Birth Stories

In February 2012, my partner, Chris, and I found out we were expecting a baby. After a few tears (on both parts!) we couldn't wait for our little bundle of joy to arrive.

My pregnancy went absolutely perfectly. Scans all looked good and due to us being impatient, at our 20 week scan we were told we were having a baby boy!

Our 12 week scan

We did all the usual things; bought all the big items, a few cute outfits, and my best friend hosted a surprise baby shower for me!

Looking back, at the time of my baby shower, I was 33 weeks pregnant and my face, ankles, legs and hands were swelling. I thought nothing of it. I was heavily pregnant, weren't you supposed to bloat?

My wonderful baby shower

Gifts from our very generous friends and family

4 days after my shower, 20th September 2012, Chris was at work when the scariest thing happened. I couldn't see properly. My vision went blurry and I couldn't focus my eyes on anything. He wasn't due home for a few hours so I decided to just go to sleep.

The next morning, my vision was fine but Chris urged me to phone the maternity ward. He went off to work and I wasn't even going to bother phoning but I knew he'd be angry with me if I didn't.

I explained what happened and they asked me to call in so they could do a few checks. Chris was due home soon and I didn't want to go to the hospital on my own so I made myself lunch and got dressed.

My mother-in-law drove us to the hospital as neither of us drive. She couldn't stay as she had her own 2 little ones to see to. We arrived at 3.30pm and I was hooked up to an ECG machine for 30 minutes which took my blood pressure every 4 minutes. I was told my blood pressure was really high. After giving a urine sample, they discovered proteinuria. Along with the swelling, these were all big signs of pre-eclampsia.

Waiting for my ECG

I had to wait in the waiting room, for what felt like a lifetime, to see a consultant for a scan. I was 33 weeks + 2 days but measuring at 34 weeks + 5 days. She took blood from my hand and inserted a cannula "just in case". I had no idea what this meant at the time. I then saw another consultant for another scan (no idea why) and was brought to a ward until they got my blood results etc back.

On the ward, an old friends' mum was the midwife looking after me. She gave me a steroid injection in my bum to mature the baby's lungs and said "you know, you'll probably have to have the baby today". This was the first I'd been told. I panicked. I didn't even have my hospital bag packed! Would the baby be okay? Able to survive so early!? I sent Chris off home to get himself something to eat and pack a few things for me.

Lying in that bed on my own was the worst. I couldn't stop my body from shaking, literally vibrating, and I was so worried. I was brought to the delivery suite where Chris met me with my things and I changed into my nightdress. Because I was only 33 weeks and the intensity of the situation, there was no way that they could bring on labour naturally so I needed a caesarean.

Minutes later the room was filled with people in scrubs. The 2 doctors who would be performing my section and 3 medical students. One doctor explained to Chris and I what exactly would be happening and told me about risks, complications and also said not to panic if the baby didn't cry when he was delivered as he was very small. All things which panicked me further. My nightdress was replaced with a gown and Chris was given one for over his clothes. The midwife attached at IV drip of magnesium sulphate in case I had a seizure (again, made me panic more!). A lovely anesthetist explained what way the spinal block worked and I was taken to theatre.

Chris had to wait outside until I'd had the spinal block. My body was so tense that I couldn't bend properly for her to insert the needle but after 3 tries, she got it. It took a few seconds for it to work then she tested it with an ice cube. Chris was then allowed in. A sheet was put up, I grabbed Chris's hand and I felt the doctors get to work. It really did feel like someone doing the dishes in your stomach. It took about 5 minutes for them to get the baby out and he started crying straight away. The doctors held him up for us to see him then the paediatrician took him. I had a little cry. Our little baby boy was born on 21st September 2012 (7 weeks early) at 22:51 weighing 4lbs 10.5oz. I was told it would take around half an hour to be stitched back up. Chris went over to see the baby and took a couple of photos for me. As the magnesium sulphate entered my vein, the affected area felt really hot. It was the worst when it was in my mouth. I felt so sick.

The first photos of our baby boy

Proud but very tired and shocked new mummy

The baby was taken upstairs to the Neo-natal Intensive Care Unit and I went back to my own room in the delivery suite. Chris got to go and see the baby but I wouldn't be able to go until my drip had finished which ended up being when he was 2 days old! He progressed so well and only had a minor eye infection which lasted around 3 days. I had a 10 day hospital stay as they had to regulate my blood pressure and our son, C, was discharged on the 7th October.

Here's a very flattering photograph of myself 2 days after C's birth. Looking back, I can't believe how we didn't realise how swollen I had become!

On Thursday 4th September 2014 (at 39+3), I went to the hospital for my routine weekly check up at the Antenatal Clinic. My appointment was at 3.45pm and Chris was due to start work at 6pm so I just went by myself so he could stay at home with C and I could just take over when I got back and he could go off to work. I was called in and all the usual checks were done. My blood pressure was the highest that it had ever been this pregnancy at 140/105 and there was 1+ protein in my urine. I felt fine in myself but as the preeclampsia symptoms were beginning to rear their ugly head again, I had a cervix check to see if I was favourable for induction. My cervix was long but I was already 3cm so they decided that induction was the way to go. The delivery suite didn't have a bed ready so I was able to go home, get my bags and see C before heading back in. 

Waiting to go to delivery suite

We arrived at the hospital just after 6pm and after lots of bloods and being on the CTG machine, the doctor broke my waters for me at around 7.20pm. I needed to wait for an hour so at 8.20pm I was given an IV hormone drip to bring on my contractions. This took a while to get going. I felt more comfortable sat upright in a chair at this point and I used the TENS machine and gas & air to get through these early contractions. I didn't use the gas & air a lot at this point. I didn't like the woozy feeling that it gave me. The midwife explained other methods of pain relief but I didn't want diamorphine as I didn't want the baby to be really sleepy after the birth and because I wanted to labour as naturally as possible after my Caesarean section with C, I didn't really want an epidural either. 

My contractions kept coming and were getting more painful and closer together so I wanted to move to the bed to get more comfortable. A short while after, I felt like I couldn't handle the pain and asked for an epidural. I told Chris that I felt like a bit of a failure but I really couldn't handle it. This was at around 12.30am and I was only 5cm but my cervix was now paper-thin. I couldn't believe that I had only dilated 2cm in 4 hours. I was given the epidural and then my contractions started coming really quickly. I was told that the epidural wouldn't make me lose all sense of feeling, it would just take the edge off the contractions. If I'm completely honest, it didn't work very well for me. I felt everything. 

At this stage, everything seemed to happen very quickly and I was using the gas & air more and more so I felt completely out of it and I didn't enjoy that feeling at all but it was the only thing helping me. I always said that I didn't want to be one of those ladies who didn't know what was going on and made a complete fool of themselves during labour and I always thought I'd revert into myself and not be very loud. I was wrong. I remember saying to the midwife that it felt like I was trying to stop myself from pooing. She left to speak to another midwife briefly and I shouted to Chris that I felt like I needed to push. He obviously panicked as he was there with me by himself so he told me to breathe the gas & air and breathe until the midwife came back in. 

The midwife came back and told me to go with what my body told me to do so I pushed. Holy dear God, the ring of fire is a real thing. I was using the gas & air like my life depended on it and I could feel myself wailing like a banshee but I knew I had to get through it. I even looked at Chris once she was here and said "oh my god, I did it!" He just laughed haha. After only pushing for ten minutes, our baby girl, Erin, was born at 01.50am on the 5th September 2014 weighing 7lbs 2oz. Her head circumference was 34.5cm and she is 49cm long. 

Unfortunately, I had a retained placenta so my epidural was topped up and I was taken to theatre to have it manually removed. I think they said that it was stuck to my previous Caesarean section scar. I also had a second degree tear which needed stitching. 

3 comments on "Birth Stories"
  1. I find it so reassuring reading about other people premature birth experiences! I had my little boy nearly eight weeks early but was measuring small! There's not a great deal of social networks locally to me for people with premature babies, so reading about people similar to me helps!

  2. Just found your blog and wanted to share my story with you (it's also on my blog).

    My twins were premature. I was diagnosed with "mild" Pre Eclampsia at 32 weeks. Little did we know, that that was the date my twins stopped growing in the womb. At 36 weeks I went to the hospital and demanded an early induction as I was so ill. I was told I was suffering from "normal pregnancy symptoms". I stood my ground and my consultant agreed on the 36 week induction. After 16 hour labour I gave birth to my twins, which were expected to be about 6lbs. They were only 4lbs - weighing less than they had at my 32 week scan. It was then they found out my pre-eclampsia had progressed to a life threatening condition called HELLP Syndrome. My kidneys and liver started to fail and I ended up receiving intensive care in HDU, whilst trying to tandem breastfeed premature twins! Me and my twins are so lucky to be alive now.

  3. How scary, Emma! I am so glad that you pushed for an induction and they finally agreed!