Discovering I was pregnant with my second baby was a happy surprise. Our first daughter, Eve, took over a year of hope and anxious waiting. Although we were discussing number 2, we hadn't actually decided to start trying.
As with Eve, I had a "tummy bug", felt absolutely exhausted and, dare I say it, a little sickly!
Upon discovering I was pregnant, I was both happy and nervous, as I had a nightmare pregnancy with Eve, which resulted in constant "morning" sickness and pre-eclampsia. Would this happen again?
My sickness lasted for 4 months, then eased off, thank goodness, but I couldn't help noticing that I was getting larger and larger - much larger than during my first pregnancy. I kept asking if this was normal, but was reassured that as this was my second baby, it was to be expected that I would be bigger this time. Because of my previous pregnancy, I was monitored regularly, particularly my blood pressure. I suffered from aches and pains throughout the pregnancy, restless legs and the final 3 months were an absolute nightmare trying to turn in bed, as my pelvis ached!
At my 19 week scan, I was informed that I had a low lying placenta, so would need a further scan at 28 weeks and one at 32 weeks. To my relief, baby had turned at 28 weeks, but was now lying breech! Aagh!
At my 32 week scan, baby had turned, but they were now concerned about the size of the baby, as it seemed to be rather large. I was sent to the consultant who booked me for another scan at 36 weeks. Help!
Throughout this time, my stomach was getting larger and larger! I was visiting the midwife weekly because of pre-eclampsia with Eve, but was reassured that everything was fine, blood pressure was normal and baby would be large, but there was nothing to worry about.
Upon going for my 36 week scan, however, things took a more dramatic turn. As soon as I entered the room, the sonographer looked and said, "Have you had a glucose tolerance test?"
"No, should I have?"
"You seem rather large for 36 weeks and I'm concerned, particularly as you have been referred for this scan due to having a large baby. A large baby can be the result of gestational diabetes."
I was absolutely stunned, as I had been monitored so carefully for high blood pressure, but no one had really bothered with my actual size or the size of baby. "When your waters break, they will well and truly break! Be prepared!" I was warned.
The scan itself showed that baby was around 9lb s 3oz at this time, but, more worryingly, I had far too much amniotic fluid surrounding baby - I was off the scale on the computer! I was therefore suffering from polydramnios. This was something that I had never heard of. I had read about various complications, but there was no record of this in the countless pregnancy books I had read.
The sonographer explained that the polyhydraminos was serious and could be the result of four things.
1. I had gestational diabetes
2. There was a problem with baby's digestive system
3. There was genetic problem (a very small risk)
4. I was prone to large babies (possible as Eve was 39 weeks and was 8 lbs 9 oz)
By this point, I was very worried, as nothing had been picked up throughout regular checkups and past scans.
The first thing I needed was a glucose tolerance test. This came back borderline, so my consultant wanted me to have yet another scan, this time with a paediatrician who could look closely at baby's digestive system, just in case there was a problem.
This was booked for the following week - I would be 38 weeks+, and was concerned that if baby was now 9 lbs 3 oz, by the time a decision was made about bringing baby, I would be pushing out a 10+ lb baby!
That weekend I started drinking raspberry tea. I had two cups Saturday, 2 Sunday and in the early hours of Monday morning... my waters broke! And broke they did! I thought it was never going to stop.
I telephoned the labour ward and was asked to go in to be monitored. Most women are left to see if contractions start, but with my polyhydraminos, they needed to assess the situation.
We rushed to the hospital, me leaving a watery trail showing our journey - how embarrassing! Upon arrival, I was assessed and was informed that I was 3cm dilated. They hooked me up to a monitor and we waited to see if any contractions started.
I arrived at hospital at 2am. By 4am I had slight contractions, but they faded away and by 10am, I was assessed by a doctor and given a choice - either go home and see if contractions start, or be moved to the prenatal ward to wait. I chose to go home, preferring to sit and wait there - and have some more raspberry tea!
The consultant (a different one to whom I normally saw) assured me that everything was going fine, that I was no more of a high risk than any other mother who came in with their waters having broken.
I spent the day waiting and waiting and waiting! By 8:05p.m. I realised that contractions were starting and began timing them. By 10:45 p.m. I decided that the pain was getting worse, and needed to go into hospital.
Imagine my disbelief when I was informed that I was still only 3cm dilated! The pain was unbelievable and I couldn't believe I was no further forward. I thought second labours were easier?! The only easier bit was that I hadn't been induced this time!
I struggled with gas and air and eventually agreed to a little amount of pethidine at 6a.m. I had wanted an epidural, but this seemed to be forgotten about! (Was the person responsible tucked up in bed?!)
I was finally ready to push at 11:15am on 5th July. I was terrified, as Eve had been a struggle and was failed ventouse and eventually forceps delivery. The pain was excruciating, but eventually, at 12 : 56p.m, Harrison Matthew was born into the world. No episiotomy this time, no ventouse, no forceps... just sheer hard work! I was and still am so proud...
And the icing on the cake? Harry is perfect. There is NOTHING wrong with him. He is 100% healthy and I have been told that I must be prone to large babies!