"Our son's labour was far from our birth plan"

About: John Radcliffe Hospital / Maternity Stoke Mandeville Hospital / Maternity

(as a relative),

My wife gave birth to our beautiful son in April 2012, but our experience was anything but beautiful.

She suffered with nausia, pre-natal depression and several other physical complications for the full term of her pregnancy. At 10 days past her due date she had an midwife appointment and was told that a scan was needed to ensure the ambiotic fluid around the baby wasn't reducing in volume. Stoke Mandeville hospital convinced us to have her admitted and induced that evening; something neither of us had wanted.

The ensuing labour couldn't have been further from our birth plan; no water birth, every type of pain relief going, and 30 hours after being induced we were told an emergency c-section was needed. This was her absolute worst nightmare. She suffers from a phobia of needles and hospitals in general, but the thought of going 'under the knife' literally terrified her. She was in shock; shaking uncontrollably as she was wheeled off into theatre.

10 minutes later our baby boy was born. 6 hours later he started vomitting bile, and was diagnosed with a blockage in his bowel. Within hours he was transferred to the John Radcliff in Oxford. I had to go with him, and leave my wife (who was bearly able to move after the c-section) alone at Stoke Mandeville.

Upon arrival at the JR it was explained to me that he needed surgery under general anaesthetic to investigate the blockage, and out of several possibilities only 1 would lead to his survival. Thank god it turned out to be just that; Malrotation of the Duodenum. The rotation was corrected and he spent several days in the Paediatric High Dependancy Unit. I spent the next few days travelling back and forth between the hospitals and home, trying to keep everything else in life ticking over 'as normal'.

After a week my wife was transferred to the JR so we were all together. After a further 2 weeks our son was sufficiently recovered to be sent home, albeit with several planned follow up appointments. 3 weeks later (and on the day of an appointment with his consultant) he suffered all the same symptoms again, and he was re-admitted. A further operation under general anaesthetic revealed adhesions in his intestines, and a section was removed. This time he had a blood transfusion and was in Intensive Care. He bounced back relatively quickly, and within 2 weeks we were home again.

Since then our son has recovered fully, though with an impressive scar on his abdomen. My wife, however, hasn't recovered. She has been diagnosed with post natal depression, post traumatic stress disorder and seasonal affected disorder. She also suffers from an under active thyroid, which plays havoc with her hormones at the best of times! At this time of year (early winter) she suffers greatly, every day. She hasn't forgotten a single detail of the trauma she went through, and re-lives it every day. She believes that she should not have been induced, had bad advice from un-helpful midwives, that I wasn't sufficiently knowledgable or supportive, and that if she had not got pregnant in the first place, none of this would have happened (so blames me for that).

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Response from Anthony Banton, Patient Experience Manager, Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust

Dear responder

Thank you for your comments. If you think it might help please contact our PALS team on 01296 316042 to discuss your concerns in more detail. I have contacted the head of midwifery for her comment and will post it to this thread when I get it.

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