It feels weird to be sat here thinking back to Saturday 10th June. I was 38 weeks pregnant and had finished work a few weeks earlier due to my blood pressure. I remember that Saturday pretty well, Ankush went off to work early that morning and I decided to tidy the house a little bit and do some baking. I had my lovely friends Rich & Nic coming over for a catch-up. I baked a batch of blueberry muffins and another of chocolate chip. We had a great time chatting about how different my life was about to become! Once they’d left I realised I hadn’t felt much/any movement all day, so I drank some cold water, ate something sugary and lay on my left side to see if that got her moving. It didn’t. I called the Maternity Assessment Unit at the RVI and they told me to come straight in to be checked. I was used to this, I’d been in a few times for checks and regularly for blood pressure monitoring. Once I got there, I did a wee sample (peeing into those sample bottles is a fine art) and they hooked me up to the CTG machine (which monitors baby’s heartbeat). Of course once I was hooked up, she started raving and we got plenty of kicks. Once the nurses were happy she was okay in there, they took my blood pressure. It was the highest it had ever been – probably due to worrying about the baby. They monitored my blood pressure over the space of an hour and when they’d done this in the past, my BP had always come down. This time was different, it was getting higher with each reading. They sent for a doctor who took a look at my notes and said based on my BP and how far along I was, they didn’t want further complications and were going to keep me in, I would be induced the following day. I had to let it sink in… I wasn’t going back home until I’d had my baby. Ankush was still at work at this point, so I had to call him and let him know what was happening. Of course he was worried and wanted to be there with me. Luckily, we’d been well prepared and my hospital bags had been in the boot of the car for 2 weeks by this point – I just needed him to go and get them for me haha.
Ankush turned up and it was so nice to see him but I was also overwhelmed with emotions because I wanted to go home with him and not stay in hospital. He made sure I was okay and comfortable before I wandered back to the ward to sleep. Sleep was the last thing on my mind, I couldn’t switch off. I kept thinking about all the unfinished things I’d left at home, the muffins weren’t covered, I hadn’t washed the dishes, I hadn’t drawn the curtains or turned the lamps on. In between all of these thoughts I’d remember that my baby was going to be in my arms very soon and then I was far too excited to sleep. This was a huge mistake. I should have slept. I was also very busy in the group Whatsapp chat with the NCT girls (little did I know, these women would become my lifelines very very quickly). The ward had a snorer, but I’d been clever and packed earplugs. Before I knew it, it was morning and Ankush had returned 🙂 I was told I’d be induced that morning.
It was lunchtime before the process began. I was given a pessary, a pair of surgical stockings to wear (my goodness that was a challenge almost resulting in divorce – a midwife ended up helping me put them on near the lifts on the ground floor of the RVI in full view of bemused passers by – nice one) and told to stay active. Active was the last thing I felt like being, but knew it was the best plan to keep busy. We went for a short walk outside in the hope things would start happening. Nothing happened… for ages. I bounced on a birthing ball continuously for about two hours. Nothing. Another pessary was administered 6 hours after the first, I was expecting contractions to come soon after this. You guessed it… Nothing. Three hours after the second pessary I started getting very mild contractions. Out came the tens machine I’d heard so much about. This machine was going to see me through labour wasn’t it, coupled with a massage ball. HA HA HA. Nope. I’d written a very vague birth plan, options were to be kept open as I’d been told so many times that labour very rarely went to plan. They weren’t wrong.
Another three hours had passed. My lovely midwife had been checking on me frequently, after another disappointing check, she broke my waters, that was a shock I was unprepared for. This is where things got going. It was advised that I had an epidural to help keep my blood pressure stable. I LOVED my anaesthetist loads. She kept me very calm during the epidural, talked me through everything and made sure I understood what was happening. Doctors kept coming to check me, the baby’s heartbeat was slowing with each contraction and my blood pressure was doing weird things. They took a tiny blood sample from the top of baby’s head and had that checked to ensure she was doing okay. Thankfully, she was. After deliberating whether or not to give me the drip to bring on contractions, the doctor decided not to as the baby was not coping well with the mild contractions. Based on this and a few other things, my doctor got the all clear from his boss to do an emergency c-section. They made the decision at 6:15am, I was taken straight to theatre and she was born at 6:38am. SO fast. I can’t tell you much about the section because it was over so quickly. The NHS is INCREDIBLE. Ankush, my anaesthetist & midwife continued to keep me calm and collected. I could hear my baby crying but I hadn’t seen her yet. When they brought her over I couldn’t get my head around her being here. We’d waited so long for her and she was finally here! OUR baby! She was perfect. It was at this point I asked Ankush if I got to use the name I’d loved for years and years. I did 🙂 My midwife’s shift had ended well before I went to theatre but she waited with me so she could meet the baby. Imagine staying at work past your hours – that’s another level of care isn’t it.
I can’t tell you much about what happened after I left theatre because I was so out of it from the drugs. I do remember telling doctors, midwives and anyone who would listen that I wasn’t usually that loud or weird. Strange behaviour. I was in recovery for a while, puked a few times (I’m sure that was great for my section stitches) and couldn’t really move. Ankush changed Anushka’s first nappy and got her dressed in her first babygrow. At some point we were taken to the ward. I remember being given Anushka to hold as I was wheeled to the ward… I was holding onto her so tightly in case I dropped her.
Things I remember:
- Anushka’s birth marked the start of the heatwave.
- I wanted that bedside fan on constantly but I was also worried about Anushka getting cold.
- I didn’t use any of the 5 lipbalms I’d packed in my hospital bag. Nor did I use a small roll-on perfume.
- I didn’t eat any of the snacks in the very carefully planned out snack bag. This bag came in very handy once back home and awake all night.
- I was terrified about going to the loo for the first time post-delivery and also showering.
- Post-delivery NHS tea and jam toast were as effective as any drugs I’d been given.
That first day went by in a chaotic blur of feeding, nappy changes, family visits and short bursts of sleep. We ended up staying in for two nights after she’d been born, on the 2nd day my lovely friend Rachel popped in to see us – I was sat in my pyjamas eating a veggie patty Subway sandwich as she walked in, as glamorous as ever. My blood pressure was still being monitored closely – it pretty much went back to normal within days of delivery. (My carpal tunnel symptoms took months to disappear – thanks!). Ankush stayed with me in hospital both nights and tried to sleep in a very uncomfortable armchair which didn’t recline. He was the only partner who stayed overnight on our bay and I was so grateful. It took two of us to change her nappy as I couldn’t bend. Midwives & nursery nurses would pop in to check I was able to feed effectively (long story, another post needed) and that we were okay. There was one nursery nurse I really liked, she was so supportive and encouraging.
It was Wednesday lunchtime by the time we went home, I was so eager to get home but thinking back I should have stayed in for another night. It was the journey home when reality kicked in for me, they’d let us go home with this 2 day old baby and our life was about to change forever. I managed to keep it together while we walked to the car, wheeling my case behind me while Ankush carried the bag and our daughter. As soon as the car doors closed, the waterworks started. I sat in the backseat with Anushka and cried tears of happiness the whole way home, until we walked through the front door.
One thing I remember very clearly about getting home was that once we’d taken her out of the car seat and settled onto the sofa, Ankush drove to M&S and returned super quickly with a huge sandwich platter for us. Ha ha. Priorities!
So, there we have it. I was in hospital from Saturday 10th June and by the time we got back on Wednesday 14th, life was completely different. Even now, 8 months down the line, no two days are the same and I wouldn’t change a thing. C-Section recovery chat is no fun, it’s all blood-thinning injections, iron tablets and surgical stockings, oh and pain… so I’ll save that for another time! This post is huge, if you’ve made it to the end, thank you so much for reading 🙂