From Rebecca, Mouse Dog Baby
Today’s birth story is by Rebecca from Mouse Dog Baby. Her little girl is only a few weeks old as we speak so this story is very hot off the press! Rebecca suffered a lot of illness during her pregnancy and, therefore, had a high risk pregnancy. Here is her story, complete with wonderful details!
High Risk Pregnancy – Rebecca’s Birth Story
I wasn’t planning on having a baby when I did. We’d only been together a little while when we found out we were pregnant. I was living in Bristol and my partner was here in Wales. It was fairly clear that this situation had to change so I set about planning maternity leave and moving to Wales. All my plans fell apart when I fell ill, and ended up signed off work very early at about 18 weeks pregnant. One illness after another, including a kidney infection that meant a 3 day stay in hospital, meant that I didn’t end up going back to work at all, much to the disgust of my employers. I had so many small problems, that bundled together made me ‘high risk’ and meant I had to see a consultant all the way through pregnancy instead of just the midwives. So many times I got my head around the idea that I might be having an elective caesarean only to be told it wasn’t necessary after all.
Because of being so ill and immobile for so long, I felt sluggish and horrible. So in the last few weeks when I finally felt better (apart from aching hips and swollen feet!) I just wanted to move. I spent hours and hours walking up and down the path through the woods, which made my dog very happy and I’m sure it’s what stopped me going past my due date. From 37 weeks onwards I had lots of braxton hicks and even thought I was going into labour a couple of times. Walking along that path one day I timed my contractions until they got to 3 minutes apart, only to come home and for them to stop.
On a Wednesday in June, 4 days before my due date, I felt like I was about to have my period. My lower back ached and my thighs were throbbing. I had a headache and felt tired. But it didn’t feel at all like the braxton hicks had felt and not how I imagined the start of things to feel, so I ignored it and had a nice bath. We went to bed late, but I couldn’t sleep. I was restless and irritable. At around 1 am I felt the first contraction. Just like the braxton hicks; not at all painful and very irregular. Just a couple each hour. I still couldn’t sleep and by 4am they had picked up the pace, to about once every 20 minutes. I didn’t wake my other half, assuming that it wasn’t the real thing, just like before, but he stirred around 5 as if he sensed something was different. He even went and got his laptop to get some work done in case he didn’t actually make it to work! I thought he was being daft, of course. It was 3 days before my due date and I was definitely expecting to go past that date by at least a week!
He did go to work that morning, at my insistence. I pottered around the house trying to ignore the dog’s sad face because he wanted to go out. As the morning went by, the contractions got stronger, with some even hurting a bit. Even when they reached 5 minutes apart I wasn’t convinced they were real as they just didn’t hurt very much. I hadn’t slept all night and was feeling weary, but I just couldn’t rest and became a bit tearful. I tried to watch a boxset on Netflix to distract me but it didn’t work. At lunchtime the other half called and said he needed to visit a site 3 hours drive away from home and how did I feel about that? I told him to come straight home! I took myself up to bed to get comfy while I waited.
I think I did nod off briefly, but was woken by somebody angrily hammering on the front door. I tried to ignore it but it wouldn’t go away. I opened the door to be asked by a complete stranger if I knew if the man at number 50 was a window cleaner! I’ve never really wanted to seriously harm another human being before that point, but this guy I easily could have done some real damage to!
Absolutely exhausted and struggling to hold back tears of tiredness and anger, I couldn’t sleep so I bounced on my birthing ball. My partner came home. We hugged, he took a picture of me, and we called the midwife. She said because I could talk through the contractions I should wait and call her back in an hour. Twenty minutes later, about 4pm, my waters broke, and the amniotic fluid was a really horrible shade of green. Another call, this time to the hospital, and I was asked to go in right away as the green meant meconium!
The contractions REALLY got going at this point, and I can honestly say that sitting in a car in not-moving rush hour traffic was not the best place for me to be. Plus we’d forgotten my maternity notes.
An examination on arrival confirmed I was only 2cm dilated and I definitely did have meconium in my waters. This meant I had to stay, despite not having progressed very far. It also meant I had to wear the monitor around my belly to monitor baby’s heartrate and I couldn’t move around or stand up. Sitting or lying on the bed made every contraction a million times worse and it just felt unnatural! We went on like this for hours, into the night. We were moved rooms. Midwives changed shifts. I asked for gas and air.
I’ve never ever been so tired. I’d been awake for two whole days and a night at this point and just wanted to sleep. I’d have done anything to just have a nap, and it was making me feel very distressed. Pethidine was given to me and I calmed down a bit. The monitor was taken off, as baby’s heartrate hadn’t changed and I was allowed to stand! Finally I could manage things a bit better!
It didn’t work out like that though, and the tiredness took over. Combined with the drunk feeling I got from the gas and air and pethidine, and I wasn’t feeling too good. I needed sleep. I needed it NOW. and I was still only 4cm dilated.
Epidural. I didn’t want one, but now I did. At the time I wondered if I’d regret having it, but I don’t. I got shouted at by the anaesthetist for moving too much, but I was swaying because I physically couldn’t hold myself still anymore. It worked. And I slept!!! I don’t know how long for. My partner slept too, head on my thigh and he dribbled on me. I woke feeling a million times better!
But apparently my contractions had slowed to next to nothing! Stupid epidural.
In went the Syntocinon hormone to speed things back up, but then up went baby’s heartbeat! When the Syntocinon was taken away, the contractions stopped. We repeated this ridiculous cycle over and over for a while. I’m just glad I couldn’t feel anything!
Eventually a doctor insisted on an assisted birth. This was the last thing I wanted, but by this point I just couldn’t care less anymore. As long as my baby was ok and I didn’t feel it, they could do whatever they liked. My nail varnish was taken off, my epidural topped up and my bladder emptied. I was terrified. More frightened than I’ve ever been in my whole life. They wheeled me into theatre, and I swear the only reason I didn’t just sob and sob was because a kind man with a strong welsh accent and a white beard kept talking to me. Also probably because my fella came in wearing salmon pink scrubs and I had to laugh! I didn’t see the forceps that delivered my baby or the scalpel that cut me. I didn’t see them doing the 15 stitches they fixed me up with. I couldn’t see or feel anything. Even when they told me to push I wasn’t sure if I was actually pushing. Was I just putting my chin on my chest and making a funny face?
Baby Iris was born at 9:42am on the Friday, two days before her due date, and wasn’t given straight to me because she needed antibiotics for an infection. Her daddy cut her cord and watched them put a needle into her tiny hand. It took almost an hour to repair me, but I managed to hold her for some of that time, crying about how tiny her fingers were.
48 hours later, we finally came home with our beautiful daughter.