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Guest Post: Birth Story and Developing PTSD and Health Anxiety

One of my lovely friends from The Mom Group has very kindly decided to share her story and raise awareness on sepsis, PTSD and health anxiety. Please keep reading to hear her incredible story.


My name is Lorna and I am what they call a mature mum lol!! This most definitely only applies in age! I am a wife and mum to a beautiful daughter, Lilly, and fabulous furbaby Ernie.

I'm a sepsis survivor.

I had a textbook pregnancy, some people will hate me for saying it was easy! But for me it was.....I had no symptoms and if it wasn't for my growing bump I would have forgotten I was pregnant! I researched EVERYTHING and decided I wanted as natural a birth as possible, preferably in the water and I did a hypnobirthing course to prepare myself! It came to my due date and there was no sign of my baby! Fast forward another 13 days and 3 unsuccessful sweeps later I was told I HAD to go in for induction (they let me go 3 extra days to the standard 10) but then were too busy to induce me! I eventually got induced the following morning at 5AM! I spent most of the day walking round the hospital with my husband......multiple times but didn't really progress! Finally by the evening things started to move along but I was in quite a lot of pain and couldn't really focus on my hypnobirthing techniques because they were too busy to give me my own delivery room so I had to labour on the ward which wasn't really conducive to the nice peaceful calm serenity of hypnobirthing!



After what seemed like a lifetime I asked the midwife if she could check my progression, after a bit of coaxing (pleading) she agreed. And then came the magic words...."you are 7cm, we can move you to delivery suite" A-MAZING!!!!!! I could finally get some peace and get in my hypnobirthing zone! Yay! Off she went and about 5 or 10 minutes later (it could have been an hour!) She came back with one of the other midwives....."I've asked my supervisor to double check you before we move you just to make sure cos we are so busy we are going to have to move someone else out of delivery to move you" no probs I thought, I'm probably 8cm by now! Another hand up my foof and out come what seemed like the worst words ever "sorry you are only 3cm we can't move you" 3 FUCKING CM, 3 FUCKING CM?????? How have I gone from 7-3cm in the space of 10 minutes, is my baby clinging on to the inside of my womb for dear life? I have NEVER been so deflated in my whole life. I then found out the baby was back to back! F'ing great! No wonder it was bloody painful! I mean I know it was gonna be painful why else would it be called labour but I believed 100% in the power of hypnobirthing! 

It got to the point however where I wanted gas & air so they checked me out and I was only 5 f'ing cms........5cms in about 15 or so hours wtf! This doesn't happen on one born! Anyway you'd be surprised to know this is the short version......various other diversions from my birth plan and into the morning of 42+1 which now meant my baby had to have continuous monitoring so I had to get out of the pool I had eventually been able to get into and back onto a bed! I was keen on active labour and didn't want to lie down so opted for kneeling. At about 6AM I finally got to 10cm and they said I could push........but nothing happened.....I kept trying but still nothing......roll on an hour and a half and still nothing. They said I had another 30 mins but then they had to get the doctor......30 mins later and me pushing with everything I had and still nothing. In comes the doctor to tell me they couldn't do a forceps birth cos babies head was in poor position so I had to have a c section......the absolute opposite of what I had wished for....but I consented and he said they would be back for me in an hour! Wtf what should I do cos my body still wanted to push......the doctor said "just try not to" only a man could say something that ridiculous!

So for the next hour I tried not to push! I got into theatre and not only did I know the anaesthetist (I work with him) but the ODP was one  of my patients....f'ing great I've sorted his foot out and now he can see my naked foof! Anyway the c section was fine, they almost attempted forceps in theatre cos head position had improved but babies heart rate dropped so it was straight for c section, the spinal was the best thing ever, the pain immediately stopped!

When my baby girl was born I didn't feel like I could hold her cos the drapes were right up to my chest so I said my husband should take her. I didn't hold her until I got into recovery. The first night was hard cos I needed help with everything and I struggled to get a successful latch. The pain I had afterwards was horrific......no one tells you about the awful trapped wind pain after a section......it was worse than contractions! I then spent the next 2 days drinking peppermint tea and chewing gum like my life depended on it! Oh and walking up and down the corridor pushing my baby in a crib cos apparently that helps!

3 days later I got home but wtf do we do with this new baby? Why is she still crying?! We all slept downstairs (I say slept but we didn't sleep at all cos the baby cried all night!) Cos I couldn't lie down in bed so it was easier on the sofa. Cue middle of the night facetime to my sister in Canada....what do we do she won't stop crying?! Thank god for the 7 hour time difference. Those first few days were a blur but on day 5, 2 days after getting home I woke up feeling pretty horrific. Absolutely freezing and shivering despite the heating being on and having a fluffy dressing gown on and blanket. I couldn't get warm. But I had to move cos we had Lilly's 5 day check at the hospital. It took me what seemed like hours to get the strength to get up and get in the shower. Then I couldn't get out cos it had warmed me up and I was scared of being cold again! Needless to say we were late for the appointment.

We got to the hospital and I wondered how I was going to walk from the car park to women's health on the second floor...but I did. They called us straight in and I apologised for us being late and said I was feeling rough.....I then sat there sweating, took my jumper off and sat in my vest....the midwife said she would check me over.....heart rate of 129 at rest and temp over 38.......they said they were going to admit me. I didn't care I just felt so awful.

I walked around to delivery suite where they admitted me into one of the rooms.....I think the same room I had after my section. I had bloods taken, IV drip hooked up and doctors and midwives with me. Then came the dreaded words that I had never even suspected "we are admitting you with moderate sepsis" to some people this might not mean much......to me, working in healthcare, I knew exactly what it meant.....I could die. I could actually die, why had I not recognised the signs....what. the. Actual. F#@k

The next couple of days involved hourly monitoring, attempting to breastfeed, expressing at 2AM on the edge of the hospital bed, IV antibiotics, more bloods, swabs from every orifice and my husband sleeping in a chair next to me cos I was scared if he went home I might not see him again.

When they said I could go home again 5 days later I was shitting my pants....what if the infection hadn't cleared?

Anyway thank god for the quick reactions of the hospital staff and thank god I had that 5 day check appointment cos I survived!

Unfortunately it doesn't end there though because I developed PTSD and health anxiety but that's a whole other story! If you are still reading, you deserve a medal! Sorry I've never been good at the short version 😂


If anyone would like further information on the symptoms of sepsis Lorna has provided the following link.

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/sepsis/

1 comment

  1. It is really hard when your birth doesn't go to plan and even more so when it ends with so much unwanted intervention. I am grateful that my first 2 births were comparatively uneventful, but I think sharing birth stories like these are just as important as positive ones to help people prepare.

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