Now I know this is rather late in the piece, but it has taken me some time to come to the point where I have felt that I could verbalise all that happened during this time.
It was always my intention to have a natural water birth, with gas being my back up plan. But in reality my experience was the polar opposite of what I had dreamed. It was shocking, and traumatic, with as much intervention as humanly possible. It still upsets me to think about it for terribly long. I have to begin my story quite some time before my 'birth' in order for it to make sense, so bear with me if you don't mind....
This was my first pregnancy, and we were very fortunate to conceive our first month of trying. This was quite surprising, as a couple of months prior to this I had my gall bladder removed, after several misdiagnoses of pancreatitis. Anyway, my pregnancy progressed well, and things were going fantastically until about 28weeks, which, coincidentally is the time I finished work, after packing up my classroom.
It started off slowly as slightly raised uric acid and creatinine levels in my blood. At first they were within range and not moving terribly much, so my midwife (mw) referred me to the Women's Assessment Unit (WAU) at the hospital. My levels started to steadily climb, with no other symptoms of PET - so several overnight stays and monitoring sessions at the hospital, they began to talk about early delivery after a growth scan that showed our baby was very small.
The day it all happened, my MW went on leave and I met the back up for the very first time. That morning they took more bloods, and suggested that I would probably make it to 38weeks before they would need to intervene. They also sent me for an ultrasound of my kidneys to check that they were ok - which they were...and our baby was also completely, fully breech. Fast forward to around 4pm - blood results STILL weren't back and my husband and I were getting quite concerned. Finally someone came to see us, and they told me that my platelet count had started to drop - scary!!! They also said that they would need to take my baby out either that day or the next. Ok, at this point I started freaking out - this was not the birth I had envisaged for either myself or my baby, and I was petrified.
1 hour later the surgeon came to see me and said we are doing this tonight, and we will be in theature in an hour!!!! Panic stations!!!! The anaethetist came 5 minutes later while my phone was going red hot as I tried to get some sort of plan in place. It took 3 attempts to get a line in, and he said they would put the tube up for urine collection once the spinal was in place (this was after we had done yet another lot of bloods - and got clearance for the spinal over a general). The nurse came and I emphasized that I needed my back up MW there pronto!! I also got hold of my sister, who promptly dropped everything and came to the hospital. The nurse then came back and said the specialist wanted the bag attached pronto - which meant eeeeekkkk no spinal first!! After much begging and sobbing with the nurse, she agreed to shave me and let my MW insert the tube. My sister then gathered up my possessions and then we all had to walk down to the birthing unit. At this stage I was in a blind panic as my husband had gone to get the camera, and hadn't returned yet. Thankfully the surgical team PROMISED that they would wait until he got back. That walk was the most painful of my life - the tube was so uncomfortable, and I was painfully aware that soon my tiny wee baby would not be wiggling around inside me anymore. I was so scared for him, knowing how small he was, and that he still wasn't considered full term yet.
The anaethetist took my husband and I into theature where they did the spinal and lay me down. It wasn't working as well as they had hoped, so the tilted the bed so I was kind of lying upside down, but tilted to one side - a bit like a turning aeroplane. There were soooo many people in the room, at least 20 with all the NICU staff as well. I was crying as they opened me up and shivering like mad!! They had to pop a hypothermia blanket over me, which helped some. They pulled Cale out screaming his little lungs out and quickly weighed him - he was even smaller than we had expected. They wrapped him up really tightly and whisked him off to NICU to the incubator within minutes. No skin to skin. No precious first cuddles. Nothing but tears and the feeling of myself being ripped away from myself. I sent my husband with Cale (I couldn't stand the thought of him being alone) and my sister joined me in the recovery room. Unfortunately while they were stitching me up, the spinal wore off and they had to give me this other stuff which meant I shook even more, and had to have oxygen.
Into the recovery room and my MW was trying in vain to get my colostrum going - but with no labour this was not going to happen, so I had to give permission for Cale to have formula. My little boy spent close to 3 weeks in NICU and my milk didn't start to come in for a week. A week of hand expressing and pumping every 3 hours religiously. How I grew to hate that machine! The absolutely hardest thing though, was being discharged from the hospital and leaving my baby behind. It didn't feel right, and for weeks I felt very disjointed and detatched.
I live in hope that my next pregnancy will be the wonderful experience that I craved, and I am doing everything I can to ensure my successful VBAC.
I know that I have been blessed by the most wonderful, darling, precious child that ever roamed the face of the Earth. I love him with every ounce of my being, I just wish things had been different for the both of us - so that we wouldn't still be healing 8 months later.