Thursday, 27 July 2017

Bubs Birth Story and our Journey into Parenthood


Bubs Birth Story 


This is a long story mainly as it was a long birth so I would make a cup of tea and settle in before sitting down to read this. As the title states it is a birth story so does contain gory details as a pre warning, if your squeamish I would look away now.

It all begins in the summer of 2014 when I was around 36 weeks pregnant, I developed a rash commonly know as PEP, lovely when you are expecting a summer baby :). The rash causes a very itchy belly and body and being so pregnant the only way you can treat it is using topical creams which unfortunately do not do much after the immediate relief they give.


Monday

My final birth centre appointment with the midwife confirmed the head was engaged and all systems were go, the midwife was happy for me to do anything to try and get the baby out as my rash would not be going anywhere until after I delivered. I had planned to have a natural as possible birth, ideally using the pool in order to be home within a few hours of delivering and avoid any long hospital stays.

Wednesday

In the evening I booked in with a local Reflexologist for my first ever treatment and to be honest with you it was a lovely foot massage but I was not really convinced it would actually help me go into labour or have any effect. I also started drinking raspberry tea and doing lots of bouncing on the birthing ball.

Thursday

I spent the day cooking a Chicken Pie, ironing and general housework, I also booked some cinema tickets to go and watch Gone Girl on Friday evening and have dinner date as we knew it maybe one of our last chances to have a night out.

Friday 2.00am

A regular nightly visit to the bathroom felt slightly strange as my waters broke whilst on the toilet. Now you are supposed to check at this point to ensure all the liquid is clear but I barely had one eye open, I just flushed the toilet and went back to bed to inform Mr S my waters had gone.
To quote his reaction ' Don't worry hold my hand and go back to sleep'. This great piece of advise unfortunately did not work and a few hours later I was having full on contractions. I guess in our case reflexology did work or maybe it was just a coincidence.

Friday 7.00am

By now was in real labour, one thing no one told me though was your waters breaking is not just a one- off event, you continue to have water leaking out of you the entire time you are in labour.
During my pregnancy I had done Pilates and Daisy Birthing, I found the breathing techniques I learnt from these were really helpful in dealing with the pain, along with lots of massages from Mr S, hot baths and showers, the contractions were actually manageable. My main issue throughout the morning  though was a lot of puking up, nothing not even a sip of water would stay down, which I knew would not be good for either me or the baby if I still had a long labour road ahead.

Friday 12.00pm

I was now having around 3 contractions every hour and after calling the birth centre they advised me to come in. I took a hot water bottle with me in the car for the drive to the hospital which was around 30 minutes away and since most of my pain was across the lower back the drive was not to bad.

We arrived at the Birth Centre around lunchtime and the midwife informed me I was still in the early stages of labour just by looking at me, she explained if I was in more advanced stages I would be climbing the walls. Due to the risk of infections they try and limit the number of internal examinations to only when necessary therefore hard to assess how far along or dilated you are accurately.

She did however check my stats which showed by this point due to the severity of sickness I had been experiencing all day, I was dehydrated therefore promptly transferred off the Birth Centre onto the labour triage in order to be placed under consultant care and be setup for fluids.

At first I thought after receiving some fluids I would be able to go back to my original birth plan and deliver in the birth centre but I soon learnt that fluids meant monitoring and monitoring means no birth centre, I was quite upset at this point especially as I had to sit in one chair for the next few hours once the fluids were given to me and it was not the active or natural labour in a water bath I had envisaged.

Friday 5.00pm

First of many machines

I was now halfway through my second bag of fluids with another 5 planned for me through the night, I think as a result of staying seated and the stress from the monitoring my labour slowed down as did the contractions and I managed the pain relief using paracetamol.

Friday 8.00pm

The consultant was not happy to send me back home and wanted to continue with monitoring and fluids throughout the night so I was admitted onto the maternity ward for an overnight stay.
This was also around the same time we should have been arriving at the cinema to watch gone girl, a film I don't think I ended up watching in the end until Bubs was over a year old.
Me and Mr S ordered a pizza and after sharing this in the visitors room it was time to say good bye to Mr S, one of the scariest parts was seeing him leaving the hospital. I had never stayed in hospital before and had not planned on doing it with the baby still inside with no idea if it was planning on arriving during the night, after a teary goodbye I settled myself in for a long night.
It was a bizarre night as the lady in the bed next to me had already had her baby so I could hear all the crying, feeding and changing throughout the night which was a reminder of what I had in store very soon.

Saturday 8.00am

My first hospital breakfast - delicious

Mr S was back first thing in the morning which helped as I had not slept much during the night, mainly due to all the checks being done and trying to go to the bathroom when heavily pregnant whilst being attached to a few machines is not easy.

Saturday 12.00pm

Just as my lunch order of a cheese and beans baked potato arrived so did the consultant. She explained that as my labour had now slowed down but my waters had been broken for nearly 36 hours I would need to be induced to speed things back up again. Before they could do this they needed to check how dilated I was in order to see if I needed a pessary or gel too before going onto the induction drugs.
Now this was the most painful part of the entire process and the only point at which I actually screamed out loud and since I was still on the maternity ward I think I scared a few of the other mums to be too in the nearby beds. The midwife who checked was very shocked to see I was actually already 6cm dilated and needed to be moved to the labour ward immediately. A lot of the midwives I met along the long labour road were shocked at my high pain threshold, something I didn't even know I had until this particular weekend.

Saturday 2.00pm

On the labour ward you are given a lovely modern room with your own bathroom and dedicated midwife for the entire time, we got lucky and had a lovely one who made me feel very comfortable and stayed with us until the evening. She was great at respecting my wishes to stay as mobile as I could considering I now had two cannula's in each hand and a heart rate monitor strapped to my belly.
In addition to the fluids I was still on, I was also given Syntocinon to speed up my labour and make my contractions come more frequently and stronger.

I also started on my first form of pain relief Gas & Air - which I loved and meant I spent the remainder of Saturday afternoon on an amazing high. It was the most fun part of being in hospital and giving birth, highly recommend everyone to give it a try, just takes the edge of the whole situation.

Saturday 7.00pm

Despite being on drugs to speed up contractions I had only dilated an extra 2cm by the early evening, I was advised at this point to have an epidural due to having been in labour for a long time. The baby was also showing signs of tiredness and they may need to take a sample of his blood from his skull which my midwife knew I would find a very painful procedure without the epidural. By this point I had already been given so many drugs another one to the mix was no biggie.

I dosed myself up on the gas & air to get ready for the epidural, unfortunately the first attempt missed due to a slight curve in my spine but the second was successful and meant I could have a rest for a few hours, we also said goodbye to our midwife who tried her hardest to get the baby out before her shift ended. You also have a catheter inserted at the same time as the epidural which is a good way to check it has worked.


Saturday 9.00pm

At this point a lot more doctors became involved and the room got very crowded, using a portable ultrasound they saw Bubs was lying back to back, so he was looking up at the ceiling rather than the preferred position of looking at the floor. They tried to get him to rotate around with no luck.
You could tell now the situation was getting a lot more alarming now, however the breathing was still helping keep me calm and the people we were speaking to from the anaesthetists, midwives to doctors were all great and I never felt once that I was not in the best of care.

Saturday 11.00pm

I was finally fully dilated and tried to push the baby out however with no success. Everything now moved very quickly, I was transferred to theatre for an episiotomy in order to try to get the baby out instrumentally. After 6 failed ventouse attempts and a failed forceps attempt I was told by the team of 3 doctors who were in charge of my care at this point, that the baby had gone back inside. Now that I had weaned myself off the gas & air and was no longer high this statement still sounded crazy to me, this was not how having a baby worked, they don't go back inside you.

But apparently they do, I kind of knew what was coming as soon as I was taken to theatre that there was a high chance of having an emergency C-section so it was not surprising when I was told they needed to do one in order to get the baby out before he showed any more signs of distress.

The awkward part is signing the actual C-section waiver form, you cannot really hold a pen when your lying flat on an operating table with a cannula poking out of your hand, not to mention the drugged up exhausted state your mind is, not sure how valid any of those consent forms are but nonetheless I scribbled something and within a few minutes had been prepped for an emergency C-section.

The actual section was very quick, with no pain involved and only the strange tugging and gushing sensation of liquid. The anaesthetist is with you the entire time right next to your head and they are constantly taking to you throughout and checking your stats. Mr S was also scrubbed up by this point and joined me the very very cold theatre room.

Saturday 11.59pm

Talk about wanting to make a point of his birthday, he arrived one minute before midnight.

It was at this point things started going fuzzy and I could feel something was not quite right, despite having just given birth all I could think about was drinking a giant glass of ice cold coke.

The nurses showed me Bubs but I was not very interested as I was feeling a lot of pain in my shoulders, arms, neck and head. The only parts of my body that still had any feeling. I did kick up a bit of a fuss and despite the anaesthetist saying it was only the effects of the epidural a gut instinct told me it was more. She tried to give me a massage to help with the pain but I persevered in saying I was still in pain and although it felt like ages it took around a minute for the team to realise I had caught an infection. The whole room then sprang into action and I was pumped full of antibiotics and paracetamol to fight what I now know was sepsis.

Sunday 1.00am

Although the C- section takes minutes the aftercare is a lot longer, due to the hiccup with my infection and also having had an episiotomy it took around an hour for me to get stitched up before both me and Bubs were transferred to the HDU. It was only then I actually got a proper look and cuddle and finally took in everything that had happened over the last few hours.

Bubs also had a tiny cannula put into his arm in order to receive antibiotics too; due to the infection I had caught there was a chance he may also have it. Thankfully I did not have to witness him getting it put in as I am sure its not easy or painless to do on such a tiny hand and vein.

We were monitored throughout the night to ensure the infection cleared and Bubs could maintain his body temperature without a lamp. Even with all the machines, wires and monitoring I was encourage to breastfeed from the outset. Not the easiest thing to do when you cannot sit up but it did mean lots of skin to skin and the first chance to bond with Bubs.

Now that the craziness of theatre was over it was great to finally hold him and take in all the details of this little person that I had grown from something the size of a seed it a real baby.

Sunday 3.00am

Now everything had calmed down, Mr S was able to go back to our room and get all our stuff together including our phones and camera to take Bubs first picture and let family know about his safe arrival, all of whom had been eagerly awaiting a phone call since the Friday evening before.

Bubs meets the World
My dream of having a glass of coke was replaced with the obligatory NHS tea and jam on toast you are given to share and celebrate your new arrival. Mr S spent the rest of the whole night sleeping/sitting on a chair with us in HDU.

Sunday 9.00am

My catheter was removed, and we were given the all clear to be moved back onto the maternity ward to recover.

Back on the Maternity Ward
I naively thought at this point I would be able to have a shower, wash my hair and sort myself out a bit however after a C-section you have to wait 24 hours. I had to make do with washing my face, changing out of the hospital gown and retying up my hair.

Sunday 12.00pm

As it was a Sunday Bubs steady stream of visitor soon began to arrive as the day went on. He had his first non-midwife nappy change by his Papa (Mr S) and Massi (Auntie). He was also a lot smaller than I had thought and the newborn clothes were huge on him so his Nani (my mum) had to do an emergency dash into the shopping centre to get him some tiny baby clothes that actually fit.
Mr S disappeared for a few hours in the afternoon to shower before coming back for the evening shift.

Sunday 9.00pm

It was even more peculiar saying goodbye again to Mr S 48 hours later on the same ward I had done so before, this time it was me and Bubs being left by ourselves in the hospital and I was not quite sure how the night would go.

Our first night and selfie together
The staff were great and let him stay way beyond visiting hours but he did eventually have to leave. The first night was probably the hardest, having to wake up every 3 hours to feed meant putting on an alarm firstly to wake up, secondly the effort required even with a movable bed to get yourself up after having had a c-section less than 24 hours ago is tough, not painful as your drugged up but physically there is just no muscle tone to lift your own body weight.
You then have to wake this tiny baby, try and get them to feed without either of you falling back asleep and then clean the stickiest black poo, only to repeat the whole procedure all over again a few hours later.

I ended up staying in hospital for a further five nights, due to my sepsis Bubs had to finish a 5 day course of antibiotics via his cannula, he was lucky though as he had not caught the infection but being a newborn they prefer to air on the side of caution.

When we were finally given the all clear to go home I was so happy I cried and called Mr S to get to the hospital straight away, I also knew all the midwives quite well by this point so asked them to do all my discharge notes as quick as possible.

Bubs Coming Home Outfit

Reflections

It was challenging staying in hospital due to the constant checks, other crying babies, constant noises throughout the night and the lack of home comforts, but it did also have its benefits. All your medicine is brought to you at scheduled times so you never forget to take it, same with your food being brought to you so no excuse to forget to eat. Even though the hospital food was not actually that bad at all I did often get spoilt with my mums food, Indian chai and a giant Chicken Royal one evening my brother drove all the way to westfield to get me.

One of the biggest benefits though is having the experience and care of midwifes always on hand. They are great and despite working non- stop for long shifts are always willing to help. For example one night Bubs would not settle at all, the midwife propped up the sides on my bed, gave me lots of extra pillows, placed Bubs on to breastfeed and once we fell asleep put him back in his cot. All he wanted was to be close to me and have a feed, if I had been at home I would never had done this given all advice on not co - sleeping but sometimes it is the simple solutions that work.

Finally Home 
The rash I developed in the late stages of pregnancy took a few weeks to clear up before I was itch free. I was also carrying quite a lot of fluid with Bubs towards the end which was increased further when I was pumped with fluids during and after labour, this meant after giving birth my feet and legs swelled up huge, thankfully it was still hot and got away with wearing flip flops for 2 weeks after he was born. For a list of items I took with me last time check out my post on My hospital bag essentials packing list.

Bubs birth story ended up being very eventful with a lot of medical interventions, procedures and drugs. This was the complete opposite of what I had planned but I enjoyed it all and it was not the worst thing in the world. We are very lucky to live in a country where we have the resources to be able to get a baby out safely for both them and the mum. If this had been hundreds of years ago in a village the likelihood is neither of us would have survived. The pain was manageable, I felt well cared for by all the staff I met along the way and it was definitely a new experience for mine and Mr S relationship.

As a first time Mum I felt I did not trust what my body was telling me during labour over what I was told by medical professionals and although staying calm and managing my pain myself helped me I did feel in this case it worked against me in terms of being able to show I was in advanced labour, so sometimes maybe you should kick up a bit of fuss.

Would I do it all over again?

In a heartbeat.
The second time around is fast approaching and I am planning to opt for an elective C given all the issues that arose with an attempted natural birth last time, this time I want to take the control back.

Recovery

My recovery from both the C-section and episiotomy was fine, I was up and out of bed the next day and by the time I came home was feeling back to myself. I hope it is the same case second time around.

I would hate for anyone to be put off giving birth, whichever method you use or that ends up happening to you it is a truly magically experience. Its not easy, but then nothing ever worth having in life is.

My final bit of advice would be to:

-Stay flexible
-Trust your body and instincts
-Stay calm
-Enjoy it

The first time you give birth is the last journey you take alone in life before your inherit your new title of mummy forever.

My First Night at Home

Mummascribbles