A Mummys View

Telling it like it is

My Birth Story Second Time Round: The Aftermath

Three weeks has passed since by gorgeous little girl arrived into the world 5 weeks early and I can’t believe how time has flown! You may have read my birth story second time round, well here’s what happened after the birth and in the first few hours and days that have followed…

Once the immediate rush of the delivery was over I was stitched back up by the theatre team. I remember asking them if they could do a quick tummy tuck while they were down there but I was told that wouldn’t be possible (oh well, they say god loves a tryer!) I was wheeled back from the theatre to our delivery suite, where my husband was waiting with our daughter. It was then that I was able to have my first cuddle, hold her close to me and have the chance to feed her. She took to the breast immediately and I felt the most overwhelming sense of love towards her.

Hubby stayed with us until 4am and then headed home for some sleep and I was left to try and get some of my own. However at 4.45am a lady was brought in via ambulance to a nearby room and she was screaming. It went on and on and there was just no chance of any sleep! I had asked on returning from theatre if I could have some food as I hadn’t eaten since 11.30am the day before, but I was told because I’d had an emergency c-section I would have to wait. (Don’t know what the difference is between last time and this time, each time I only had a spinal and last time I was given tea and toast immediately.) As the morning wore on I asked a few times as I was feeling so weak and starving and finally I got something at 8.30am (almost 24 hrs after last eating).

I was wheeled to the post natal ward mid-morning, ironically to the exact same bay and bed I had been in when I had my other daughter, where the midwife from the labour ward did a handover. It was then that I realised exactly what the problems had been. I heard her mention placenta previa and the cord being pressed on my baby’s head and  it really hit home as I don’t think anyone had fully told me exactly what had happened.

Hubby arrived shortly after I had moved to the post natal ward and both sets of grandparents and our little girl came that afternoon at visiting time. Luckily I was in the bay on my own at that point as it was like an entourage had landed! lol! My little girl was quite good and came straight to see her “baby sister”. However I think she had most fun playing hide and seek! It really was a good job the bay was empty! It was very hard saying goodbye as she left each day as you could tell she was confused as to why I wasn’t at home. One day she even got hold of my hand and said “you coming too mummy” and it broke my heart. Hubby decided to spend the last two evenings at home with our daughter to give her some attention and a sense of normality, which made sense. One evening my sister came to keep me company and the other I just took time to relax.

As our daughter was born a good size and did well with her Apgar score following her birth, it was decided that she should be placed in transitional care, which meant she could stay with me but the midwives monitored her and fed information back to the Special Care Baby Unit, who then made decisions on the course of action / care she required. On the first day she was placed on a special heat bed and remained on this for 2 days until she was able to regulate her own body temperature. She also had heel prick blood tests for 2-3 days around each feed to monitor her blood sugar levels. Initially her levels were a little low and she did have to be cup fed some formula in addition to my breastfeeding to help her, but eventually they decided that her levels were acceptable and she no longer needed monitoring. The final thing she was monitored for was jaundice, to be honest she wasn’t that bad at all and didn’t require any treatment for this. By day 3 she had been released from transitional care and we just needed monitoring for another 24 hours by the midwives before we could come home. For a 5 week premature baby she did amazingly well!

I was in hospital from the Saturday afternoon till the following Wednesday and during that time the majority of midwives and healthcare assistants that looked after me were wonderful. One went way beyond the call of duty and was such an immense support. I was still confused about what had happened between me arriving that day and my baby being born and she took my notes away, read through and came back to me, spending a considerable amount of time talking to me and explaining everything, she even went through the monitor print out, showing me where key changes happened. I was also in a considerable amount of pain at certain points and she made sure everything possible was done to alleviate this and make me comfortable. The day after my c-section she and a healthcare assistant helped me out of bed and into the shower room and stayed by the door to make sure I was ok. I was unable to bend to dry my legs and dress myself (so dignified) and they both came in to help me. It was lucky I had buzzed them and they were with me as shortly after they entered I went shakey and passed out! I was wheeled out of the shower room naked, with only a sheet covering my dignity! At this point I had a new “room mate” who’s boyfriend had just arrived… how to make a first impression! lol!

At the other end of the scale there were two nights where I wasn’t impressed.  I had been told on my first night to buzz to ask for help in getting my baby out of her cot to feeed as I had a catheter in and couldn’t move or twist sideways to reach her. My little girl was cluster feeding as she was so small so as fast as I was feeding her, she was falling asleep and unable to wake her or stir her to feed her more I was having to put her back, then within half an hour max, if not sooner, she would wake again. Therefore I was buzzing quite a bit during the night, but had no choice. However I overheard one of the midwives complaining that I was “buzzing every time the child made a noise” which I felt very unfair. I have had a baby before and I know how to settle a child and when a baby is just stirring or actually hungry. I did wait and try to settle my little girl before buzzing but the fact was she was hungry. It made me feel like I couldn’t buzz for help. On another occassion I was trying to get myself to the toilet but my tummy hurt so much I was unable to move and had got stuck at the bottom of my bed. My room mate buzzed for help and the nurse (at least I think she was a nurse or a healthcare assistant of some kind) that came in just looked at me in a perplexed manner. I had to ask her to help me and explain to her that I needed to get to the toilet and needed support. She didn’t even know how to support me and frankly I felt like I was holding her up more! I then had to ask for her to help me get back to my bed! It was unreal.

However I am pleased to say that the positive experiences once again outweighed the negatives.

By the time Sunday evening came I was desperate for sleep as I had only had 3 hours sleep since going to bed on the Friday night. However my baby had other ideas and for the first two nights cluster fed continuously! I think if I was lucky, I managed 2-3 hours over the two nights and by the Tuesday I felt totally washed out and my body was shaking. The midwife that had been so great felt that I might be anaemic so took some bloods and sent them off immediately to be tested, they came back within a couple of hours but I was told I was fine, I was merely exhausted!

Tuesday night, as previous nights, saw another bout of cluster feeding and I have to say I was looking forward to getting home the following day! After waiting for final test results for my little girl we were given the all-clear and headed home at lunch time to start the next chapter of our little family life! (Not before my husband nearly drove me into the side of an ambulance in my wheelchair though! But that’s a different story!)

Check back to see how my first few weeks home have been.

10 Comments »

Things I Wish I’d Known Pre Baby

How come when you become a mum you are suddenly hit by things that no one ever told you ahead of it happening?

I was convinced in the early weeks that motherhood really was a secret society and that there is an unspoken rule not to speak of things that any mother to be probably wouldn’t want to hear for fear of scaring them and that it was only when yo became a mother that you were let into these secrets!

So here is a list of what I wish I’d known pre baby:

A day or two after birth your breasts will feel like enormous weighted down water balloons, and not just that, leaky ones too! – I was in hospital for 5 days as I’d had a c-section, it was agony to stand up and I couldn’t stand up straight because my stitches were so tight and pulling, but on the 2nd or 3rd morning when I stood up with my gigantic leaky breasts I had no chance of standing up straight, I was totally top heavy and drippy!

You won’t know whether to reach for a top pad or bottom pad first! – I was stupidly under the illusion that because I’d had a c-section I wouldn’t bleed much…hmmm….! Who knew I would feel like a milking cow too?! lol! OMG some mornings I just felt awful, I didn’t know which to reach for first and I am fairly sure that in some sleep deprived state I may have got them mixed up on the odd occasion!

You will look four months pregnant for several months afterwards and no you really won’t leave hospital in your pre pregnancy jeans – Unless you are blessed with heavenly genes (or those of Victoria Beckham) then you will undoubtedly have a tum for a considerable time! I was GUTTED! I wondered why there was lots of pregnant women walking round the post labour ward and (while some were in fact still pregnant) after a day or two it dawned on me that the others weren’t and we all just had big post pregnancy bellies! I was devastated to go shopping and find I had to buy clothes two sizes bigger than I had been. At least when pregnant I was displaying a lovingly created and blooming baby bump and I still wore clothes in my size (just maternity versions that made way for and flattered the bump). After I had my little girl I was just displaying a flabby, bloated roll!

Breast feeding can be more demanding than you realise – I breastfed my little girl for just over four months and I had no idea how hard it would be! I am so glad I did it but I did not expect to be feeding every 2 – 2.5hrs for anything between 45mins to an hr plus each time! It felt like no sooner had I finished a feed, I would need to start all over again. A friend and I did sit in a cafe for 4 hours one day because as fast as one of our babies stopped feeding the other would start! We kept having to order more drinks… talk about table hogging! I couldn’t express enough milk either, I tried a manual and an electric pump but just couldn’t get enough milk so expressing and having someone step in to take over wasn’t an option. Also, you get so used to unclipping and clipping your bra you sometimes make the fatal error I did and just don’t clip it back up or leave your top undone. One day I actually walked around the local park with my hubby, smiling politely at people passing, whilst totally unaware I had forgotten to do my bra up and I was leaking through my top leaving a lovely big ring! Oh the shame!

It really can take you 3hrs to leave the house at first! – I’d heard people say this but I never really believed it until I had my daughter. It really is true! Even the most organised of people can end up in the twilight zone. Looking back I have absolutely no idea WHY it actually takes so long at first but just take my word for it, it does!

Oh and I just have to add one final point but it’s more of a gripe than anything…

Even if you dress your child in pink people will regularly say “Oh isn’t he lovely” or “How old is he?” – What??? HE is a SHE! SHE is wearing pink from head to toe! What’s not to get?

14 Comments »

More Informed Birthing Choices for Women or Cost Cutting Measures?

It’s hit the headlines this last week that home births may be a safer and cheaper option than hospital and this in turn could also save the NHS a significant amount of money.

The study carried out by University of Oxford Researchers looked at 64,000 births in Englandbetween 2008 – 2010 and the relative costs of healthy births in different settings.

It found a planned birth in an obstetric unit was the most expensive option for mothers who already have children and a planned home birth was the cheapest. In addition, for people who haven’t had children before, a planned birth in a midwife-led unit is cheaper than one in an obstetric unit.

However according to the Royal College of Midwives* 96% of births still happen in hospital.

The Department of Health* has stated:

“As we modernise the NHS we have made it a priority to offer women choices in where they give birth.”

I personally am all for home-births and birth’s in midwife led units. However I have lost count of the number of times I have heard people say

“I planned a home birth and ended up being rushed into hospital”

or

“I was all set to give birth at the midwife led unit but then had to be rushed to the nearby hospital due to complications”.

Every mother dreams of an uncomplicated birth but the reality is that many unfortunately don’t have the choice in the first place (breech babies, etc) or last minute complications take the decision out of their hands.

If recommendations are to be made I am all in favour however the cost mustn’t be at the expense of the mother or baby. Mother’s must be able to make an informed decision and alternatives need to remain in place for any last minute changes or emergency’s. The Government and NHS need to assure this is the case and not just make moves to purely save money.

As you will have read in my birth story “Oh My God My Baby’s Coming Early” I didn’t have the choice, last minute complications and a breech position meant an inevitable quick c-section for me. I don’t know anyone who has had the home water birth or birth in a midwife led unit that they wanted. Am I wrong in this assumption? How did your birth go? Did it go according to plan? Would you have preferred an alternative birth? Did you have a home birth or midwife led birth? I’d love to hear your views and / or stories. Why not comment or link up with me below?

Whilst this post is talking about the service available to mums-to-be here in the UK I do want to also highlight a Save the Children campaign that I just wrote about recently to help expectant mums in developing countries too. #Blogitforbabies is a fab campaign being headed up by the lovely Mammasaurus.

We mustn’t forget that we are very lucky when compared to mum’s in Bangladesh. They don’t have the luxury of an NHS healthcare and 1 in 19 children don’t live to see their fifth birthday because of limited access to basic healthcare services. This means that preventable diseases are claiming the lives of innocent young children and babies.

Save the Children is appealing for £1 million to build life-saving clinics in some of the poorest and remotest areas of Bangladesh. If you haven’t already please take a look at ways you too can get involved in Save the Children’s campaign.

In the meantime I’d love to hear your views on the study here in the UK, the recommendations and what your experiences were!

*comments taken from article in The Guardian

10 Comments »

%d bloggers like this: