Nothing can prepare you for childbirth and for the day ahead once you’ve had your baby and bought he/she home. You can read book after book and go to baby show after baby show, but when your baby arrives it is like a twister of emotion, joy and fear.
Finding out I was pregnant I experienced mixed emotion it was my first baby, I had not long been made redundant so it was just my husband who was working and also I knew many women whom had lost their first child so was happy but apprehensive and scared at the same time, and didn’t seem real until my first scan where I found out I was already 15 weeks pregnant and then my 25 week scan confirming I was having a little boy.
We did start to tell people once I had my first scan, but I was always still a little anxious and thinking about how I would feel once the baby was here, and tried as hard as I could to be relaxed and not stress, but even with being pregnant my emotions were mixed, one minute I’d feel high and happy, the n ext feel sad, anxious and the worry of what if this or that happens.
The one piece of advice I would give to those ladies who are pregnant with their first baby is be prepared for the unexpected.
On Saturday 9th November 2013, I was happy watching TV and had my dinner, so was settling down for the evening suddenly I felt a gush of water pour from me, and I looked down my bottoms were soaked. I ran upstairs in sheer panic and checked it was clear water, but was worried at first in case it was blood. There was no pain just loads of water.
I was 31 weeks pregnant and had all my antenatal checks and all appeared to be good, so the fact that my waters had broke so early I knew there was something wrong. Luckily I only live around the corner from Epsom Hospital so I walked as fast as I could to the hospital and as soon as I got there I was told to go to the delivery ward. This is where I lost all my dignity as I had to lie on a bed with just a paper towel around me and was checked by a midwife. It appeared to them that I was already dilated a bit and so because I was 31 weeks I had to be transferred to St Helier Hospital as soon as possible. At this point I had no idea what to do, I called my mum to come right away. All I could think about is the life of my baby, was he going to survive, and just hoped and prayed it would all be ok in the end.
I remember saying to my mum when she showed “I don’t want him to die” and I was so scared that I couldn’t bare to be there on my own and so thankfully my mum and husband stayed with me all the way. I was transferred to St. Helier by ambulance that Saturday evening and was taken to the delivery ward, and hooked up to a monitor and other machines.
That week before I had a Glucose Intolerance Test as I do have family history of diabetes and it turned out that I did have Gestation Diabetes and so I was moved to another private single ward so I could be individually monitored, I had two drips either side of me on both arms and was hooked up to another monitor to check on baby’s and my heart beat. Every hour my blood sugar level was being checked, my pulse and blood pressure was being checked. Apparently my breathing was really fast and my heartbeat was really fast too, but I didn’t feel that they were.
I was distressed in the fact I didn’t know what was going to happen next. As we moved through Sunday I was constantly being examined and tests were being done throughout I was knackered. I had not slept since Saturday, I tried the best I could but couldn’t as, as soon as I relaxed I was being examined again. As we moved into Sunday evening the midwives and doctors were getting concerned about my heart rate and the baby’s heart rate as it was dropping every now and again, but then it became more frequent so as we moved into the early hours of Monday the 11th November 2013, it was decided I would have to have an emergency caesarean and my son was delivered at 1:30 am on Monday morning.
I was in complete shock and felt that there was nothing I could do but follow the hospital staff orders, and I just didn’t know what was going to happen to the next. I got to say that I do give the hospital staff their due they did try to reassure me and soothe me the best they could but their words were not going in and as I was being read a consent form I had to sign I just felt helpless. The operation did not take long and hearing my baby cry as he was being delivered was like hearing cheers of joy so happy he was alive and apparently he did breath for himself right away although he did need a little oxygen to help him to begin with. They did show him to me briefly but all I saw was a foot and then he was whisked away.
It was the most traumatic experience of my life and changed the way I look at life completely too. If only I had known what I know now I would have read more and prepared more about premature birth as I remember seeing an article on the signs of premature birth but just brushed them aside, and now I would say to all women who are pregnant, it may not happen, but it can so prepare for premature birth as well as full term too, just to help you should it happen.
Premature births are more common than people think and it is a very emotional experience. I got to see Henry on the Monday later in the day and it was so hard going into the Special care unit at first seeing my son hooked up to monitors, so helpless, so tiny. He was under a blue light to help with jaundice and had a CPAP around his nose, but was breathing mainly on his own so was doing well even on the first day he arrived.
The first time I held him I was really nervous as was so scared of the wires connected to him would fall off and you worry as they are so tiny you fear that any slight move may break them some how. I had skin to skin contact and after we got ourselves comfortable we both relaxed and it was so lovely and strange at the same time. That’s when it can hit you that it is no longer about you any more but about them, and you are now responsible for this little person.
He was transferred on the Friday after he was born to Epsom Hospital which did make it easier to visit him, but on that Friday I had developed some coldsores, and was told by the nurses I couldn’t see him because of it being a viral infection, and because of the other babies in the special care ward too, which I did understand but was distraught, I cried the all day and the rest of the days. I just had to focus getting myself back to normal and express as much milk as I could, but it was hard. The Thursday of the next week I was given the all clear and I literally ran down the stairs to the neonatal ward to see my son; just to hold him again was so wonderful and helping with his care I felt like I was able to be part of Henry’s first days and weeks of development. The staff at both St Helier and Epsom were fantastic from the moment I arrived to when Henry was born to when he could come home, as it could have been a lot harder but they made it easy for us and helped us learn about our son and how to prepare his milk and medicines, give him a bath and laying him down into his cot.
Henry is now a month old now and has been home since Monday 9th December 2013 and we (my husband and I) are still taking time to adjust to the new little person in our life, we still have to be careful about having people around, anyone that has a cold or flu must stay away because being that Henry was premature will mean he is still extra vulnerable to catching infections and making sure everything is sanitized and clean.
We have had to change our routine and our night time is no longer the same, and my emotions are still all over the place. You don’t mean to but you can snap at the slightest thing because your husband’s put the wrong teat on the bottle your baby uses, you can feel resentful because the neighbour has been able to soothe your baby but you couldn’t and feel there is no one there for you, because it isn’t about you now.
I am so grateful that Henry is here and doing well, as it could have been so different and getting to know the other couples and mums who also had a baby in the special care unit at the same time as Henry did comfort us also because we knew we weren’t alone and they were going through the same thing too. It is a especially emotion when a baby is premature as you have the usual hormones as when a baby is born full term but extra because the baby is early and everyday is as worrying as the next.
Motherhood is a challenge and I know taking small steps allowing my husband and mum to help will slowly help me settle in more as a new mum and the fact he has arrived before Christmas it is the best gift I could have wanted my baby son Henry.
I had no idea that being a parent could be so hard and I am being told that the worry and the rollercoaster ride you go through doesn’t end but does become easier.
I will be blogging more on my son Henry and being a new parent in further blogs to help provide support to parents whom may be going through the same, and if you are my heart goes out to you, and there is always someone who can help you.
Many thanks for reading,