I was supposed to be writing something like “I’m 35 weeks pregnant and I’m uncomfortable,” etc. But I’m not writing that. Instead, I’m going to write about the amazing, terrifying, emotional week that we’ve had, and introduce you to my brave boy.
I’d been having continued bleeds and a couple more hospital stays in the past couple of weeks, and they had become so routine (bleed, go in to the labour ward, get checked, stop bleeding, be put in bed and monitored for 48 hours) that it really wasn’t worth blogging about. Then, on Monday 11th May, I started spotting again. It was very annoying, and I was almost tempted not to go in to hospital. My husband had been out rock climbing and I’d had a lovely evening reading a baby book (a really big step for me in the ‘things I wasn’t ready to do in case I jinxed things’ stakes – other things included washing appropriate tops suitable for breast feeding and buying any nursing bras, or any bottles etc… more on that failure of planning later). Game of Thrones was about to start. I didn’t want to go into hospital again, certainly not for such a little bit of spotting. But we knew we had to err on the side of caution, so we went.
On the monitor, baby was doing fine. The spotting was really minimal. There was some discussion about whether I needed another anti-D injection, and a blood test to check (the guidelines seem to have been changed in the past couple of weeks. Just to keep everyone on their toes). Finally, at around 23:30, I was taken up to the ward an given a bed. I was annoyed; I’d forgotten my ear plugs and my long pillow. I wanted to go home and come back in the morning for more monitoring. It was only a little tiny bit of spotting.
Oh. My. God. Staying in was The. Best. Decision. Ever. EVER.
I woke up at about 03:00, and had a bit more spotting with a couple of clots. Not too much, but I told the midwife on duty and then went back to bed. Then at about 04:30 I felt that I had had another bleed. A big one, this time. I pressed my call button and when the midwife arrived I tried to get up and felt something gush. She helped me to the bathroom where I discovered that I had passed a blood clot or *something* that was easily the size of a human kidney. It didn’t hurt, but it certainly couldn’t qualify as ‘normal’, by anyone’s standards.
I’m so glad they made me stay in. It would have been really traumatic if that had happened at home, or in the car. *Shudder*
I was put in a wheelchair and taken down to the observation area where they have private rooms with lots of machines in them. I couldn’t sleep, I was bleeding heavily by then. I was cannulated (after two failed goes by the junior doctor, the midwife sorted it out), and put on the monitor. The baby was doing fine; not distressed in the slightest, which was great. What they hadn’t told me is that I had started very tiny contractions, ones I couldn’t feel yet. By about 05:30 I was feeling period pain like cramps. I phoned my husband to let him know that he should probably think about coming in. We agreed that he should get a bit more sleep and come in at about 07:30 ish. Something was happening, but it wasn’t happening immanently, and we needed our rest for if something should happen later. I phoned him back at about 07:20 to see where he was. Something was definitely happening by 07:20.
My husband arrived at 07:30, and I was definitely having contractions. I’d gone from a 2-3/10 on the pain scale (noticeable and a bit uncomfortable) to a 5-6/10, which is pretty much when you have to stop talking during the contraction until it passes. The consultant came in to see us, and said that it was time to deliver the baby, probably by c-section, because of the continued bleeding. When? In about an hour. Alrighty then.
The plan was this: Get me prepped for theatre: epidural on board, husband in scrubs, etc. Then they’d have a look to see what was going on (too risky to do in where I was in case there was a catastrophic bleed), and decide whether I could have a go at a natural delivery, or whether it would be too dangerous. If natural, I’d go to a delivery suite, if not, they’d increase the anaesthetic and do the section there and then.
I had always been worried about the idea of getting an epidural (big needle etc.), but, actually, the worst part was the local anaesthetic going in. It was all just a bit of odd pressure after that. On the table, they sprayed me with an aerosol of cold water to see how the numbness was taking. Epidurals are weird. You can feel things, but just not the pain of them. So pushing, tugging, movement etc. can be felt, but there’s no accompanying pain sensation. It really is rather odd. Your brain knows what’s going on, and that it should hurt, but then nothing happens, and your brain doesn’t quite know what to do with itself.
It was decided that there was no way a natural delivery would be possible, and so the c-section was done. It was all over really quickly and my husband, who we had asked to be the one to tell me what kind of baby it was, told me it was a boy. I heard him crying (the baby, not the husband), and our son was wrapped in a towel and placed at my shoulder. He was still covered in the vernix stuff that full term babies have usually lost by the time you meet them. Moments later, he was taken away to the neonatal unit and I was being asked to make decisions about whether he could have formula or not. (I’m all for breast feeding, but, seriously, who’d say ‘No, I insist that you starve my baby until I can express some milk!’.)
Since he was born, my husband and I have learned a lot about the care of neonatal babies. It’s been a learning curve and it’s different to what I thought (which was that it was pretty much down to size as to how well they do). I’ll write more about our preemie adventures another time. Mostly because visiting the neonatal unit every day for a week is tiring and I need to prepare tomorrow’s lunch (express some milk) before bed. Suffice it to say that we’ve had a rollercoaster of a week with some scary and amazing times. Can’t wait to get him home.