It's Friday, it's time for another birth story. Our lovely friend Lisa is sharing her birth story today of her eldest girl.
To say pregnancy didn’t agree with me would be putting it gently, morning sickness?!?! I was ill morning noon and night. I couldn’t stomach food or drink for the majority of my pregnancy. After the 20 week mark it eased enough to eat certain foods but I had to be extremely careful.
This is the story of our first born.
I visit the Doctor after about 6 weeks of being regularly ill and get it confirmed. We’re pregnant. Then I go home and wait for the midwives to contact me. And wait, and wait.
At 18 weeks I wake up bleeding, I get to the bathroom before I realise and then scream through the house for husband. We agree this is not good and then there’s an ambulance to hospital. I am in the maternity ward for the day and night; after a few scans and some observation I can go home to rest. Being in early stages of pregnancy they assure me that the baby in there is ok and doing well, there is a clot near the placenta but should be safe for this baby. I’m hearing them say these words and I’m relieved and a little heart-broken all at once. They’re saying it without telling me in actual words that there was another baby. This one is safe. This is the one I will look after with my soul. I have to be positive. This baby is still here and we’ve had a scan. Our first scan. We can see baby, we can see the heart beat. Baby will be ok if it kills me.
After that I’m a nervous and sick pregnant mummy. I am careful with what I do, when and how I do it. I am aware of my food intake (or lack thereof). And I need husbands’ support more than ever. The midwives apologise for not seeing me earlier but my notes didn’t get put through the system. Do I want the normal blood tests done? The ones they do in early pregnancy? No, thanks, it’s a bit late for that. We’ll take our chances.
As an already small person, yeah one of those that can eat what they want and never put on an ounce, I was weighed regularly by the midwives. At about 8 months pregnant with Alicia I only weighed 9 and a half stone (my “ideal” weight for my height using bmi stuff is about 9 stone). So, super small, can’t eat, growing baby I was sent to hospital for more checks. Everything looked good, they were just being cautious. Happy days, well if I could eat more than a ginger biscuit and some hot water they would have been. They also tell us that Baby J (we don’t know the gender of baby but have been choosing names) would be a small baby and would more than likely come early.
Ok, so we get to 36 weeks, the due date is looming, 37, 38, 39. Well ok maybe she doesn’t want to come early after all.
Wednesday before due date, I’m getting uncomfortable. I’m not sure what labour feels like but expected it to be worse so stay home, keep myself moving and do some housework. By the evening I ache and need a warm bath to help soothe me, then it’s off to bed for a restless night of wiggling and moving to get comfy. Thursday is much the same but with some added sitting on the dining chair backwards because it’s uncomfortable to sit any other way. Back to bed with hubby rubbing my tummy, back and shoulders whenever I poke him and tell him I can’t sleep, occasionally poking him because he can sleep and it isn’t fair. Friday comes round and I’m super tired, my mum’s fussing as mums should, and tells me to ring the hospital. I do as I’m told and we are told to go over to the hospital as the pain has become contractions, it’s now spaced out into bursts of aching pain with periods of just being uncomfortably pregnant. I can go over to have a check and see how everything is going.
My parents take us to the hospital (husband can’t drive yet and apparently it would be dangerous to drive myself) we park up and walk through to the maternity ward. It takes a while as I have to keep stopping to concentrate on breathing through the now harsh contractions that are coming only moments apart. The midwife takes me to a delivery room and checks me over, I am 5cm dilated and can stay in.
The next portion of time is a little blurry for me, I know my parents go home and I have a bath, but once that’s cold the midwife takes us back to a delivery room and we use the ball to sit on for a bit. We discuss pain relief and I let her know that the only thing I don’t want is an epidural, they scare me and I just don’t like the idea of it. Ok, niceties done time to check on the progress again. It’s about 10:00pm now and we arrived around tea time I think. However, after all those contractions and all that pain I have only dilated 1 more cm. Midwife is a little concerned, she thinks that at the speed at which they are following each other I should be further along. She recommends breaking my waters. BIG MISTAKE! I assume the position; she uses her crochet hook slash torture implement and does the deed. The pain that hits me next is completely and utterly unbearable. I cling to husband like my life depends upon it. I am shaking; the contraction stays with me for what feels like an hour, but is likely a lot less. The midwife asks about some pain relief at this point and I agree to an epidural. I am not thinking about anything other than stopping this excruciating pain and soon.
The next thing I know an anaesthetist has come into the room and is telling me I need to sit really still for him to do what he’s here to do. At this point Mark physically restrains me so the doctor can do his thing without stabbing my spine while literally stabbing my spine (still hate the idea of epidurals can you tell?). Anyway, he does what he does and the anaesthetic gets to work. I can no longer feel any pain neither can I feel anything past my lower back, I know I’m sitting on my ass but cannot feel it, it’s a strange sensation. At some point here they also stick me with a needle in the back of my hand; I’m feeling like a pin cushion.
The midwife changes places with a much nicer, friendlier midwife and we settle in for the night. Husband leaves to hunt for some food, he returns with munchies (chocolate and crisps most likely) and a puzzle book. The midwife wraps a band around my tummy and she settles into a chair to keep watch over us. The three of us do some puzzles while occasionally chatting about nothing important, checking the monitor and changing the roll of paper that’s supposed to be going through the machine. It gets to the early hours and midwife decides to see if I need a wee. A wee? I have no idea. Next thing I know she’s getting husband to support me one side while she helps the other and they lift a sitting me onto a bedpan. O.M.G! Now, being checked down below to see baby is doing ok or is nearly ready I could get my head around but this was something else. Midwife quickly realises nothing is happening so she exits the room to the toilet area, turns on the tap so I have some water noises and gives me a moment. It doesn’t work. They sit me back in the bed and get me comfy again.
We settle in for a bit longer, when midwife checks again she asks how I’m feeling; well I’m not feeling a lot physically but I have a bit of an urge to push I think. This is what I tell her and she talks me through a few pushes during the next contractions. She tells me when to push, how to do it, what it should feel like. I still have no feeling at all and cannot tell if I’m having a contraction other than by looking at the machine I’m attached to. Midwife keeps me going for about 30 minutes but she starts to worry as it’s not going to plan. Midwife leaves us to see the doctor on duty. When she comes back she explains that he is busy with another mother but will be round to see us as soon as he can. During this time I continue to push when the need takes it and midwife is gently coaxing me into calming a little. I am getting tired and frustrated. Midwife explains that with the epidural they don’t like you to push for more than 30 minutes without some sort of progress; I’ve been going for 45 by this point. A few more minutes later, the doctor comes by, assess the situation and the next thing I know my feet are in stirrups and he’s got a birds eye view of my lady parts. We’ve agreed baby needs a helping hand and he’s going to use the kiwi ventouse (a suction cup on baby’s head, picture sink plunger but smaller!). So away we go again, they’ve reduced the amount of anaesthetic and they (doctor and midwife) tell me when to push. And a couple of minutes later our precious little bundle is in my arms. We have a cuddle, she’s straight on me, husband has cut the cord and gets a cuddle too.
And then it all goes really tits up. Sorry. I panic.
I don’t feel well. I tell Husband I think I need a bowl, I think I’m going to be sick; I can’t move myself due to legs still being in the air and doctor sitting doing whatever doctors do at this point. Midwife has her worried look again. Baby is placed in a cot, I think, as doctor tells me I’m losing a lot of blood, I had to have a cut to ease baby out but now he’s stitching me back up and each stitch is ripping out rather than pulling together. I need to go to theatre. I’m hanging on to consciousness as best I can but feel like I’m passing out. I’m getting weaker by the second. The doctor and midwife are counting. I concentrate on their voices. Then we start moving, as I am wheeled away from Husband I tell him to kiss my baby every day and that I love them both; I’m getting weaker and weaker, my head is spinning, I’m not sure if I shut my eyes or if I just can’t see. I’m not sure I’ll ever wake up again.
I hear voices again, they’re counting again. One voice questions another about how many there should be. I’m ok. I’m awake, ish. I tell the voices the number is ok. I was listening to the counting. They let me rest some more and talk amongst themselves about how long my labour has been and how long I was pushing for, they are sympathetic and can’t blame me for getting some sleep. I’m not sure sleep is an option or just a state of being at that point. Another doctor comes in and says something about being a consultant or important somehow, I think I acknowledge him but I’m not sure as the female voices talk to him about how I am listening but not always responding. Important Doctor does what important job he has to do and I find myself back in a quiet ward room. Husband is with me and Alicia is there in her little glass box (I think they’re Perspex really). We talk a little, Alicia Louise, our little Alien Life Form was born at 5:35 Saturday morning of her due date weighing in at a mighty 7lb 7 ½ ounces. So not early and not particularly small but she is healthy, beautiful and ours.
I’m alive and I need cuddles, lots and lots of cuddles with baby and husband. I’m to stay in this room until my transfusion has gone through, I look around and there it is, someone else’s blood is being pumped slowly into my hand and I have never been so grateful in my life. I’m also attached to a bag of wee! Gross!
I can try breastfeeding and Alicia latches on without any fuss. She feels strong as she wiggles about. The transfusion finishes and I am moved to the maternity ward with the other mummy’s but in a quiet bay. The nurse comes to see me again to see how I’m doing. I’m alright, but can I have these things off yet (the wee bag and cannula)? Alicia is fussing every 30 minutes or so, I’m feeding every time for about 20 minutes. But it’s a good sensation being so close to her. The Nurse at this point explains to me they need to keep me wired up because I’m not exactly out of the woods yet. They estimated that I lost about 1 ½ litres of blood and the one transfusion I had might not be enough (one bag of blood is about, ¾ of a litre, so half of what I lost). Over the course of the day we negotiate and I am adamant that I want to go home sooner rather than later. I get my way (in hindsight I wish I hadn’t, but that’s another story!) I get to be un-pinned, and on Sunday evening I get to go home with some strong Iron tablets and our baby.