After trying for a baby for well over a year, we decided to forget babies for a while and go on holiday. On the day we were due to return, I felt ill with stomach cramps and was sickly. I had visions of never making the plane home! I blamed the heat and thought that I must have eaten something which was "off." I thought no more of it, and even when the stomach bug returned a week later I just thought that I had not shook off the bug from Gran Canaria!
My period date came and went, but I did not dare hope that I could be pregnant. I have always suffered from irregular periods so I thought I was just a little late, as usual. A couple of days later I couldn't wait any longer and nervously bought a pregnancy test kit. Imagine my delight when two blue lines appeared!
My pregnancy began well, but within a couple of weeks the sickness arrived and stayed for eight months! I'm a teacher, so this was a nightmare as I kept having to run out of the classroom to the bathroom. My visits to the midwife were brilliant - apart from the sickness, I had no other problems. My sickness eventually passed just as I began maternity leave six weeks before my due date. I went for my weekly checkup and was informed that my blood pressure was slightly high, and because there was a level of protein in my water sample the midwife wanted me to go and visit the Pregnancy Analysis Unit at the hospital where they would do a full analysis.
I was very frightened for the health of my baby and also because I had no idea what was going to happen. My mum had high blood pressure when she was pregnant with me and had to stay in the hospital and have complete bedrest for six weeks! I was in tears by this time.
The staff were great at the PAU. They hooked me up to a monitor and checked the baby's heartbeat. They kept checking my blood pressure every half hour for two hours. They also ran a series of blood tests. My blood pressure did go down, but wouldn't settle, so they allowed me to go home and asked me to return in two days time. I returned in two days, then again three days later, then was admitted to the hospital for a 24 hour water sample and blood pressure analysis. A couple of days later I was allowed home and told to rest, but was asked to return in another couple of days. I did return and was asked to stay in the hospital again! I was given blood pressure tablets. I asked to be induced, but was told to wait at least another seven days when I would be 39 weeks.
The tablets did not stabilize my blood pressure and I returned to PAU a couple of days later, then again after another couple of days, and then again. I was given another scan to check that baby was okay and here we learned that we were going to have a girl. I was ecstatic, as this seemed to make things more real. I could say "she" instead of "it."
My poor arms were so sore where they kept taking blood. One visit they would find protein, then none, then they would find it again. I was dizzy! Eventually, at 39 weeks (Friday) I saw my consultant who examined me and found me to be 1cm dilated and was asked if I would like to be induced. (As if I needed asking!) That night they induced my labor, but I was really disappointed when I was informed that my cervix was still the same, even after being given a pessary. Four hours later I was given another one, but upon being examined a little later I was still the same. I was given another pessary a few hours later and told that if nothing happened I would rest overnight and the whole process would begin again the following day. Aagh!
By Saturday morning I had the most horrific backache and felt like I couldn't sit down or stand up! Every movement was agony and I was convinced that I was in labour but was told that my cervix was 2cm dilated and that nothing was happening. It wasn't until a new midwife appeared and told me she thought that something was happening that I felt hopeful. She told me to have a hot bath and she promised to do another internal examination and try and break my waters. She didn't need to, as I walked from the bathroom to my bed and felt very wet! By this time it was 18:44 and I was soon on the gas and air.
By 02:00 I was offered diamorphine and reluctantly had it, as I was in so much pain in my back. (We have since been told that I had been in early labour since the Saturday morning - it was now the early hours of Sunday). It was a blessed relief, but sent me to sleep, so the contractions stopped! I was then hooked up to a drip to make the contractions start again and was in agony with the drip! I had pethidine, but it was no use whatsoever.
By 05:00 I was told to push and at 06:45 I was still pushing - my feet were in stirrups and I was exhausted. I couldn't push any more! The midwife was shouting that unless I pushed, I would have to have an episiotomy, something I vowed never to have whilst preparing my birth plan - but by this time I was so tired and felt like I was going to explode, that I told her I "can't bloody push any bloody longer" and asked for the doctor.
The doctor arrived, gave me an episiotomy and then tried vantouse. This failed, so I was offered forceps. Again, I had vowed no forceps, but when my baby's life was at risk, I didn't give a damn. They could cut me open, use vantouse, forceps....anything!
At 07:14 Eve Alexandria was born and I was speechless - a first for me! Whilst I was in the bath, she was fed by the midwife (not by my request I add) and went very pale. She was taken to special care and I was distraught. Thankfully, she was fine, just very shocked after the horrific delivery and we went home two days later. Eve is now 13 weeks old and I love her more than life itself.
I just wanted to share my story. I also want to reaffirm that even if you are in the hospital every day going to PAU, the end result is worth it! Just after delivery, I swore never again, but within a couple of weeks and each day which passes, when we see how Eve grows and develops....one day she will have a brother or sister!