The hardest blog to write so far

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.

My Pregnancy Twist

When I was around 26 weeks pregnant I was told I had to go and do a Glucose Tolerance Test or a GTT for short. For those who don’t know, a GTT is a test where you have bloods taken then get given this sugary drink, a bit like Lucozade, sit around for 2 hours doing nothing then have more bloods taken before being allowed home. You have to do this test as a fasting one so no food or drink after Midnight. The idea of the test is to see how your body controls the sugar in the drinks and how it affects your blood sugar levels. If you don’t meet the targets you then receive a diagnosis of Gestational Diabetes. This is completely different to type 2 diabetes in the sense that the targets are lower and you will only have gestational diabetes until your baby is born. It raises your risk of developing type 2 diabetes in the future but simple lifestyle changes will help keep the risk to minimum. It also means that in future pregnancies you will be at a higher risk of Gestational Diabetes but this again doesn’t guarantee you will definitely develop it in future pregnancies.

So, a couple of days after my test I received a phone call from a midwife to tell me that I had Gestational Diabetes and from that moment on I was too attend all appointments at the hospital with the diabetic team. Then she said bye and went off the phone. My first reaction was too break down and cry, there was no mention of what would happen next or what it really meant, I just had to wait for my appointment to come through the post. The appointment had been made around 10 days later and I had people telling me to not worry about it as I didn’t yet know what they would say. One thought went through my mind, easier said than done.

I felt like a complete and utter failure. What had I done to have Gestational Diabetes? Was it because of my weight? What are the complications? Will my baby be safe? All these questions and I didn’t know where to start. I started looking up information on the internet, BIG mistake. I was reading horror stories of mums having big babies and there was other complications that could potentially cause a health risk to my baby. Quite rightly, my husband saw me and told me off. I was reading about something I had never heard off before or even knew anything about so it was crazy of me to think I could just read and understand.

The time came for the appointment and to say I was slightly nervous would be an understatement. I was terrified, I didn’t know what to expect. I was called into a small room where they took my blood pressure then told me to sit back int he waiting room and I would be called through soon. I was again called about 15 min later and I thought here goes. I was taken into a room where I was told to take a seat and I got left. It was just me in this room. Now what? I had someone poke their head in and she introduced herself as the Dietitian. She took my weight and then sat down with me and started to tell me all the foods that I should avoid or eat less of and the ones that I should be eating more of. I didn’t know where to start with taking it all in. She quickly disappeared and left me sitting there on my own again until someone else came in. This time it was the Diabetic nurse. She was really lovely and told me a bit more about what was going to happen every day from that moment until giving birth. She explained that I would be having to test my blood sugars 4 times  day and they had to be a mix of before meals and after meals. So my targets were, before a meal it had to be below 5.5 and 1 hour after meals it had to be below 7.8 I was really positive and asked how should I do this. In fairness I probably sounded too eager. Then she told me and my face dropped. I would have to finger prick myself, with a needle, 4 times a day…. I was not looking forward to this. She took one for me to show me how to do it and I wasn’t very prepared for it. I clenched my toes in anticipation and if I’m honest, I still clench my toes 10 weeks later. She then told me to see how I get on and she would see me again in 2 weeks. I was also told that if I struggled to control my blood sugars with just the food I was eating then I would need to go onto medication. I did not feel like this was a good option for me and I wanted to avoid it at all costs.

The next person I saw was a consultant. He was there to explain to me some of the risks and to to say that I needed growth scans to check everything with baby is going well. I was okay with this as I thought it would give me more opportunities to see baby. He also explained that because of the diabetes I would need to be induced as their hospital policy is to induce around 39 weeks depending on circumstances. The last person I saw was a midwife. She asked me if I found all the information helpful and I was very honest and told her that it didn’t seem helpful at the time as there was too much. She asked if she could check babies position and listen to the heartbeat and then said if there wasn’t anything else I would like to ask then I was free to go. I couldn’t wait to leave, I was given a testing kit with lancets, or needles, and some testing strips for me to do at home. I was still clueless and didn’t know what to think.

From this appointment I found a brilliant group on Facebook where I found I could speak to other pregnant in the same position and get advice that really helped me. I also found that one of my old friends was also part of this group so I found it a real blessing being able to talk to her and ask her what I thought were daft questions.

So 10 weeks later and I have changed my diet a lot and I am now a lot more aware of the foods that I can eat and definitely the ones I should avoid. I have lost count of how many times I have had to prick myself but I am finding that I can get it done in 1 go now, whereas it was taking 3 or 4 tries each time. I am still very happy to point out that I am sill able to control my diabetes with just diet instead of medication and I am booked in for my induction in a weeks time.

I am so glad I stuck with the advice I was given and I can now finally see the light at the end of the tunnel.

My pregnancy so far 

So I am currently 24 weeks pregnant and things have been going well. We went for our first scan at the beginning of June. We had a bit of a trek to get the hospital. It involved a bus into town and then the train to the hospital we had to go. We were going on holiday the very next day for 2 weeks and so we had the scan on a specific day wherever was available. I was really nervous before our first scan as I people joke to me that we were having twins and part of me actually believed them. I still don’t think I was ready for them to say it was twins though. So we had our scan and the lady confirmed that was only one baby. I had to hold back on the cheering but I think it was safe to say that both me and Tony were secretly relieved. Don’t get me wrong if we were told it was twins we would have been happy but at the same time one newborn with 2 other children seems scary enough without adding an extra baby to the equation.

We were given a due date of 20th December, that seems too close to Christmas. Ah how am I gonna organise Christmas? We left the hospital completely over the moon after seeing our little baby on the screen. It just helped to make it all real. Everything just felt perfect. I have my amazing little family and I couldn’t wait to tell my darling children that we were having another baby.

We went on holiday and enjoyed ourselves and I was trying to most of our time away and exploring whilst battling constant tiredness and exhaustion. I survived and I loved every moment of our holiday. It is very busy but filled with days doing what I wanted to do and most of all I loved seeing my beautiful children enjoy themselves.

Then we came back to reality with a thud. I had a consultant appointment at the hospital. I was a little bit worried about this but that’s the kind of person I am, I always worry. We asked a friend to take us to the appointment and then she took the kids to the park whilst we were in appointment. So we sat in the waiting room and I began to shake. My hands and knees were just going. When I am scared or nervous I also get a funny feeling in my belly which I really don’t like. Anyway, we got called through and I nervously sat on the chair in the consultants room. She seemed nice when we went in..

During the appointment I heard talk about my 2 previous pregnancies which were in a different county and that she was concerned as there was quite a gap in weight between my first 2 (my first was 6lb15oz and my second was 8lb15oz) I thought that this was nothing to worry about as I reassured after giving birth to my second that it was completely normal as he was 12 days late and that’s when they out on the most weight but I really don’t know as I’m not an expert. She also went on to speak about my weight. Now I have always been very conscious and suffered many years with low self-esteem because of my weight. I am not huge but I am also not a healthy weight. At the time of my appointment I was the heaviest I have ever been and this is something I am determined to change once I have had this baby.

Anyway, she was saying because of my weight I am more likely to develop Gestational Diabetes and so I would I need a test and also because the difference in weight between children I will also have to go for growth scans. This can determine if the baby is going to be too big to carry on to full term or even if I am able to have a natural labour. My heart sank. I was sitting here listening to someone potentially tell me that any choice I have concerning labour can be taken away and she can decide for me if I need to have a c-section as it could be in “my best interests”

What could be in my best interests is allowing me to still have my choice and an opted c-section will not be that choice. I should point out that the other option would be to consider inducing me early and this settles my mind a lot easier as I could still havea natural  labour once induced. It does mean I wouldn’t be able to have a water birth but that doesn’t matter as long I can deliver baby safely. I came out of the consultants room feeling downhearted. I had never had an appointment like this before and I didn’t want another one. I had held it together when we on our drive home but as soon as I got home I just broke down.

I was really struggling to see the positives from the appointment and I didn’t want to speak about it either. Tony made me see sense and actually got me talking.

Since then I have progressed slowly through the pregnancy and found that I do actually have Gestational Diabetes this time. It was again, a shock for me to take in but I am managing without medication. If anything I am coping a lot better than I thought I would as I am actually losing weight whilst my baby is growing nicely. It just means less carbs with meals and an excuse to eat all the baby bel in the world.

I am now 36 weeks pregnant and I have an induction date booked for the 15th December which is when I will be 39 weeks. This puts my mind at ease as I can organise Christmas and know that my little one will be here for Christmas Day. It also means I only have 2 weeks to get everything sorted (arghhhh) it’s such a scary time too.

I will write more on Gestational Diabetes but for now I think I will leave it there. Have too much going on to carry on writing. Look out for my next blog which should hopefully be within the next month.

And now we are having 3

The shock moment when I realised I hadn’t had a period for nearly 6 weeks and I was feeling tired and exhausted all the time. I was taking contraception and I was taking it regularly every day. I told Tony and he wasn’t sure but I said I wanted to take a test to rule it out so I could then investigate why I hadn’t had a period and why I was so tired. I sent Tony out to get a test then when he got home I went and peed on the stick. I set the timer on my phone for 3 mins and went downstairs to try and distract me. When the timer was done I had to then go back up and look at the stick but I was so scared that I didn’t actually want to look. At this point I didn’t know what was going through my mind. I would love it to be positive as I also wanted to have 3 children but at the same time I didn’t feel like I was ready to have another baby just yet as Andrew was still very much attached to me and doesn’t like being too far from me. I took a deep breath and went and looked at the stick.

2 LINES!! 2 bright red lines was staring right at me. I was pregnant.

I couldn’t believe it. I thought to myself, how could this happen? Well I know how it happens but how? I was on the pill. I was taking contraception to stop myself from falling pregnant. I just looked and then I started to cry. I poured my heart out. These ended up being tears of joy. I was happy that it was positive. I went downstairs and told Tony and watched him become in total shock. 

Well that was that then. We were going to have another little monkey running around the place. Once the shock had sunk in I was relieved and very excited. We then went and told family and close friends who were all very pleased for us. 
The next thing to happen was my appointment with the doctor. It started off by being asked if it was planned. When I said I was on contraception she said that I wasn’t able to go back on it after I gave birth. Well to me that was obvious. She then asked the question. And with that question I gave the look. “Because this pregnancy wasn’t planned, would you like to consider a termination? It can be very difficult to enjoy a pregnancy when it wasn’t planned”. Would I? Now please give me a minute while consider my answer. No! I’m very sure thank you, I want to keep this baby. It may not have been planned by myself or Tony but it was planned by someone else and that is enough for me. 

When the appointment was finished I got given 2 numbers for the 2 local hospitals that I could go through and I was told to ring them myself and do a self referral. I phoned them on the way home from the doctors and kinda wished I hadn’t. Trying to work out and answer the man on the other end of the phone was very funny. He asked me for the first date of my last period and I thought to myself, well this is very personal and I don’t want to share it with you. Now this could have been because I never had a man ask these questions before so I felt very much out of my comfort zone. I answered his questions then carried on home. 
I had a very successful first midwife appointment. The midwife was very lovely and explained everything as she did the paperwork. Tony came with me for the appointment and I’m glad he did. I love him being involved in the pregnancy and asking questions too. She had asked me if myself or anyone else in my family suffer from any form of mental health and I said no, which is true. Tony then said to the midwife that he suffered with PND after our first baby was born. She was very polite and said that for the purposes of her paperwork it is only interested in the maternal side of things but she herself would very much like to hear what happened. So then the next 20 mins were spent with me just sitting in my chair and Tony and my midwife were discussing PND in males and how many more men are actually stepping out and asking for help. So that was appointment over and I finally think it has settled down into my mind now that our family is indeed going to grow.

PND affects everyone. A mummy and wife’s perspective

So my husband has asked me to write a blog about my feelings and how I “coped” when he told me he had PND. Here goes

It was around the time when my daughter, Elizabeth, was 7 months old that I got a phone call telling me that Tony had been picked up from the train station by the police for trying to take his own life and walking on the train tracks. Let’s pause there and rewind to the beginning.

Elizabeth’s birth had been traumatic for both me and Tony but I was too high on gas and air to even focus properly. It was Tony who was the strong one during this time and he was strong for both of us whilst we were in this horrific situation of “let us see our daughter”. He wanted to make sure Elizabeth was safe but at the same time he wanted to make sure I was okay. Well we were and 2 days after birth we were allowed home. At home everything seemed to go really smoothly. We were both taking it in turns having the cuddles and nappy changes, although we believe we made a massive mistake. We allowed everyone to come visit us straightaway. The first 2 weeks are the most important I think for the family to bond and adjust but we didn’t do this. We, instead, allowed a number of different visitors to come and visit pretty much every day and before we knew it, Tony was back at work and I was left at home looking after Elizabeth and not really knowing what to do.

It was then that I started to notice a change in our relationship and team work. I was trying to breastfeed so Elizabeth could have the best start in life and because I was awake at night feeding and Tony was having to get up for work, I kept telling him to not worry about waking up as I wanted him to get a good night sleep ready for work. He then used to come home tired so again I used to say don’t worry I would carry on sorting out Elizabeth whilst you rest after work. This was a daily thing and in my eyes I thought I was just being helpful and a supporting wife, but looking back now I can see that I was actually slowly pushing him away.

We then went for a holiday to his family’s home in Liverpool for 3 weeks and I thought this would be the perfect chance for the both of them to get back their bond. Again, this never really happened. It must have been the hottest July on record. I was struggling to feed Elizabeth in the heat and Elizabeth was struggling to settle in the heat. We tried using bottles of expressed milk but she wanted to just feed off me. In the end I would spend many an evening sitting outside in the cool evening air to try and settle Elizabeth. We came back from the holiday knowing something wasn’t quite right. We had a really long chat about his feelings and how he was struggling to feel like a daddy. I reassured him that it was time to speak to someone and to get some help with me by his side the whole time.

After speaking to people, Tony was given some medication and information on self help and I remember thinking to myself, “this is the start of me getting my husband and Elizabeth getting her daddy back”. He then started to try really hard to bond and do things and in my eyes I thought he was getting better. I could see more of the old him every day.

He then just told me one day that he was going to go for a walk as it was a lovely day. I asked if he would like some company and he politely declined insisting that it was just to blow the cobwebs away. He gave me a kiss and a cuddle and told me he loved me and then headed out the door. Not long after he went out, he phoned me and apologised for everything and said he couldn’t do it anymore and hung up. This was shortly followed by a phone call from a police officer telling me what had happened.

So now I have informed you on what happened, its time to reveal my feelings. They weren’t all lovely ones so be prepared. When I received that phone call I was in complete and utter shock. I couldn’t believe what I have just heard. I thought he was getting better. I thought the problems were going away. Why didn’t he tell me? Why was he going to do this? How can be so selfish? How could he even think of leaving me as a widow and a single mum and how could he deprive his daughter a loving daddy. This was not the man I knew. I don’t who this person was as my Tony was never selfish. He would never have done this. It was like something had changed overnight and I was left with a weak, selfish man who I wanted to see, not to hug and say everything will be alright but to shout at and let him know all the hurt I was feeling. I went to the hospital and got in reception and then was taken through to a private room to see him. I took one look at him and all those feelings went away instantly. Sitting in front of me was my husband but instead of acting selfish he was completely broken. I too, broke down and just wrapped my arms around him and told him how much I loved him. Someone came to speak to us together and he was offered daycare with CBT rather then hospitalised treatment which would have been in Manchester. I just sat holding him letting him know that I was here and I always going to be here and as long as he needed me I would put him and Elizabeth before anything.

Mel Crone 

Follow on twitter – @crone1992