My little bundle of joy has arrived!
Firstly, once again I apologise for the spectacular delay in keeping my blog up to date. This was mainly due to concerns about the baby’s movements, size & the occasional bleeds that I’ve already reported. This led me to feel so uneasy about whether the baby was thriving in the womb that I couldn’t bring myself to write it, talk about it or even sometimes think about it.
I couldn’t decipher whether the reduced movements related to me just feeling over anxious & misinterpreting an entirely normal pattern of movement or whether there actually was a notable reduction in movement. I became quite the regular at my local triage & the staff were fantastically supportive of this. I had to respond to each episode of reduced movement just in case I missed something. Bedtime became a real stress as I couldn’t monitor the baby’s movements whilst I was asleep. I’d lie awake after each toilet trip until I could be reassured enough by a kick to get me back to sleep.
Meanwhile my bump continued to be pretty small. I’ve only needed to buy maternity jeans & a pair of fitted trousers – everything else still fitted me fine. I used to think it was a compliment to say someone’s bump is small but, as the health professionals became concerned, up ramped my level of angst about the situation & again I began to worry about my bump size as well.
Eventually my consultant recommended induction at 38 weeks. Part of us wanted to wait & allow the baby to arrive naturally (in case I was just being over-paranoid) but the other part didn’t want to take any risks and so we agreed to go ahead.
The night before I was admitted was the best night’s sleep in weeks. We were finally going to have our baby! The actual induction process was very stop/start. My initial admission was delayed by a few hours due to a lack of beds & I eventually arrived on the ward at around 8pm. I was given a vaginal exam & a pessary to dilate me further (I’d been 1cm dilated for a few days by this time). The next day I was given 2 more pessaries 6 hours apart which really spurred things on & progressed me to the point that my waters could be broken. This, by the way, is not a comfortable process. The pessaries created fake contractions which were really painful, one minute apart lasting 40-60 seconds. The Boy genuinely believed I was in labour right then! The next day the contractions eased off & the following day I had no discomfort at all. Ironically I was disappointed – you just can’t please me! – because I thought it might have failed. I spent the majority of my next two days on that ward walking, bouncing & climbing stairs to encourage the baby’s head to drop down to thin the cervix & open it up. That evening (three nights after being admitted) I was transferred to the labour ward to have my waters broken.
About an hour after my waters were broken I started feeling uncomfortable contractions. By 1.15am they’d reached the point that gas & air weren’t really touching the pain & so I requested Remyfentanil. Whilst waiting on the induction ward I’d had several chats with 2nd & 3rd time mums about labour & pain relief. They all consistently advised to have an epidural & said their only regrets had been not having it sooner & therefore not having the full benefit of it. In order to be prescribed Remyfentanil I needed to be seen by a anaesthetist & when she arrived & saw the level of pain I was in at such an early stage she advised the same. Her rationale was that I was likely to request it later anyway & it’s not a quick process plus it may need repeating so it was best to get it going earlier rather than later and reap the full benefit of it. My pride remained unconvinced but by this time my contractions were every two minutes & having been told inductions take about sixteen hours I overruled my convictions about wanting a “natural” birth & opted for the epidural.
As has been the case throughout this pregnancy the epidural was not straight forward. It worked on the right side of the body but not the left. This resulted in a transfer of all the pain onto the left side. It was, all of a sudden, a lot lot worse. “I’ll come back in an hour or so & see if it improves” was my anaesthetist’s helpful response. Fortunately my sense of time was totally distorted & so when she did eventually return it only felt like she’d been gone about twenty minutes.
After another hour of “tweaking” the epidural they gave up & suggested re-siting it. By this time my midwives had begun to whisper quietly about my progress & although I wasn’t due to be examined they decided to check my cervix. On the basis that typically we dilate 0.5cm per hour I should have been approximately 4cm dilated, however when they checked me I was over 9cm dilated! The re-siting of the epidural was discussed again & the anaesthetist advised that even at 9cm I’d still probably have two hours of pushing left so we agreed to carry on with the epidural while I started to push. Seven minutes & four pushes later I gave birth to my beautiful little girl at 5.43am on 28.01.18 weighing 5lb13oz, just as the epidural finally kicked in. When they examined my placenta they found it had an enormous hole in it – the midwife could literally put her fist inside. This is a probable explanation for the bleeds, the reduced movements and the baby’s low weight. It illustrated that I’d been right to keep going in for checks & to go ahead with the induction as the placenta could have failed completely at any time. I’m enormously grateful to my consultant for taking my concerns seriously and recommending induction.
As I write this blog she’s sleeping skin-to-skin on my chest. I love her so much. And I am SO SO happy. All the miscarriages, the tears, the overwhelming sadness of recurrent loss & failure to conceive have finally brought me to a place of complete and utter joy. I can finally make peace with the past few years, whilst I will never forget my experiences or the babies I might once have had. But I will always cherish this little one perhaps that little bit more had I not experienced the loss of the others. And I am truly grateful for that …