Heather's Birth Story
Heather’s story is a really moving and challenging one. Firstly, she was well aware of how birth could go wrong after tragedy struck her family 8 years ago and secondly, Heather is Rhesus D negative, which has to be really carefully managed.
Rhesus Negative and Giving Birth – Heather’s Birth Story
I suppose my story reinforces the idea my husband is sometimes right! 2 people saved Charlie’s life, my husband and the midwife I spoke to when I called the MAU after a show.
I was 41+4 gestation. I had been to the MAU at 40+2 due to reduced foetal movement, but our little soldier passed the criteria in 25 mins and we were sent home. I was happy I had heard a heartbeat, which at that time was all I had thought was important (when my older sister had gone into labour full term with her first baby a t 2pm the next day we learned that my sister’s baby had died. The heartbeat was there and when the midwife came back to monitor her it was gone. She laboured with her baby until just after midnight. This was my biggest anxiety about going into labour so hearing the heartbeat settled me).
At 41+3 I had my second sweep and was rewarded with hearing my babies heartbeat again. The midwife said, “The baby is totally chilled! The sweep hasn’t bothered the baby at all.”
If only I knew then what I do now.
That evening I had a show. I am Rhesus D negative so I needed to be careful where blood was involved. Because I am Rhesus negative, if the baby was in a positive blood group, I could create antibodies, which may cause miscarriage in future pregnancies. I called the MAU twice to check. On the second call the midwife asked if I had felt my baby move. I couldn’t say I had but he hardly moved anyway and with the sweep that afternoon and hearing the heartbeat I hadn’t been paying attention.
The midwife told me to take a bath and if there was no movement to come in for assessment. An hour later I’d had no movement but I was getting contractions that lasted 1 min long and were 3 mins apart. I was sure it was normal and was mentally preparing: digging my TENS out; and, getting bouncing on my ball.
My husband had other ideas and off we went to MAU. I was put on the monitor and once again I was comforted by my babies heartbeat galloping away to my right through the monitor. 45 mins later and we still hadn’t passed the criteria but I wasn’t worried, there was a heartbeat.
Then the midwife asked her colleague to come in, she did an internal check for my cervix, like my 2 sweeps she struggled to find my cervix and when she did it wasn’t even 1cm dilated. The baby was pushing on the wall of the uterus not my cervix.
Next we had a visit from a registrar who said she wanted to wait another 15 mins then she would reasses. When she returned she informed me she would like to try and break my waters, if she couldn’t she wanted me to go straight in for an emergency C Section. She couldn’t break my waters (which I also think was a blessing as Chip would not of survived childbirth) so within seconds I was surrounded by an anaesthetist, registrar, and midwives prepping me for theatre.
So what happened? Although I could hear a heartbeat, it was flat. It was not responding to the contractions. I now know that there should be spikes in heart rate when the uterus is contracting. Charlie’s heartbeat was not reacting at all. After a whirlwind of consent papers and prepping, I was wheeled to theatre.
I would like to take this opportunity to say that ALL the staff that looked after me were FANTASTIC. They made me feel calm when I was so scared, especially when my husband had to leave to go get scrubs on. I was talked through my spinal block and the anaesthetist was so apologetic as it took him 4 attempts to get the correct gap. The staff were so friendly it completely distracted me from all the needles going into my arms, hands and the biggest one in my back!
The feeling of a caesarean is very weird. You feel ‘tugging’ but no pain. And when baby is out it is like a weight it lifted off your tummy! Charlie was born 1 and half hours after we arrived at MAU. He was 5lbs 10, very light for his gestation. I saw nothing due to a screen but my husband said my placenta looked very stringy and had yellow deposits.
Charlie needed resuscitation and his body temperature was low. Unusually a blood sugar test was done and his was 0.3. The minimum that is safe is 2.8. I got to see Charlie in theatre but could not hold him. He was placed on my chest but it wasn’t like really holding him. It would be another 4 hours until I got to hold him properly. I was sewn up and Charlie and I were wheeled into recovery.
Heather’s first cuddle with Charlie
I gradually got feeling back in my legs as Charlie was put in an incubator and his temperature gradually began to rise.
He was skin and bone, he had no fat on him at all. When his temp was at 37degrees they let me try and breastfeed him but he was too weak. They decided it would be best for him to be tube fed. They tried giving him half an ounce but it did not raise his blood sugars so he was put on a constant feed and a glucose drip, this meant he had to be put on the SCBU. He was there for 4 days and we were so impressed with the level of care.
The first night on the ward I slept as I had missed a nights sleep but the second night after being woken for observation and medicines to be taken, I cried all night. I knew I could go see him but didn’t think I would be benefitting anyone. This was a huge mistake. I was a wreck the next day and no use to Charlie or myself.
The next night I went through 4 times in the night. The nurses were lovely. Had I known that the next night he would be off his constant feed and I would be getting called to feed him every 3 hours I would of profited from my last full nights sleep!
On the Sunday night Chip’s blood sugar had stabilised and he was allowed on the ward with me. He is now 16 weeks old and 13lbs 14oz. He has slowly crept from 9th percentile to 25th. Aside from some bowel problems, which is currently being treated as an intolerance to milk protein, he is happy and healthy.
The MAU midwife who mentioned movement and my husbands persistence that I go in to the MAU saved Charlie’s life. The staff at the RVI are amazing and I am truly impressed with the level of care we both received.
Heather’s entry for Yummy Mummy of the Year award…she won.
Heather sent this to me back in October so little Charlie will be a few months older and hopefully a bit bigger too! Thank you so much for sending it Heather, I hope you found it therapeutic! I’ve been a wreck all day while I’ve been rereading it ready for posting today. I’m so glad Charlie is doing well now, he’s just lush and this next photo is genius! xxx
Charlie the Elf sitting on the Christmas Tree – hilarious!!!
Are you Rhesus negative? Did you have any complications during your birth?
I’d love to hear your story and would be honoured to share it here on Mum’s Days. If you would like to send me your story, please email me, firstname.lastname@example.org, or you can message me via the Mum’s Days Facebook page.
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