I wanted a pool birth and couldn’t wait to hold and breast feed my baby when she was born. Things didn’t quite go to plan!
At 36 weeks I began getting abdominal pain, which i assumed was a temporary bowel blockage, as had happened several times previously since having part of my bowel removed and an ileostomy formed. My partner was away for the weekend and I had just gone on maternity leave from work; thinking i had a few weeks to rest before the birth. I woke up on Saturday, 15th June with severe abdominal pain and after trying my normal processes to ease it, to no avail, I thought I had better go to hospital and check all was ok with the baby. I went to A and E and was admitted into the Pregnancy Assessment Unit. The baby was monitored and all seemed fine. It was hoped that the pain would ease and blockage resolve itself, as it had many times before. This wasn’t to be the case.
On Monday 17th June, amidst increasing concerns for myself and my baby, it was decided that i needed emergency bowel surgery. 10 cm of my bowel had died and needed removing. The safest way to do this was to deliver my baby by emergency c section first. It all happened very fast and when the decision was made I was already heavily sedated by pain relief, which meant I was less panicky and not really aware of the gravity of the situation. Luckily, my partner had returned home the day before. My daughter, Imarah Mae, was delivered by emergency c- section at 15.13 on 17th June, weighing 4lb 2oz and six and a half weeks early. She was admitted to the special care baby unit and placed in an incubator with lots of wires and tubes in and around her. She was fully developed, in terms of her organs and able to breath on her own but was small, with little fat and unable to feed.
I was recovering from two major operations in another part of the hospital and did not meet my daughter until the following evening; a meeting I barely remember due to the pain i was in and drugs I was in. I remained in hospital for 12 days, unable to walk for the most part so staff had to wheel me down to scbu once a day to see my daughter. She looked so fragile and tiny and had to be tube fed initially. Nursing staff in both scbu and the surgery centre, where I was recovering, were really supportive and helped me to express breast milk. This was slow and painstaking at first but i was determined to breast feed my baby.
I cried the day I was discharged from hospital, as I had to leave my beautiful baby behind but in hindsight this was the best thing. I needed to recover, so I could care for my baby. I visited the unit in the morning and stayed for 10 hours a day most days. I was terrified of holding, bathing and changing my baby, as she seemed so fragile.
Imarah Mae was discharged after 3 weeks, with no known health problems and since that time has grown and developed so well. She may be slightly behind developmentally but is coming on leaps and bounds.
My birth did not go to plan and sometimes I feel sad that I can’t really remember meeting my daughter for the first time bu,t in the end, I have a beautiful, perfect little girl and that’s all that matters.