Our beautiful baby daughter Anabelle was born sleeping June 2010.
Blessed with the screaming arrivals of our gorgeous rainbow sons,
Alexander October 2011, Zachary November 2013 and Lucas July 2016.

After Anabelle - Raising Rainbows
Heartbreak. Joy. Death. Life. But most of all Love.

Friday, 9 November 2012

Risks

"An extremely difficult time."   

That is how a family's nightmare is described after their baby has died.  Extremely difficult? It doesn't even come close. Doesn't do the hurt, despair, brokenness any justice. Our lives have become irreparable and to the outsider it is simply an extremely difficult time.  When does it stop being an extremely difficult time? Never. 

Things change, differing periods of crushing hurt. But the extremely difficult times, when they come, are forever. 

Last week in Gwent, another family's experience was described as an extremely difficult time. A baby died during birth because there was a two hour wait for an ambulance. An ambulance that was needed to transfer the mother and baby from the midwife led unit (MLU) to a hospital that had Doctors and facilities available to cater for emergency birth situations. 

A hospital that regardless of ambulance wait was already a 30 minute or more journey from the MLU. 

MLU's scare me. In an ideal world we would all have terrific, romantic, empowering births. But we don't live in an ideal world. Our world is scary. I know most pregnancies and births are trouble free, I know most births do not need intervention and I'm fully aware that my experience of pregnancy and birth has left me skewed.

But, when a situation arises that a midwife is no longer equipped or qualified to deal with, and they often do; I personally feel Doctors should be there somewhere. Should be available on site. I'm hugely aware even with Doctors, things can still go wrong. But if an emergency is identified; a Doctor, a theatre should be there already. Babies lives are too precious. Not 30 minutes or more away. 30 precious or more wasted minutes away. Nevermind the additional ambulance wait in this case. 

I know many won't agree with me. I know there is a whole movement to de-medicalise pregnancy and birth. On one hand I understand the reasoning behind it; giving the power back to the mother, power back to nature for the low-risk birth. 

Low-risk, not NO-risk. 

But then again, I hear you say my appreciation of risk value is skewed too. My 1 in 200 chance of my baby not coming home was a low-risk. Or at least it sounds fairly low until you are that one. It isn't great odds really is it. 

How do you really identify who will have a low-risk birth? How on earth does anyone really know how it will go until they are in the throws of labour? Even with the best will in the world, the most comprehensive birth plans, antenatal classes designed for stress-free births and whatnot, childbirth in reality is a risky individual unknown entity. 

So on the other hand I don't understand it at all; the rate of infant and maternal death during chlidbirth can only have gone down in recent decades because of the skills of our Doctors, the facilities that are available to us. Why would you not want to take advantage of that?   

Maybe it is because as a nation we have become blasé about the risks of childbirth. We don't expect babies (or mothers) to die, so we forget that they can and actually do.  

Although a significant factor, I would argue that baby died not only because of the ambulance wait. That baby died because a Doctor and emergency facilities were not available as soon as an emergency was identified. Even if there has been an ambulance straight away; there still would've been a long blue light journey to get to a Doctor for that baby. Maybe if the MLU had Doctor-led facilities across a corridor, instead of in a different hospital, that baby would've survived.

What an unnecessary death. Another broken family. 

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After Anabelle - Raising Rainbows. I'm Caz, Mummy to beautiful angel Belle and my wonderful rainbow boys, Xander, Zachy and Luc. Wife to Jon. Twitter @cazem Instagram @cazzyem
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