RACHEL & LEA
Up until 6 months I’d had the smoothest pregnancy. I was still running and swimming - in fact I felt healthier than I ever had. However at 28 weeks I started to feel awful - after a visit to the doctor I discovered I had a low iron count and it all seemed to go down hill from there!
In hindsight, teaching until 37 weeks was probably not the best idea! However, Rachel, from Birthtale, was the mum of a child in my class so it was good to be able to constantly check in with her throughout.
As a petite 5' 1'' and having a fairly large baby (she was 8lb 8oz), I found the last few days of pregnancy extremely difficult and frustrating. I had many signs of early labour - contractions on and off - but they never seemed to gain momentum. My due date came and went and I couldn’t understand where this baby was! I’d had a sweep, but still, nothing.
On the day after my due date, I was sure my waters had broken. In the middle of the night, bags ready in the boot, we excitedly rushed to hospital. I was examined and hooked up to the machines, only to be told that they hadn’t broken. We disappointedly came home, wondering when it was going to happen.
The following evening, in the middle of the night, I felt the same leaking but wasn’t sure I had the energy to go back to the hospital. After a phone call to the midwife, I was persuaded. Again, after my examination I was told they hadn’t broken.
I was due to come in that day for a sweep and so I asked if she could do it then to save us the journey. Result! Doing my sweep, she discovered there was a very small hole at the back of my waters, I was already 1cm dilated and she could feel the baby's hair!
It was 5am and I was told that they were going to have to induce me that day, as it was now possible that my waters had been broke for 48 hours and so I was at risk of infection. They also told me that due to the induction, my chances of a caesarean section were now higher, but I was confident I could push. I had some natural labour prior to the induction, which was at 9am. I asked for an epidural before I was induced, which was a great decision.
My labour was for the most part very calm, I watched films whilst I saw my contractions coming and going on the machine. I felt no pain as the epidural had worked its magic. I was psyching myself up to have the epidural reduced and to push for the end.
However, after around 8 hours in labour, I started to hear the ‘C’ word mentioned again. My labour was not progressing at the rate they hoped and I was still only 5cm dilated.
The midwife who was with me all day was absolutely fantastic. She stayed calm in every situation, but the most traumatic part of the day was when the baby's heart rate dropped suddenly. She pressed a red button and a group of doctors ran in - I felt like I was in an episode of ER. The heart rate picked back up but at this point it was decided that a caesarean was the best option.
Before I knew it, my husband was in his scrubs, I was pulling out my earrings, and we were wheeled in. Twenty minutes later, I met my beautiful baby girl. Rachel, who was on shift elsewhere in the hospital that day, had stayed in hospital late to support me, and helped ensure that she was able to latch on straight away.
Even though it wasn’t how I had planned it (and I’m sure it rarely is!) it was a calm, special day and I recovered remarkably quickly from the operation.
I ended up staying in hospital a further four nights, as I had developed an infection. This was a blessing in disguise - it was wonderful to have the support of all the midwives and midwifery support workers to help recover and to survive those first few days.