Content Note: This story includes - not being listened to by staff; lack of patient information by staff; crash cesarean under general anesthetic; unwell baby; baby in NICU.  

Clara's story



I was predicting an easy, quick birth based off my previous one.

I arrived at 9am at the hospital, all ready to be induced.  They ushered me into a room very slowly as my hips were screaming in protest.  They explained there would be a small delay as there had been a few emergencies.  They would get to me as soon as they could.

1pm rolls around and I'm thinking, how much longer!  A lovely lady comes in and says they will insert the gel.  The position was assumed and then she laughed.  No gel was being inserted - I was already 4-5 cm.

At 2pm they moved me to the twin delivery room. Family came in and chatted while we waited.  I wanted to get up and walk around but had to stay on the bed to be ready.  Obstetricians, midwives and the paediatrician walked in and went over what was going to happen.  Epidural was discussed.

At 4pm they said it's go time, we are going to break baby A's water.  They decided the epidural could wait.  I warned them about my history of quick birth.  They assured me there would be plenty of time.

So, crochet hook looking thing poised, I asked the team where my antibiotics were.  All of them looked confused.  “You know, for my GBS? I'm strep b positive”.  Again the confused looks. I'm asked if I'm sure. “Ahh yep I'm pretty sure”.  Things are feeling a bit like a shambles at this point.  They look it up on my notes and see I am right.  Oops.  Phone calls are made and here comes the antibiotics!

It's go time!  I am a little nervous now and again mention the fast birth thing.  Again I'm told there will be lots of time.

5pm the water is broken and a trace placed in baby A's head.  Nothing much happens.  We twiddle our thumbs through 3-4 contractions in an hour.

At 6pm I'm hooked up to the Syntocinin drip.  I ask for the epidural.  I'm told to wait a bit longer but I can feel things are moving quickly.  Everyone except the midwife and a medical student go on break just after starting the drip.

15 mins after starting the drip I tell the med student I'm going to have to push soon.  He almost laughs and tells me it'll be hours yet. I kind of want to kick him.  He doesn't bother checking my progression.  I demand my epidural.  They get on the phone to organise it.  They tell me it'll be here soon.  I'm too busy crying and wanting things to slow down to care.

I complain to my partner and cousin that I'm not being listened to.  Two minutes later at 6.25pm I yell that I need to push.  Still only one midwife and the med student in the room.  The midwife comes over smiling and checks, her face drops.  She tells at the med student to get everyone in here - I'm 10cm and Baby A is super keen to come meet us.

The med student gets on the phone.  I hear him saying ' I don't care if you're on break, get back here these babies are coming'.  Comedy at its finest.

The epidural guy pokes his head in and gets told to go away, he's too late.

Everyone rushes in while the midwife has her arm up there holding Baby A in, telling me not to push.  Like fighting your body's natural instinct is easy.

Finally by 6.32pm everyone is in the room and I'm allowed to push. 6.36pm Baby A arrives, no crying - just looking a bit dazed.  He was placed on me for skin to skin. 

The ctg starts beeping.  I watch Baby B's heart rate dropping rapidly.  They turn it around getting a portable ultrasound while the obstetrician is holding him in place to stop him turning.  They grab Baby A off me and hand him to his dad. Telling him to get his shirt off. I know it's really bad.

Then they are off running with me on the bed.  They tell me I'm going under a general anaesthetic for a c-section.  They say they'll explain when I wake.  I tell them not to worry about me, just save my baby. 

They throw some betadine on me and on goes the mask.  Last thing I hear is ' I can't find the heartbeat'.  He was born at 7.05pm in his waters.

I woke way quicker than they expected.  My first question was 'is my baby alive'?  The doctor told me that yes he was, but he was really bad and his chances of survival were very slim.  He had been down over 20 minutes and his blood gasses were as bad as they could get.  He explained I'd had a complete placental abruption caused by baby a grabbing baby B's cord and pulling his placenta from the uterus wall.

They were going to cool baby B to slow down his body processes and to slow the shutdown of his organs that was happening.  He told us that when he was going they would call the family in to say our goodbyes.

I was wheeled to NICU to say hello and very likely goodbye.  He was purple and limp and covered in plastic.  He had a ventilator breathing for him.  I held his hand, and then he started fighting.  His little arms started waving and his head moving.

It was 5 days before we knew he would make it.  And he has defied the odds ever since.