Stories told to each other, past between women, shared between mother and daughter help to enrich our life experiences and are often powerful tools in education.
On this page I would like to show some of the emails patients have sent to me.
This is not so much to ‘blow my own trumpet’ but to share your experiences, so that others may learn and appreciate they are NOT alone in their journey.
If you have been one of my clients and you would like to share your experience please feel free to email me at email@example.com and I will preview it, changing names to respect your privacy.
This is the first story
This story was so lovely to receive from one of my patients. Names have been changed.
‘When my daughter, Ellen, was four weeks old I was hospitalised with an acute, severe case of mastitis. After a night in the emergency department on intravenous antibiotics, I was discharged with oral antibiotics and various, often conflicting tips and advice from the doctors and nurses who treated me. Some said use heat; others said use a cold pack; some said to massage the lump, others said massage could worsen the inflammation. I was also told to express, but warned expressing would increase my supply – an outcome I didn’t want as an oversupply was the probable cause of the mastitis.
Three weeks later – just days after I finished the course of antibiotics – I relapsed and was again hospitalised. This time I was admitted to a ward and given intravenous drugs for four days. As well as the terrible pain and discomfort that comes with mastitis, Ellen was not allowed to stay in hospital with me. My husband and other family members had to bring her in to hospital so I could breastfeed her during the day. At night I used an electric pump and my husband fed her the expressed milk.
The two episodes had left me quite distressed and confused, as the well-meaning doctors and nuses in emergency gave me conflicting advice, much of which I’d heard before and had not prevented a relapse of mastitis.
I rang the locum obstetrician who was covering for my private obstetrician while he was on leave. She suggested once I was discharged that I make an appointment with Vanea Atwood, a women’s health physiotherapist at Sports Focus Physiotherapy. This obstetrician had herself been treated by Vanea when she had mastitis with her second child.
The day I was discharged from hospital I contacted Sports Focus and Vanea made herself available to see me that afternoon. I was soon to discover that Vanea is very flexible and does her best to see women with mastitis – or those who fear they are getting it – as soon as possible, and usually the same day.
Vanea treated my infected breast using therapeutic ultrasound and lymphatic drainage massage. She also showed me how to use this massage technique on myself at home. She was able to identify where the inflammation was and concentrated on reducing it.
I saw Vanea almost every day for a week until the pain and inflammation largely disappeared. Days later I felt another lump in my breast – this time in a different part of my breast – and immediately booked another appointment. This time, Vanea’s treatment was able to stop the lump becoming infected and averted another relapse.
Not only did Vanea’s treatment help my recovery from mastitis, but she was a brilliant support at what was a very difficult time. She directed me to lots of helpful websites, gave me information on managing my oversupply of breast milk and encouraged me to keep breastfeeding. She accommodated Elise during consultations – often holding Ellen in one arm while treating me with the other! She also referred me to a breast physician to check if I had any underlying anatomical issues or to check if the lumps were a symptom of something more sinister.
I highly recommend any woman having problems with breastfeeding visit Vanea.
Ellen and I are now enjoying breastfeeding.”
This is the second story
This birth story was an email from one of my patients. She had a difficult 1st vaginal delivery with a 3b degree perineal tear. She made a slow but reasonable recovery. She sought my advice during her 2nd pregnancy regarding the 2nd delivery.
In NSW she would be offered a ‘C” section, following a 3b degree tear. She had re- located to the UK towards the end of her 2nd pregnancy and was worried about whether she should insist on a C section or try a 2nd vaginal delivery. We corresponded on email and I spoke to her on the phone regarding the concerns of a 2nd vaginal delivery on her perineum and C section.
There are NO guarantees that after a good repair a woman will not tear again during her 2nd delivery. There are no guarantees that the tear will NOT extend. There are also no guarantees that it will. There is statistically a 5- 15% chance that this may happen. This rate is higher if your baby is large. This will impact on your bowel continence.
I just wanted to write and let you know that our beautiful baby girl xxxxxxxxxxxxx was born almost 3 weeks ago on Monday 8th September. She was (and still is) tiny at just 2.8kgs / 6.2lbs – very different to xxxxxxx was 3.6kgs / 8lbs born 3 weeks early. Xxxxxxx arrived by elective caesarean and to be honest the birth was just as lovely as the natural one with xxxxxxxxx. Within 3 minutes of her being delivered she was on my chest for skin to skin cuddles and she stayed there throughout the rest of the surgery and then was snuggled up tucked under my arm for the next 2 hours in recovery. We had our own cd of music playing throughout and it really was as nice as an hour or so in theatre could be.
I wanted to thank you for your help and advice with my decision to have a caesarean. Your words really stuck in my mind and I am so grateful for your straight talking good advice. I chose to have a caesarean and was really at peace with the decision. Xxxxxxx also decided to remain head up in an extended breech position, so regardless of what I’d chosen, there was really only one way to get her out anyway. Deep down I always thought there would be some sort of sign to say that I’d made the right decision and there it was.
I’m recovering well, the scar is still very sore and it’s frustrating not to be able to walk too far or to drive for another couple of weeks, but I have to be patient for a short time. And my pelvic floor is all intact and I wouldn’t change anything. Once the soreness has eased, my next job is to sort my abdominal separation out. Fingers crossed it closes.
Anyway, thanks again for all of your help and advice.
I would just like to thank this lady for sharing her story.
This page is also a work in progress. If I have been able to help; and you would like to share your story please email me on firstname.lastname@example.org