Gideon’s birth story – 29th November @ 3.44pm
On Thursday 29th November, at 40+12, not having felt my baby move for a while, I went to the local maternity unit to check everything was OK> Whilst I was concerned enough to attend, I wasn’t overly concerned – this had happened a few times before and after an hour on the CTG I was sent home again, reassured that everything was ‘within normal limits’.
This time however, it became obvious fairly quickly that all was not well. The CTG showed regular decelerations. These tended to coincide with the mild Braxton Hicks I was experiencing. The decision was made pretty quickly to transfer me from the MLU to the consultant led unit at the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle. I first suspected that things were very wrong when they insisted I was blue-lighted in….
Once at the RVI, I was put back on the CTG, where the decelerations continued. We agreed to try and break my waters, so an ARM was performed. I was 2cm dilated and as this was my third baby, we all hoped things would progress quickly. They didn’t, but the decelerations continued, so after an hour, a Grade 1 caesarean was recommended. Obviously, after planning a homebirth, this wasn’t what I wanted, but it was clear I had a very unhappy baby who needed to be out ASAP.
I was taken down to theatre where spinal anaesthesia was administered – in many ways this was the worst part. It took a while for the needle to get into the right place. Not an abnormally long time (I later found out) but I thought it would be quicker. The actual operation was quick and straightforward, but Gideon was very ‘flat’ when he was delivered, with Apgars of 2 and 4. He picked up breathing and pinked-up quickly enough – but his muscle tone remained very poor, so he was taken directly to neo-natal intensive care. Peter went with him whilst I was stitched up and went to recovery.
Initially it was thought that Gideon’s issues were related to a tricky birth, but it now appears that it’s his other issues that resulted in him struggling with birth. At the moment, we’re still not sure what’s going on, but he’s stable. He’s breathing alone and is feeding via a nasal-gastric tube. He’s still hypotonic though and not showing much movement.
So – all in all, absolutely not the birth I had prepared for. But then does anyone ever prepare for or plan for an mergency section?? However, I was treated splendidly throughout the process – everyone was extremely respectful and helpful. I was fully informed and felt I was in control – although of course, the decisions I was having to make, weren’t ones I’d ever anticipated making.
Everyone was very apologetic that I wasn’t getting the homebirth I’d wanted – although at that point (and now!) all I ever wanted was a healthy baby; I realised that if baby needed extra help with birth, then that was that. Of course, in the future I may need to grieve for the birth I ‘lost@ but for now, I’m just grateful I have a baby for my arms to cradle. The consultant did say that with the way his CTG was presented, if we’d left things even a few more hours, we would have been dealing with a still birth, which is a very sobering thought.
As ever, the care the NHS provides has left me in awe. From the moment I arrived at the MLU, the care the whole family has received has been outstanding. I was given a private room so I didn’t have to share with women who had their babies with them, I’ve been given huge amounts of help and support to express breast milk for Gideon. Expressing colostrum has to be one of the hardest things ever; huge effort for almost nil output. I wouldn’t have managed it without the emotional and practical support of the midwives on the postnatal ward, as well as support from afar from friends. Everyone I have encountered, from cleaners to consultants have been supportive, helpful and beyond that, kind. I wish things had been different (obviously), but I can’t fault the care we have received and the support that continues.