Conditions that threaten women’s lives in childbirth & pregnancy

Amy

Female
Age at interview: 31
Age at diagnosis: 29

Brief outline: Amy was pregnant with her first child. She went overdue and was induced. After labour did not progress, she was given an emergency caesarean. She haemorrhaged and lost four litres of blood.

Background: Amy is a health promotion specialist. She and her partner Sally were expecting their first child. White British.

Audio & video

Amy and her partner Sally were expecting their first baby, conceived with donor sperm. Amy was about ten days overdue when her waters broke. They went into hospital where doctors said everything was ok and sent them home. She was finally admitted two days later, on the Thursday afternoon, and on the Friday she was started on induction, with a syntocinon drip. However labour did not progress and Amy asked for an epidural. She had it put in, but after a while was able to feel pain and they discovered that the epidural had fallen out. By the evening, the epidural had been replaced but the labour was still not progressing so doctors decided to take Amy for an emergency caesarean. Their daughter was born and was fine. But shortly after delivery, Amy started to haemorrhage, her uterus was exhausted and not contracting. The atmosphere in the operating room changed rapidly. Sally, her partner, was asked to leave and wait outside. After an agonising wait, staff came to tell Sally that Amy was OK and she was allowed to go and sit with her for a while. Amy had lost 4 litres of blood and required a transfusion. Amy’s mother was also at the hospital and very worried, as she heard snippets of what was going on from staff. Amy was transferred to the high dependency unit (HDU) but was not allowed to receive visitors there, so pushed to be transferred to the post natal ward as fast as possible. In hindsight this was a mistake, as she was not given the same level of care and support with looking after and feeling her baby as she would have been in HDU. But she was desperate to see her parents. She found looking after her baby very painful and frightening in those early days in hospital, and when she came home. Amy also felt that the traumatic birth meant it took her a long time to bond with her baby. Sally felt also that she was so focused on making sure that Amy was OK, it took her a while to really feel a bond with their new baby. Amy was given very good support in the community and a year later is hoping for another baby, although anxious about how the delivery would go a second time. 

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