Sarah's Birth Story and meeting Sid
I wrote my last blog on New Years Eve which was just over two weeks ago and I can't believe what's happened in that fortnight. New Years Eve is my sisters birthday, she usually has a party which are always fun but very drunken affairs. This year though she decided to have a quiet one so the girls in the family went for a dog walk in the afternoon and a couple of glasses of wine in the pub. I had a glass of red and immediately got acid reflux, Mum and Debs had a couple more than me and then we went back to my sisters, I waddled, Mum and Debs slightly staggered. When we got back to Debs we had a real family night, we had a carpet picnic and got the old slides out, projected them on the wall, laughed at the hair styles of the family in the 80's and cried about the family members that aren't with us anymore. By 9pm it was all over, far too much wine had been drunk, not by me, and I was home in bed cuddled up with Henry by 11. I saw the New Year in hearing the cathedral bells strike 12, lying in bed cuddling Henry who was scared of the fireworks. I ended up having a really bad nights sleep and didn't feel good at all. New Years Day I took the dogs out for a walk with my hungover sister and I felt awful, back pains and just generally wiped out. I decided to take it easy for the rest of the day and not think about anything.
The next day I was back at work. I still felt pretty bad but I thought this was just normal pregnancy stuff but in the back of my mind I was convinced I had preeclampsia which I'd mentioned to my family but none of us were taking seriously. I worked for the morning but had a midwives appointment at 2pm so left the office at lunchtime as normal. I said bye to my sister and told her I'd be back after the midwife's. Jokingly I said, I'll see you later on at the hospital and we both laughed. I went home to let the dog out first and sat with Henry while I ate my lunch. Usually he ignores me on the lunchtime and just goes back to bed but for some reason he was behaving really oddly, he wouldn't leave me alone and kept crying and looking at me. I put it down to him being a bit nuts and left him at home and drove round to the midwifes.
I chatted away to the midwife normally, while she tested my urine sample. Oh, she said, you've got a high level of protein here and some nitrates, you may have an infection. Oo-oh I thought, I told her that it's funny she should say that as I was having real problems with my vision too and I that I thought it may be preeclampsia. She tested my blood pressure which apparently was high, she checked my bump and baby was moving around in there as much as normal so that was good, we listened to the heartbeat and that was strong as ever and then she took my blood pressure again and it was still high. I'm sorry to do this to you she said but I'm going to send you into the hospital. Ok I said, no problem. What will they do? She said, they'll just monitor you and probably put you on bed rest, you may have to have a word with Debs and get her to give you work to do from home. Ok great, it was what I thought, so no big surprise really.
I called my sister from the car and said I was going in and although she was shocked (i don't know why she was shocked as I'd been saying since Christmas Eve that I'd got it) I said not to worry, I'll just have to rest. I called my mum to come and get me and take me in. Mum didn't pick up on the first few tries, she was out shopping. I got through to her and told her to meet me at my house. 10 minutes later my Mums little yellow car practically screeched to a stop outside my house and she came running in. She asked where my bag was, I told her I hadn't packed it yet as I was only just 36 weeks and not to panic, I was just going in for tests, it'll be fine, I'd only be there a matter of hours, I had my tapestry and she didn't even have to stay.
Luckily the hospital is about a 5 minute drive from my house so we whizzed round there and I took that time to tell my mum that I was right and did she feel guilty about laughing at me for suggesting I had preeclampsia and for taking the mickey out of me about it? It was all very jolly.
We got into the hospital, after mum had turned the air blue in the car park trying to find a space, and found the assessment room. We were taken into a room, where again my blood pressure was taken, again the person taking it said "Oh" and I had to give another urine sample. The whole time I felt the baby moving so I wasn't worried.
At this point, I'm just going to say that this is my version of events, my Mum and Sister have complete Right to Reply and there were a lot of drugs pumped into my system so my memory is a bit fuzzy, but this is what happened next from what I can remember.
The midwife came back into the room and took my Blood Pressure again, and said Oh again. Then she said that the information was being sent up to a doctor and someone would be down to see me. It was becoming more apparent that I wouldn't be going home and would probably have to rest on the ward. Mum asked me what preeclampsia was and I had to confess that I didn't know and had only read the symptoms and not actually what it was or what would happen if I had it. Mum rolled her eyes.
Then a hot doctor walked in. He explained that I had preeclampsia which was very apparent at that point and I took it all in my stride, then he said that the only way to get rid of it was to have the baby and to get me induced. I think this is the point where I went into shock. I asked if there was anything else they could do, he said well we'll take you upstairs and monitor you. I looked at my mum who asked if the baby was ok, and apparently the baby was fine. I said I wasn't ready.
They got me in a wheelchair and took me up to a room where a lovely midwife called Stevie came in and she explained that they were going to look after me and just monitor me and not to worry. Ok I said. That's fine. Mum called Debs and told her I was going to be induced. I told Stevie all about my family not believing I had preeclampsia. Mum stood in the corner with her coat on. By this point it was probably about 3.30 and only an hour and a half since my midwifes appointment.
I was rigged up to a blood pressure monitor and they started to put drugs in me to bring it down. I started to shake, I tried to stop but I couldn't. I sat in the room, rigged up to a machine and violently shaking and I couldn't work out what was going on as only 3 hours before that I'd been at work. The odd person kept coming in the room and someone came in and told me that I would probably have to have a C section. For some reason I said I didn't want to and I wanted to try and give birth naturally. Stevie said not to worry and to just relax and they will see what can be done once the BP has come down. More drugs were put into my system, someone said Oh again (I was getting used to these "Oh"s by this point) and then mum called Debs to tell her that I would be having a C section and get to the hospital. I sat there shaking and suddenly there were about 10 people in the room. These 10 people started putting needles into me left right and centre and talking to each other in medical terms and I just smiled at Stevie, Mum popped her round the door to ask what my computer password was so that Debs could shut down my pc and I started to feel really ill.
Debs arrived about 10 minutes later and it was about 4pm. I lay in a hospital bed, shaking uncontrollably and I tried to relax, part of me wanted to just go to sleep but I was way too scared to by that point but I carried on smiling. A doctor came in and said that they would definitely have to give me a C section and by this point I felt so weak and that the thought of even trying to push a baby out of me seemed like a ridiculous idea so I said Ok, that's fine and smiled at Stevie some more. The room felt like a hive of activity and mum still stood in the corner. My sister asked her why she had her coat on and she said that was going to go home and take the dog for a walk... The activity stopped as we all looked at her. I said that there was no way she was allowed to go and take the dog for a walk, she could go home and let him out but not a bloody walk! We'd been given a time of around 6 for the C section which was a couple of hours away so off she went.
Debs stayed with me and I carried on shaking and more drugs were pumped into me which made me go boiling hot, I was already naked from the waist down where the catheter had been fitted but I was so hot that I insisted the rest of me was stripped off. I made my sister take my bra off then hold my hand. Oh you want me to touch you now she said. At some stage throughout all this I start to swell. I ballooned. I'm grateful I couldn't see myself swelling as apparently it was pretty severe but I could only see my hands which were massive, I took the opportunity to do Kenny Everett impressions.
Then mum was back, then it was time. Mum got her scrubs on and came with me, under duress. I was wheeled in the operating theatre where they explained what was going to happen. Ok, that's fine I said (this is the only thing I can remember saying the whole time, anytime, anyone told me anything I just answered ok, that's fine). I was sat up on the bed where they were about to inject me in the back and I started to retch. I tried not to think about what was happening. I lay down and the barrier was put up so I could not see and I looked at my mum and whispered to her that I thought I was poorly and that I was scared. I made her promise me to look after Henry if I died. My body became a dead weight as the drugs swept up my lower half. Then I was cut open and I could feel movement inside me, and I was being pulled and tugged around, I looked at mum frightened and then there was a sneeze in the room and someone said your baby's here. I was shown a mass of pink limbs covered in gunk, then they said its a boy and I was shown a little willy and Mum and I tried not to look too disappointed.
Sidney Joseph was born on the 2nd January at 7.07pm and he weighed 5lbs 2oz.
I was wheeled back into the room and I was so drugged up by this stage that now I look back I can't remember holding him for the first time, I can remember kissing him but not holding him. The hours after the operation are so foggy and morphine filled that everything is jumbled. I know that we did skin to skin, I know my family were with me and my niece, nephew and brother in law turned up. I know I couldn't sleep after everyone left and I spent the whole night staring at my son and falling in love with him and wondering how I managed to produce something so beautiful and perfect and trying to take it all in. I was on a drip for 24 hours and my Blood Pressure was taken every 15 to 30 minutes. On the Friday day time I wasnt allowed to be left unsupervised with him in case I had a seizure or a stroke so a midwife was with me pretty much from Thursday at 3pm till Friday night at 7pm where I was finally allowed to go down to the ward.
Sid is very small, I don't think of him as small but he is. He's about 4 weeks early but the doctors think it could be more and he was too little to learn how to suckle properly so he had a tube put down his nose and we had to pour the milk directly into it for him. We were taken to the Transitional Care ward which is where the earlier babies that need special treatment are taken. Every 3 hours he needed feeding which basically involved pulling the stomach acid out of his tube with a syringe and testing the levels of acidity, then measuring out the milk needed and pour that in with the syringe. He had this tube down his nose for almost 10 days, he hated it but is so chilled out that he just seemed to cope with it. He didnt cry with it. His weight dropped down, then his weight dropped again to under 10% the expected weight loss, he wouldnt take the breast milk that it took me four days to produce so in the end he was switched onto the ready made stuff. He had jaundice which needed to be monitored, and also talipes in his foot which needs massage. We were in hospital in total for 10 days, 9 days on the transitional ward and feeding him every 3 hours. Eventually, he started to feed from the bottle and his weight gained. Then we were allowed to go home. Again, looking back, those 9 days seem to have rolled into one and my only focus through all of it was getting my little boy well enough to eat. I don't think I've ever been so worried about anything and my whole world was my hospital bed and the cot next to it. I actually find it quite hard to talk about. However, we're out now, we were let out on Day 10. Sid had been feeding from the bottle for 2 days so we were allowed to go home and we're under home care at the moment so get lots of nurses and midwives turn up at the house to check how his weights doing and after a sight blip where we all got over excited about being home and didn't let him rest, he's gained quite a bit. We're still not over the 5lbs mark yet but think when the nurses come on Monday we will be and we will then be discharged.
As I had a C Section I'm staying at my sisters and Henry is at my Mum's until I'm well enough to take my family home. So since the start of 2014 I've spent one night at my house and haven't had longer then a 2 and a half hours sleep in one stretch. But to be honest it doesn't matter, throughout the whole thing from start to finish I would do it all again because I really feel like I've won the lottery. People have told me that they miss being pregnant, and miss the feeling of the baby moving around inside them but I don't, I don't miss being pregnant one bit, I feel physically better now then I've felt in months and that thing moving around inside me is now in front of me and it's Sid. I've got the most beautiful little boy who's eyes go to me when I speak and a dog who's so obsessed with the little boy that he runs into the house and straight to the pram to greet him. I feel like the luckiest person alive, even though I've had to explain to every nurse, midwife, doctor and health visitor why I'm on my own and where the father is, it doesn't matter. It doesn't matter that I was moments away from having a stroke or that my little boy was poorly and is small as he's better and will get bigger. It could have been so much worse to be honest, I feel like I've got everything I ever wanted, and I'm just looking forward to the rest of our lives as a family.