Saturday, November 17, 2012

A right to life for my daughters: a post for world prematurity day


Today is World Prematurity Day, a day to celebrate our children who were born too soon, and to remember those who did not make it.  It's especially poignant this year, following the awful death this week of a young woman and her unborn child in a Galway Hospital.  Surely this shouldn't still be happening?    It reminded me yet again of the birth of my special girl, and what might have happened to both of us.  

Smiley was born in 1996, weighing 875 gms or 1lb 15 oz and was a footling breech birth.  Almost everything else about her birth is not clear.

I say 26 weeks, they say 27.

I say I was in labour for 3 days, they say a few hours.

I say her head got stuck for more than 15 minutes and one set of hospital records says a few minutes.

So I have lots of questions:

Why did my waters go at 24 weeks?

How safe is it to leave women and their unborn babies after losing their waters?

Why wasn't I put on an antibiotic drip when an infection was detected after 2 weeks?

Why was nothing done while I had contractions for 3 days?

Why did no-one try to stop full labour commencing?

Why was just given pethidine when I couldn't sleep for the third day in a row?

Why was I barely monitored that night?

When it was discovered that the baby was a footling breech presentation, why was a decision taken to let me give birth normally?

Would my daughter have fewer problems if she had been born by caesarean section?

I tried to find out the answers to these questions, but no-one wants to tell you.  No-one wants to admit that they may have taken the wrong decision.

And my understanding is that no-one is now allowed to give birth naturally to a pre-term baby in the footling breech position.  So perhaps something has been learned from Smiley's birth.

But this is ancient history, I hear you cry..  Well is it?

After this week I wonder again how safe it is to be a woman if your pregnancy does not go to plan.  One of my daughters will be disabled for life, and the other may have children of her own.  One day she may be in a hospital feeling frightened for herself and her unborn baby.  So for the sake of my daughters I would love to have some answers.

For more information on World Prematurity Day check out these sites:

Tommy's for information on research

Bliss for support in the UK for premature birth

Irish Premature Babies for Irish readers

20 comments:

  1. I didn't give birth prematurely to none of my children, but have some comments and questions on my own, regarding the procedure of giving birth... And yes, they are still unanswered too...
    Can I share this post of yours?

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    1. Of course you can! Unfortunately it seems to be a problem everywhere that mothers can't get answers when births do not go to plan

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  2. Thank you for sharing. I am so sorry that this happened to you and, unfortunately, I feel it may happen to other women. My thoughts are with you.

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  3. Thanks for sharing this post. We put our trust in the professionals who are supposed to be the ones looking after us. They don't always get it right. And it keeps happening. It Shouldn't. I really hope you get some answers. Lots of love.

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    1. I had to. But if I was in the hospital now I would be googling pre-term birth and asking every question that I could think of, and perhaps that would make a difference x

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  4. Never stop asking. Because the more we ask, the more chances we have of getting answers, and of changing attitudes. What happened to you should NOT have happened. But as you say,procedures have changed. What happened to this woman should NOT have happened.But hopeful the law will change.

    Sending you hugs.

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    1. I haven't really got the energy to keep looking for answers 16 years later, even though the questions are still there at the back of my mind, but I hope that others will x

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  5. Indeed, professionals don't always get it right and when you are at your most vulnerable you are at their mercy.

    I have some of these questions too, and actually share the knowing that my daughter was 26 weeks, not 27 (yet always feel I have to say 27 because that is what has been officially recorded). People wonder why that may make a difference but if you look the week by week development of a baby in the womb, then it is quite obviously very important.

    I am sorry that you sought answers that were not forthcoming. Unfortunately I was too traumatised to seek them and the time has passed. I worry it may happen to others and I feel quite bad about that.

    Regarding the poor woman who died in Ireland after being denied an abortion, it's shocking and I hope something changes in that respect. I feel guilty for thinking and saying this but it was of some comfort to me that at my most most ill in pregnancy from Hyperemesis, the possibility of abortion was always available should I really not be able to go on. I hope the woman's bereaved family get the answers that they need.x

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    1. It's sad that the experiences of so many premmie mums are so similar and I am so sorry that you were so traumatised. Regarding Savita, someone just tweeted that even if an abortion would not have saved her, denying her one meant that she must have felt so abandoned and helpless when she most needed help and understanding :( x

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    2. Thanks, though my family and I came though it stronger. I therefore count myself as fortunate.

      And yes, I think that's one of the worst things for me - how scared and helpless she must have felt. x

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    3. Yes I would say that I found strength that I never knew I had and I certainly became a different person x

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  6. It is NEVER too late to get answers to these questions and it doesn't surprise me that you still have them to ask. I still have questions too, I did ask but never received proper answers. They are not as serious as yours but it shows that the medical profession are not infallible and we always have the right to question them, in fact we should question them.

    That said, without knowing the full story about that poor woman in Gal way I do feel sorry for them having to make what would seem to be difficult decisions with their hands legally tied behind their backs. We need to sort this straight away.

    xx Jazzy

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    1. I would love to know the answers but I guess I mostly have other priorities now, I hope Savita's family get answers though xx

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  7. Oh honey. It's so awful that at a time well you are at your most vulnerable and in need of help you have to shout and scream to get it because if you don't it's so easy to be pushed aside. I really do hope lessons were learned by the medical staff through your experience. Hugs. xx

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    1. Thanks Kate, and at the time, I didn't even know that either myself or my baby were in any danger, but after the terrible events in Galway I'm starting to ask more questions xx

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  8. It's not ancient history - you deserve answers to your questions. You're right about the footling breech as full term. That's why I had to have a c-section first time with MC. As you know, I also chose an elective section with TC because I didn't have the confidence that I'd be monitored properly during a VBAC.
    I really feel for you that you have all these unanswered questions. I really hope you find some peace with some answers one day. I also hope that Galway Hospital are able to answer for the latest tragedy.
    Hugs xx

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    1. I hope so too, along with most of the women of Ireland, and many men too xx

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  9. this post makes me cry :-(
    sending loads of good thoughts to you and Smiley

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    1. Thanks for reading and sorry to make you cry xx

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