"My labour and delivery experience"
About: King Edward Memorial Hospital / Community Midwifery Program King Edward Memorial Hospital Community Midwifery Program Subiaco 6008 King Edward Memorial Hospital / Maternity King Edward Memorial Hospital Maternity Subiaco 6008
Posted by KEMH patient (as ),
I came into KEMH after my waters broke as I tested positive for GBS (Group B Strep) and thus required an antibiotic drip for the remainder of my labour. The attending midwife explained that as I was only 3cm dilated, a doctor would discuss with me the possibility of using oxytocin to induce my labour further. I consented to the hormone drip.
I’d planned to labour without an epidural, and requested nitrous oxide gas once my contractions began ramping up. I remember being told by the midwife that my contractions were increasing in frequency but that the duration wasn’t becoming longer. As I was in constant pain, I was instructed by the medical staff to continue breathing in the nitrous oxide. The gas made me feel like I didn’t really know what was going on some of the time. I’d chosen gas as a pain relief method because I wanted the opportunity to stop with it if I wished, but because the pain was so intense after I was induced I didn’t feel I was able to stop.
At some point, a doctor came in to break my waters further. I don’t doubt that I gave verbal consent for this, but as I was not fully aware of what was going on due to inhaling the gas, I do not remember discussing the procedure with them or having any risks explained to me. I didn’t know until later that an instrument was used to break my waters. Ultimately, this resulted in several deep scratches/cuts at the top of my baby’s head. I do not believe that I was warned that this might happen.
After the delivery, my partner noticed the scratches on our baby’s head and asked the midwife who delivered our them, what they were. They said that it was just dried blood from the delivery. Later, my baby and I were admitted to Ward 3. One of the midwives on Ward 3 noticed the scratches and asked me what had happened during the labour and delivery to cause them. I told them that my partner and I were told they weren’t scratches, that it was just dried blood. The midwife said that they were definitely scratches and suggested I have the paediatrician check them before we leave the hospital. The paediatrician looked at my birth notes and confirmed that the scratches were from the procedure where my water was broken.
I wanted to make a note of this incident as it was fairly upsetting to my partner and I that our baby was born with these scratches/cuts on their head. Though the paediatrician confirmed that the scratches are not infected and that the baby is okay, even the midwife who noticed them told me that the baby could be in some pain from the scratches. I also do not feel that I gave my informed consent for this procedure to happen due to the gas I was inhaling and the possibility that I wasn’t actually warned that these scratches/cuts could happen.
I would also like to make a note that while my baby and I stayed at the hospital in Ward 3 after the birth, I was advised that it might be a good idea to give the baby a formula top up on their second night, due to them not settling and second night syndrome. I had planned to breastfeed the baby, but as they were quite large at birth and my milk had not yet come in, one of the midwives suggested that my baby was overly hungry. They offered to weigh my baby to see if they'd lost enough weight to warrant a formula top-up. Before giving them formula the midwife advised that they’d lost 9% of their body weight already. I agreed to the formula top-up thinking that the weight loss was severe and formula was necessary.
The next few days my baby was pulling away from the breast and seemed to be expecting formula. I continued with the formula top-ups in the hospital as per the guidance of the Ward 3 midwives. However, also under the guidance of the Ward 3 midwives, I also persisted with trying to breastfeed, hand express, and pump to help make breastfeeding a possibility.
I was taken care of by MGP 5 antenatally, during labour and delivery and postnatally (see story here). When they visited us at home after we’d left the hospital, my primary midwife explained that my baby’s weight loss wasn’t actually significant enough or at such a stage to warrant formula feeding in the hospital.