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Interview 46

Age at interview: 29
Brief Outline: Two normal pregnancies; some bleeding early in second pregnancy. First labour was very long and painful, and ended with a forceps delivery. Epidural for pain relief. More of this interview can be seen on the Healthtalkonline antenatal screening site as Interview 09.
Background: Children' 1, aged 20 months, pregnant with second baby. Occupations' Mother- GP, Father- company director. Marital status' married. Ethnic background' White British.

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She started bleeding while on holiday and phoned her GP. There was nothing she could do so she...

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And then this pregnancy I was bleeding very early in pregnancy from about 5 weeks to 7' weeks or something, and I phoned, after about a few days of bleeding, I phoned up my GP and said, "I'm bleeding." And actually we were camping in the middle of Wales in a field, and I said to this doctor who was just the person who happened to be on the end of the phone, who I in fact know and is lovely, and I said, "I'm planning to do absolutely nothing about it, that's fine isn't it? I'm only 5 weeks or whatever, 5' weeks." So I'd just found out I was pregnant, you know, a week before or something. 

And he said, "Yeah, well, of course," he said, "if in 2 weeks' time you want to have a scan then phone me back", and in fact in 2 weeks time I was still bleeding a bit, so I phoned back. And I was basically just, I suppose the attitude I took at the time was what I try and tell patients, which is very hard to tell anyone, which is, 'Look, if you're going to miscarry you're going to miscarry. There's absolutely nothing you can do about it, so you may as well just not, you know.' And as far as I was concerned, you know, I might as well have a nice time camping in a field in Wales, as best I could anyway, because whatever was going to happen whatever. And my husband was like, "No, we must go home," and I said, "No, it's not going to make any difference if I go to bed. It won't make a blind bit of difference so, you know, let's just stay." And so I had a scan at 7 weeks. And I waited because I knew that there was no point in having a scan younger than they can see a heartbeat, so I waited till I was 7' weeks and then I had one, and of course everything was fine and of course the bleeding stopped 2 days later.
 
 
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She had such bad back pain in labour the midwife persuaded her to have an epidural, but it did...

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And by this stage I couldn't conceivably sit still with contractions, you know, I was - and so we did the kind of, about 20 minutes of, you know, get your husband to massage your back and sitting on one of those nice physio balls, and I think they got me one of those hot bran bag things and said, "Put that on your back', because all the pain was in my back. And that really didn't last long at all. And she came back in and said, "You're in a lot of pain'. You know, I couldn't probably speak and she said, "Have you thought about having an epidural?" And I said, "Well it's pretty early." She said, "Well, yes, I know it's pretty early but you're in a lot of pain and, you know, you've got a long way to go in this much pain." And so I said, "It's too early." So she went away again for about another fifteen minutes and she came back and she said, "I think you need some, you might need someone to make this decision for you," and I said, "Yes, I think maybe." 

And she said, "OK, I'm calling the anaesthetist now," and it was very, you know, very kind of, very little discussion. And I think probably I must've been in quite a lot of pain to, for that to just go through. She said, "You're not going to be able to keep still long enough to get an epidural in if we leave it much longer," and went off and that was all. And so I had an epidural, which was done brilliantly by whoever happened to be asleep up the corridor, who was very nice and then I had a very long labour and it turned out that it was all because he was OP [occipitoposterior presentation], facing the wrong way.

Hence the back pain?

And hence the back pain. And in fact the epidural didn't work particularly well, I still had back pain all the way through, although, you know, not nearly as severe as it would have been, obviously. And they kept getting me to try and lie on that side when they did top ups to try and get, because they thought maybe the tube was kinked and the drugs weren't sinking to the one side of my back. And every hour I said, "No, no, no, that makes the pain worse, lying on that side, not better." And they just put in more and more and more epidural, and I got sicker and sicker [laughs]. 
 
 
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She had a forceps birth after a long and exhausting labour. She was surprised she let staff make...

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From the, from the point of view when I knew I'd been in labour from - I mean, of course officially on the notes they don't start counting until you're 3cms - but from when I knew I'd gone into labour it was probably about 26 hours or 27 hours or 28 hours. They, I got to 9' centimetres and just didn't get any further. And they were examining me every hour, and for about 3 hours in a row they were saying, "No, no, no, there's still a bit to go, there's still a bit of cervix to go." And I hadn't slept at all, I hadn't drunk anything for about well over 12 hours, because I was very, very nauseous on the epidural. And it's, that's where I wonder why, why didn't I ask for intravenous fluids? Why on earth? I remember saying, "I'm so thirsty, I'm so thirsty," and her, and one of the midwives saying, "Well I would put up a drip but I can't because of the three-way tap." And now I think, you know...

What did she mean?

I was that, well, I don't know. She obviously couldn't work out a way to do this three-way tap that she could still have the Syntocinon [oxytocin] drip running in and put through flush. I don't know. But anyway, all I needed was another Venflon, you know. All I needed was another IV line for fluid to go in. I would've been totally happy for somebody to stab me again if it meant a litre of fluid. Why on earth didn't I just say, 'Just put another line in and give me, you know'. Why on earth didn't I ask for anti-emetics? But now I've, I mean I think I just relinquished all decision making and all control, and I've got no idea why I didn't have the presence of mind to do simple things that would've just made me feel a lot more well. 

And so in, I mean, so in the end I ended up having a forceps delivery by a consultant who I knew. I knew the doctors who were on call on the labour ward, and the junior doctors weren't going to come near me because they knew me, and they called the consultant that they knew I'd want to do a forceps delivery, because he was the best one. And he, you know, he turned up and just said, "Look, you know, what's going on? You're in pain, you're exhausted. Let's deliver this baby." And I just said, "I don't want a section." And he said, "Well, what do you mean? Who's talking about a section?" I said, "But what about this half a centimetre?" And he said, "Well, I'll examine you," and he said, "No, you know, we can do a forceps delivery." And he managed to turn him round by hand, so that he could just do a lift out forceps rather than having to do a rotational forceps which I was pleased about. And I have to say from that point on I felt much better, partly because I then got an epi-, the sort of epidural you have for a caesarean, because in case they can't get the baby out with the forceps they've always prepared you for a caesarean section. And so for the first time I was out of pain. By the time I got to the consultant anaesthetist, then I said, "Look, I need some fluid.' And so I got some fluid. 

Intravenous?

Yeah, although I was still throwing up. And I just felt safe, I knew it was going to be over soon, I trusted this doctor completely and I didn't, I wasn't worried me for or the baby at all, whereas my husband I think was much, much more worried. For him that last, you know, forty-five minutes was all very traumatic. But for me it wasn't really. But I think that's very unusual, I was in familiar surroundings, albeit the place where I'd previously worked, I actually knew the faces who were looking at me, I understood what was going on, I trusted them, I, you know, and..

And for you the medical environment wasn't as abnormal as for your husband I guess?

Yeah,
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