My Birth Stories – No.3 The Final One (part 2)

6 Feb

I woke with a start…I ‘rushed’ to the toilet…as I started to wake up, I realised exactly what was going on. It was 4am, 3wks prior to my due date and my waters had just broken, in exactly the same way as last time. I filled with excitement and fear, I realised this was too early, I wasn’t supposed to be in labour…and I think I went into a kind of shock.

I found my mobile and text Mr R. He was working in the freezing conditions outside and was an hours drive away from me. Nobody was on standby to help with this, this wasn’t meant to happen. My text read:

“Can you call me? Don’t worry if you’re busy…xx”

I have no idea what was going through my mind. Don’t worry if you’re busy? I had just gone into labour and it was a little premature, in this case. Clearly realising that it’s not normal for me to text him at 4am, Mr R called straight away. I explained the situation…well, I kind of bumbled my way through the conversation, and Mr R was on his way. I phoned the hospital and they told me I needed to come straight in. I explained that I had nobody here and needed to get my other children to their grandparents first. The lady asked me if I was contracting, I explained that I wasn’t so she thought it would be OK. I then proceeded to have a shower and walk about in a daze. My Braxton Hicks were a bit annoying but I was use to those, I had been having them really strongly for weeks and weeks.

I rang close family to tell them what was happening. I couldn’t help but be excited…somewhere inside, I knew I would be meeting my baby very soon. Mr R arrived home with his happy comforting smile and he set about packing my hospital bag…my hospital bag? I hadn’t even done that! We were frantically searching for everything we needed, and my excitement grew. I was surprising myself, just 24hrs before this, I had been so poorly. The adrenalin of what was happening had an amazing effect on my body. When I say I was so poorly, I was probably poorlier than I had ever been. It was a flu type thing, but I literally felt I could die. I was not capable of doing anything at all. I had seen various doctors as this illness was scaring me, it was different but I couldn’t explain how. I had been overworking myself for the 2 months leading up to this point and I was literally a broken woman. I remember crying the night before this had happened, saying to Mr R that these kinds of things can send a woman into labour, and I couldn’t cope with labour. I just couldn’t do it.

We left my parents house, where we had dropped the boys off and I had borrowed, another towel for my gushing waters! I had to keep stopping because of my Braxton Hicks, but we got in and settled quite quickly. I was monitored and told I would have to stay in. There was no way I was leaving the building this time.

The doctors came to see me and told me that they wanted to try and stop my labour or at least hold it off. Given my previous labours which didn’t progress, naturally, this should be simple. They started with giving steroids as we needed baby’s lungs to get as strong as possible before he came. When a Mum has Gestational Diabetes there is a higher risk of problems when baby is born. So, although 3wks early is often classed as term, this case was slightly different.

Wow those steroids stung. I couldn’t believe how much! I was asked to stay put in bed and just wait. So I did. I spent my time watching the monitors and feeling my Braxton Hicks whilst they distorted the shape of my bump. I knew what I was doing now, I knew what all the monitors meant and I could just watch what my baby was doing.

Later that evening I was given a second dose of steroids and they advised Mr R to go home. He did question me on this as he didn’t think I seemed right. My Braxton Hicks were strong, I was tiring. I smiled my way through it all and told Mr R that it was really important that he went home. He hadn’t slept for a day and a half and I was worried about him. To be fair, I pretty much forced him to go home and sleep. I remember my frustration as he wouldn’t go without questioning me. I didn’t want to be questioned, I didn’t really want to talk, I wanted to be left.

Mr R had gone home and a doctor came to check me. We noticed that baby’s heart beat kept dipping. I wasn’t allowed off the monitor and they could see massive movements on the print out. They kept asking me how I was feeling, I smiled and said fine.

Late in the night, the staff were growing increasingly concerned about baby & I. They were coming back every five minutes and I wanted them to go away. I was getting frightened again. It was around this time that I realised I hadn’t been having Braxton Hicks at all, I was in labour and had been all day. I didn’t want to tell anyone. I wanted Mr R to sleep, I was frightened he would crash the car if he didn’t. I was scared that my c-section was going to have to happen and I hadn’t seen Gary, my anaesthetist. I was scared something could go wrong with baby too. My pains increased and I couldn’t hide it from the staff anymore. I hope that it would go away, after all, I had never actually had a proper labour on my own before. I had never progressed past 4cm, my body just didn’t do it.

A lovely nurse gave me progesterone and a small cocktail of other things. She said that it would make baby sleepy and slow or stop my labour so I could get some sleep with a view to a c-section at lunchtime the next day. In a daze, I agreed and prayed for it to work.

Shortly afterwards, I took myself to the toilet, the first time I had been off the monitor for hours. We just kept loosing baby’s heartbeat so I had to stay monitored. Well that was it, things really kicked in. My contractions were suddenly totally full on. The progesterone appeared to have had the total opposite effect. I had a team of people around me straight away. I was still trying to convince them that I was OK and could hold off. They didn’t understand why, I didn’t really know what I was saying. I’m sure I was in some kind of shock and just kept rambling about Mr R needing to sleep. I was doing all this whilst doubling over with contractions. The doctors told me I should call my husband and prepare him to come back in.

I called and woke him after just a tiny sleep. I told him to get a shower, a coffee and slowly wake up before he came. I was still worried about him. I felt comforted that I had not panicked him and put the phone down. About 3 minutes later, I phoned him back.

“GET HERE NOW”

I was now feeling baby pushing down! I had this strange feeling that I hadn’t had with my previous labours. All the pain of my contractions was low down at the bottom of my womb. Each contraction gave me a strong burning sensation but they now included a pushing one too. I had never felt the pushing before…I knew this was different.

I was prepped for theatre and an anesthetist came to see me, it wasn’t Gary. Panic now grew again, not only was it someone else, but he hadn’t yet read my notes and didn’t speak very good English. I begged for Gary, but he wasn’t on duty and there was no time to ask him. I had to go in.

I sat on the operating table, in the position they get you to sit whilst they put the needle into the base of your back. It’s a very specific space that the needle has to go, and you cannot move at all. If things went wrong, there is risk of being paralysed, so you really don’t want to move. It’s an unpleasant experience having that needle, it’s long and it takes a long time. It’s such an odd sensation on the base of your spine, the thought still brings the feeling back now, and I cringe.

The anaesthetist started to put in my spinal block, I got a massive contraction at the same time. I panicked but remained as still as I could. I told him, in a rather urgent voice, that he had to stop. He didn’t. I told him very sternly that I was contracting and he must stop now, he carried on, smiled and said there wasn’t time to stop. somehow we got through that bit, I felt baby pushing and pushing and then things started to go numb.

As the effects of the spinal block took hold, I regressed straight back to my time with Gary. I remembered everything he said to me, and I talked myself through every step. I knew I would feel sick, so I asked for anti-sickness medicine straight away, I caught it just in time. I knew why my breathing felt strange and I took slow breaths. I made Mr R stay right next to my face. I couldn’t talk loudly, and I needed to focus on him. I blanked out everything in the room and kept him talking to me. He was, literally, my saviour. As long as he was right there explaining and keeping me calm, then I was OK.

I started to feel that everything was going to be OK. I had gained control of the thing that had given me nightmares for over 2yrs, I was doing it.

Another healthy baby boy was pulled from my womb, he weighed a healthy 8lb 3oz and staff put him next to my face. They placed him perfectly so that I could see him. I lay cut open on the operating table but smiling. My baby opened his eyes and looked straight into mine, I shall never forget that moment, it was perfect. As I write this post, I have tears in my eyes, he was beautiful, he was safe and I fell in love all over again.

Again I needed extra work, due to some awkward scaring. Whilst they were working on me, the doctor came to ask me some questions. Deep down I still wondered why I had never been able to deliver a baby naturally. I asked him why my babies had never engaged into my pelvis, I wondered if he could see a problem.

“O no, your baby was fully engaged and pushing out”

I felt relief and pride, silly really, but I knew that I could have delivered after all. Not this time, it was too risky, but if he had been the first or second, I could have done it. I felt content.

To be continued….

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