It took me some time to decide if I should write this post, but my overwhelming feeling is I need to share what happened to me. I hope that I can raise awareness of VBAC and the very rare chance of a uterus rupturing.
I have had three children the first OEP was born via section at 42 weeks due to a missed breach, infact I never went into labour. ATM was successfully naturally delivered as they say by VBAC. Then we had ZAP......
I happily opted for VBAC the second time, I have two children and the last thing I needed was a section meaning I could not drive or lift for 6 weeks. I was told I was classed as high risk, in fact it was written on all my notes and would be carefully monitored at all times during labour.
So two weeks before my due date I woke in the middle of the night feeling rough and was violently ill. I could not get back to sleep due to the most terrible pain in my right hand side and back. I thought the pain in my side was from being so violently ill that I had pulled something, and by the morning the backache turned into contractions. We phoned the hospital and I was admitted into the day unit for monitoring.
I was still experiencing the constant pain in my back and side, the midwife thought maybe back to back and asked the delivery suite for a scan, but they were too busy and it was refused. This situation continued throughout Wednesday into Thursday and Friday, I was a total mess. Despite the labour not progressing the pain was almost out of control, I could not lie down due to the pain and the need to monitor the baby. I can not put into words how awful that was, after a few mins I ripped off the monitor while ringing my emergency bell and retreating to the comfort of the birthing ball. The reason for not being moved to the delivery suite was because the sister hospital was not accepting patients and they were all coming to us I was not in labour so had to wait.
Finally on the Friday night I got the word and was taken to the delivery suite, with the prospect of the hormone drip to get this baby moving. I was shattered having not slept or eaten for three days and I was still only at 2cm, despite the constant pain. The "Rachel from Friends" scene playing over in my mind, wanting to shout "2cm". The midwife did one final sweep and told me I was back to back, this was the moment I broke down and could not take anymore. Then the words that will haunt me were uttered "I could back out and have a section". BACK OUT I have been in agony for days, a scan on the first day would have proved the baby was back to back and a section is classed as backing out. I felt a failure, humiliated, sad and ultimately angry all at once.
I opted for the section, the thought of hours more labour was something I knew my body could not cope with physically or mentally. Also a word with the midwife that maybe her use of that term was not helpful then received a full apology. My section was approved and I could finally see the end.
Baby ZAP was born, hearing his first quiet cry then the loud roar and knowing he was OK, my heart skipped a beat. The joy of my darling baby boy in my arms melted the last few days away. But I could not help but notice everyone was rather concerned at the birth and phone calls to a surgeon had been made and a lot of talk about blood loss. The wonderful anaesthetist stroked my hair and kept me calm as I asked if all was OK. The surgeon arrived, I knew it was not good if I had a "Mr" called into deal with the situation. I could only hear this reassuring voice as he was shown whatever the problem was and the words he is going to scrub up. The next thing I was aware of was waking up, I had no idea where I was, what was going on or even that I had a baby, slowly it came back to me along with the question what the hell had happened.
I could do nothing,my husband was looking after OEP as his diabetes needed his attention and my amazing mum and sister looked after me and the baby. I have to admit now I was a mess, crying and on another planet, breast feeding went out of the window I had not the patience nor milk. I am being totally honest about the mental state I was in at this time. All I could think about was what if....
Then I was moved to a side room, oh the joy I could slightly move and was in less pain. I had some sleep as it was quiet and we started ZAP on a bottle. My drain and catheter were removed, I have been through all that pain yet the feeling of the drain being removed still makes me shudder. A shower to wash away the last few days and then the joys of my body settling back down the odd noises from my tummy and of course the wind!!! I was a real delight.
On arriving home I collapsed into my family the tears still came mainly in the shower where again my brain went into overdrive but they got less and the black cloud that was above me rose slightly.
The facts came out, when they went to preform the section they discovered my previous section had ruptured and was bleeding. I lost a lot of blood and they needed an experienced surgeon to sew up the rupture as it was complicated. I lay there in total shock, but "what happened if I had gone for the hormone drip" I asked? Their faces told the story with out words. So that was the pain in my side the whole time? I felt myself take a long breath my brain leaping into action which I wished it had not done.
Finally the miracle that is three units of blood arrived and the transfusion started, to all those people that give blood thank you from the bottom of my heart it saved me in every way.
The reason I decided to write this was, I want anyone considering VBAC to be fully aware of the symptoms of a uterus rupturing. This is extremely rare but it can happen and information is vital. I do not want to put anyone off VBAC it was very successful with ATM and if the symptoms had been managed with ZAP I would not have to write this post. Please when your having the conversation with your midwife and they are telling you the advantages which there are many and it's a wonderful experience, ask them about what can go wrong and how they as a hospital have training on this. For example, are they aware of the symptoms of a rupture? How they monitor you with a mind set that the pain maybe something else and not just a woman in labour!
It's now 8 weeks later, I am fit and healthy and physically you would not know what happened but it's stayed on my mind and I know will do for a long time. I am booking in my birth choices session and I will update once I have been and I get the whole story maybe I can help them help other women as I must take something positive from everything that happened.
A couple of links