"Above and beyond care at Ninewells maternity."

About: Ninewells Hospital / Maternity care

(as the patient),

I had a horrible experience as a very young new mum while having my son 17 years ago at another hospital. An emergency section which ended up with a very scary general anaesthetic and made my mind up to NEVER have another baby.

Maybe enough time had passed for me to forget the horror of that experience or maybe it was the fact that my partner really deserved and needed to be a daddy or maybe I just fell in love with idea of having another. For whatever reason, I changed my mind and in July 2015 I was due to give birth to my second baby.

I desperately wanted a VBAC. I had written my birth plan and gone over it with my midwife. Not too demanding just an early epidural to increase the chance of me being awake when my baby arrived if the need for a section arose, skin to skin for at least an hour and delayed cord clamping. I gone over every scenario in my dreams, both waking and sleeping and was excited and scared all at once. Every scenario had crossed my mind and at 38 weeks pregnant I was ready to meet my baby and waiting on her deciding to make her entrance to the world.

The only scenario I hadn't thought of was what happened. She stopped moving.

After attending the maternity triage department for reduced fetal movement, it was discovered that my precious baby had stopped, or at least slowed in her growth and that she needed to be delivered the next day.

I saw a consultant who I think was called Roz. She was amazing! She was so understanding of my wish to avoid another c section and gave me the option of being induced. After examination we decided together that being induced may not be successful and that we may end up with an emergency c section and that because of that, it would be safer for me and my baby if we planned a section the following morning. I threw my birth plan aside and had only one request. I wanted to be awake when my baby was born.

When I saw the anaesthetist I literally begged him to keep me awake. He was confident that I would be.

The following morning I was terrified. I had no idea when I would go to theatre and was relieved to find out I was going early at 10am.

In theatre the anaesthetist put the signal in and I lay down and waited to be numb. It didn't happen. When the consultant Roz put her instruments on my tummy I felt it and I cried. I just knew I was going to have to have another general anaesthetic. I wouldn't hear my babies first cries and would barely remember those first few hours. It was all of my nightmares come true.

I wish I could remember his name. He was a consultant. I remember that. The anaesthetist. He would not give up. Roz had to go and attend to other patients while I held up the theatre with my inability to go numb. The anaesthetist tried all he could to keep me awake. I was numb down one side so couldn't really sit up. He attempted an epidural with me laying on my side. I was being sick. Distressed. Crying and begging them not to knock me out. The epidural didn't work. I could still feel my tummy and legs. I was determined and finally said that I would attempt to sit up for another go at a spinal. Resigned to the fact that if it didn't work I'd be having another general anaesthetic and with so many people holding me up, I sat up and the anaesthetist put another spinal in my back.

It worked! I felt nothing and within seconds Roz was back and getting to work delivering my baby. She had read my birth plan. She delayed clamping the cord as long as was safe for a section baby. She lowered the sheets so I could see her be born and although I wasn't able to have skin to skin straight away, my new baby girl had some very special bonding time skin to skin with her daddy within a couple of minutes of her birth at 17 minutes past 1 in the afternoon.

I had taken up more than 3 hours of theatre time. I had had 2 spinals and an epidural and no-one at any time made me feel like I was wasting time. From the amazing doctor Roz who delivered my baby, leaving the neatest scar that any health professional since has ever seen to the anaesthetist who would not give up, to the anaesthetic nurse who continually reassured me that a general anaesthetic was not inevitable, to the midwives who seemed as pleased as I was that I was awake for my daughters birth. Every last one of them made my experience of childbirth so special. I have no doubt that with a less caring, more time conscious team of people, I would have had another general anaesthetic and would have felt like a failure.

I cannot possibly find the words to express my gratitude to these people who came to work that day and gave me the best possible outcome. A healthy baby girl who is now 10 months old and who I witnessed come into the world.

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