My due date was 27th June but I’d had a feeling right from early on that I’d get a July baby. The couple of weeks leading up to the birth were lovely and hot so I was getting out for walks as much as possible in the hope of getting things moving.
We’d tried all the usual stuff, hot curries, lots of bouncing on my ball, I’d even scrubbed my skirting boards. Nothing gave me so much as a twinge!
Finally on Tuesday 29th June at 2.50am as I rolled over in bed I felt a big ‘pop’ and lots of wetness. I got out of bed, turned on the light and checked the sheets. I realised I hadn’t wet myself and it was in fact my waters! I wasn’t too sure what I needed to do so woke my husband who contacted the local midwife unit where I hoped to have her. They advised that I would need to go in at 8am to be checked seeing as my waters had broken. Unless my contractions started before then in which case I was to go in then.
I decided to have a little bounce on my birthing ball and at 3.30am my contractions started. They were strong but not regular so I tried to go back to sleep for a few hours.
At 8am on 29th we set off for the unit so I could be checked. We were seen right away and a midwife confirmed my waters had gone and were still leaking. I was apparently 2-3cm dilated and so advised to go home and try to get some rest and come back when my contractions were regular or I couldn’t cope with the pain.
Back at home my contractions continued and were very painful and strong but very irregular. Coming every 5, then 7, then 3, then 10 minutes apart. One thing was for sure though, I could NOT sleep through them. By 5pm they really were agony and we made our way to the midwife unit again. I was still only 3cm and my contractions actually slowed down while I was there so I was sent home again.
Back at home I had another night of no sleep. My contractions were continuing though and by midday on 30th June they were strong enough to have me doubling over in pain and unable to speak through them. The midwife unit contacted me to see how I was doing, they asked me to come in for a check. I was STILL only 3cm but they decided to hook me up to a monitor to see what my contractions were doing and how baby was coping. The monitor showed my contractions were very intense but still not regular enough and therefore not doing what they needed to. They decided to contact the main hospital and book me in for an induction the next day. I was to get to the main hospital for 8am the following day. And then I was sent home again.
But at 11pm that night I was in agony and paracetamol was doing nothing. I tried a bath and gentle rocking but nothing was working. We called ahead to the midwife unit and made our way there. For about an hour my contractions were regular and even the midwives were getting geared up thinking this was finally it. Then they slowed again. Rather than send me home they let me stay in a room with my husband and gave me a shot of pethadine to help me sleep. We would be able to make our way up to the main hospital the next morning.
I had the best nights sleep after having the pethadine and after a lovely midwife came to check on me we were sent on up to the main hospital for my induction.
We arrived at just before 8am on 1st July and were taken straight to the delivery suite for my induction. I had a drip inserted immediately and the pitocin started. I was hooked up to the ctg machine with monitor pads on for the entire time.
The drip made my contractions non stop and really strong. I coped until 11am using only gas and air but when the anaesthetist came around at 11.15am I asked for an epidural (actually i was begging for a caesarean, but only being offered pethadine or an epidural!). By 11.30am the epidural had kicked in, ihad a catheter in and I was able to watch tv, read a magazine and chat with everyone. I felt totally relaxed for the first time in days but I still couldn’t sleep.
I was checked at 6.20pm and was 7cm. My lovely midwife was nearly going off duty and said she thought I would have my baby by the end of her shift at 8pm. But by 7pm I knew something wasn’t right as I was in total agony again despite them turning up my epidural. Gas and air wasn’t touching it and I was writhing around like something possessed. I was literally screaming in pain and my poor husband and mum didn’t know what they could do for me.
When a midwife came around I begged for her to check me. At 9.20pm I was checked and STILL only 7cm so I’d suffered 3 hours of agonising contractions with literally no break in between them and not dilated any more. The anaesthetist came back to check me and discovered my epidural was now out of place and he figured it had come out at around 7pm. He said he wasn’t happy to re do it and instead insisted I was to see the registrar.
Finally at 10.30pm the registrar came around and was lovely. She was horrified that I’d been left so long and explained how dangerous is was that I’d been left for such a long time with my waters gone. She said I should have been brought in and induced within 12 hours. She was furious that she hadn’t been made aware of my labour until now. She made me feel really at ease and like I wasn’t such a wimp. She had a quick look at the print outs from the ctg machine and said to me ‘ok sweetheart, I think it’s time we get that baby out ok, I know it’s abut scary but we’re going to get you prepped for a emergency c section ok’ – honestly I was just so relieved that someone was finally doing something for me. The next few minutes were like a blur, i signed a consent form which i don’t remember, my mum and a midwife somehow managed to get me out of my clothes into a gown and I don’t even remember them taking off my jewellery and makeup!
At 11pm I was wheeled into theatre. Rich was already there waiting for me wearing his scrubs. I counted 8 people in surgery not including me or Rich. My midwife sat me on the edge of the bed and had me lean over. I was given a spinal block and within seconds I felt my lower body go hot and heavy. I was led back down and the curtain put up in front of me. I remember shaking do much that I couldn’t control it, my jaw ached from trying to stop it. My anaesthetist who was sat behind me said it was normal. I was so worried I was going to feel something so he walked around to my side and said ‘can you feel anything now’. I said no, he then lowered the curtain so I could see that he was pinching a huge lump of my skin so hard his knuckles were white. That was pretty surreal. He put the curtain back up and sat back behind my head.
I noticed the lovely registrar was now by my side and she asked if I was ok. Then at 11.17pm she called out ‘incision made at 11.17pm’. I saw someone write that on a white board. Then I realised there was music playing and in fact our first dance song from our wedding was playing Bryan Adams – Heaven. I could feel some tugging and I was aware I was moving on the table and then at 11.21pm she was here. I heard her cry and they quickly brought her around and held her up to us, she was tiny. The room went much quieter and I was aware she’d gone. The midwife explained that she had been taken to SCBU (Special Care Baby Unit) because of the risk of infection as she had been without my waters for too long. And also she was ‘grunting’.
I don’t remember how long it took for me to be stitched up etc. I just remember being wheeled out of theatre and seeing my mums face as I came through the doors of recovery. She later told me she thought something awful had happened because I came out alone. My midwife helped me wash and brush my teeth and change out of the gown into my own nightie. Finally the registrar came in to see how I was and said that my husband and mum could go and see Summer so off they went. They were gone about 30 minutes. When they came back they told me how she looked and she was there for more of a precaution. At around 1am my mum and husband went home and around 2am I was wheeled into SCBU on my bed to see Summer. I got to hold her hand and stroke her arm but that was it. She was drop fed for that first night.
I was up on the ward by 2.30am but I hated being there without my baby. I was woken at 6am for blood pressure checks and then at 7am I had my catheter removed. By 9am I was walking around again and going to the toilet on my own. At9amRich came back for visiting and we walked down together to see Summer. I was finally allowed to hold her and attempt breastfeeding which she took to quite well.
She was kept into scbu for 2 more nights. During the first day I would express milk into a syringe for the nurses down there to feed her during the night but by the second night they would phone up to the ward when she wanted a feed and I would go down there.
Since my surgery I’d been given regular injections of fragmin into my stomach to stop blood clots. I hated them. They were worse than the epidural!
Finally on Sunday 4th July she was allowed out of SCBU and came up onto the ward with me. We had hoped we would be taking her home that day but later that day when the consultant came around he said she was jaundiced and needed billy light treatment. So she had a pad thing put under her vest that was attached to UV light that she had to wear for 90% of the day. She wasn’t feeding brilliantly but was getting enough according to the midwives.
Finally at 3pm on Monday 5th July we were all allowed home! With a cocktail of painkillers for me we left hospital and headed home as a family.
**Sister to Skye Elizabeth**