Wednesday, December 29, 2010

My birth story

OK, so this is me attempting a birth story! I may not finish it in one go so bear with me. Oh, and before I do just to let you know that B bshould be home with us on Friday. he had an MRI scan today and has his last antibiotics later, Thursday is an observation day and we'll all be staying together in the family room at the Neonatal unit on Thursday night before going home. Breastfeeding is a bit hit and miss mostly because B gets frustrated by the fact that my breast doesn't deliver milk to him at the speed of the bottles which deliver my expressed milk. Each time I feed him he fusses at the breast and the nurses suggest a top-up. They also tell me what a hungry boy he is and how they have given him 'extra' but I think that's just making him more frustrated. Hopefully when we stay at the unit and I can feed him on demand he might get more used to more frequent but less volumous feeds. We'll see.

So to the birth story.

We first went to the Midwife led unit on Friday 17th December when I was 6 days overdue because I felt like I was having contractions. We'd called the MLU twice and they suggested we come up the second time because I sounded like I was in labour and also it was snowing really heavily. When I got there they checked me, said I was only 1 cm dilated but fully effaced and sent me home. A few hours later we went back up and were told I was only 1-2 cm dilated but could stay as the weather had got worse. Basically I spent 48 hours in pain but my body doing nothing apart from a show. At some point they offered me pethidine, though I had put on my birth plan not to offer me it. I decided not to have any but agreed to have co-codamol even though I know it makes me feel sick. Then after the midwife had gone away I talked to D about it and we decided I should have the Pethidine. It was amazing, let me sleep a bit and although I was still aware of the contractions it was like someone else was having them for me. Yet still nothing happened and I didn't dilate any more so on Sunday we came home again. I came home with a urine infection, or at least that's what they said it was. Tests on my blood and urine showed nothing much but they put me on anti-biotics anyway. I was in a lot of pain and only able to pee if I crouched right down to the floor and peed into a bed pan, and even then it was such small quantities and bloody.

Monday and Tuesday I spent most of the time being unable to sleep from pain, unable to pee, and with a massive pain in my bottom. I think I managed a bit of sleep on Monday night purely by propping myself up in bed with a thousand cushions but most of the time the contractions I was feeling were so painful that I wanted to run away from myself. The pain in my bum was so awful that I tried drinking prune juice because I thought perhaps I needed a big old shit and then I would feel better. Sometimes the pains I felt were so awful I would jump out of bed to stretch across the birthing ball or hang off the door. By this time D and I were just exhausted and I was finding it really hard to eat so I felt really weak and unwell.

At some point on Tuesday, at 10 days overdue, I called the MLU again. I'd been trying to time contractions and felt like the ones I was having were 12 minutes long. It was all really confusing because for whatever reason (urine infection?) I was getting pains which started in my bum but then spread all round my abdomen before going full circle back to my bum again. I started this thread on mumsnet on the Monday because I was so confused. MLU suggested I come in (praise the lord) but when we got there I was massively disappointed to find I was still just 2-3 cm dilated. There was absolutely no way I was going home again though. I felt wretched because we were back in the same room and once again pretty much left to our own devices. I couldn't pee (still) and kept telling them that the pressure I felt with each contraction was just awful. I showed them the really tiny and really bloody urine that I was able to pass and explained that the urine infection was just making everything worse.

I managed to find a technique on the birthing ball which made the pain go away a little - stretching myself fully across it and breathing deeply repeating 'just one step closer to meeting the baby' with every breath. D, by now, was utterly bored; neither of us had had much sleep for 5 days and he really didn't know what to do apart from try to say encouraging things. I just wanted someone to come and check how far dilated I was but they kept just checking the baby's heartbeat and telling me that I couldn't be that far gone as I wasn't having close enough contractions. At some point I was given pethidine again but it really didn't have any effect the second time round. I was still leaping off the bed with every contraction. So... all of a sudden everything changed and until I get my maternity notes back I can't really give an accurate account of what happened and why...

All I know is that some time around 10 pm on Tuesday 21st December one of the midwives (not one I remember seeing at all in the previous few hours) decided they should do a trace on the baby. This meant being stuck on a monitoring thing which of course meant me being on my back and was agony as I still wanted to leap off the bed with every contraction. I think I asked at this point for someone to chack how dilated I was but they kept saying that wouldn't be much more dilated and I'd had lots of internal checks and they were wary of doing more if not necessary. However the trace showed a slowing down of the baby's heartbeat and I remember one of the midwives saying they would check me before taking me up to the Consultant led unit because they thought the baby might be in distress. They also kept saying that perhaps my contractions were so painful because the baby was back to back. Instead of checking me they put me in a wheel chair and took me upstairs. We waited for quite a while, me still in the wheelchair, in the reception area while a cleaner prepared a room for the birth. It seemed like ages and I was still contracting and by now a little worried about what was going on and why I had been transfered. Eventually they got me into the room and onto a bed where they stuck me on another monitor. Finally someone suggested breaking my waters and putting in a catheter which couldn't have come soon enough as by now I felt like I was going to explode from the fact that I hadn't had a proper piss for about 3 days. Not sure what order this all happened in but they broke my waters, fitted the catheter (half a litre of pee!!!) and then checked how dilated I was. Guess what - 6 cm! I remember thinking 'see I told you' about both the urine situation and the dilation. Immediately after I think they let me have the gas and air - thank fuckery! Honestly, I recon I should have had some kind of pain relief a long time before they actually decided I should. It was amazing, though made me very chatty and I told about a million jokes. I managed to use the gas and air very efficiantly through each contraction.

So - when they broke my waters they found meconium in them. This was really bad news as it suggested the baby was in distress and also they thought the baby could have swallowed it. I have no idea what time they broke my waters but after that they decided to get some blood from the baby's head (while he was still inside me!!) to check various things. All I know is that the blood tests came back fine but they wanted me hooked up to another monitor and also wanted to start preparing the theatre so I could have an epidural incase a C-section was necessary. Next time I was checked I was suddenly 10 cm dilated and they said it would be time for me to push. Trouble was that no one actually gave me any instruction on how to push or when to push. I wasn't expecting everyone to yell at me 'push push push' but a bit of guidance would have been nice as I have read that there are wrong times to push and so a bit of me was holding back until someone said something; no one did. So that is how I ended up in a theatre having an epidural, episiotomy and forceps birth. The whole Epidural bit was bizzare, lots of people talking to me, consent forms for C-sections in my face, needles in my back, my legs feeling like elephant legs and people with icecubes asking me to tell them if I could feel them. The whole time I just kept thinking 'what next?' though I was pretty calm considering the fact that I seemed to now be in some kind of emergency situation. Then I was told, with the next contraction I must push as hard as I could and that although I might not be able to feel anything I shold put my chin into my chest and just push hard. 3 pushes later and baby B was born at 1.21 am on December 22nd 2010 weighing 6lb and 15 oz. They put him straight onto my belly - no skin to skin as I had these weird blue surgical leggings on and all the stuff to create a screen for a C-section. All I remember is D saying 'it's a boy' and then the baby being whisked to another area of the room (I couldn't see properly) where D says they stuck things in his throat to suck the meconium out. it seemed like ages until he cried and even then it was weak. Then they brought him over wrapped tightly in a blanket so I could have a 30 second cuddle before he was taken away to the Neo Natal unit. I meanwhile had to have stitches which took an age. Can't remember the placenta coming out but I think I had the injection to make it faster. Basically everything I didn't want on my birth plan - I got.

They took me into the recovery ward and D and I just stayed there for ages until he was asked to go to Neo Natal. he came back with a photograph of our little boy all wired up to leads and monitors but also with good news that he was doing well. They said he was a 'floppy baby' and needed special care. D went home (About 3am) and I tried to sleep but it's just impossible when you have elephant legs you can't move, the doors are all open, the lights in the coridoor are on and there's a succession of midwives standing about moaning about their jobs. At one point I even heard them talking about me and my birth and the fact that the baby is an IVF baby!!

At about 7 am someone came to see me and to ask if they could give the baby some formula. Not what I wanted but I did say yes at which point I was given a choice of which formula! Well of course I didn't have a clue and thought it was an utterly stupid question to ask a first time mum recovering from an epidural whos birthplan clearly stated she wanted to breastfeed; why would they think I would know the difference between one formula and another? Anyway - I had teh presence of mind to ask about expressing milk and thanks to a lovely midwife managed to fill a siringe with some colostrum. At least I knew his next feed would be from me, even if not the ideal situation. A little while later the 'baby doctor', as he described himself, came to tell me that Bwas doing really well. Wonderful news which all changed a few hours later when we were told he had had some fits - but that's a whole other story.

That is my birth story as i remember it, but I will edit and add over time.

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