This blog post was supposed to be about my babymoon, but exactly a week after returning my waters broke unexpectedly at 32 weeks 3 days and along came Rudie.
The reason I want to share my birth story is because I loved reading others whilst I was pregnant. I found every single one fascinating and it’s remarkable how each and everyone is so different. I know not everyone will want to read this, Charlie told me to stop reading them when I was pregnant but I thought it was preparing me in some way and that I was gaining information first hand from mothers and their raw and real stories. Its also given me something else to do other than stare at Rudie and take photographs of him all day as I’m sat next to his cot in SCBU. It’s going to be a very long blog post… so if you’re staying to read it grab yourself a cuppa now….
After a week of relaxing on our babymoon, pretty much doing what Rudies been doing all week. Eating, sleeping, growing, repeat. I came home to glorious weather in England and had another week of relaxing, sunbathing and enjoying 3 days of maternity work. Then on Friday 7th June at 5.30 am I woke feeling some liquid down my leg. I’d already been to the toilet a few hours earlier that night and it wasn’t unusual for me to go two or three times in a night. So I got up and went to the loo, once I’d finished and stood up I noticed liquid was still trickling out and down my leg. I stood there confused, cupped my hand and tried to work out where it was coming from. I wasn’t sure if I was wetting myself, my bump felt heavier over the past week or so I thought maybe it was pushing on my bladder or that I’d lost control of it. I woke Charlie and said I thought maybe my waters had broken, he wasn’t sure, as neither was I and he also wanted to stay in bed because his alarm for work wasn’t due for another 30 mins. I went into the lounge and obviously started googling, as I did this water continued trickling out, I knew something wasn’t right so I decided to ring triage and they told me to put a sanitary pad in and make my way to hospital. Charlie and I both had a quick shower and we arrived at hospital at 6.30 am.
Straight away the lady checked my pad and confirmed the worst my waters had broken. I burst into tears, I was scared… I didn’t know what that meant. Was the baby coming now? I still had two whole months left. Over the next hour I had a scan to check the baby was okay and it was. My bloods and urine was taken to check for infection markers (which all came back clear). I then had a spectrum put inside of me for an internal examination which showed that my cervix was still closed. I was given a steroid injection in my bum, which was to help the babys lungs mature because although everything else is developed at 32 weeks the lungs are the very last thing to fully develop. I would also have another steroid injection 12 hours later and then it would be 24 hours before they took effect. I was also put on antibiotics to prevent me and the baby getting an infection, which is the main risk when your waters break. They wanted to keep me in for 24 hours observation and I was then given a private room on the labour ward and attached to a monitor to watch the babies heart rate.
Abit later that day, the babys heart rate dropped and the monitor showed I was having contractions although I couldn’t feel them yet. Various doctors came in and I was told I couldn’t eat or drink for two hours incase I needed an emergency c-section. I was then given two tablets ten hours apart to stop the contractions and me going into labour so that that I could have the second steroid injection and they could have effect. The contractions stopped about 30 minutes later. They also sent the pedeactric doctors from the special care baby unit down to explain to me what would happen if I did go into labour and where the baby would be cared for. It all felt so overwhelming, I never ever thought I’d be in this situation. I cried a lot that day, every time someone new introduced themselves and asked how I was. When my parents and sister arrived I cried. I cried and I prayed the baby just stay put at least until the steroids could kick in. I was told you can still carry full term after your waters break, although they would have induced me at 37 weeks. At 37 weeks you are considered full term so there would be no point in letting the pregnancy continue after that because of the risk of infection. They couldn’t predict when I’d go into labour it could be days or weeks.
Throughout the day the babies heart rate was good and they said I had a happy baby. That evening they moved me upstairs to the antenatal and postnatal ward to sleep. I didn’t have my own room just a bed and a curtain, and Charlie wasn’t allowed to stay with me. This was the first time ever that I’d spent a night in hospital. The baby’s heart rate was monitored during the night every 5 hours and I was given my 2nd steroid injection and tablet to stop me from going into labour. I hardly slept a wink, two people in my room were in active labour and in the room next door a lady was giving birth and screaming for an epidural that she couldn’t have because she wasn’t in the labour ward because it was full. Alarms were going off, it was so noisy. In the morning I was considering moving to a private hospital, I just thought I need to be in a calm environment with my own room so that I could rest and try and keep my stress levels down. The most important thing was to try and keep my baby inside for aslong as possible. I didn’t even know where would be the best hospital to move to or what one had the best special care unit for babies. Also Whipps Cross Hospital is only a few minutes from our house and so far the care had been excellent. When the doctor came to check on me that morning instead of discharging me, she decided that she’d like me to stay for two more nights under observation. To be honest I was happy to stay because I liked the babys heart rate being monitored, if I’d of been sent home I would have just worried. All through Saturday they checked my pulse, temperature, the baby’s heart rate and my contractions and everything was good. Water continued leaking which is actually the babies urine, this happens all the way until you give birth once your waters have broken. My mum, dad, sister and Charlie were in and out visiting me all day, keeping me positive and feeding me. Charlie and I played scrabble and watched the beach on the laptop in my small hospital bed until he had to leave around 11pm. I had my last checks at 12.30am and everything was good. I was feeling much calmer and positive. I had posted on Instagram that my waters had broken and asked anyone to send me advice if they’d been in a similar situation. The response was overwhelming, I didn’t know that so many people I knew were premature babies themselves or had had a premature baby. It really made me feel so much stronger and positive.
I went to sleep that evening and slept so much better, Charlie bought me an eye mask and ear plugs. I woke up at 3.30am with lower back pain and just knew my contractions had started. I got up and asked to be put back on the monitor but they said I want due on until 5.30 am. So I decided to stay calm and try to get some more sleep, which I managed to do a little bit. At 5.30 I was put on the monitor which showed my contractions had started. I called Charlie and told him but also said to go back to sleep as I wanted to do the same. I just wanted to rest and stay calm for aslong as I could. I had some toast and tea at 8.30am I called Charlie again and told him to come to the hospital. He arrived around 9am and at this point the contractions were abit more intense and I was breathing through them. At 10.30 the doctor came to check how dilated I was, which I absolutely hated. It was so uncomfortable I cried, Charlie also said that was the worse part for him. It’s so intrusive and painful. I was 3/4 cms and I was taken down to the labour ward.
My room in the labour ward was private but it was everything I didn’t want in my birth plan (although I hadn’t even got to write my birth plan yet). I had booked a hypnobirthing retreat and planned to have a waterbirth. The one thing I did not want was to be laying on my back on a monitor but I had no choice. My pregnancy had quickly changed from low risk to high risk and I just needed my baby to to arrive safely. I had asked if it was safer for a small baby to be delivered by c section but they said it wasn’t. A cannula was put it my hand and I was put on antiobiotics. I hated all the prodding and poking, my vein collapsed the first time and somebody else came in and the second time it worked.
Straight away my contractions got much stronger and Charlie quickly went round the corner to borrow a friends tens machine. He also came back with some energy gels and an Evian spray. THE EVIAN SPRAY WAS AN ABSOLUTE LIFE SAVER BTW. Although it wasn’t pain relief, it felt amazing throughout the whole thing. I was literally screaming at Charlie to continually spray my face. Everyone should pack one in their hospital bag!!
I decided that I wanted to hold off gas and air for aslong as I possibly could. I didn’t want and drugs because I thought it wouldn’t be good for the baby and I was also scared that I wouldn’t like gas and air, my mum said that it made her feel really sick. I stayed on the tens machine for about two hours with Charlie controlling the remote, me signalling when I was was contracting by shouting/ moaning noooowwwwww! The tens machine is four sticky pads that you place on your back and it transmits electronic pulses to your nerves and helps block pain messages to the brain. This helped for a few hours but the pain was beginning to get unbearable.
Then the dreaded man came in again to check how dilated I was, I begged them not to examine me again but they had too. I was told I could have gas and air whilst they did it and I think it was at this point I transferred to gas and air. It was so uncomfortable, he also gave me a sweep to move things along quicker. I was now 7cms though! Yippee! things had moved along quite quickly.
From this point on for the next 3/4 hours I was on another planet, clinging onto the gas and air for dear life. Charlie said I was talking complete and utter gibberish making no sense. The pain was so bad I was literally dosing in and out of sleep/consciousness. Well that’s what it felt like.
The midwife popped in and out checking the monitor and my temperate. Charlie was the one mainly looking after me at this point, spraying me with Evian, giving me water. In the end he was drenching a towel and putting it on my head! I wasn’t allowed the window open as it opened onto the car park, not that I cared, I would have let the whole car park watch if they’d of let me have it open! I just needed air!
I thought I was needing to push and Charlie went to find a midwife but they knew I was still far away. The midwife said if I need to push go with it but don’t force it, I’d know when to push. Another hour or so past, in this time I asked for an epidural but it was too late! Then I thought I really needed to push. The midwife examined me and I was right this time, I was ready. Within minutes about 7 other people were in the room. A doctor to deliver the baby, paediatric nurses and nurses from the special care baby unit (scbu) all ready because we knew the baby would need special care when born.
The midwife made me come off the gas and air even though I begged to stay on it. I needed to sober up as such as I was so spaced out from it and literally within minutes I was focused and alert. I was pushing for a approximately 45 mins according to Charlie and with each contraction doing 2 to 4 pushes. Close to when I started pushing the midwife suggested that I have a catheter put in to release some urine as my full bladder was stopping the baby being able to come out, she let me have the gas and air whilst she did it and I filled two huge containers. In the 45 mins of pushing, I had about 15 contractions, in the last few before the Rudies head came out, the midwife was telling me to keep pushing even when I wanted to stop but the stinging pain was so bad I’d stop and hold back. I asked her if I really pushed in the next contraction would the head come out and she said yes. So on the next contraction I pushed as hard down into my bum as I could and the head crowned which hurt so much I shrieked, then she got me to do really small pushes to get the head out. I was trying my best to listen to all of her directions as I just wanted my baby out safely and I didn’t want to tear. With her guidance the head came out and then on the next contraction the shoulders and then she pulled him out. He came out crying which was such a relief because that meant his lungs were working and she told us he was a boy! I burst into tears, partly because the birth was over but mostly because my boy was here safely.
They took Rudie to the side and the paediatric nurses did all their checks and work on Rudie, whilst I was given an injection and delivered my placenta. After a few minutes they showed Rudie to me before taking him away and upstairs to the special care unit. I didn’t get to hold him or have skin on skin, which was heartbreaking but I knew he needed to go and get the special care necessary. Charlie stayed with me until my parents and sister arrived shortly after and then he went find Rudie.
I then spent about an hour or so in the delivery room recovering. My body went into shock a little and I threw up, my hands and legs were shaking but as soon as I had some biscuits and tea I was fine. Charlie sent me some pictures of him but I couldn’t see his little face as he had an eye mask on because he was under the light being treated for jaundice. He also had wires and and a cannula in his arm. Its not how you imagine your precious baby to look in their first pictures but he still looked perfect to me. I was told he weighed 4lb 8 which is an amazing weight for 32 weeks and that made me so happy and was such positive news, along with him breathing by himself.
I was put in a wheel chair back to the postnatal ward where I’d spent my first two nights in hospital. They came and did some checks on me and then I was finally able to be reunited with Rudie in SCBU. We just sat there watching him and I was able to touch him through the incubator door, he was so tiny and his skin so soft. I couldn’t believe how much hair he had, you can’t really imagine what your baby will look like especially when they’ve come into the world two months early.
I wasn’t allowed to hold Rudie until the following day. I snuck out of hospital before I’d been properly discharged because I was desperate for a shower and hair wash. I didn’t want Rudie thinking I was smelly and because his immune system is low I don’t want any germs around him. (I now wash my hands a zillion times a day and I’m that mum that doesn’t want anyone to touch their baby). When we were finally able to have our first cuddle it was the best feeling ever and every day since it’s still the best ever. Nothing compares.
Rudie is more gorgeous than I ever imagined he could be. He is so perfect just tiny, except for his limbs, feet and hands, which are soo long already. He has perfect little lips, lots of lovely soft brown hair. Rosey cheeks and a cheeky little smile already. I may be talking to soon but he never cries, he’s endured so much prodding and poking in hospital and he is always happy. I’m in awe of him and I love him so much.
Rudie is still being cared for in SCBU but he is doing so well and hopefully will be home soon. This journey has been frightening and took me by complete surprise. My pregnancy was cut two months short and it wasn’t the birth I had envisioned but I would do it all again for Rudie. I just feel so lucky to have him here safe and sound and he is more special and precious than I could have ever dreamed.