"When the baby arrived I was so shell shocked that I couldn't hold her"

About: Liverpool Womens Hospital / Maternity care

(as the patient),

I was booked for an induction 3 days after my due date as I had pelvic girdle problems and carpel tunnel in my arms. Throughout my pregnancy I wanted a water birth and was not worried about delivery at all, seeing it as a bonding experience with the baby.

When I arrived on Monday morning, I was examined and given the first pessary at 8. 30am. The midwife told me that it was a painful experience, but it didn't register with me how painful it would be. Within 30 minutes of being given the peccary I was in agony, and having what I felt were contractions, every 3 minutes, with 1 minute rest. I was told that these were not contractions and that it was just my body reacting to the drug.

After 3 hours I was in so much pain I was crying and the midwife agreed to give me an injection of diamorphine, however she then had to have a doctor sign it off, which took a further hour. I was examined and told I was only 1cm dilated, and that I would be in overnight because it wasn't working. By this point I told them I didn't want the 2nd pessary and that I wanted to wait and go into labour naturally. I was told that the injection would last for 4 hours and would knock me out, and that they would examine me again at 6pm. 45 minutes later I woke up with the most horrific pain I've ever felt. Nothing I did could stop the pain and it was constant with no gap. I told my mum that something didn't feel right and that I felt the need to push. The midwife dismissed this completely and said to get back in bed and to try and sleep.

The pain got worse and worse, and eventually at 6. 30 I was examined. I was 6cm dilated and was rushed to the delivery suite where the pain was so bad that I was screaming in agony. I felt the baby coming and was told this wasn't the case and it was just pressure. The midwives didn't examine me, but told me I had to sign forms for an epidural and read the contents. I was delirious with pain and the gas and air was having no affect at all. I was crying and so was my mum. I felt like I was going to die. I felt between my legs and the baby was crowning, I told the midwife and she dismissed me - until she checked herself and realised I was minutes from giving birth. I can honestly say that it was the worst experience of my life.

I have never felt pain like it and was begging for 2 hours for an epidural. My mum said I asked 17 times for an epidural and was completely ignored. It took a different midwife over an hour to stitch me up after the delivery.

I cry whenever I think about it or talk about it. When the baby arrived I was so shell shocked that I couldn't hold her. My mum was crying in anger at my treatment and is still upset about it now. I couldn't have any other children after this experience. It has frightened me so much.

I would say that the main problem was drastic under staffing. The day midwife was on her own, there were 2 doctors to sign things off but they were so busy that it was at least an hour to get them. There was no time to examine me because everyone was too busy.

My calm water birth ended up being something from a horror film. I'm devastated.

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Response from Alison Gallie, Patient Experience Officer, Liverpool Women's NHS Foundation Trust

I am very sorry to hear of your experience. The Delivery Suite Ward Manager would like to meet with you to discuss your birth experience, regarding the points expressed. Please contact Clare Fitzpatrick, Head of Midwifery on 0151 702 4325 or Joan McDonald, Delivery Suite Ward Manager on 0151 702 4426 to discuss further. Alternatively, if you would prefer to speak to the Patient Experience Team, they can be contacted on 0151 702 4182/4416/4061 and will be happy to help you.

Clare Fitzpatrick, Head of Midwifery

Joan McDonald, Delivery Suite Ward Manager

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