I feel like it is time to break the silence and blog about the birth of my 3rd baby. This has been so difficult for me to do as I feel like I haven’t been ready and I have been keeping it to myself for unknown reasons. Now its time to share and hope this releases some of what I have been feeling.
I went into hospital to be induced on the 15th December. Everything was going well and the contractions were starting slowly. I spent most the afternoon and evening walking around the hospital trying to keep awake and mobile. I was told I needed to try and get some rest but I couldn’t get comfy and let be honest, who actually manages to sleep in hospital. I spent time in the relatives room we had sitting on the comfy chairs and watching TV with Tony. I wasn’t in any pain or discomfort, but I was getting very impatient. I wanted to have our baby and then have checks and get the all clear to go home to my other children the next day. I never knew just how much the plan would be changed.
It got to about 2am and I was starting to get some painful contractions which made me very happy as I knew we were on our way to having our baby here. They continued to get stronger and more intense over the next couple of hours until about 4am when I was then offered some gas and air on the ward to try and help with the pain. I agreed and carried doing the best I could until I got taken through to delivery at half 5.. The midwife was very lovely and was encouraging me and keeping me calm too. I had to make my movements in between contractions so it took a long time to get from the wheelchair to the bed, or so it felt.
I opted to have diamorphine this time as I was in so much pain and I wasn’t sure I could cope with any more. I was warned that if the baby was born within an hour of having the pain relief that there was a risk of baby being drowsy but I was happy with this. So I had the pain relief and then was checked over and I was told that the baby was very close (which I could tell because I kept saying I needed to push and was told not to). The midwife joked with me and said she was going off shift half an hour so if I wanted baby to be delivered by her then I didn’t have long. Well she must have had the magic words because 3 pushes later and Michael was born into the world at 7.42am
Michael was taking to be weighted and then passed to Tony whilst midwife was still seeing to me. After what felt a long time I was finally able to hold my baby boy in my arms. The midwife who delivered Michael then said bye to me as she was finished and I was introduced to the midwife who took over. I was full of love for him and I was ready to burst into tears with pride and joy. The midwives went and got me some toast and tea to have (which taste so amazing after birth) and was encouraged to feed Michael and see how he got on. He was fussing and I couldn’t get him to feed and so I was doing my nervous laugh saying “aww he’s just sleepy still” then the problems really started.
The midwife asked if she could take Michael and just check him over again so I said yes. She laid him in the cot and stripped him. The midwife then said she was going to get a doctor to check him over to be sure. 2 neonatal nurses came in and had a look and by this time he was going a grey colour and was making a grunding noise. They both said they would just take him to the rescue room to give him some oxygen. Tony went with them and I stayed in the delivery room so I could shower and dress. He then came back through and told me they had taken Michael to intensive care as he is really poorly. I broke down completely and said I wanted him back. I didn’t my baby away from me. I thought people were going to take him forever.
When I was finally allowed, my midwife took me through to neonatal in a wheelchair so I could see Michael. He looked so tiny, so fragile. He didn’t look like the same baby anymore. He was in a incubator with wires already around him and oxygen supply going through there too. I asked them to explain what was wrong and what would happen next. They said that they thought he could have an infection so would start him on antibiotics whilst they wait for results. They also said his lungs were immature and this was because I had Gestational Diabetes (my guilt starting to show now) and he was struggling with oxygen levels. He would get them settled and then every time he cried the levels would drop to dangerous levels. I then again asked what would they do to help and they said he would need to be on a ventilator so he could sleep and rest to help get better and then they could also give him the protein Michael needed for his lungs. At that moment I completely broke down. I couldn’t process everything at once. We were then asked to leave so they could carry on looking after him. I started to walk back to the my room and I started to have a panic attack brought on by shock. I felt like I as going to be sick and collapse. Thankfully, my midwife noticed us and came to help. I was then told to get some sleep and to try not to worry as Tony was looking after Michael.
After some sleep I felt better and was then moved to my own side room in the midwifery unit. I was allowed to go back and see Michael. He had the ventilator still but looked peaceful. I was told that only after 12 hours they were going to try and take him off the ventilator and see how he was. He was being fed through a feeding tube and they were giving him formula to start with. I was encouraged to start hand expressing so I could help my milk come in and i was disheartened at first as I couldn’t get much at all. I was told they could continue giving Michael formula and using my milk for mouth care so he didn’t get dehydrated lips and to start to get the taste.. It only took a couple of days for my milk to come in so I was then able to express for every one of his feeds and they could stop the formula.
I really struggled with bringing myself to touch him and hold his hand. I just kept crying and I couldn’t control my emotions at all. My in-laws brought my other 2 children to see us and Tony took them through to see Michael, one at a time. I couldn’t bring myself to take them. I thought Michael wasn’t going to make it out of hospital and I didn’t want Elizabeth and Andrew see their mummy cry. For the first time since becoming a mum, I couldn’t be strong for everyone. I didn’t know how to deal with it all.
For the next couple of days Michael relied a lot on his oxygen supply but was stable. I started to feel more comfortable in touching him and was even able to help change his nappies and wash him. Tony did the tube feeds as I was so scared something would go wrong. We had also got some results back which confirmed that Michael had an infection and he would need to finish his 5 days of antibiotics. I then found it very hard to leave his side. I had to be told whenever it was time to get something to eat and drink. A part of me felt guilty because I had gestational diabetes. What did I do wrong? I also felt distant from him because I didn’t get my skin to skin cuddles after he was born. I had cuddles but he had to be wrapped up and have an oxygen mask close by.
On the Tuesday when Michael was 3 days old I had a member of staff come to speak to me in my room and told me I was going to be sent home that day. Once again I broke down. I was told that she thought Michael would need to be in the hospital for quite a while still and I needed to be at home for my other 2 and live a normal life. Anger crept in at this point. How on earth can I go home and live a normal life when I have to leave my baby behind. I wasn’t going to go. I knew my children were OK with their nanny and grandad so I was able to concentrate on Michael. I then phoned Tony and I broke down to tell him what happened and he phoned and spoke to someone and said I was left feeling deflated. I was told I could stay one more night because of the shock but if there was no change the next day then I would have to go home, this was a plan I could accept.
I went to visit Michael and noticed that the oxygen had gone down and he was breathing a lot better on his own. I asked if I was able to hold him and I finally got my skin to skin bond. He slept on my chest quite nicely for nearly an hour and in that time he didn’t need any extra oxygen. The nurse who was looking after him had said that he was able to go into a normal cot overnight and just be monitored. This made me so proud. I left him in the cot and went to get some sleep myself.
The next morning came, I had to find out how Michael was overnight and if he improved he would be allowed on the ward with me and if not I had to leave him and go home. On the way to his cot I was shaking, I was so scared of seeing him back in the incubator and on oxygen. I went in and there he was, in the same cot I had left him in. I gave a huge sigh of relief and waited for the doctors round. When they came round I was told that I could try breastfeeding and he was feeding properly he could leave neonatal and come on a ward with me. To start with, he wasn’t very interested so the nurse said she would leave him to get hungry and then for me to try again. She removed the feeding tube as she said he wouldn’t need it anymore. He then started to feed like a champ so we just had to wait for a doctor to check him over and he could be discharged from there to the ward with me. The only thing I had to do was to take him back to Neonatal for his last lot of antibiotics. I was so happy to have my baby boy next to me..
When he had moved onto my ward we had family come and visit again and the children were able to give him cuddles and meet him properly. I felt so much better now I had him back. I took him to neonatal and he had his final lot of antibiotics and it finally clicked that he was a lot better. He looked like my baby boy again and not a delicate doll. We had a fairly reasonable night of sleeping and feeding. It just felt right for the first time since having him. The next day consisted of midwives completing paperwork and asking me question after question about his feeds and nappies. After what seemed a lifetime, me and Tony were finally able to take him home and be a family.
Guilt washed over me, but for different reasons. It had suddenly dawned on me that I wasn’t worried about Elizabeth and Andrew and that they weren’t my first thought. It was only when we were all home I realised that I had neglected them and wasn’t there for them. I spent the next few days concentrating on them as much as I could and doing what I could with them to show them that I still loved them.
I then got a sense of peace. Michael was home, we were altogether as a family and we could look forward to enjoying Christmas together. My family was complete and it wasn’t going to change again. No one would come between my family again.