I would love to say my pregnancy was full of hearts and flowers and the bloom and glow that you see all over social media these days, truth be told my experience with pregnancy and birth was quite the opposite. Alfie was my Second pregnancy, a true rainbow baby I had had a late term miscarriage at 20 weeks around 7 months before I found out I was again expecting. As for most things in my life the timing was impeccable, I had found out I was pregnant just 2 days after my sisters funeral so the first trimester was spent with my head down the toilet with morning sickness and crippled with grief and anxiety. I had lay in bed the morning before my 12-week scan convincing myself they were going to place the ultrasound probe on my stomach and tell me something had gone wrong or that I was indeed not even pregnant.
This did not happen, on the screen there was a baby kicking away, but I refused to believe that something would not wrong. I made it past 20 weeks and right through to viability, at 30 weeks I finally came round to the fact that I may just be having this baby and that I would be taking it home and starting my family.
Due to my previous pregnancy, I was under the consultant team at the hospital along with the local midwife. It became almost comical every time I visited the maternity unit or the midwife as it was quickly followed by a trip to the antenatal ward and at least an overnight stay. I stayed their frequently and began to know the rotation of the menu and things about the Cumberland sausage muffin frequently but I digress.
It was agreed with my consultant that I would be induced at 37 weeks and under no circumstances was I to go overdue, I had developed a couple of kidney stones during the latter weeks and wasn't doing well at all myself. At 34 weeks I was admitted to the antenatal ward were I was told I was staying until baby came, I felt completely unprepared, I’d not finished cleaning the house or folding all the clothes. To make matters worse I slipped in the bathroom a few days before and broke my wrist, so had to be placed in a cast.
Very quickly I fell into the routine of hospital life, the structure of mealtimes and regular monitoring of baby laying for a few hours a day just listening to his heart beating away knowing that I would soon be holding him in my arms.
After what seemed like forever 37 weeks came and it was time to be induced, I was wheeled to labour ward and they proceeded with a pessary. It did nothing the first time around other than give some period pain type cramping and flushed cheeks. They gave it 6 hours and off I went back to the antenatal ward, the next day the same pattern repeated again, nothing was happening, I was told I would need a 12 hour brake before they could try again. I choose to use some of this time to do laps of the hospital, walking up and down any flights of stairs I could find in the hope that we could get things moving. Maybe a coincidence but after walking up and down a flight of concrete steps at the hospital entrance I managed to have my waters break. ( I had to get this confirmed as I wasn't sure at first weather I had just peed a little it all feels the same at the end! )
As my waters had now broken, we were now on a count down, baby needed to be born within 24 hours and I knew that very soon I’d be holding my boy in my arms.
They tried again with the 3rd pessary, again nothing happened so it was decided I would be placed on to the pitocin drip and they regularly upped the dose to get things moving, the midwife looking after me was convinced it was working as I was feeling the right things and making the right noises. When it came to be checked, this however was telling a different story as I was only 4cm and struggling. I was shaking from head to toe and had this over welling feeling of just not being alright, I could see the midwives eyes keep darting to the monitor and the sound of baby heart suddenly wasn't singing the way it had for the months before, very calmly she asked the other half to just pull the red button, something was wrong and the room filled with people. I had a midwife at each foot slipping on compression socks and a consultant at the side of me with a yellow form asking for a signature. Baby need to come now and I was being wheeled into theatre, I was told that they will give me one try with the spinal block or else I’d be put to sleep. I begged them to call my mum, we had never planned for her to be at the birth but all of a sudden I felt young, venerable and completely unprepared. As I curled myself over a pillow, the contractions we now coming thick and fast but I knew I couldn't move an inch. I didn't want baby's dad to miss this and if they put me to sleep I knew he wouldn't be able to be in the room. Minutes felt like hours as they lay me down and started to get baby out…. The midwife next to me whispered … he’s here! The room however was silent I could not hear him cry, if he’s here should they not be passing him to me. That’s what you see when you watch one born every minute. My other half squeezed my hand as I frantically started darting around the room with my eyes waiting for the cry or any sound at all.
A few moments latter a midwife came over - DAD do you want to come with us, baby is just needing a little help right now and we will be sending him to special care. In that moment my world stopped I had for a moment allowed myself to believe that we were due a happy ending and now it seemed anything that could go wrong was going wrong. My other half came back with tears streaming down his face, Jodes their taking him, I don't know where I need to be? “Go with baby I have all these people around me he needs you, he’s all alone.” A few seconds later I was put to sleep while the stitched me back up as I had haemorrhaged. I woke up very groggy, thinking it had all be a dream when in fact it wasn't as they wheeled me out of theatre and there was a baby being pushed in front of me with lungs like you wouldn't believe, I was sobbing I just wanted to meet my boy.
As they wheeled me into the bay, the crying baby was wheeled next to me, the crying baby was mine! It turned out that he needed his mum as much as I needed him. By the time he landed in special care he was crying away and needed no help from them so with me he could stay. We stayed in hospital about a week after birth, as we had caught an infection at some point and both required antibiotics but once they were finished, home we went.
He’s now a teenager and tests me every day but I think back to how much he fought to be in this world, he showed up when I needed him the most and the bond we have now I cherish, even if he does leave pants on the floor and hordes cups on his room.