After a fantastic response to Part One, Part Two of the birth story is here.
So here I was, 29 weeks pregnant and sitting in hospital knowing I was going to give birth any time. I can’t actually put in to words everything I was feeling as I still find it hard to piece it all together.
Once they’d removed the magnesium drip, which seriously made me feel like I was dying at one point, they told me to get some rest. The pains were still quite mild but I said to the midwife that as soon as I relaxed I knew everything would start up again. She laughed and said not to worry. So, the lights went off and I laid my head down. As I closed my eyes I wondered how many more days I could do this.
Not the best photo of me I’ve ever taken but it’s real! I look and feel exhausted here because I was.
I must have drifted off to sleep, but woke just after midnight with some niggling feelings. I laid there trying to stay calm and that’s when it happened. The gush! I knew straight away that my waters had broken. The only way I can describe it is like something inside popped and then I wet myself. Which incidentally I did do about 10 minutes later! I just couldn’t hold it in and peed everywhere while profusely apologising to the midwife who had come in to check on me after I buzzed. She wasn’t convinced my waters had broken. She thought I’d just wet myself, so the actual wetting myself didn’t help back up my story! But on examination, I was fully dilated. This was it. 29weeks and 1 day pregnant and I was having this baby.
When I’d first been admitted we’d been told what could happen in labour, but in that minute when she told me I was fully dilated I suddenly became more scared than I’d ever been. This baby was wanted more than anything, the fact that we’d been through IVF and I’d stabbed myself with needles and pumped myself full of drugs helped prove that, but I wasn’t ready to be a mum yet. I wasn’t ready to have a baby now. I hadn’t been prepared. We had only been to two antenatal classes and the one that dealt with labour wasn’t for another 18 hours! I had no idea what to do to get this baby out.
The pains started to ramp up and were really strong through my back, so I was given gas and air. I began to have a heavy feeling inside. I couldn’t process what I was supposed to do but told the midwives and Doctors, of which had flooded the room, that I felt like I needed to push. They told me to go for it and that’s when I realised I didn’t know what I was pushing. The Dr told me to push as though I was doing a poo. I’d heard that so many times but stupidly I didn’t know that’s actually what you did! I tried, I really tried but nothing seemed to be happening. They made me stop taking the gas and air as it was making me dozy and as I tried to push I was getting more worked up and apologising to them all for not being able to do it! They fetched an ultrasound machine to check on the baby’s placement, because of the size they were worried there may have been some movement. That’s when they saw the problem. Head up and arm above the head. This baby was a wriggler and wasn’t going to make this easy. To try and get some movement, and this is no exaggeration, I had a Dr and Midwife both put their fingers inside my special place to try and move her. I’ve never felt anything like it, but I thought there would be a head coming out of there soon enough so it was preparation. Although that wasn’t to be. They couldn’t shift the arm and by this point the heart beat started dropping. They decided to move me to theatre, ready to give me an epidural and use forceps to pull the baby out quickly.
I realise I’m referring to ‘the baby’ at this point, but we didn’t know that we were having a girl. We had decided to wait and find out once the baby was born. We were calling the bump Freddie as I was convinced we were having a boy! So, Freddie was stuck and I was rushed to theatre. Hubby was sent off to put on scrubs and then would be allowed to join us. But, we hit a snag.
On the way the heart rate continued to drop. The Dr decided that there wasn’t enough time and called for an emergency cesarean. They didn’t have time to wait for an epidural to do its work so decided to give me a general anesthetic. All of this was a blur at the time. I just remember laying on the table, with the anesthetist trying to ask me questions, while I cried out and writhed around in pain. He told me to try and remain calm and the midwife informed him that I was having a contraction. His reply; “oh, sorry about that.” All I wanted was Big holding my hand, who had been amazing through the whole process so far. He wasn’t allowed in so there I was, about to be put to sleep, laying terrified and alone. Would the baby be ok? Would I be ok?
And then I woke up. Two midwives and Big came in to focus. I had an oxygen mask on but couldn’t reach to get it off. Big looked over me and told me with a smile that “Freddie’s a girl!” I was too out of it to cry, but I felt so overwhelmed. Our little girl. He showed me pictures he’d been allowed to take as they were working on her in the incubator. Inserting tubes and wires. He told me with delight how she weighed 2lb 5oz and how beautiful she was, although he’d only got a quick glance. There I lay, post surgery, in too much discomfort to move (though by this time the pain hadn’t hit yet) and all I wanted was to hold my baby girl. To cuddle her and get that first photo that everyone showed off on social media. But I couldn’t. She was on a ward on the other side of the hospital being stabilised by Doctors.
I was told that if I was able to get myself out of bed and in to a wheelchair in the next couple of hours then I’d be able to go down and see her. I’ll be honest, as I lay there waiting, I didn’t feel like a mum. I had no baby to hold yet. I knew she’d been born but it didn’t feel real. I was worried. Worried that I might not bond with her. That I might not love her as I’d been denied that chance of a cuddle at birth. But honestly, I cuddle her now and that love is so strong. It took me a couple of days of seeing her in the incubator and doing cares for her, which are what neonatal staff call changing nappies and doing tube feeds, to feel like she was mine. To remember that she was that little thing that wriggled inside me. I loved her in a way that I can’t explain. I was finally a mum!
Little Big Love