My Post-Labour Experience Was A Terrifying Blur - The M Word

My Post-Labour Experience Was A Terrifying Blur

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The birth of our eldest did not go according to plan. I went 12 days overdue and that meant induction. I got one dose of gel and then was basically left to do my own thing. I was checked that evening and as the trace showed I was having contractions I didn’t get a second dose of gel. My husband had to leave as I wasn’t in established labour.

I had a horrible night and spent most of the night on the floor on my hands and knees with awful contractions that were in my back. I wasn’t able to sleep. No one came to check on me all night and eventually at 5am I had to seek help. I got checked out and was given paracetamol and told to have a bath. It did not help at all.

I’d have been better off taking smarties!

The morning finally came and my husband was allowed to come back. We were brought back to the labour ward for a check which showed that I wasn’t dilated at all. After all of the contractions I thought I would have got further on. Then I was put on a trace. While the midwives were out of the room I got a really bad contraction and we noticed that our baby’s heartbeat went really low on the monitor. We were so worried that we were going to lose the baby. The midwives came back and called the doctors who tried to break my waters but couldn’t so it meant an emergency section.

I was rushed to theatre and thankfully all went OK. When I heard her cry I cried too. She was here and all should have been perfect.

I’m not sure exactly when it started to go wrong. I’m not sure if it was the complete lack of sleep – one night spent worrying about induction, one night with contractions – or the medication but the night before I was due to be discharged I think I started to panic. I couldn’t settle my daughter as every time I had her settled another baby in the room kept crying. Then that is all I can remember from that night.

It is a complete blur where I am not sure what parts are real and what parts were a dream. A lot of it is pieced together from what my husband told me. I must have fallen asleep as I had a strange dream – the other baby in the room was in it and something about breastfeeding. I had tried to breastfeed on the first day but it didn’t work due to lack of support and me not being in the right frame of mind. I dreamt that the hospital took my baby off me because I slept for too long. It was horrible.

Apparently, I rang my husband about 20 times in the middle of the night. I kept asking him the time.

I think in my dream something happened at a certain time and I wanted to make sure it wasn’t that time yet. He got worried about me and rang the hospital. The nurse went to the room and took my phone off me so I couldn’t ring him anymore and she took my baby with her. I don’t remember any of this.

The following day my husband came to my bedside with our baby and sat in a chair with her all day. My mum was there too some of the day. I was drifting in and out of it all day. At some point during the day I had to have a psychiatric assessment done as the hospital were worried about my confusion. They talked about the possibility of post-natal depression. Even during my interview with her I was drifting out of it.

I can’t really remember much of it.

According to my husband I was sleeping or in bed a lot of the day and I kept asking him what time it was. Eventually he forced me to get up and eat my dinner and he said that’s when I started to become normal again. Our baby was kept in the special baby unit that night and we brought her there together and I was moved to a quieter ward so I could get a rest. I still wasn’t fully with it but was getting better. I remember staring out the window a lot that night.

The next morning I brought my baby back to the ward and fed and changed her. The lady came back that I had met the day before for another chat and she said that I was fine to go home. My mum came for a visit and she told me to go have a shower before going home. I still had to tell myself that I wasn’t dreaming and had to force myself to get into the shower. Then my husband came and we headed home with me trying to fight off the feeling that I was still dreaming.

I didn’t talk about what had happened to me. I was afraid that it was somehow my fault. I was afraid that I did something wrong. I didn’t enjoy my maternity leave as much as I should have either.

Just over a year later when I went back to the hospital for an assessment a few days before I had my son I said to one of the midwives that I didn’t want to have a morphine pump again if it ended up in a section. She remembered what had happened me and said what had happened wasn’t unusual after morphine.

I just wish someone had told me so at the time.

I’m sharing my story now in case it helps someone else. I was a scared first-time mammy. I didn’t know what was normal and what was not. I should have made my voice heard when I was in so much pain the night before I had my daughter. I shouldn’t have left the hospital without talking to someone about what happened or else I should have gone back about it.

Please if something happens you that you’re not sure about talk to someone about it. Ask for help.

Eimear Lawler
Eimear Lawler
I’m a mammy to three children aged five and under. Life’s a little crazy but I wouldn’t have it any other way. I work part time as an accountant and I stay at home the rest of the time with my children. Getting back into my hobbies of reading and writing and loving it.