of that I can be certain.
I was scared of giving birth and despite being the first to mention epidural in our ante natal group had visited the midwife led birthing centre on Christmas Eve. I’d done pregnancy yoga, given up smoking, come off my antidepressant with encouragement & guidance from my GP, our bags were packed with every item we could possibly “need”, we were going to do this and meet our son!
The day before his arrival had been like many others of my maternity leave – quiet and restful. Glen had returned to work after the Christmas holidays. We were meeting our NCT group for drinks early evening. We’d regularly been meeting and there had been 3 of our 8 babies born already. Glen and I had cross texts because I was annoyed he was so late coming back from work but we had enjoyable drinks and decided to go for dinner out as a treat.
We returned home and the first pain made me scream – I’d never felt anything like it. My waters broke as I stood in the kitchen and there was blood and what I (now know) suspected was a clot. If I’d been scared before I’m not sure what word could describe how I felt in that moment but worse was to come.
We phoned the hospital for guidance and were told to come in (the hospital at a later date admitted we should have been told to call 999). I think now, that is how I remained relatively calm. Surely they knew something we didn’t. Glen was learning to drive at the time and had the pains not been so bad I would have driven myself. I put a bed pad on the passenger seat (couldn’t get blood on the seat). Safe to say it was far from the best journey – we even took a wrong turn but we got there.
By this point the pains were so bad we had no option but to get a wheelchair. We arrived at the labour ward, where no other mothers were labouring, only to be told to wait in reception. I was pacing, sitting in the wheelchair, trying to get some comfort but concerned that our son was in distress as the blood was still coming and the pains felt far from contracting.
Eventually a lovely student midwife came but it was to take me to be weighed down the corridor – I was far from calm now but managed to keep tight lipped, mainly due to fear of upsetting anyone involved in the delivery of our son. The midwife (I want to not call her that because she was a disgrace) came round the corner and rudely asked why I was in a wheelchair – I couldn’t help myself ” because the pain feels like I’m being stabbed and I didn’t want to drip blood all over the floor” was my response.
She took us back up the corridor to the triage room – just bigger than a broom cupboard – where the 5 of us just fitted. Then began the process of the belt being put on to check our son’s heartbeat. You know you’re not in safe hands when the student midwife looks fearful and asks her superior if she can help – she was making such a mess of it – pulling the belt through and forgetting to hold the end…
And then we heard it, that muffled little thud of a heartbeat and we felt reassured. There was no paper in the machine or something similar so another machine was bought in. In between time a Dr came to examine me.
Glen asked the midwife at this point whether he should get the bags and move the car from the disabled spot where we’d hastily parked. She answered abruptly “yes, go”… Now I realise rationally that no one knew what was going to happen next but I was terrified and to send away my husband is something I can’t forgive, both for myself and for him.
As soon as the second machine was attached it was clear that there was a serious problem with our son’s heartbeat. It felt like Glen had just left the room when the emergency alarm was being slammed. I begged for them to find him and will never know if they even tried.
A gurney was pushed into the triage room which really left little room for anyone standing yet there seemed to be so many hands hoisting me over from the static bed. I had questions being asked of me from all different angles “there’s no time for consent forms are you happy for us to proceed” and all I remember saying between sobs was “please save our son, do whatever is necessary”.
In the operating room things calmed momentarily and a new midwife asked if I was wearing any jewellery & when I’d last eaten. I started to take my earrings out whilst answering the question and was told there was no time. I realised this as they started to put iodine on my stomach and I said “I’m still awake”…
I remember nothing else…
Sebastian John Bone entered the world at 00:17 without his Mum or Dad… He was a healthy 9lb 2oz and went from 7 to 10 on the scale within minutes.
I on the other hand was far from healthy. I was kept unconscious because I had, upon intubation, aspirated in to my lungs and they need to be cleaned…
Glen had returned to the triage room to find it empty – ever the gentleman he had knocked and it was this that alerted a midwife to come and speak with him. Even then he was told very little and just left to wait.
They bought Seb to him shortly after 1:00 and upon enquiring about me was told that “someone will come and talk to you about your wife”. That’s just not acceptable particularly because that someone took some time to come.
It would be a further 4 hours before he saw me again…
I was bought back round after 5:00 and transferred to the High Dependancy Unit as there was no room in Intensive Care. It was after 6:00 when I saw Seb for the first time that I can remember and it was a fleeting visit. In my dazed state I was convinced it was the midwife from the night before and I tearfully begged Glen not to let her take him and insisted he went with Seb. I think my thought process was she hadn’t taken care of us before so there was no way she was to be trusted with our son now.
My Mum had arrived at the hospital after what can only have been a sleepless night. I had called her when my waters broke and she’d then heard nothing until Glen knew I was going to be ok – he didn’t know what to do, how do you text or call someone’s Mum when you really don’t know what has happened or whether they are actually going to be ok…