It has been a long while since I posted and lots has happened.
Most who read this blog will know that our baby boy has arrived into the world, safe and sound, a couple weeks ago and has been stealing hearts ever since! He weighed a healthy 8lb 4 and we named him Harrison.
This blog does include my birth story so this is a pre-warning for those who do not want to read this! It is said sharing your birth story can be very therapeutic and you all know I’m all for that! I’ll give another warning as it is coming up!
The end of my pregnancy saw Neil’s stress levels go through the roof! In between gestational diabetes (GD) and having to start insulin, the monthly growth scans and consultant appointments, the issues with SPD (which weirdly just disappeared at 31 weeks gestation) and reduced foetal movements on more than one occasion nobody was more ready for me to birth our boy than Neil’s stress levels!
Our first two trimesters were a dream, other than the SPD but I’ve learned that it is actually really common and compared to some woman I got off pretty lightly (however when waddling through a 13.5 hour shift I begged to differ!)
Our third trimester saw my GD become fairly unstable and my blood sugars were a total nightmare to control. I had started to feel unwell and even started to display sign of preeclampsia, which was very worrying! After investigations cleared me of that it was discovered that I needed insulin to control the GD. So that was fun, four times a day testing my blood sugars and daily jabs of insulin! I felt so rock and roll…!
The weeks started to tick by and I eventually started to feel human again, but a weeks sick leave, three weeks annual leave and maternity leave starting (meaning no 0500 starts or long shifts on my feet) probably contributed to that!
During this time i did all the usual pregnant mum to be things…obsess over my bump size, my swollen hands and ankles and organise everything to an inch of its life! Oh and pee a lot…the peeing issue is real…!
We got to 37 weeks and I was so ready to birth the boy! He was head down and in the right position, he felt engaged for what felt like an eternity and well…I had waited 16 years to prove doctors wrong, and two years of which were spent struggling to actually conceive him; I wanted to thrust my baby is a doctors face and shout ‘Ha! You were wrong! You were all wrong!’
For the record…I did not do this…but the urge was strong!
I planned my birth in a beautifully written birth plan that was all about calming water births, hypno birthing techniques and no epidurals. It included plans b and c as well, but I was going to be a natural birthing goddess so in my little head they were there to appease the midwives! Our bags were all packed, nursery and bedroom prepared, we just had to wait.
In total through out the pregnancy we had three separated occasions of reduced movement that saw me hooked up for monitoring. The first time, in hindsight, was me not knowing his routine; mainly because he didn’t seem to have much of one but apparently he did! The second two times were bonafide reduced movements and having the monitoring helped reassure as both.
The final time we attended for monitoring due to reduced movements, at 37+6 weeks, we had just been discharged from the consultant, they were happy with Baby’s growth and just gently reminded me I would not have a small baby and agreed I could safely have a water birth. No mention of an sliding scale (insulin) during birth. However, when we were being monitored the unit staff were not happy with the growth as it looked like he had dropped off a little…at this point we were majorly confused! Was he big or not?! Who should we be listening too?!
Well, why questioning it all a decision was made, pretty swiftly, that I had to be induced by the end of that week! Head was spinning at this point, I suddenly wanted to wait to get to 40 weeks! We wasn’t ready…was we?! But there was concerns for Harrison; potentially my placenta may not be working to full effect which could have caused the drop in (predicted) weight – although the drop was minimal.
Fast forward a few days, more monitoring, and extra stress we booked in to the delivery suite and proceedings were started nice and early on a sunny Sunday morning. Initially we were to be induced Friday but when we got there they could not safely do it due to the staff to patient ratio. I was gutted, but working in the NHS I understood.
By this point my beautifully written birth plan had been ripped up when I realised I wasn’t getting my water birth. Hey ho, we was getting to meet our boy soon enough! Who needs to be a birthing goddess right?!
I had Neil and my mum as birthing partners and luckily mum packed a snacks bag as we were in for the long haul with this one!
(Birth story with the gory bits incoming…!)
So, for anyone who doesn’t know what happens when your baby is induced, they start of gentle. With a pessary designed to jump start your labour. Your then hooked up to the CTG monitor and then you wait…for six hours…for something to happen. And nothing did. The monitor was picking up some contractions but these were so mild I barely noticed the majority of these. I was allowed to go for a walk and told to grab some lunch and to go for a walk.
Birthing in the hospital you work in can be awkward, but luckily at this point the only person we bumped into was one of my lovely colleagues!
The next step was to have my waters broken. This sounded painless…mum said it would be painless…it was not! The only way I can describe it is a slightly more scratchy version of a smear test and is done with what looks like a giant crochet hook! Smears are necessity in us females lives and so was the breaking of my membrane as clearly my body sucked at labour!
After a moment of being amazed of the level of amniotic fluid one can possibly be holding on to (there is more to this story…but I think we shall leave that there! We are still traumatised by this event!) and told to go for another walk and grab some (more!) food my contractions finally started. A mere eleven hours after we arrived!
We headed back and I started to use my TENS machine. I may not have got to be a water birthing goddess but I didn’t need pain relief…right?! Hahahahahhaha! You fool Jayne!
Fast forward a bit further along; I’m hooked up to the hormone drip, a sliding scale (insulin) and intravenous fluid as well as being connected to the CTG machine again. My contractions were picking up and I finally opted for some gas and air. I didn’t like it at first but when those contractions start coming thick and fast, and intensified by the hormone drip, you need it! In the end, when offered an epidural and spinal block I couldn’t say yes quick enough!
Looking back this is when I should have been embarrassed when I’m sat there almost starkers and I recognised the anaesthetist! There’s no dignity in labour is there?
It became evident that my body REALLY doesn’t like hormones or giving birth as I was not progressing (was still only 5cm dilated) and Harrison was in distress; he kept dropping of on the monitor and had moved back to back. There was a real concern that he had the cord around his neck! When they suggested an emergency c-sect it was a no brainier for us.
Within the hour of that decision being made, Harrison came bursting into the world via the sunroof and into our hearts.
I remember very little of the actual procedure on account of the amount of drugs they gave me. I just vaguely remember having the serious shakes (might as well of been doing jazz hands!), was really itchy (caused by the fentanyl) and a weird sensation in my abdomen!
We was taken into recovery where my mum was waiting. It was very emotional and the drugs they’d given me made me feel very weird.
By the time they were happy with us both in recovery myself, Neil and mum had been up and in the hospital almost 24 hours! Everyone was tired but I could not stop staring at our beautiful boy!
We had some amazing midwives looking after us as well as several midwifery students and the theatre team!
Once on the ward I remember just staring at my baby for what felt like hours until I got the feeling back in my legs and I waited for Neil to come back! I was desperate to get moving and really wanted a shower! We had to stay in a few days due to Harrison developing jaundice.
It’s true what they say, nurses do make the worse patients! I hated being in hospital and just wanted to take our baby home and start enjoying being a mum. By the time we left I think Harrison was the oldest baby! It made me very emotional being in hospital, couples with all those postpartum hormones, that I’d be crying over silly things! Which is very odd for me…I don’t do crying!
But all is well that ends well. We are home, getting into the swing of things and loving being parents!
It was a long journey, not as long as some others granted, but it has been a hard road for us to get here. But every minute was worth it.
Welcome to the world Harrison!