When I was pregnant with Sadie I would love reading these stories. So with my 2nd baby about to be born I thought I would share my first experience…
I had a brilliant pregnancy! I had minimal amount of sickness, didn’t really feel tired and had a textbook pregnancy. No issues or problems, just plain and simple sailing of cooking the tiny human. Until week 37 when I went for my usual midwife appointment and she thought that the baby was breech. I was convinced I had been feeling little feet kick me in the ribs all week but apparently I was being head butted. It was a bit of a shock because at my previous appointment, the midwife had told me that the head was 1/5 engaged. We had a scan a week later and it was confirmed that the baby was flexed breech which means the feet were bent up by the head.
We had a meeting with midwives and doctors and went through all the risks of trying to turn the baby etc but we decided that we would just go straight for a c-section. I know most people do try and turn the baby but the idea of possible placenta abruption and having an emergency section anyway, plus the fact that it rarely works, just scared me so we were booked in for 40+1 for planned caesarean. The date was set at 18th July 2016.
My initial birth plan was to have a nice peaceful water birth where I would only try pain relief as and when I needed it. I wanted to be very active and walk around and use my yoga breathing that I had been learning since I was 14 weeks gone. I was disappointed that I wasn’t even going to get to try any of these things at first but then I knew I had to let it go as I walked out the hospital, past the low risk birth ward with all the lovely pools and get my head together that I was going to have a section.
I then spent the next week trying to prepare myself. For someone who has never really been in hospital before and who is terrified of needles… a spinal and major abdominal surgery was not something I was really looking forward to. To try and calm myself down I would focus on all the nice bits of having a section…no pain, no labour, no tearing, everything staying the same ‘down there’, knowing when the baby was arriving etc. Of course, because of that I then became petrified that the baby would flip and go back the right way and I would have to give birth naturally! It was a bit of a head wreck.
On Saturday 2nd of July we were at my cousins house for his birthday and I started feeling what I was convinced were contractions. As convinced as you can be anyway having never felt them before. I let Phil know and we sat quietly in the back room away from the party, not really wanting to alert anyone in case they were just Braxton Hicks. After an hour of them getting stronger but still irregular, I rang maternity triage for advice who told me to get into a bath and see if they settled. Which they did. Braxton Hicks, panic over.
On Sunday 3rd of July, I woke up and my vision had gone blurry in my right eye. It was like I under water and I was also seeing spots in my left eye. I knew this was a sign of pre-eclampsia but I wasn’t swollen and my blood pressure had been fine so I didn’t panic and thought I would just see how I went through the day. It went away after about 20 minutes so I carried on with my plans of a lovely afternoon tea with my girls.
Half way through the afternoon, I started to feel really crappy. Cold and flu like and headaches. My vision had gone blurred again and something just didn’t feel ‘right’ so I went home and called triage again. They told me to lie down for an hour and take some paracetamol and see how I felt in a few hours. When I woke up, I still felt horrendous and I was aware that the baby hadn’t really moved in the routine that it normally does. Triage told me to come up for monitoring. While we were there, they strapped me to the monitors, took bloods and we stayed there for about 3 hours. I was having tightenings and one of the midwives was convinced I wouldn’t be going home that night…which was terrifying because I still hadn’t sorted my hospital bag out.
They were happy with the monitoring and the baby was moving regularly. My blood test results came back fine except for my Bile Salts being high. The doctor said that they were sending them away for further tests and if they came back super high then I would be having my section earlier than planned, or if they came back okay then it would just be medication until the planned date of the 18th July. She didn’t seem worried so I went home, not really thinking much about it.
On Monday 4th July I was woken up by a phone call at 8:30am from the doctor said that my results came back stupidly high and that I would be having my section that day. Phil and I went into absolute crazed panic; both of us freaked out a little and made necessary phone calls to work and relatives and then headed up to the hospital. Once we were there, we were told that it would actually be the Wednesday I would be having the baby as they had had a cancellation on the planned section list. Because I was before 39 weeks, I then had to have 2 steroid injections in my thigh, one on the Monday and one on the Tuesday to help the baby’s lungs.
The Tuesday morning we went in for my 2nd injection, which hurt like hell by the way, and my pre-op. As we left the Midwife said to me ‘unless you start contracting or your water breaks then we’ll see you tomorrow!’ Last day of ‘freedom’ before the baby arrived so Phil went home to watch some Wimbledon and I went shopping with my mum and sister to get those last minute bits for my hospital bag.
We hadn’t even gone into one shop when my waters broke. I heard a little pop and felt a trickle and we rushed to the bathroom. My sister and I had gone to a different shop to my mum so we tried to ring her. Of course, she did not answer her phone (is she even your mum if she answers first time?!) and then my sister rang Phil to come pick me up. We were about 25 minutes away from my hospital and I wasn’t about to start getting trains and buses to get home. We finally got in touch with my mum who was in an absolute flapping panic. I’ll always remember her saying ‘oh i’m not doing too well here, I thought I would react better than this!’ Bless her!
I rang triage for the 4th time in 4 days and spoke to the same poor midwife to tell her my waters had gone. I went in and they confirmed that they had but because I wasn’t contracting they planned to do the section the next day as scheduled. Of course, the baby didn’t like the sound of that so about 2 hours later, I started contracting.
My contractions got pretty close together, about 2 minutes apart, when they finally came to get me for my section. I had been on the ward with no access to pain relief the entire time so I practically hugged the midwife who came to collect me. I got to do my yoga breathing though which I suppose is a silver lining. I actually quite enjoyed my contractions; I thought they weren’t as bad as what I was expecting and they actually made me feel quite empowered, that I was doing something. I don’t know if that was just because I knew I didn’t have to push a baby out afterwards though!
We went down to theatre, me wearing sexy anti-thrombosis socks with my open toed sandals because I hadn’t had chance to buy slippers that day! (This is why you should have your hospital bag ready early! See my ‘Whats in My Hospital Bag’ blog – coming soon!) They confirmed that baby was still breech with a quick ultrasound. I had my spinal, which honestly wasn’t too bad. The IV in my hand hurt more and I was lying on the table ready to go when they brought Phil in, all gowned up. It was quite chilled really; i just tried really hard not to think about the fact there was someone with a scalpel on the other side of the sheet. I asked Phil to distract me and chat to me and the best he could come up with was ‘what ya wanna do later?’ Bless him, I think he got a little overwhelmed at this point.
The first cut was made at 9:30pm and at 9:37pm the surgeon said ‘right, big push on your tummy now, here’s the head and here’s the rest of baby! Okay Daddy, tell Mummy what we’ve got!” Phil stood up, looked over the sheet and said…absolutely nothing. For about 10 seconds. Which is a bloody long time when you count it out. Eventually, he snapped out of it and announced ‘I told you it was a woman!’ We had a baby girl 🙂
We had asked for delayed cord clamping so Phil sat back down and gave me a kiss; I could hear her crying but still hadn’t seen her. They took her away to clean her up and check she was all okay and then brought her over to me, all wrapped up tightly in a little blanket. She stopped crying as soon as she was put on my chest and opened her eyes and stared at me. I’ve never been so overwhelmed or emotional so all I could manage was a ‘Hi baby!’
And that was the birth of Sadie. She was 6lbs 11oz and born on the 5th July because she just couldn’t wait 12 more hours. Impatient like her Mum.