A Difficult Birth {Painful, Unsupportive Midwives and a Retained Placenta}

At 41 weeks I went in for my checkup and to schedule to be induced, or so I thought. I was told to go home after sitting there for half an hour with a fetal heart monitor on because my baby was in a posterior position. This was the 3rd due date they had given me and I was starting to get annoyed. I cried on the phone to mum thinking I would be pregnant forever!

At 40 weeks and 3 days (or what we thought was) I was so tired so I just slept all day. This was Mother’s Day. At about 8pm I got a sudden urge to clean, so I did. New sheets, clean bathroom and organized the wardrobe for the 4th time in almost 3 weeks. At 11:30 pm I turned off the tv and rolled over in bed and I thought I had wet the bed. I woke my partner up and rushed down stairs to tell my mum.. I was so nervous and scared!

I called my midwife who said it could take anywhere up to 48 hrs from then to have our baby.. I was not excited about that. I went upstairs showered and made sure I was packed. Contractions started at about 1 am. They were bearable for now. At 3 am I had enough and called my midwife back, I couldn’t talk on the phone so my partner had to and she said to labour as much as possible at home and take some Panadol. Panadol for contractions… I don’t think so! They got worse and worse and finally at 5.30 am I was allowed to go into hospital.

I got there and instantly felt better. Contractions slowed down and I was able to rest a bit.. Then they got worse, horrible. I thought that had to be it, baby was on his way! My midwife said they weren’t strong enough and they’re going to send me home with high pain killers to rest or I can have an internal and stay in maternity, of course I wasn’t going home! Turns out I was 4 cm dialated and it was just starting.. Baby was still in a posterior position and it was sure a back labour!

I labored for 5 more hours in so many different positions and by 10.30 I was ready to push, I hardly remember it, the morphine and gas was going to my head. I felt so sick and wanted to sleep and cry. I couldn’t push anymore and finally at 11.13 am he came.. It was amazing, he’s such a perfect little boy.

I thought it was over and all I had to do was push out the placenta.. 10 minutes or so passed and no placenta so I was given the needle to speed it up. I do not remember saying yes to it! Still no placenta half an hour later. The doctor was called in and I was to to put my legs up on the stirrups. They did if for me and I was left like that for what felt like forever. The doctor came back and confirmed I had a 3rd degree tear and that she needed to get the placenta out. She said we could go into the operating room or do it here here, that it was up to me. And if we did it here then I could have the gas. I wasn’t going into surgery!

That was the worst experience of my life, I felt so violated, she didn’t pull it out by the cord, she went in and scraped it out with her hand and it hurt so much more then birth! They expected me to hold my new baby through all that and stay still while they were detaching the placenta from my uterus wall with their hand. She was annoyed when I wriggled and I was told to keep still. No way! Finally I was stitched up and the catheter was left in for a couple of hours.

We were given cold meals from lunch an hour before hand and told there’s a cafe downstairs if we’re hungry. Of course we hadn’t eaten since the day before or slept either. At 4pm I was finally allowed into the maternity ward and I could see family. At home I researched why my placenta had to be removed by hand and discovered that some ladies can’t have another pregnancy as it damages their uterus wall. I’m hoping this isn’t the case because we’re hoping for another baby one day soon! All I can hope is next time my birthing experience is much more enjoyable and I don’t feel so pressured!

Rachael's birth story


  • Brandi

    I had a similar experience with my first, posterior baby wretched back labor 3rd almost 4th degree tear, the doctor didn’t even give me chance to push out the placenta, within 5 mins of my daughter’s birth he yanked the cord, tore the placenta and just like you scraped it out with his hand….most traumatic thing I’ve ever experienced, that was 2 yrs ago and I am still suffering from the violation. However I wanted to comment to encourage you in you ability to get pregnant. At 10 months postpartum I convinced our second baby(we were NOT trying) and he was a big healthy boy, with no complications. Also I had him at a birth center which is waaaay more supportive for back labor (he was almost totally sunnyside up) and I was in transition for 10 hrs, no pain. Meds not even a Tylenol. It was amazing and so healing to have a great birth after such a traumatic first birth. There is hope for the birth you want next time around!!

  • Sarah

    Oh I just want to give you a big hug!! I’m so sorry for such a traumatic experience. Please don’t give up hope on a second baby and I hope that can be a healing experience. A doula would be a wonderful addition to your next birth experience. I believe doulas are especially important in your first birth after a previously traumatic one. And I say this not only as a doula myself, but as a woman who has experienced the healing powers found in the support and kindness of a doula.

  • Rachael

    Thank you so much.. I almost cried reading your reply!
    It has seriously affected me, I still have days where that’s all I think about and it sucks! I am so glad I am not alone (even though it is a horrible thing). Maybe a birth centre is something to look into for next time.. Congratulations on your newest addition 🙂

  • Tara

    I too had what they claimed to be a “retained placenta.” The OB waited only 7 minutes after my son was born before tryig to deliver the placenta manually. I felt a snap that I am sure was the cord breaking and the top of my uterus was almost pulled out. I had a partial uterine prolapse. Recovering emotionally from what happened took over a year, but I am happy to say that the worst is behind me. I too was worried about a damaged uterus, but now have a second baby boy conceived 16 months later. I found that channeling my energy into something positive has given me so much closure. I took my complaint to the hospital and the OB’s medical group, but nothing came of it. Only after deciding to become a Lactation Consultant, and fighting for Tongue-tie awareness, do I feel normal again. Life goes on, and you will heal inside and out. I had an amazing support system, so make sure you have help and someone to talk to. Take care of yourself and don’t be afraid to own your sadness. You will feel whole again, I promise. <3

  • Cat

    You’re amazing! Sad you felt so unsupported and violated. Likely the doctor was making an emergency where there should have been none. Healing for you!
    You might find this article on Gloria LeMay’s blog interesting, and you can use the search to look for other articles she has on the placenta that might help reassure you. She’s pretty great. http://wisewomanwayofbirth.com/30-minute-third-stage/

  • Lucy

    I’m so sorry you experienced this mistreatment . You did brilliant and you’re gonna have so much fun with this new little person in your life. I’m so sad to hear about how these self righteous medical staff think they are boss over nature, and over us. They are not! They had no right to rush you, no right to go against your wishes and no right to hurt you. They are not in the right job. Sending healing thoughts and well done : ) xxxx

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