Zoe’s birth story – Rake Lane (prior to being a MLU)

I had a fairly uneventful pregnancy until my 38-week midwife appointment revealed high blood pressure, protein in my urine and a lot of swelling around my bump. She didn’t seem particularly concerned though, and advised me to go home and have lunch before going up to the day assessment unit at Rake Lane for a blood pressure profile. So, a couple of hours later, armed with a long book, I arrived at the hospital and spent the afternoon sitting around relaxing. I was on and off the monitor and my blood pressure was checked regularly but nothing changed. After being told at 4pm that a doctor would come and talk to me, I was a little surprised to be led to the ward when the unit closed at 5pm. No-one had mentioned that I would be staying in, in fact, no-one had told me anything at all. I phoned Duncan, who had just left work, and told him I was being admitted and he came straight to the hospital. Before Duncan could arrive, the doctor came to tell me that I had pre-eclampsia and would be kept in overnight for monitoring. As I sat on my own and processed this, the doctor returned to say that because I was 38 weeks, and therefore full term, they would induce me
either that night or the next morning, depending on space on the labour ward. Once Duncan arrived, the midwife explained what would happen next. At this point, I had the realisation that not only did I just have my handbag with me and nothing else but that I hadn’t even properly packed my hospital bag yet – it had been my job for the next day. Because my blood pressure had dropped slightly, the hospital allowed me to leave for an hour to go home and get what I needed, so we dashed back and I threw things into a bag and made a couple of calls to people to let them know I was going into hospital.

When we returned to the hospital, I was sent to the labour ward and strapped to the monitor for an hour. Eventually, an internal was done and my first prostaglandin dose was given. By this time, it was midnight, so Duncan left to get some sleep and I tried to do the same. However, I didn’t get much sleep, too much thinking about what was going to happen over the next couple of days and peeing in bedpans for monitoring of my kidney function. By 4am, I gave up on trying to sleep and put my mp3 player on, if only so I didn’t have to listen to the woman in the bed next to me moaning and

On Friday morning, I was put back on the monitor before having another internal to see if anything was happening. After listening to someone else screaming all night (and finding out she was only 1cm dilated), I was beginning to worry about my own ability to cope with labour. The internal showed nothing had happened overnight, so more prostaglandin was given. Once Duncan arrived, we spent a lot of the day walking round the hospital grounds and sitting around waiting. Another internal at 5pm showed that the walking was definitely helping, the head had moved down, but nothing more. The midwife told us that I couldn’t have any more prostaglandin that night and only two more doses on Saturday. If none of them worked, I would be having a section, so we knew that by the end of the weekend, our baby would be here. Because it was quite, I was placed in one of the private delivery rooms to get a good night’s sleep, and this time, I did.

Saturday morning dawned with another hour on the monitor before more prostaglandin. Once Duncan arrived, we again began our walking tour of the hospital to see if gravity could help things along. But again, at 4pm, nothing was happening, so the last dose was administered and off we went again. By 7pm, I was back in the room with the TENS machine on because I was getting terrible backache. We both thought something might be finally happening but it was never confirmed. At 10pm, the doctor came to say that my kidney function was deteriorating and they could no longer wait to see if I went into labour, they needed to get baby out as soon as possible so I was having what they termed a semi-emergency section in the next hour. We made a couple of quick calls to our respective mothers – my mother started stressing out and crying about how brave I was. I didn’t feel brave, just that I was doing what needed to be done to make sure me and baby were OK.

We were led down to theatre and Duncan went off to change whilst I was given a spinal block. Because of all the swelling round my lower back, it took 4 attempts to get the spinal in properly and, unfortunately, I hadn’t had enough local anaesthetic for the first 3 attempts so could feel everything.

But, once it was in, it was nice to have the backache finally stop. Duncan came in and sat by my head holding my hand. The operation was fairly quick, 5 minutes from first cut to our daughter being born, but very messy. Duncan said afterwards he looked round the screen once and saw so much blood he thought something must be wrong. They brought our daughter to us so I could see her and then took her off to be checked and wrapped up, before giving her to Duncan to hold whilst I was stitched up. Eventually we were taken back to our room and the midwives helped me to give Zoe her first breastfeed and we got a chance to spend a couple of hours together before Duncan left to get some sleep.

I felt I recovered from the section quite well. On Sunday, I was up and showering, albeit slightly shakily, and on Monday, was up and dressed and wanting to leave. Finally, on Tuesday, because my blood pressure had come down to almost normal levels, me and Zoe were allowed to come home, which I was relieved about.

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