Claire’s pregnancy was a roller coaster from the word go and not least because she had Placenta Previa, potentially meaning she would have to have a c-section. Despite all the drama and the uncertainty and gorgeous Clark’s early health problems, I think it’s fair to say Claire is one smitten mummy who would do it all 10 times over to have her little man.

If your currently going through the ringer with your pregnancy, I hope you can take hope from Claire’s story. Despite the ups and downs, she now has a gorgeous healthy little boy! Eyes on the prize xxx

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Baby Clark at 16 weeks – happy and healthy after a roller coaster entrance!

Placenta Previa – Claire’s Pregnancy and Birth Story

Being a mummy is the one thing that I have always known I wanted but due to my history, including some health problems, I was fearful of whether I’d manage to carry a baby. When it didn’t happen immediately and people around me were falling pregnant, I can’t deny that it affected me. I cried every time I came on my period. It happened in the end and weeing on that positive stick was one of the best days of my life!

My pregnancy was far from easy, I was sick from a week before I even took the test, all the way through, including the labour and beyond. At the 20 week scan we were told I had Placenta Previa – the placenta was blocking the birth canal so I had to be booked in for an additional 36 week scan to see if it had moved. If it hadn’t I would have to have a planned caesarean. This was not my ideal birth, I had wanted a natural, active birth, preferably drug free and in a birthing pool!

The next challenge we faced was that we were involved in a bump in the car, which, although it wasn’t a major one, terrified me (and my husband who was driving). In addition I was working a demanding and physical job. Everyone repeatedly warned me to slow down, to put the baby and myself first, etc. and in future I will certainly take that advice because of what happened next.

At 32 weeks I haemorrhaged. It was literally the scariest moment of my life. Somehow I remained calm. I think it was the shock. I had felt liquid down below and initially thought I’d either wet myself or it was my waters breaking. As it was so early I thought the former, that is until I got on the toilet and there was blood everywhere, all over my knickers, trousers, down my legs, filling the toilet basin and on my hands. My husband called the hospital who told us to get there as soon as possible. All that ran through my head was ‘I’m losing my baby, I’m losing my baby…’ Thankfully when we got there they put me on the monitor and baby had a ‘textbook heartbeat’. Phew!

But it transpired that I was having contractions. I thought they were strong Braxton Hicks! The next 24 hours on the delivery ward were a blur of scans (which showed I still had Placenta Previa), being given something to stop the contractions, being injected with steroids to develop our baby’s lungs in case he was making an appearance and seeing the anaesthetist in case I was rushed in for an emergency C-section. All whilst constantly having my blood loss monitored.

Eventually the severity of the situation seemed to lessen. The contractions were stopping and so was the blood. I was moved up to the ward for the next 24 hours until the bleeding had completely stopped and I was allowed to leave. I was, however, warned that if I haemorrhaged again I would not be leaving the hospital until I had given birth. I was also warned that there was a risk that this baby could come prematurely. I was definitely preparing for a caesarean.

I made it to the 36 week scan and, completely unexpectedly, the placenta had moved to 1cm away from the birth canal! I was allowed a natural birth. Yes! I was even told I could have the water birth I so wanted. But wait…

‘Are you in pain?’ ‘Should I be?’ ‘Your cervix is doing what it does when you’re going into labour…’

I was sent upstairs to the ward because they had concerns about the baby’s sizing, he was too small according to the scan. His heartbeat was still perfect and a specialist oversaw urine and blood tests, and blood pressure (looking for pre-eclampsia, which I didn’t have), and sent me downstairs for another scan; a Doppler reading to check if the umbilical cord was doing its job properly, which it was. Then she looked at the monitoring machine…

‘Are you in pain?’ ‘Should I be? Because I’ve already been asked that…’ ‘You’re having contractions.’

I was clearly in labour, but I was in denial about it. Perhaps because last time I’d had contractions I’d left hospital with the baby still safe and snug in my womb.

After 4 hours in the hospital, we were able to leave but under instructions to come back in two days for monitoring, then three days later and two days after that. I was warned I probably wouldn’t make it to those appointments though as it looked like our little one was on his way.

How right they were. By the next day I was increasingly uncomfortable, although I think I was fortunate as I’d already been in labour for 24 hours. I was only in discomfort rather than pain. By 7pm this began to change and the contractions got stronger and closer together. My husband wanted to call the hospital but I knew they’d send us back so I got in the bath while he packed the rest of the hospital bag. By 9pm the contractions were 3 minutes apart and lasting a minute and were increasingly strong. The hospital said to bring me in.

By 10pm I was given two paracetamol and examined. I was 2-3cm dilated. Normally they’d send people home if they’re less than 5cm but because I was deemed high risk and they weren’t busy they decided I could go to the delivery suite. I was also told I couldn’t have my water birth (despite what I was told yesterday) because I was high risk. I got in the bath there though and I followed it with a shower so the water could massage my back, at which point I haemorrhaged again.

We pulled the red cord and the midwife came straight to us to return me to my bed. I continued labouring there attached to a blood pressure cuff and with a cannula inserted ‘just in case’. No more active labouring for me.

It was midnight and by now I was in a lot of pain and was finally asking for pain relief. They decided to examine me and I was 10cm; no time for drugs! I’d gone from 2-3cm to 10cm in 2 hours!

From then until 2:50am I was pushing, becoming more and more exhausted as our baby’s head kept appearing and then disappearing again until he finally entered the world! They’d wheeled in a resuscitation trolley but thankfully we didn’t need to it. He was promptly put on my chest for some skin to skin and my hubby cut his umbilical cord.

But, I haemorrhaged. Again. This time the midwife warned us that she was about to press a button and a lot of people would come in but not to panic. And panic I did not, I was far too drained to pay any attention to the women at my blood pressure cuff, putting a drip into my cannula, injecting me with stuff, dealing with my down below. My baby was safely in my arms and that was all I had the energy to pay attention to. It was a moment of calm amongst the storm that was going on around us in that delivery suite.

It took about an hour for the commotion to pass and then I still required some stitching up, but my other half got that as some daddy skin-to-skin time. I have never loved him more. It was crazy but I felt a completely different love seeing my husband holding our child for the first time, after 11 and a half years together I didn’t think I could see him differently any more but becoming parents together has made everything so different in both good and bad ways (bad being exhausted, that’s the only bad!).

Eventually he was weighed and checked over, once they’d finished dealing with me, and the baby that they were worried was too small was 6lb 5.5oz. Not a bad size at all for 4 weeks early!

Unfortunately, Clark went on to have both low blood sugar and jaundice, meaning we couldn’t leave hospital for another 8 days until he started to put on weight. And, for the next 12 weeks, it was a blur of doctors’ and hospital visits. You wouldn’t know it now though, he is an amazing little boy who learns something new every day, brings a smile to both our faces and our hearts, and is the blessing I always knew I wanted. Our little family is complete with our baby and our dog, Stevie, who loves him so very much. I would go through the rollercoaster of conception, pregnancy, labour and his early days 10 times over to have him in my life.

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Finally going home!

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Stevie already loves his best mate