Tuesday Birth Story – Listen to your gut!!
January 31st. 2017 | Leave a comment
My first pregnancy birth story began at approximately 4am on a Saturday morning. I awoke as usual to use the loo and hopped back into bed and hugged my bump…waiting for the familiar and reassuring movements from my baby. After a few moments of feeling nothing I knew it was unusual but I didn’t think much only that he or she was just sleeping so I gave it awhile and drank loads of water. After an hour and still nothing I got up and ate a scone with jam and drank a glass of orange juice….surely all the sweetness would get baby going! Unfortunately still nothing some time later so panic started to creep in and as my partner joined me downstairs it was a unanimous decision to head to the hospital. On the drive in I got a little kick….happiness is!! I immediately relaxed but was looking forward to hearing the heartbeat regardless.
My baby’s heartbeat echoed back to us from the ultrasound machine…but movements were still quite sparse so the consultant on duty decided to scan me to ensure all was OK. The scan showed that there was very little fluid surrounding my baby…hence the lack of movement. I had experienced no obvious fluid loss prior to this. It was decided to keep me in hospital and induce labour that day…I was due the next day anyway so I was pleased to hear this…I just wanted my baby to be born now!
Just before the induction process began, foetal monitors were placed on my bump as is the norm. I was relaxed and chatting to the midwife who was great craic! Suddenly she started to call for help from the other midwife on the ward…my heart was thumping. Baby’s heartbeat had dropped suddenly and before I knew it I was being whisked to the labour ward. By the time we got there the heart beat had come back up to perfect and remained like so for a good while. Happy that the trace was perfect and that the sudden drop was probably a once off, the consultant returned me to the ward to have the induction started. A few minutes after the first gels were administered, baby’s heartbeat dropped again. So I was rushed back up to the labour ward where nurses and doctors just seemed to come from everywhere as I was prepped for a section…one doctor was going through the consent forms with me while another was breaking my waters and doing a sweep! I was in a little bit of shock as I was freezing and shivering but I knew exactly what was going on and I was surprisingly very calm. Baby’s heartbeat was perfect again after a few minutes but I remained in the labour ward this time with the foetal monitors attached. The plan was to continue with the induction and to hopefully have a natural delivery.
That plan seemed to be working out for us as several hours passed with no further dramatics from the baby and my labour pains were increasing with intensity very quickly. As it was my first labour I had no idea what to expect but I certainly knew when I was having a contraction! With a cathera in and the monitors attached it wasn’t that easy to move around which I found difficult. I just wanted to get out of the bed and walk around. The midwife was about to locate a birthing ball for me when around 9pm baby’s heartbeat dropped again…the room filled with midwives and I just watched my partners face to figure out when the heart rate came back up to normal. I don’t know how I remained so calm during each of these episodes but I can definitely say that I always had 100% trust in the staff at all times so that certainly helped! I was also picturing my baby freaking out and I did my best to stay calm and stress free to try and pass that onto the baby…if that makes any sense?! Like the first two occasions, the heartbeat came back to normal after a few minutes and the trace remained perfect. The consultant decided to hold off on a section as baby was safe and my labour was progressing. Or so I thought! At 11pm after a good 6/7hours of pains…I was only 2cm. My heart sank but I was aware an induction can take a hell of a long time so I braced myself for a long night.
Baby had other ideas! Just as I was getting the epidural, the heartbeat dropped for a fourth time but this time it wasn’t coming back as quickly. Before I knew it I was being wheeled to theatre and my bewildered looking partner was told to wait outside while he got gowned up.
I was still very calm as the spinal block was being administered…but it wasn’t working!! I could see the surgeon waiting to start but I could still feel everything! It felt like an eternity and I knew baby needed to be born…“Just knock me out and get my baby out” was what I instructed and that’s exactly what happened! Unfortunately, as I was under general anaesthetic, my partner was unable to be in theatre but he was being well informed of developments every minute or so.
My gorgeous son was born just after midnight so right on his due date and he was perfect! I came around from the anaesthetic approx an hour or that later…I was completely out of it but I was very aware of everything that had happened and the relief of having my son cuddled into me as I awoke is hard to describe with words.
So after a very healthy pregnancy and being quite fit myself…a section was the last thing on my mind. What happened?! The surgeon saw me the following day and explained that it looked like my placenta had stopped working a week or two previously…basically it decided that its job was done and that baby was ready to be born. So baby was taking in the fluid surrounding him and as he was getting nothing from my placenta…he had nothing to give back and the fluid began to decrease. Lack of fluid meant it was harder for him to move around and he had no cushion to protect him from the pressure of the contractions…causing him some distress…and after several hours of labour he decided that enough was enough! Immediately upon hearing this explanation I was feeling enormous amounts of guilt…guilt because my body didn’t look after my baby for the last week or so while it was in my womb. I dealt with that fairly lively as I’m not one to dwell and I know I had such a healthy pregnancy and it was nothing to do with what I did or didn’t eat or do…it was just one of those things as they say.
Every time I look at my lovely little boy I’m so thankful that I was so aware of my baby’s movements…the little pattern that had developed coming into the latter stages of my pregnancy especially. I knew in my heart and soul that something wasn’t right that morning and I’m so grateful for my gut instinct. I would urge every mother-to-be…especially first time mums…to listen to your gut…follow your own intuition when it comes to your baby…you’re it’s mother and mother always knows best! Never feel afraid or silly for going to the hospital when you think something isn’t right…you will not be “wasting their time”…you’ll be just looking out for your baby.
As for the section…I found the recovery a little tough going…I’m being told it’s because it was an emergency and because I had to be put asleep…it takes more out of your body. I’m not sure as I had no idea what to expect post section but after a couple of weeks I was feeling more normal. If I’m lucky enough to have another baby I would be aiming for a natural delivery but clearly….whatever needs to be done for the safety of baby (and me) shall be done!