We know that not all birth stories go so well and, in fact, when I was pregnant I avoided all birth stories because I didn’t want to get a ‘bad story’ stuck in my head and stress myself out. This story from my friend Ellie, who I got chatting with through twitter (she used to be a GB trampolinist, don’t you know!), has a happy ending but you will be taken through the mill first as her baby required Neonatal Resuscitation. I’d get some hankies xx
Neonatal Resuscitation – Ellie’s Birth Story
This will be a therapy session if ever there was one…! I tend to lighten the bad situations at times, I think its my coping mechanism…
I woke up on the Wednesday morning about 9.30am and went to the loo. When I ‘wiped’ I realised I’d had ‘a show’ as the books say! So, I got back in bed. A few minutes later I felt like I needed a wee again so I went to the loo and, hey presto, my waters broke!
It felt kinda strange, not a gushing, more of a very long trickling wee, but I knew it was coming from a different point! So I woke Dave up and said ‘errrrr it’s errr happening!’
Dave didn’t know what to say or do! At this point I hadn’t had any contractions. I rang the hospital and they asked me what colour my waters were. When I said they were kind of brown and not clear they told me to come in. So off we went to the hospital.
When I arrived I was taken to a room on the ward and a midwife checked my sanitary pad (dignity left at the front door…!). She was concerned with the colour of my waters and thought my baby (the beautiful Charlotte!) had done her first poo, the mycomium (yukkie black poo), already so I needed to be monitored.
Labour progressed slowly, I had gas and air, and after about 6 hours I had diamorphine to get me through the contractions. This went on for many more hours. I was getting very tired, I was sick a few times, I didn’t eat much and didn’t really feel like I knew what was going on. The staff were great but I think the diamorphine warped my mind! Eventually around midnight I was fully dilated but I had no urge to push whatsoever. Everyone said ‘you will just know’ but I didn’t feel anything except pain and exhaustion. Then my contractions slowed right down and stopped. I had to have a drip of some drug to kick start my contractions again and when they came back OH MY LIFE then I was in pain. I still didn’t have an urge to push though. I had a number of ‘sweeps’ which were incredibly uncomfortable. Charlottes heart beat was being monitored and gradually started to slow. They gave me every chance to try and push but I just didn’t get it.
All of a sudden it was all systems go. The midwife pressed the red button. Although I didn’t know what was happening I knew it wasn’t good. 4 doctors and another midwife came in. 2 doctors set up the resuscitation table and 2 doctors were examining me and asking for my consent to perform an episiotomy. They said ‘we need to get this baby out now’. I remember just saying ‘just do whatever you have to do’. I didn’t feel the cut, they told me to try and do one big push and then, with the help of their forceps, she was out.
She was blue. And floppy. And not crying. I was panicking and looking at Dave. I could see the fear in his eyes.
They put her on me for 2 seconds and then straight on the neonatal resuscitation table and I could hear her grizzling. They asked me what I wanted to call her. I just kept saying ‘is she ok? will she be ok?’ – I didn’t want to say her name incase anything bad happened. I didn’t want it to be real. They gave her oxygen and put her in a cubicle and took her to special care. They then told me I had a bad tear and would need to go straight to theatre. Again I had to give my consent for my operation and I was taken to theatre. It was 3.45am. I had a spinal injection to numb me from the waist down and it took over an hour to stitch me up.
I was taken to special care 3 hours later to see Charlotte. She was fine. She only needed help breathing for an hour. She had to have IV antibiotics as she had ingested the myconium and this can cause lung infections so this was precautionary. I was in agony downstairs. My head had gone completely. I didn’t know what day or time it was.
After that, the week in hospital was a complete blur. I was well looked after and so was Charlotte but I struggled so much being apart from her and not being able to hold her. It took me a very long time to get over the birth and the separation at birth. For months I wanted to turn back the clock and ‘do it right’. And I didn’t feel ‘right’ down there for almost a year. I also had panic attacks for over a year and suffered with separation anxiety. All of which I put down to the birth.
All in all it was horrific. Charlotte is almost 3 and a half, and it is only in the last 12 months I have been able to think about having another baby, and how I would try to do things differently. Yes, she is worth every moment of pain and agony, and if that is what it took to have her then I would do it all again because Charlotte rocks me to the core. But I wish we had a birth story than ended with her in my arms rather than on a neonatal resuscitation table fighting to breath. Having said that, I no longer feel I want to ‘put it all right’ and I don’t feel like I failed or anything like that. Time is a great healer. Cliche but true!