When I became pregnant I was absolutely over the moon. Then the reality of giving birth set in and, in all honesty, I have never been so terrified!
We decided that we would go along to an antenatal course to help try and alleviate some of my fears. We booked the course well in advance of my due date, so that we could be sure we would be well prepared. We went along to the first two and learnt about taking care during pregnancy, preparing a hospital bag and drawing up a birth plan. The third class was going to be introduction to labour, but something got in the way!
The night after class two I started having really bad pains. I was 28 weeks pregnant and had been having what I thought was Braxton Hicks for a couple of weeks. I barely got any sleep that night and, when I finally gave up and got out of bed, I saw some blood when I went to the toilet. I rang the assessment centre straight away just for some reassurance. They said it didn’t sound like an emergency, but to go up late morning when they had some space and they’d check me out. I was in a strange state of mild panic but feeling like if they weren’t worried, then I shouldn’t be either.
At the Hospital
When I got there I was examined and had swabs taken to find out if any contraction hormones had been released. We also heard our baby’s heartbeat and little kicks and movements on the monitor.
My barely there bump hooked up to the monitors
After hours waiting and being told they were still getting results, I was told that I had tested positive for contractions and had to be admitted. I was in a state of shock but again trying not to worry as they said it was just a precaution. I was examined again and this time told that I was 1cm dilated. That’s when I really started to panic! I was 28 weeks pregnant. My baby wasn’t supposed to be born yet. We had nothing ready. I wasn’t ready! The Dr told us that I was under threat of labour and, due to the gestation, I was going to be rushed to a specialist neonatal hospital an hour away from home. I actually started shaking uncontrollably but weirdly for me I still didn’t cry! Instead I was strapped to a bed, loaded on to an ambulance and driven off with blue lights flashing. Having never been in an ambulance before at least it’s one I can tick off my bucket list!
When the ambulance arrived, I was given a steroid injection, which was so bloody sore, and put on a drip to slow the labour. We had a Dr from the neonatal ward come and discuss with us what could happen if our baby was delivered. Words like intubated, brain bleeds, oxygen, incubator, critical, among others stuck out and the shaking started again. But still, I kept the tears in. Looking back at it now I think it was the shock! Luckily, as we were so far from home, my hubby was allowed to stay with me. I don’t think I’d have coped without him as my brain went in to overdrive about what could happen.
The next morning, I woke up to a sleeping hubby, that could only be likened to a body in a morgue, next to me. I have no idea how or why he managed to get himself in this position but at least it gave me a laugh!
I felt like things had calmed down. The pains had disappeared and the bleeding had stopped. I was given another steroid injection (just as painful as the first) and told that as long as things stayed calm, they would look at transferring me back home the next day. Over the next 2 days the pains came and went. I called then ‘tightenings’ and so did the medical staff, so in my mind I wasn’t in labour.
I was hooked up to the monitor several times and on a couple of occasions her heartbeat dropped. This meant a rush of Doctors who would then see her heart rate jump back up and off they’d trot. That was until I hit the day when I was 29 weeks pregnant and a Midwife couldn’t find her heart beat at all. Hubby and I thought she just wasn’t searching in the right place, and sure enough when the Dr turned up she could find a heart beat. Just to be sure she decided to examine me. Much to everyone’s surprise I was 8cm dilated! I had got through on the odd paracetamol as I’d not realised I was in labour. That sent everyone in to overdrive. Out came the various delivery equipment and the room filled with more midwives and the neonatal Dr who came to check everything was ok.
I was told I needed to go on a magnesium drip to support the baby’s brain development but warned that it might make me feel a little ill. I told them I was prepared to do whatever was good for the baby. They put the drip in to my arm and I immediately heated up. I could feel myself sweating, my breathing quickening and my arm burning. As I was telling the midwife I felt funny, I started to feel a rush in my head. It was like a wave coming over me, my ears ringing and everything in the room seeming to blur out of focus. They laid me back, ripped out the drip and put pressure on my arm. I had been about to black out when they caught it. The vein had collapsed and my arm was filling up. I came round and they put the drip back in. A similar feeling washed over me, without the swelling, but this time they told me to lie down, it was just a side effect of the magnesium and it would soon pass.
After about 5 hours I started to feel a bit better. I sat in silence next to by husband, still sweaty and light headed, listening to a woman in labour in the next room. She was screaming and shouting, crying and telling them to help her. This is when I cried. I mean really cried. Everything bubbled to the surface. I realised I was having this baby and there was no stopping it.
Come and read the next part of our story.
Little Big Love