Monday, 20 October 2014

And then there was a baby.

I need to write so I don't forget how this feels. The past couple of weeks have evaporated in a blur of tears, hormones, pain, and fear - lots of fear. 

Freyja (naming her has taken a while and would have taken longer were we not under time pressure to get her a passport) was born at 5:02 am on Thursday 2nd October. Precisely nothing has gone right or according to plan since the whole breech debacle, and the birth and everything since is no exception.

For weeks (including breech issues), we were on-again-off-again the home birth program. Not the fault of the community midwives who did everything they could to keep us on, rather the fault of every fucking obstetrician we saw. The whole "you're measuring too small for dates" thing got old REALLY quickly. Each time we saw a different OB or midwife we were sent for another growth scan, and each time it came back fine. In the end she did stop growing but probably just to give the finger to everyone who told me she was too small or not growing or had IUGR. 

I guess I got caught up after writing those paragraphs. Freyja will be 5 weeks tomorrow and things aren't easier. I don't feel like I'm coping, I still want to run away. Everything so far has felt like a huge disappointment (not the baby - Freddie if you ever read this then you are not the disappointment, I am, the birth was, the end of the pregnancy was, and these first weeks are just so hard and physically, mentally, and emotionally draining.

At 36 weeks Kane and I went to KEMH for an ECV which was successful but one of the most painful things I've ever experienced. Part of me really regrets forcing the baby to turn - like it was cruel somehow.

Mum arrived on the 5th September (we were expecting the baby to be early and/or a C-section at 38/39 weeks depending on growth issues and breechness) and ended up having to extend mum's 5 week trip so she could spend a whole week after the birth. It was really tense between us to start with but we straightened a few things out. Didn't help that I was very very pregnant and annoyed and dealing with a million medical issues (not ready to discuss all of them here). She was great and got out of the house a lot, tried to cook for us but I hated the smell of food in the final months of pregnancy, and cleaned. I should have spent more time out with her. Hindsight 20:20, but equally it's hard to go on mammoth walks when your bladder is the size of a pin head and you're carrying a full term baby around (and the rest!).


Now Freyja is 6 weeks old and I haven't even written down my birth story. 

At 41 weeks I was still pregnant and (tmi) my cervix was posterior and closed but softening. I was getting a bit anxious that I wouldn't be able to home birth (not allowed after 42 weeks), but not so anxious that I'd started to think about what induction might entail. It's standard to go into hospital for a check up at 40 + 10, and provided everything was good, I was considering going over 42 weeks and birthing when the baby was ready. Obvs that wasn't to be. 

At 40+9 I went to KEMH and was hooked up to CTG - this time the baby was in a cooperative mood so I only had to be monitored for about an hour. I asked if they were going to scan as well because an ultrasound hadn't been requested on my admission papers (and is done my research so knew that a scan was usually required - Dr Google, duh).so pretty much they weren't going to scan but I asked them to - thankfully. 

A second and then a third opinion was sought after the dr had taken the measurements from the ultrasound. The baby hadn't grown since my last growth scan 3 weeks before. This is about as good as it sounds. They also said they could see meconium on the scan (which ruled out my home birth pretty much on the spot). I was told to go home, pack a bag and be back within 2 hours for induction; "we need to get this baby out". So much for a beautiful, calm, natural, drug and intervention free birh.

I called HN1, he left work and met me at home where we packed (optimistically including our hypnobirthing stuff as well as music, snacks, and all manner of things that are completely useless once the induction starts), took our last preg pics, and left the house for the last time without the ridiculous responsibility of having a child. 

When I think about or talk about the next bits, I cry. It just feels so brutal and horrible and out of control - and if I wanted one thing from the birth it was to be in control.

We arrived at the labour ward and after a short wait we were shown to room 13 - a good number but the smallest, windowless delivery room you can imagine. I can't even remember the name of our midwife - none of my community midwives were available to come in so we had a hospital midwife. She had to stay in the room and monitor mama and baby the whole time as soon as the synto drip starts, so I really should know her name.

She did a stretch and sweep to see if I was dilated enough to hook my waters; I was 2 cm and she could stretch to 3 (I reckon I would have gone into labour naturally by the end of the week) so she broke my waters. Whether or not there was any meconium was debateable. An hour later (I'd been having contractions, they we're bearable) they started the synto drip. Fuck me. Zero to infinity in 60 seconds. In no time I was having 4 contractions in 10 minutes - literally one on top of the other - the worst pain I've ever experienced. For 4 hours I did it by myself - poor HN1 didn't know what to do, I didn't want to be touched and really there was nothing anyone could do. Those kind of contractions are supposed to come at the very end of a natural labour. You're supposed to build up to them, not be hit in the face with them hour after hour. Eventually I "caved" and asked for an epidural so they called in the consultant anesthetist from his bed at 1am and he placed my epidural without any issues. It was quick and painless (apart from the 2 contractions I had to sit perfectly still through while the needle was in my spine) and WHAT A RELIEF. I could still feel the contractions but the pain was dialed well down. I wish I'd asked for it sooner, but I really wanted to be as drug free as possible. Laughable really when you consider the hormones they were pumping into me. 

A couple of hours later the midwife started getting worried about the baby's heart rate, which was plummeting with each contraction. Not cool. So she kept an eye for a while and then called an obstetrician. The midwife thought I was pretty dilated and even though I wasn't due another exam for 2 hours asked I she could check my cervix. Bingo, 10 cms. Apparently my body knows what it's doing (hooray, this should mean a quick labour next time - IF there is a next time. Big if). Then the obstetrician explained that usually they would wait an hour for the baby to descend before beginning pushing, but that my baby "WOULDN'T LAST THAT LONG". 

What. The. Fuck. Who says that to anyone, let alone a woman in labour. I can't get over that part. To top that I then had to have a fight with her and list the reasons I wouldn't be getting in stirrups to deliver my baby. Urgh. Anyway, she left in a huff and told the midwives to page her in half an hour (presumably so she could get me in stirrups when my idea of being on my knees didn't work??). Challenge accepted, bitch. 

30 minutes later, at 5:02am Freyja was born. Delayed cord clamping went out the window when she was born really flopy and wouldn't come round. So then she was taken to the heater thing and they forced oxygen into her for 3 or 4 minutes while people yelled for a paediatrician and the midwife and my student midwife tried to deliver my placenta. Eventually the baby turned pink and started breathing. HN1 was with her the whole time and I don't remember much but I remember him yelling to me "SHE'S PINK!". Good times.

What next? A bladder stretch injury, a couple of days in hospital for observation of the baby, a catheter to go home with, a kidney infection, stitches in my second degree tear, breastfeeding problems... A whole heap of shit. And depression. 

Oh and after a week, HN1 went back to work and my mum had to go back to the UK. On my own again, with a baby. Can you say fucked?

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