January 04, 2020

Mama Life || Finally, My Traumatic Birth Story, 7 Years On...

I've never written about my birth stories for two very good reasons. One, I have no idea if anyone actually finds them interesting and two, Alfs was so traumatic I've just never wanted to think about it too much. This is partly why I want to write it down now as I know getting the words out can be helpful to get over traumatic events.

I'll start from the beginning, but in short it was long, drawn out, terrifying, full of drugs, hospital mistakes and a realistic fear that we could both die. Eight years on I'm ready to face it and can focus far more on the positives of what we've got from it instead of dwelling on the what if's from a horrid pregnancy and birth.

When we found out...

When I found out I was pregnant we had only been 'trying' a few weeks and when I say trying it was more deciding to come off the pill, not actively trying in the sense of working out dates etc.

I went to stay with my best friend in Sussex and had a few nights out and although I didn't feel ill or anything, I just couldn't drink the ample free alcohol on offer so wondered what was wrong. I didn't think for a second I could actually be pregnant, but at that time, me turning down free bubbly was slightly rare, so I thought I'd grab a test just to rule out pregnancy for starters, then reunite with Adam after being apart for 5 days.

Needless to say, those sticks don't lie and after three tests it was confirmed that I was 2-4 weeks pregnant. As I knew dam would be over the moon, I decided to announce the news with a pair of tiny baby booties. I gave them to him and it didn't even click, duh.

After explaining he was so happy, we were so excited and we told our parents that weekend. Mine were super happy, his not so much, but we were in our happy bubble and couldn't wait for that first scan.

At six weeks though I was huge, the bloating was so painful and I was having a lot of pain. I went to our local walk in centre to get checked and I was told I was having a miscarriage and I was to go home to let things happen naturally. I was so upset, we were both gutted our first try would turn out like this but returned home awaiting a doctor's appointment the next day to discuss next steps. The doctor confirmed though that there was actually no indication of a miscarriage and that I just had a water infection, very common in pregnancy and so was given advice and treatment and I was good to go. This was the first of many many let downs from medical professionals but we were glad they were wrong in this case.

Image result for wafflemama alfie

As the pregnancy went on I had a few more water infections, but otherwise just lots of bloating and SPD from quite early on. Baby wise though, everything was fine at our first scan so we were free to be excited.

By the second scan I was measuring around six weeks ahead of where we were. We were convinced that maybe they'd got the date wrong and the wait would be less, but after lots of tests, ruling out diabetes etc, they decided I just had gross polyhydramnios with about three times the amount of fluid I should have.

Although this isn't in itself an issue, it can be an indication of other problems and meant that they'd avoid letting me go into labour naturally due to the risk of the cord coming out before baby. That was a lot to take in, I did some scary Googling but I'd rather know the worst possibilities and be prepared than set myself up for more heartache.

At around25 weeks I was in a car crash where someone shunted me out into a busy roundabout on a dual carriageway. It was literally a miracle nobody hit me, I sat there in shock as all the cars skiddded around me and drove away. I was so shaken up and I could feel baby going crazy flipping in my tummy and then stopping suddenly and not moving again. I was terrified, called Adam and drove home in tears before heading up to hospital for a check up. The staff were lovely, really putting my mind at ease, getting me monitored and they did everything they could to get baby to move. It took a long long time but suddenly the flutters came back and I knew he was ok.

Towards the end we had scans almost weekly. They were so concerned I was having this giant baby, at one point they said they'd guess around 11 pounds minimum but there was this one female doctor who I clicked with who said it was nonsense and she said definitely not over 9lbs. This was good news for me and my terrified lady parts.

My SPD was ridiculous by the end and I started to develop preeclampsia, with rocketing dangerously high blood pressure that was up and down like a yo-yo, I spent the last three weeks in hospital, scheduled for an early induction at 38 weeks or earlier if things got worse.

Image result for wafflemama alf

I felt so poorly, I was in so much pain and I just wanted it all over and my baby in my arms.

Just a few days before my induction I was accidentally given an overdose on the ward as they had two separate drug sheets for me so I gotta double dose of pain killers and whatever else I was on. This put my body into shock and I suddenly fell with the most pain in my chest ever, I thought I was having a heart attack. They apologised for the mix up, had me on all kinds of machines but eventually I was stabilised and me and baby were safe.

Finally it was time to get induced on Tuesday morning, I called Adam who excitedly came up after they'd done the pessary part. We waited all day, all night .Nothing. This was done three times and nothing each time. I remember feeling what I thought was labour pains, they came on strong then faded out and never came back.

Luckily though, the induction attempts were just enough for me to dilate enough for them to break any waters, so I was folded like origami pork joint into some stirrups and had my waters broken there was so so so much water! I had to have a monitor put on babies head and wear all the machines from then on. It was SO uncomfortable. As the day went on and the drip was added things started moving and by Friday morning I was ready to get this baby out. The midwife kept chatting in a corner. I felt that something was wrong but nobody talked to us, there was so much chatting in corners, checking notes etc but no matter who I asked I was given nothing and my midwife didn't really speak English so I really struggled to get any reassurance.

Eventually I was told baby was stuck and I'd need to go to theatre for a c section. I was so upset, I'd spent the best part of three days in agony, I was already broken from all the pushing and now that was that. Things were getting serious, baby was highly stressed and slowing down, I was exhausted and very poorly with zero energy left.

When I got to theatre though, the tiny Chinese doctor decided she'd like one go with forceps before going for the op which I was so happy about. With a few big heaves, pulling like her life depended on it, some epic pushing from me with the power that could have moved a house, success. Out popped a very purple Alf, along with about ten buckets of water, showering four of the theatre staff in my waters. They whipped him out, Adam was nearly passing out and I was more tired than I've ever felt.

That's where I heard this hilarious line from a nurse "look you sexy again" she said as she poked my side with her finger. A laugh after all that drama was so welcome.

Finally I heard a little cry and knew Alf was OK, I finally got to hold him in my arms and although I was higher than a kite at Glastonbury, I remember every second of it.

It was an amazing feeling finally being able to see him, know he was safe and learn what this little pain in my ribs was like after 38 weeks of tears, pain and maximum anxiety. The drugs took a good week to wear off from us both and I was in a lot of shock which made the following days, weeks months and even years I know now to be hard and mixed with sky high anxiety.

After the birth I had the most amazing marmalade on toast in my lifetime, nothing has ever or will ever taste that good. I slept a lot, I was given lots more medication and after getting sent home with yet again another double dose of meds they realised what had gone wrong a few days before. They explained how they had a new computer system for medications but some midwives were still using the old paper methods so it resulted in my double doses. I was also sent home with injections for my tummy for 10 days which I found out ages later I never even needed but we're given to me in error.

It's scary how many mistakes were made during my pregnancy and birth and just how different things could have been. We were so lucky.

Alf was born at 4.38am on the Friday, I was induced at 10am Tuesday, it was a long week. At birth Alf weighed 7.13 and after a rocky start he fed like a pro and is the most precious kind and amazing eight year boy in the world and I have no idea where the time has gone.

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