ailbhe: (family)
This morning's Woman's Hour had a lovely piece on Ethiopian fistula hospitals.

I spent the time blinking back tears, thinking of the months I spent smelling, making myself constipated so that I wouldn't be incontinent, bringing clean underwear for myself in the nappy bag along with pads, begging in tears to be allowed to use the disabled toilets in public places because the usual ones were almost impossible.

Last time I heard Woman's Hour cover this issue I emailed them furiously because they didn't differentiate between a rectocele, a fourth degree tear, and a fistula - I don't have a fistula, never did. This time they were much clearer in their descriptions, and they didn't say "never" happens in the developed world, but "almost never."

That felt a lot better.
ailbhe: (Default)
I'm ill. Hopefully it will, haha, pass soon.

Every bout of stomach trouble makes me hate that damned obstetrician more.
ailbhe: (Default)
Well, I still cry. Who knew?

Today I'm thinking about Ways People Said It Was My Own Fault So I Deserved It (and incidentally, if it's all my fault, it means it couldn't happen to an innocent person, like, oooh, them).

- I didn't consent to a c-section (actually, I did, in writing, when they forced me to)

- I should have had the baby in Ireland

- I should have had the baby at home (except that when that was tentatively suggested antenatally it was shouted down srsly)

- I should have refused consent to / consented earlier to some / all of the interventions

- I should have realised that I had gestational diabetes and that's why my baby was so big (this one still knocks me sideways)

These Romans are crazy.

My birth

Apr. 5th, 2007 03:53 pm
ailbhe: (baby)
I was born into dim light, my mother's birthday gift. She was 37, healthy, not too tired. I held my head up and looked around. I didn't cry, and no-one made me, because my health and alertness were obvious. Presumably I was covered in blood and vernix and all sorts of goo; history does not relate.

Because I was her fourth child, my mother breastfed me without hindrance from birth; no-one tried to talk her out of it, or at least not so she listened. She was confident in dealing with me, and her other children knew what to expect from a baby and supported and tolerated babyish whims and inconveniences.

My mother held my babies within hours of their births.
ailbhe: (Default)
(1) The announcement of Linnea's birth appeared online within two hours of her actual birth. By that time we'd phoned my mother, Rob's grandmother, Rob's parents, and our sisters. And then the friends who posted announcements. We didn't make any phonecalls until after I'd had a change of clothes, moved from theatre into the labour room, had a cup of tea, breastfed the baby for the first time, etc. Most third degree tears require 90-120 minutes of stitching, after manual removal of the placenta, etc. Uhuh.

(2) I've cut my hair off. It's now sort of chin/ear length (I did it myself so the margin of error was quite large) and I look oddly French - Rob says it's very Amelie, which is supposed to be a compliment. I think it probably needs to be shorter at the back.
ailbhe: (sad)
when reading the account of a woman who's afraid her toddler is being sexually abused is less stressful than thinking about pursuing legal action against the hospital and/or obstetrician who blah blah blah.

I'm sitting here crying because I need to try to find a lawyer before 1st April if at all possible. Though I suppose we have until the last week in April *really*.
ailbhe: (sad)
Our first choice of no-win-no-fee lawyer has turned me down. The friend who has done all the time-consuming legwork, or fingertip work, I suppose, as well as writing most of the letter of complaint and doing in-depth reading of my medical notes, has a teething baby and a job.

I can't do this on the phone.

Can someone draft me a cover letter to send no-win-no-fee lawyers with the complaint and response?

Failing that, can I have a new life, please?
ailbhe: (baby)
[Note: my name and address are poorly typed - no capitalisation on my surname or the town!]

Dear Ms Leamy

Thank you for your letter dated 19 March which was passed to me today.

Unfortunately you are out of time to make a complaint under the NHS Complaints Procedure as the NHS can only investigate complaints that are either made within 6 months of the event or within 6 months of you realising that you have something to complain about, as long as that is not more than 12 months after the event itself.

However I have asked [name] in the Maternity Department to look into this and respond to you directly.

Thank you for bringing your concerns to my attention.

Yours sincerely,

Deputy Chief Executive
ailbhe: (baby)
I got a response from the hospital saying that because it's more than 12 months since Linnea's birth it's not NHS policy to investigate. This was more or less what I expected, really, since making allowances for the fact that my trauma made it impossible for me to complain before isn't covered by anyone's policy anywhere, so now...


Oh god.


Mar. 22nd, 2007 04:24 pm
ailbhe: (sad)
So I went to the psychologist and yay hurray you know all the stuff I've been learning to deal with and cope with and not focus on for the past three years? Yup, that. We didn't today, but from the next session, we need to ensure that we have a session at least once a week, and, well, focus on it, dredge it up bring it to the fore, relive it, all that good stuff.

You have no idea how much I want to opt out of my life right now. I want to find some other life and live that instead, only with my girls.

Yes, yes, I know. But I want an easy way out.

And I'd like to stop losing weight again. 10 stone in early January, 8 stone in mid January, 10 stone at the end of February, now 9 stone. What's going on, please?
ailbhe: (Default)
So the trike was pinched. And I printed, signed, and posted seven copies of the formal complaint to the hospital about the events surrounding Linnea's birth. Two were sent recorded delivery, to the complaints dept and the chief exec; three were sent first class post, to the ob who deals with the birth trauma clinic, the head of midwifery, and the PALS, and two were hand-delivered, to my GP and my Health Visitor.

Then I ate two huge chocolate muffins with dairy in them and was subsequently unwell but I *needed* the comfort food and I wanted to go to my favourite cafe.

So now we wait. If I don't hear from them within 21 days I go to a solicitor - that's 11 April, allowing for post delivery time.

I've also hired the venue for Linnea's birthday party; a little hall down the road where we can have an at-home style party with a little more space and no cat-allergy issues.
ailbhe: (linnea birth)
1) I have loads of snack food.

2) The complaint letter is pretty much ready to go.

3) I have emailed my midwife and phoned my health visitor's voicemail to find out the obstetrician's name. Yup, I made a phonecall specifically about the birth thing.
ailbhe: (Default)
Today I found it almost impossible to get up, so was late to a GP appointment (the receptionist was snotty when she said "You're fifteen minutes late," so I said "Does the fact that she's always twenty minutes late mean I can still see her, then?" and the receptionist said "she's never late, patients make her late." Er. When I got to the GP she was *lovely* because she always, always is).

After that we went to see Alison and family; Linnea was adamant that they lived in a house with a red door, where there was clearly no-one home, but eventually I phoned and found that they lived next door in the house with the purple door, where there were loads of people home and they were all apparently pleased to see us. It was nice to see the place Linnea has spent so much time, at last. She clearly knew where everything was, which was kind of funny, and I had to be given a guided tour. It's very much my kind of house.

I left Linnea there with the huge double buggy while I brought Emer with me on the bus in the sling to the hospital (well, a sort of auxilliary hospital outbuilding thing, actually) to see - guess what - the psychologist I was referred to yeeeeeeears ago for my PTSD! Short version is she's lovely, she likes my sling, and it's going to be hard, miserable work and very useful indeed - I suspect it might even go quite quickly. Deal with the panic and anxiety first, and that alone should make my memory a bit better, so that'll be good.

Back to collect Linnea and hang around for hours watching one of the children playing Donkey Kong, an incomprehensible game. Then there was a bongo-drumming game I didn't understand. Then Rob came and collected us and we went home and ate and watched tv and put the children to bed and sorted the hall and now I think Rob is replacing the wet, pooey bedding on our bed (a waterproof changing mat is basically a wide, flat funnel when the designated grownup is sleepy) and soon I will go to sleep.

I have taken my last antibiotic and my chest sounds fairly ok. Not clear, but ok.
ailbhe: (Default)
Self and Linnea walked to the library with Emer in the buggy. Went to baby clinic, had them both weighed (can't have one without the other), got the Health Visitor to look at Linnea's scalp but she had no advice other than "take her to a doctor". Right. Since we were in the library we had to go into the book part and Linnea looked at books, chose one Mog book. I collected a biog of Wilde I had on order. Chatted to the lovely asst librarian. Put Emer in hugabub and Linnea in pram and walked home.

Group of mums and children stopped to admire (a) toes (b) hugabub. V. impressed.

I walked to and from the library with buggy and two kids, 5 weeks after the section. I'm tired, but I did not overdo it, really, much, and my incisions hardly hurt at all.

Go me!
ailbhe: (hospital)
I'm sure there's an appropriate community for this, but I'm not in it. Someone in my due date community asked about postnatal bleeding and the first postpartum period.

When I had my first baby, I bled afterwards. This was ok; the books said I would. No-one seemed worried.

When I had my second baby, by cesarean section, I also bled afterwards. Everyone was asking, pretty much constantly: "Is your bleeding heavy?" "Are you bleeding ok or is it too heavy?"

Well, I asked, what's heavy?

"How many pads do you get through?"

Incontinence pads or sanitary towels? Because with my first baby, I measured it in inco pads, several a day. This baby, I don't need an inco pad.

"Are the pads soaked?"

I'm not sure. They're more comfortable when I change for a fresh one, but last time, I left them in place until they were unable to absorb more fluid. Which is your definition of "soaked"?


And that's why I started asking people to look at the damn pad themselves. "Is your bleeding heavy?" I don't know. Here, look at this, is that heavy?

Turns out that this time I'm normal. Hah.


Sep. 9th, 2006 04:45 pm
ailbhe: (sky)
The wound is healing. The scab is coming off the scar, which is freaking me out a little. One internal wound still hurts, but apart from that I have no pain in repose (except SPD of course, but time will fix that.)

I don't trust the healing process. I don't trust stitches to hold me together. I don't trust wound edges to knit.

But they are.
ailbhe: (emer)
Gah, just realised I have to send this to her supervisor as mere plebs can't nominate for this award. Um. I've got as far as

Dear [name],

I really want to nominate [my midwife] for "Community Midwife of the Year" but the Mamas and Papas nominations have closed for the year. The British Journal of Midwifery is accepting nominations from colleagues and supervisors of midwives until 22nd September, at

My personal recommendation of her is below. I hope you see fit to put her name forward.

Many thanks,

Ailbhe Leamy

Yargh. At least they've extended the deadline.
ailbhe: (Default)
No-one is sitting on me. Emer is asleep lying down in the pram, not in the hugabub, and Linnea has been stuck in front of the telly and I hope she stays there all day or longer.

Along with sneezing, my incisions have also decided now is a good time to develop a cough. We managed peanut butter on toast for lunch. I really need to drink more. And birth injuries from Linnea's delivery mean I now have to leave two children unhappy while I hide in the bathroom and scream.

I must try to reread my nomination for Fiona soon and see if it's worth sending in yet. MORE COMMENT PLEASE.

I think Emer just woke up.
ailbhe: (Default)
(1) It is absolutely appalling that the most pain I am in now is caused by Linnea's birth, not Emer's. I will stop taking codeine immediately. I spent over an hour shaking from pain yesterday evening, and slept incredibly badly because of it.

(2) Tandem feeding works well for us, though it's difficult to position both of them to feed together on my actual lap; in bed, Linnea snuggles up beside me and I hold Emer, and in an armchair Linnea stands on the floor and I hold Emer, but Linnea would like to be on my lap.

Engorgement, however, is much easier to deal with with a toddler. I'm leaking far less this time around. It's wonderful.

(3) I am starving to death. I can't eat enough.

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