The Epic Prologue to Eilys’ birth story

My pregnancy with Dylan was straightforward and I was considered low risk and part of the reason why I lost weight between babies was that I didn’t want to be classed as high risk due to my weight. With Dylan I was so desperate to have a water birth that when that wasn’t an option I was so gutted it sort of ruined the whole experience. I didn’t want his birth to be so medicalised and I felt exactly the same when it came to baby 2.

Everything was going really really well. I had no sickness, no soreness and the only symptoms of being pregnant I had were being tired and a compulsion to eat marmite on everything (not a craving, I didn’t crave it ever but if I had some then I would just eat and eat and eat it). We happily went along to our 12 week scan and, because we are idiots, we took Dylan. He ran riot around the machines, kept turning the taps on, opening drawers, emptying drawers, in short he was being a toddler. I am not sure that Joe got so much as a glimpse of the baby on the screen. But there was definitely a baby there; 2 arms, 2 legs, a body, a head and a heartbeat. Yay! The scan confirmed that I was right about the due date, June 24th. The sonographer printed off some pictures and asked us to wait in the waiting room for the midwife to go over the scan, take bloods etc. “They just need to test my wee and take blood, why don’t you take Dylan for a walk” I said to a very frazzled Joe and off they went.

I got called into the midwifes room and there was a consultant there too, a bit odd I thought. She then explained that as Dylan was a “small” baby then they needed to monitor this baby more closely to make sure that everything was ok. Dylan was 6lb 12 and was born 2 days before he was due… not really small but according to their charts and calculations I should be creating much bigger babies (rude!) She explained that we would have a scan at 20 weeks (normal), then one at 30 weeks and finally a scan at 36 weeks. She explained that if the baby wasn’t as big as they wanted it to be or if the baby’s growth trailed off at the end of the pregnancy I might be asked to have extra scans on top of that, or be given more frequent monitoring or that I would be induced early as the baby would be “better out than in”.

Obviously that was not really what we wanted to here and my brain went into over drive and I drove Joe mad with my incessant worrying but after a few days we decided that worrying wouldn’t solve anything and we should just go with the flow. At this point we hadn’t told anybody else that we were having a baby as I wanted to wait until Christmas day and makem I love a big reveal (I’ll save that for another blog post maybe). We had 8 weeks until our next scan and we just continued as normal. Both my pregnancies have been physically complication free. I was still going to slimming world, I still went to the gym and still walked everywhere. I’ll jump cut through the rest of the pregnancy scan by scan or this post will turn into an actual novel, man I love to waffle on…

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11/02/15 – 20 Week Anomaly Scan at 21 weeks pregnant

We went along to the scan without Dylan (we definitely learnt that lesson, ha!) The sonographer was happy with the baby, checked that all the bits of amd.k.and pieces were in the right place and doing their thang. I always find this scan utterly amazing. The sonographer was showing us all these little blobby things and saying “that’s the liver… and there’s the bladder, it’s very full!… the heart is pumping there”. The baby was being a little monkey and wouldn’t move so she couldn’t measure the length of the spine and as a result we were booked in for another scan 2 weeks later. We weren’t worried by this at all as Dylan was a little monkey at his scans too and wouldn’t stay still! We had decided that this time we didn’t want to find out the sex of the baby. We had with Dylan as we decided that it might help us to prepare for our new arrival (it didn’t really). This time I wanted to have a different experience so we didn’t find out.

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25/02/15 – ReDo of the Anomaly Scan at 23 weeks pregnant

2 weeks later we were back at the hospital. This time we’d wised up and requested that we have the earliest appointment in the day that we could, no queue! I am such an impatient person and I hate waiting, especially in doctors/hospital waiting rooms! Anyway, we had the scan and the measurements were taken and all was well. I was worried mid-scan that we would have to come back in another 2 weeks as the baby was playing a good game of “hiding behind my tummy button” but eventually it moved.

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22/04/15 – Growth scan at 30 weeks pregnant

Pregnancy was still being very kind to me. I was having afternoon naps most afternoons due to being unbelievably tired. Dylan has always been really good at napping so I just slept when he did 🙂 I was still going to the gym 3 times a week most weeks and I could still chase D up to the tallest slide at soft play. My bump was small and neat and I didn’t need to wear maternity gear, yet.

This scan was a very speedy affair and then we had the consultant appointment afterwards. She was pleased with the baby’s progress (the baby was measuring just under the 20th centile line thingy) but she said that as the baby was on the “small side” she wanted to see us again at 34 weeks and 38 weeks for scans rather than just at 36 weeks. She explained that this would give a better rounded picture of the baby’s growth. Fair enough, we thought and its always good to see the baby more. We were both really pleased that they were taking such excellent care of us.

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13/05/15 – Growth Scan at 34 weeks pregnant

Off we popped to the hospital again. This time rather than dragging my poor mother up from Leicestershire to babysit Dylan, he was at nursery. This was his second full morning at Nursery. We dropped him off and drove to the hospital. Another £5 on parking (seriously, charging people for parking in a hospital is ridiculous!), another bottle of wee, another £4 spent on scan photo coupons and another sit in the seriously boring waiting room watching “expensive baby stuff advert TV”. Again the scan went well and was quick. As the baby was getting bigger the sonographer was trying to get a good shot of the baby’s face but it kept covering it’s face with it’s hands.

Then for the consultant appointment. We were having a chat about the growth chart ands she was just signing me off to have a home birth kit (just in case, I didn’t want a home birth) when the midwife showed her the results of my dip-the-stick-in-the-wee test and the mood changed. “There is a lot of protein in your wee Emma” she said. Oh. Crap. I knew exactly what protein in the wee meant. One of the my best friend’s had preeclampsia and had to have her baby early as a result. “We need to check your blood pressure” I was having a full blown internal meltdown but desperately trying to hold it together, I’m so British!

Obviously my bloody pressure was through the roof. “Right Emma, we need to do a blood test to test for a condition called preeclampsia, ok? We will then need to recheck your blood pressure and do further tests on your urine sample. If it comes back that you have preeclampsia then we’ll need to admit you today, monitor you and give you some drugs to mature the baby’s lungs. Hopefully we’ll be able to keep the baby in until you are 37 weeks but chances you’ll have to be induced today” Aghhhhhhhhhh. And that is when the tears started. All I could think of is that poor Dylan would be having a lovely day at nursery and then he wouldn’t see his Mummy for days! I quickly tried to plan things in my head. My hospital bag was packed, check. I needed to call my Mum or Joe’s Mum to come and look after Dylan, etc etc.

They stole some blood from me and sent it off to be tested asap and then they hooked me up to a blood pressure monitor to check me every 15 minutes. The first BP check and it was still high. The second check it was nearly back to normal. By the third check it was normal. Then the lab results came back for my blood sample and they were normal. The consultant then signed me off to go home. Panic over. Later in the day the midwife called me up and said that the lab test of my urine came back normal too (from the same sample that had loads of protein in). She explained that the dipstick-test-thingy-indicator-strip must have been contaminated. Brilliant. Thanks. From this point on my hospital bag and the car seat lived in the car, just in case!

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28/05/15 – Emergency growth scan at 36 weeks pregnant

I was now having a midwife appointment every 2 weeks. Midwife appointments are loads of fun when you have a very inquisitive toddler in toe (and I hope you read that in a very sarcastic voice because that is how it was typed!) Dylan emptied drawers, moved tables, weighed himself, climbed on chairs and generally acted like Dylan. All the information given to me or the questions I asked were always punctuated with several “stop that… noooo… what are you doing?… get down…” I was really lucky with this pregnancy in that I had always seen my named midwife at every appointment whereas with Dylan I had a different one each time. The only appointment Nicky missed was this one, my 36 week check up, as she was on her holidays.

The appointment was the usual; a bit of general-how-are-you-doing chit chat, heart beat hearing and then on the the fundal height measuring… As she was measuring I thought to myself that she was measuring in a slightly different place to where Nicky would usually measure me. She plotted it on the graph and the growth of the bump looked as if it had stopped (well, in fact the bump was 1cm smaller than 2 weeks ago). She said it was fine but then she said “oh actually we had an email about this today, hang on…” and she clicked on the computer a bit and then said “oh… I’ll have to get you to have an emergency scan as the growth has stopped”. Crap. I again, panicked. She called the hospital and they said to come down whenever and they would see me asap. I called Joe in tears telling him to come home to look after Dylan, Dylan didn’t know what was going on bless him. Joe met us at home and I drove to the hospital and waited for my scan.

Amazingly, I was seen really quickly. The sonographer scanned the baby and measured and said that the baby was growing perfectly. Phew! Relief washed over me but the sonographer was still scanning away and said “unfortuately the baby is breech”. What!? We’d only had a scan 2 weeks ago and everything was fine I said, surely the baby will just turn back around again? “Well, no” she said “it’s not that simple, consultants like the baby to be the right way round at this point and if its turned in the last few weeks it is unlikely to turn again” More panic. Panic seems to a running theme with this story. Honestly, my friends will tell you that I am not a panicky person. I am usually so chilled about things but as I kept saying to Joe “everything that could go wrong is going wrong” (Joe will tell you that whereas I am not a panicker, I am a drama queen).

They booked us in for another scan a week later and said that if the baby hadn’t moved on its own then they would attempt to manually turn it (which sounds delightful!) and if that failed then I would be booked in for a c-section…. I have no idea why but I have always had a horrendous fear of epidurals. I think it is a lot to do with not being able to get up and do things afterwards and the loss of control during. I really really did not want to have a c-section so I spent that evening googling “how to turn a breech baby” and I spent the following week with my shoulders and chest on the floor, bum in the air or lying with my bum under several pillows and my hips elevated or putting headphones to the bottom of my bump and blasting Biffy Clyro at it or having a warm hot water bottle on my bump or going for a swim…

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04/06/15 – Scan to check if the baby had turned at 37 weeks pregnant

We sat in the waiting room and I was again, having a panic with Joe trying to keep me calm. The baby’s image popped on the scene and THE BABY HAD TURNED!!! Yipeeeeeee! And to add to our elation on leaving the appointment the car park ticket machine was broken so we didn’t have to pay for parking, bonus!!

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10/06/15 – Growth scan at 38 weeks pregnant

Our last scan. We hoped. At this point I was feeling pretty positive and relaxed. I felt like I was on the homestretch. The sonographer had a trainee midwife with her so she was showing her lots of other things and answering all the questions that I had been too scared to ask. It was a great scan. Until the end. The sonographer mentioned in passing that the baby’s growth had slowed a bit but she said there wasn’t anything to worry about. We sat in the waiting room for a bit and then waited for our appointment with the consultant. In my head I knew what the outcome would be. I just knew.

The consultant explained that as the baby wasn’t growing as well as they’d like it to that she thought it would be “better out than in”. She said that she could book us in for an induction that afternoon…. Surprisingly I was very calm. I think because this allowed us some level of control over the birth. We decided that the induction would happen the next day to give us a chance to sort Dylan out. I was then offered a sweep to “help things along a bit”. I was ushered off behind a curtain, I have no idea why as Joe had seen it all before but hey ho, and then the consultant gave me a lovely sweep (again, that was heavily sarcastic!) Yet again my blood pressure was high and I had to have bloods taken, again. Of course my blood pressure was high! I had just been told that my baby was small, it wasn’t growing properly, I was going to be induced and I was trying to internally plan what I was going to do with Dylan and making mental checklists to make sure that I had done everything I needed to do in preparation for having a new baby! Aghhhh! They put me back on the blood pressure monitor and I had my BP checked every 15 minutes while my bloods were sent off asap to the lab. Joe went to collect Dylan from nursery and I sat and waited. I called Joe’s Mum and my brother to arrange for them to look after Dylan (Valerie to come over that night after she’d seen Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime at the theatre and James would look after Dylan if the sweep worked and I went into labour before she could get here). My parents were bobbing around on a cruise ship in the fjords of Norway but my rather garbled, rambled text everyday got delivered about an hour after sending it and my Mum managed to ring me on a very awful line.  After I had arranged Dylan’s care and after talking to my parents my BP dropped back to the lower end of normal and I was sent home. Joe was at home with a napping Dylan so I got the bus home and then nipped into town to get a changing mat, some more nappies, some shower gel for my hospital bag and something nice for dinner that night…

And I will leave the story here for now as I think I have waffled on quite enough. Please stay perched on the edge of your seat until I get the chance to complete this epic tale!

Thanks for reading xx

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