Content Note: This story includes physical injury due to birth.
i had a relatively smooth pregnancy up until 28 weeks when I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes.
I was told I would need to go on insulin and have regular scans to ensure baby’s safety. Some of the scans revealed that baby was measuring in the 90th percential and that I was probably not going to be able to go over 38 weeks. However towards the end baby was measuring smaller and the decision was made for induction at 38 weeks.
I went in on a Saturday morning had 3 gels and finally my waters broke at 1pm on the Sunday and, oh my, it was all go - the first 2 hours of contractions were very intense but a few minutes apart.
They then put me on a drip of syntocinin and for the next 10 hours there were no breaks in between contractions - it was extremely intense and very painful, debilitating in fact.
At around 6pm I asked for an epidural, being a Sunday and very busy I was unable to get one till around 8.30pm it was the longest 2.5hours of my life! Before this I had been hard on the gas for hours!
As they were putting the epidural in I kept moving as the contractions were excruciating - how the hell can you sit still through those I said! Because of my movement the effectiveness on one side was great but not so much on the other unfortunately. But boy am I glad I had this due to what was going to follow.
After the epidural they decided to check my dilation. It hadn’t been checked for 6 hours and I was 8cm dilated. They said, “shit we better call your midwife”. Half an hour later she was there.
After all the gas and the epidural I was shaking and vomiting uncontrollably for about 3 hours … At around midnight my midwife said right you are 10 cm now (great time for being induced 12 hour labour total) you may get the urge to push very soon. I think it was about 10 minutes and the urge to push began … I was pushing for an hour it was very intense throughout and my epidural had worn off quite a bit on one side but not the other.
I was laying on my back pushing with every inch of strength I had left! I started getting a really crazy burning sensation in my back it felt so hot like it was on fire! I said to my midwife I have to move so I went up onto my side while my husband and midwife were holding my legs and feet to support me pushing.
The midwife said at around 12.30 I can see baby’s head it is coming not far away now … There was also a lot of blood at this stage.
As my midwife turned to get equipment ready (she said I would need an episiotomy) she turned back to examine me, I heard an “oh shit”!
She said “please don’t panic, I need you to stop pushing, its really important, again, please don’t panic, I’m not sure what has happened but baby’s head is presenting from your anus and your vagina but the perineum is still intact. I need to call for help”.
Off went the panic button and the emergency obstetrician came in took one look and walked back out, I guess to comprehend what she had seen, then came back in. She said “I need to get this baby out quickly I have never seen anything like this before I will do my best that I possibly can”.
I was completely cut after the Dr had to push baby back up through my anus to get her down through the birth canal (too late for c section and the damage was already done). I was losing enormous amounts of blood and shaking uncontrollably. I was having a surprise and they said “it’s a girl!”
I got a quick cuddle as they were trying to ease the loss of blood from me and she was whisked away to be checked over. Thankfully she was a healthy 7 pound 5 ounces and doing well.
I lay there thinking I am going to die! They packed me (about 40 minutes) for theatre and the Dr. said “you are going to need specialist surgery as I am not qualified enough to repair what needs repairing, I need a specialist to see you in theatre but that won’t be till the morning. I need to stop the haemorrhaging and do the best I can until further surgery”.
I was in theatre for 4 hours. Then at 11am on Monday morning the colorectal surgeon took me to theatre for another 5 hours! The pain I was in was unimaginable.
They still can’t really comprehend what went so horribly wrong as baby was monitored the whole time and was showing no sign of distress. They explained that she must have been obstructed somewhere along the way, she had torn through my vaginal wall through all the perennial/pelvic muscles and through to my rectum.
I was first told that I would probably be getting a colostomy bag as the damage done is pretty horrific. Miraculously I managed to avoid that, someone was looking out for me that’s for sure.
I had a total of 9 hours surgery, the last 5 hour surgery I was told they used 22 packets of sutures. After a week I was able to get home but it was a real struggle! I had a partial bowel reconstruction so it made going to the toilet extremely difficult.
A week later as my midwife had checked me at home she informed me I would need to return to hospital as there had been a repair break down.
On examination they said part of the repair had come undone and the wound on my perineum was infected, I was told the cavity was so large they could see right through to my rectal wall so the wound was pretty big.
I went to theatre for a third time and they decided not repair the wound as they didn’t want to upset what was already healing well and they needed it left as it was due to the infection risk being very high. They ended up explaining that my injury was a “Complicated 4th degree internal/external degree perinial/obstetric tear.
This was such a traumatic and horrific experience and I honestly don’t know how I survived. The surgeon told me it was the worst childbirth injury he had ever seen. The recovery has been very long and very slow.
A year on I have just been seen again and unfortunately I need further surgery. This was hard to swallow!
It has affected me more now, this far down the track, mentally. I feel this is because at the time I was a new mum, extremely sick and just trying to get through each day. The recovery was absolutely horrendous not to mention the immense pain I was in.
I hope my story will help others to seek help, I finally am now and it’s the best thing I could’ve done. It’s never too late.