Content Note: This story includes pre-eclampsia; intrauterine growth restriction; labouring alone; absence of care; not being listened to; lack of pain relief; baby in NICU; seperation from baby.

Emme's story



I was referred to Foetal Medicine at our local hospital, where I was regularly monitored through the rest of my pregnancy.

At 35 weeks I started to develop pre eclampsia and was admitted to the Maternity Ward on the Friday with the view to induce me the following Tuesday.

My waters broke naturally early on Saturday and I was moved to the Birthing Suite.  I was having mild contractions and I was given steroids and antibiotics.  A Doctor came in to check me and he said to me “what seems to be the problem?
I said “I have pre eclampsia, an IUGR baby and my waters have broken”.  He then said to the midwife who was also attending “we will let nature take its course, get her off this ward”.  I was moved back to the Maternity Ward.

To cut a long story short I was left to labour alone.  I was told by staff I was just having Braxton Hicks contractions, that I shouldn’t “cry wolf” and “oh you’re just anxious because you have a small baby”.

Not once did a doctor or anyone examine me, they just relied on CTG monitors to pick up my contractions.  All the while my own midwife was being told false information.  I was in so much pain.

At some stage during that Sunday night the staff decided that my pain could be a UTI and asked me for a urine sample.  I never slept at all that night.  Even after all the medications.  I had 3 showers, all unattended by any staff. I was trying to be quiet because there was a lady next to me asleep on the maternity ward with only a curtain between us. I couldn’t stop crying.

Around 7am I was having feelings of wanting to push and I rang my husband and asked him to come in at 8am.  My partner got there at 8.30am and was horrified by how bad I looked and by how much pain I was in and the staff were still saying I wasn’t in labour!

Luckily my midwife came in at the same time, to check how I was doing, and recognized that I was about to have my baby and rushed me to the Birthing Suite – we had to go in to the first available room where it was cold and dark and there was a lady having breakfast.

Because I had been told so many times that I was not even in labour, I was confused about what was happening.  I asked my partner if I was going to be given an epidural as I was walking down the hallway in agony.

My midwife was asking me not to push as they rushed me into a second room and got a trolley set up just before the baby came out - my midwife was pressing buttons and requesting help.  Our daughter was born at 9.31am weighing only 3lb 4.

After I spent the whole night in pain and in labour alone I’d had 48 hrs of ruptured membranes.  Our baby spent 6 weeks in NICU.  My husband had to wheel her to NICU in a cot where she was then transferred to an incubator.  It was about 3 hrs later I got to fully see her.

The whole experience has left me traumatized.