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Melissa

Age at interview: 27
Brief Outline: Melissa had an unplanned but otherwise straightforward pregnancy. But later developed Pre-eclampsia and had an induction. She had a difficult labour without pain relief and an episiotomy.
Background: Melissa is a hairdresser and her partner is an IT engineer. They have one child, aged 8 months at the time of interview. Ethnic background: White British.

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Melissa had some swelling but didn’t think of it as a symptom at the time.

Melissa had some swelling but didn’t think of it as a symptom at the time.

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Did you feel any different when you started to have the pre-eclampsia?

Not at all, no. I mean I was swollen anyway and my feet were swollen and my face was swollen but I thought that was quite normal. And also, I was working full-time to the Saturday and I had him on the Tuesday and I don’t think that helped at all. I thought that’s why I was swollen because I was, I’m a hairdresser and work, you know, on my feet. So that was, that was kind of it, really. I didn’t have any symptoms at all but because, obviously it’s high blood pressure, that’s the main, the main symptom and you don’t notice that at all, so.
 

Melissa’s anaesthetist tried to give her an epidural but her contractions were too rapid that she couldn’t stay still for long enough.

Melissa’s anaesthetist tried to give her an epidural but her contractions were too rapid that she couldn’t stay still for long enough.

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Epidural, yeah, and I really wanted an epidural and by the time the anaesthetist had come round and to do it, because they were so busy, it was too late, basically. And he was trying and trying, he tried to put the needle in my back about 10 times and it’s a big, thick old needle and I just couldn’t keep still for him to do it because I was contracting too quickly. So in the end I had to have him naturally, I didn’t like the gas and air at all and I thought it was horrible so I couldn’t, couldn’t have that either. It made me feel sick. And yeah, so like I say, he come, he come out naturally and it was quite painful.

So you had no pain relief at all?

No pain relief at all and they had to cut me all the way to my bottom, basically, and that was quite horrific. But the actual birth itself didn’t, didn’t hurt. It was the contractions and this guy trying to put needles in my back [laughing]. That was the most painful thing, definitely. And also afterwards, it took an hour and a half for my placenta to come away and I had various people tugging on it and injecting me and oh, that, and that, that was the worst bit, actually, the stitches afterwards and the placenta, trying to remove the placenta. That was definitely the worst bit and that was it, really. But I’m sure people have had worse pregnancies but that seemed quite bad [laughing]. Not pregnancies, births, that seemed quite, quite bad to me for a first one. I just wish I had pain relief. That, that would have been much better, I think, definitely.
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