Becoming Mum | My Birth Story

TRIGGER WARNING – SCBU, Septic Shock, AKI, C-Section, Trauma

This may be a trigger to some people, my inbox is always open, especially if you experienced this. You are not alone. 

We made it. We came through the other side.

This is my birth story. It has taken me so long to piece it together and when it gets too heavy, I just leave it and come back to it. Whilst I seek out help for processing this, I wanted to document my journey. It is also important to note that the 7th September to the 13th September 2020 is Birth Trauma Awareness Week and the theme is Journeys. This is mine. 

The whole ordeal was traumatic for all involved. Even though I experienced it, I was so far out of it that I feel so much more for my mother, husband and family as they were there to witness it and I’m sure those images will never go away in any of their minds.

It all started on Friday 5th July 2019. Stefan had gone out with my mum and dad to do our weekly food shop, we didn’t want to book a delivery slot that week, in case the baby decided to arrive. I didn’t want the stress or worry of having Stefan leave me in the hospital to wait for a shop. That thought to me is silly in hindsight and you will see why. 

I decided to potter around the flat and began to do the washing up from the night before when I felt a little trickle. Now, this wasn’t a big gush or anything like the TV or movies describe or portray it was a little bit of water. To the point that I thought I had peed a little, so naturally checked it out, it wasn’t pee. So, I changed my knickers, finished up the washing up and my tummy started to get tight. So, I was thinking these must be contractions. They weren’t painful, just took my breath away. So, I placed myself in our bedroom on my bouncy ball in front of our fan as I had come over a bit warm. I just remember being hot. I calmly made a call to Stefan to inform him of what was happening but that it was early on so not to rush home. “Continue shopping I’ll be okay.” And I was. I breathed through each contraction and changed positions a lot. 

Stefan came home with the food shop and my parents and the wait began. I phoned the hospital for advice and they gave me the wait times and when I should call back as it all seemed very early. I moved from the ball to the bed to the living room where I plonked myself on my side as I was already tired. This went on from 10 am till 2.30 pm where the contractions were coming faster and I phoned the hospital again. We were admitted to the delivery suite at 3 pm. 

In the hospital, we got the lift to the 1st floor, where a boy was terrified and his mother turned to him and said “look this lady is having a baby, you will be fine in this lift” I don’t know why that has stuck in my memory but people are weird and they want to have all the conversations with you when you’re trying to breathe through contractions. Once on the delivery suite, we were in our little room and they checked me over. They were convinced they would have to send me home as I didn’t seem in pain or that far along. I was relatively calm to be fair. To the midwives’ surprise, I was 5cms dilated! She said she would eat a hat if I was more than 3! I loved this midwife; her name was Karen and she was an absolute babe. 

They told me to walk around the hospital a bit and we can get things moving. I hated walking around, I was so tired, my tummy was aching. I just wanted to curl up in a ball and go to sleep. When we got back to the delivery suite I sat on the chair, the bed, the ball to try and get things moving but I was already tired. I was finally given Gas and Air but it made me violently sick so I didn’t want that anymore. this was one of the gross parts, I threw up in 3-bed pans because there was just so much of it. 

They could still feel water so they opted for breaking my waters. Bye, bye water birth that I had my hopes on. Once they broke my water there were traces of meconium (baby’s first poo) but the midwives didn’t seem concerned even when I raised my concern again later on where I was leaving green gooey blobs everywhere I sat (the joys right?!).

Between that time and 5 am Saturday not much progress at all and to be fair I don’t remember it. Contractions continued; everything so far was all very uneventful. I was given an epidural at 5 am and we had moved rooms as the water birth pool was no longer needed for me. The Saturday Morning came and I was put on the hormone drip. I was now only allowed to drink water, so I did. I was also given water through a drip to ensure I was hydrated. I had 2 litres of fluid through that drip as well as over a litre of water in the tiny jugs. With an epidural, you are hooked up to a catheter too. With all that fluid I had only weed millilitres if that. In the pee bag, it was minimal. So, my original doctor thinks there is something wrong with my catheter so that is changed. Again, still, not much wee, so it is changed again. That is now the third catheter and I can feel the pressure in my bladder as if I am fit to bursting to wee. This was just dismissed and after being checked I was now 10cms so I was allowed to push. That’s what I was told to do and I did, for 2 hours. Nothing. She was coming then she wasn’t, one push forward and on the inward breath, our baby wanted to move further back. Then our baby decided to turn and was in distress, the beeping from her monitor was intense. Every contraction her heart rate dipped and didn’t recover well enough for the midwives to be happy. So I hastily signed all the consent forms as we were sent to the theatre for a potential forceps delivery, my mum tells me that I turned to her and told her “I will be alright, I will be out soon with my baby” I don’t remember even saying this but mum was upset that I was having to be wheeled away. I was taken to theatre to be prepped for a forceps delivery, but whilst Stefan was gowning up it changed to a Category 1 Emergency C Section. 

Evie on SCBU

The C section started at 6 pm and Evie was whipped out in 20 minutes, she was taken to the machine and given oxygen. I finally heard her little cry and then she was a distant memory. I felt really unwell, I felt smothered by the protective screen near my face, then I began to feel like I was in a washing machine, my stomach was being tugged and pulled and felt like everyone was having a good old rummage around down there. I began to panic, I rarely panic, not on this scale anyway. But this was something else. I begged that they had to knock me out with general anaesthetic as each tug and pull I just wanted to run away. 

I have no idea what this nurse/midwife told us.

I went under in panic mode and I came through the general anaesthetic in panic mode too. Long afterwards at the birth afterthoughts process, I was told that when everything fell back into place once Evie was out my (full) bladder fell onto my kidneys and I was diagnosed with an AKI (Acute Kidney Injury). My body had gotten an infection when Evie was already inside and due to time passing, I had also passed this infection onto Evie who was now in the SCBU and not with me in recovery but in all honesty, at this point, I had forgotten I was in there to have a baby. I was on pure survival mode. My body went into shock and my temperature went through the roof, my heart rate was off the charts and I was tachycardic, they needed to stabilise me and this was all while I was in the recovery room. I was coming through, groggy, panicked and freaking out. A doctor was trying to x-ray me to check internally what the issue was and I took this opportunity to pull out the canular in my hand that was causing me pain. The painkillers they were topping me up with during surgery via a canular. The canular had slipped out of my vein and was actually just imbedded into my hand and tissue. So all the fluid was being pumped repeatedly into my hand instead of my veins, hence why I could feel all the things after the section. My hand was sore and now bleeding a lot because I ripped out that horrid thing from my arm. My arm was, however, a disgusting shade of purple and my mum (who was called in to calm me down) was very much concerned with whether I would lose it, that’s how swollen and purple it was. Luckily it was all fluid. Nerve damage and fluid but it’s still not right to this day if I knock it or use it for a prolonged amount of time, it aches and gets sore. 

My hand after pulling the canular out. Don’t do that kids. It hurts.
Meeting Evie for the first time on the Sunday evening – she was born on the Saturday

Stefan was told that the next 12 hours were critical for both of us. I was taken to the HDU (High Dependency Unit) and Evie was in SCBU (Special Care Baby Unit), I was monitored and treated for sepsis, (as a precaution because the sepsis protocol is so rigorous it would resolve many other infections) Evie’s infection markers were high, she later went onto develop e-coli in her blood which we believe is down the meconium. 

Whilst on HDU, I hallucinated a lot, I felt like I was on a boat and can remember them rocking me to move me onto a bed there. I also remember telling the nurses that the doctor overseeing me “was not a real doctor” as he was too tanned and that he was an actor on Casualty. (it was Summer he must have come back from holiday, but also he did look a lot like Ethan from Casualty). On the delivery suite, the room was wobbling (it wasn’t), but it’s weird what things do to your brain. 

When I came round the next morning on the High Dependency Unit, I had no recollection of even giving birth, Stefan showed me a photo of Evie and my response “Oh, that’s nice”. I live with that sentence every day. As I perked up over the day, the hospital was keen for me to get out of bed and go see my baby.

I got to see Evie for the first time in SCBU on Sunday evening and we got to hold her for the first time on Monday. We stayed in hospital till the following Saturday.

Our first cuddle on the Monday

I was moved onto the delivery suite again on Monday and then the Tuesday night I was moved onto the antenatal ward, swiftly ushered into my own room once a midwife saw how upset I got that the mums surrounding me on the ward had their babies and mine was in the next room but through a locked door. 

Evie stayed on SCBU until the Thursday, but we were in there every day, learning what her wires meant, feeding her milk through her tube, waiting for her to get the hang of a bottle and changing her nappies. The day before my birthday, she joined me on the ward and the fun parenting began. Even though we had given her a few bottles, she was feeding through a tube the first 5 days and we did a few nappies in SCBU I was still very dazed until about Wednesday where my Mumma bear instincts came in and I was ready to look after her myself and I wanted to go home. I was so sick of being in the hospital, that was a clear sign that I was feeling better. 

I was however hooked up to IV antibiotics and as was Evie so we had to stay in for the full course and then I had to take another two weeks worth home in tablet form, plus iron tablets. 

I wanted to breastfeed, or at least give it a go. I had many midwives ask if I wanted them to hand express my boobs as my hands were royally messed up. But we opted with formula feeding and we stand by this decision I really didn’t need the added pressure of latching and all sorts. The midwives understood and weren’t pushy at all. Through all of this, and recalling it I have found some funny moments in the trauma and want to share them.

  • Stefan telling me not to look to the side as my placenta was over there. (I didn’t want to see it at all).
  • Mum and Stefan eating hospital food whilst I was only allowed water and the smell of that food was excruciating.
  • Trying to navigate going to the toilet, holding the site of your wound and trying to just be a bit normal after giving birth.
  • Iron tablets. – pretty much convinced my insides were messed up because of the colour of my poop.
  • Mum and Dad bringing me all the snacks and loo roll as the hospital toilet paper was horrendous.
  • Adult nappies.
  • Demanding a fan for my downstairs in recovery as I was so hot.
  • Trying and failing not to flash the other patients on HDU.
  • Being wheeled to the ultrasound department in a wheelchair by the world’s fastest porter.

But there, that was Evie’s bumpy journey into the world and my crash landing into motherhood. But as I have looked for recovery from my birth trauma I am in a place now where I can say this was not my fault at all. I was let down by a system. 

For ages, I felt like I was the failure. Until I had that validation from an outside source, I think I would have continued to blame myself for the rest of my life. 

Evie now. She is the happiest, healthiest little girl and she makes me so proud every single day

Birth Trauma Support

I have popped this bit in as without the Birth Trauma Resolution I wouldn’t have been able to type this up at all. Tracy has been incredible and I have looked forward to our sessions and I do feel like I have turned a real corner in my recovery. All down to her. Tracy was the person I needed probably from day one, she allowed me to really tell my story, validated my feelings and has turned me into a completely new person. Forever grateful and deserves a post dedicated to her and all her hard work!

Birth Trauma Resolution

Birth Trauma Assosiation

Post natal PTSD after Birth Trauma – Mind

Birth Trauma and PTSD – NCT

Becca xo

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