided I would be induced for trial labour the following morning. My husband went home for the night and came back early the next day. At 4.30 am I was examined. My Cervix was still long and closed so I was given gel. At 6am I was examined (please no more examinations – 5 in 6 days was more than enough!!) and my membranes ruptured. I had a shower and was offered an epidural but declined as this was not something I wanted. I was 2cm dilated with no change at Midday but had had lots of strong, regular and close contractions all morning. My natural pain management techniques lasted until about 11 am but were limited as I was confined to the bed and flat on my back. I had in an IV line, urinary catheter, was attached to EFM and a blood pressure monitor. I couldn’t even roll over to my side. I requested gas as this was my preferred method of analgesia should I ask for it. The gas made me nauseous and dry retch and at midday I had no further dilation (are you kidding!!- all that pain MUST be doing something). I had no intentions of requesting any further pain relief but it got to the point where I asked for an epidural, which was given about 1.30pm. At 2pm while they were testing the effect of the epidural I still had pain in the lower abdomen. The midwife joked that maybe he was ready to come out, and when she checked I was 10cm dilated with the head presenting ready to go. I pushed well till 3.30 but then his head just stuck, almost out but not quite. I tried for another half hour then took the option of a small episiotomy as they were debating this or suction. He popped out at exactly 4.00pm. I touched his head and for a split second thought he was dead until I remembered they can’t breathe or cry until their chest is free. I was tired and not thinking. He came out on the next push and my husband cut the cord. They then gave me syntocin and removed the placenta. I did want a natural third stage but after all that had preceeded this was not to be unexpected. They took him straight down to ICU which I didn't think twice about at the time but it makes teary still that neither my husband or I got to hold him. He weighed 2.795 KG and was perfect. He had an APGAR score of 9 at 1 and 5 minutes. Our first pictures are of me alone in the hospital bed looking dazed, and my husband the next morning looking at him inside his plastic crib. Our first family shot is not for a few days afterwards. We went down to see him after I was stitched and checked by the Dr. He was on CPAP and IV glucose in the ICU nursery overnight. I had my bags taken to my room by a midwife and was wheeled back in the wheelchair by my husband after our first visit. Saturday 19th July. He was classed as six weeks early and moved over to the special care nursery where he was placed on flow by nasal oxygen for another day and had a nasogastric tube placed for feeding. He was on the sixth floor and I was on the 8th floor which made visiting difficult. I was torn between being on my floor to ensure I ate, was present for checks Nobody suggested expressing until about 24 hrs after the birth - which suprised me. He was transferred over to Redlands in the middle of the night on Monday 21st and we've been going over there each day for visits.
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