Thursday, 12 January 2012

A Labour of Love

Right firstly a disclaimer, this is my personal experience and opinion of my pregnancy, labour, delivery and the early days. I am not in the medical profession, nor do I presume to have any clue about medicine, other than what I have been told through MY OWN experience.

I will also add this is exceptionally personal to me, and am doing this as a request from a wonderful group of people there to support mum's to be, new mum's, and those of us that still need a little help despite how old our angels are. I will also add its long winded, waffly and terrible grammar (which I don't write like normally) but its from the heart and soul completely

I am happy to hear opinions but I do not want critical or nasty stuff about this as every women's experience is different, and every women has the right to feel how she wants about her journey!

So here goes:

In the summer of 2009, Michael (then fiance) and I had set a wedding date and were searching out somewhere to live, we found a beautiful quaint cottage that we decided to make our home in. The weekend after we moved in we had a significant moving in party with friends, family and alcohol... The following day I woke up more than worse for wear!! The Monday after my Sunday hangover Michael and I had to go to our local council to give notice on our marriage on the way there I was still feeling sick as hell, my tummy ached and I just wanted to sleep - so I pulled in at my GP's office to make an emergency appt, by fluke she was actually in the reception (due to previous health issues we are on first name terms!) and said pop in now you don't look well... She asked how long I had felt this way and when I thought about I said actually a little while now, true to GP's form the usual words of "Is there any chance you could be pregnant" I quickly said nope - on the pill - you know that - have been for 15 years! to which she said 2 months ago when I put you on antibiotics and told you to use other contraception you did, and at that moment my heart sank as I could believe I was using the words "well we used the rhythmic method". I was quickly handed a pot , popped outside to pee, came back inside, and her words will haunt me forever "We don't tell you to use other contraception for fun",your pregnant. One word fell from my lips - FUCK. I got up walked out, drove gave notice on our marriage and then went to work in a total state of shock. By hometime I was still maybe using 1 syllabic words and was about as coherent as I had been the Saturday night before, this time without any substance to it. I went to tesco bought 5 (yes 5) more tests and thought there could be a mistake - Iv a size 10 wedding dress to wear in 4 bloody months time! The classy girl I am did 2 tests in tesco, both said Mumma (pregnant but you know what I mean), so I drove home - went to the loo did the other 3, all said the same came out handed the sticks to Michael went back in the bathroom and cried, and then cried some more - till I went downstairs to the best thing a girl in that state could need, her Mummy! Michael had called my Mum who was now on my sofa telling me it "it will be ok - you can do this, we are here every step of the way"

The early weeks were pretty standard, puking all the time, loosing my temper and my memory was a daily occurrence, my boobs had swollen to more than the F they already were (yep no size 10 dress for me now) and my nipples felt like they were frequently being grated. When I saw the midwife we worked out I was about 10 weeks gone as I had a slight period but nothing heavy, and though it was down to diet and loosing weight.

With my 12 week scan came everything I could ever need in my mind, the beauty of my babies heartbeat, made in that instant everything ok, and I knew this was all I ever wanted, just hidden behind a career I loved, and a social life to rival the TOWIE girls! My family and friends when told were equally as shocked but so pleased for us!

At 20 weeks things took a scary turn for us, I was due on the Friday to be leaving for my hen weekend with my best friends in Norwich for a yummy mummy to be spa break, on the way to work I really unwell and struggling to walk and catch my breath - By lunchtime some of my staff (I was their boss although they all mummied me) had suggested I see the Dr ASAP, I drove home went to the Dr with my mum and she sent me straight to The Rosie Maternity Hospital in Cambridge, when I got there they whisked me off, called my husband, took me to the delivery unit and told me that there was a concern about a blood clot. After ample painful tests it was confirmed I had a blood clot in my leg, this is apparently common in pregnant women but I had no idea it was life threatening. I then underwent more tests and treatments, one of which involved a scan of my leg to size the DVT, I, cheekily, asked the sonographer if he could show me my baby to cheer me up - he did and it made everything else feel better instantly, I still carry that pic around with me to remind me that anytime I'm scared, I have her with me.
The treatment worked, and after a few days (hen do and birthday written off) I was allowed home but signed of sick until my mat leave, I loved my job and I never thought that day when I left was the last day I would be at work, but it was as my no1 job from that moment on was me and my bump, even if I did have the stress of a wedding around the corner - which was magical as we had the snow as our backdrop!

At 21 weeks I found out my bump was a a she, and I spend the following 2 days in tears as was so happy the scan was all ok and I was having a little girl!!!

At 36 weeks I had my routine appt and felt a but funny, during the appt my midwife said I'm sorry but back to hospital, your blood pressure is right up and there is protein in your urine, which indicated but wasn't confirmed that I had developed pre eclampsia, when I got to hospital this was confirmed, and I was then kept there until the day my little lady made her way into the world. My blood pressure stayed up but the protein stayed at only slightly raised so I did make it full term, but was induced that day because the risk was to high to carry the pregnancy on.

The induction, for me, was simple and quick, a dodgy tampon thing (I will add I had a sweep the day before which was horrible and quite easily the single most undignified point of the whole process), lay down for an hour and then off for a walk, but under strict instructions to stay on the ward!! For my blood pressure to keep being checked...
At 8.30 my husband left for the day, and the midwife's famous words in his ear, get some sleep she still has 2 more parts of the induction process to go yet....
At 9.30 (during the first televised debate between clegg, cameron and brown) I started to get an urge to wee a lot, but whilst having a wee it bloody hurt for a minute or so after, I told the midwife and we were worried it could be the onset of a urine infection, she paged the dr (who never made it), and form then on every 5 mins or so I was back and forth to the loo, I then said to her I think I'm in labour, she replied "you'll know if your in labour", as I wasn't sure I assumed not, by 10.30 the pain was a lot more and a lasting the whole min and I said to her then I really think I am having the baby, as if in a film at the moment she replied no your not my waters broke! We actually both laughed as she said "do you want my job" I was on a busy antenatal ward and the only woman in labour and no other new mums around so I wasn't popular with all these mums to be's sleeping and me moaning every couple of minutes, not loud, but loud enough to make you think shit this will be me soon!
When she checked me both her and I were amazed when she said to her colleague go ring dad and the delivery unit she is 6cm!! I was astounded I had gone that far on my own and with no pain relief, it goes to show how amazing women are, and I mean that sincerely when you think what our bodies do from the moment of conception through to breast feeding!
I was taken upstairs by 11.30 and my husband was told to make his way, when I arrived upstairs I asked if I could use my mobile to call my Mum and she said yes, I had my mobile in 1 hand and the gas and air tube in the other saying to my mum between contractions "you lied this fucking hurts now!" she was amazed how far along I was with only a few tokes of the gas and air, and her telling me how proud she was saw me through. As the gas and air intake increased as did my lack of any sense when I began talking to my dog, at which point the midwife freaked thinking I had another child and this wasn't a first labour, she took the phone, my mum explained it was about the dog - and at that moment my husband walked in (2 pissing hours later, as he wanted something to eat and shower) to his naked wife, of her head on the floor shouting at my dog down the phone and in between getting mum to let me talk to my sis and bro who were pissed and just came in from a night in a club - she must've been so proud 3am and all her kids off their faces!! Michael took the phone after an emotional farewell to my family and I got on the bed and started to really feel the pain. Amazingly I never shouted or cried, just quietly went between gas and air, and sipping out a straw as my mouth was soo dry. I dreaded every examination as it brought on another contraction which by now were every 3 mins and lasting over a min and I was really starting to feel the affects of not being fit for labour before hand.
At 10am Michael remembered my midwife stating I would need an epidural as the baby was back to back and the chances were the long labour would affect my blood pressure, so after 12 long hours an anaesthetist came in and fitted an epidural, 10 mins later I was still in agony, so he came back re did it waited and sure enough 10 mins later I was still feeling all the pain and now my bloody back hurt too, he tried 1 more time to cite the epidural but it didn't work, and I was heartbroken, I was in so much pain, I was tired, My back now hurt, I was woozy as hell from the gas and the saving grace in the epidural had failed, in that moment I had never felt so vulnerable to my body and susceptible to pain as I ever had before - quite frankly I knew I had more to come yet and I was terrified. But I had my scan picture and I closed my eyes put my legs in stirrups and said lets get on with this.
At 11.30 a dr came in and examined me and said to me that my heart beat and babies heartbeat were identical making it difficult for them to see if she was in trouble so they attached a clip to her head, she talked more about the back to back presentation and I pretended to listen, getting on with the job in hand which was getting myself through the contractions as calmly as possible for me and baby, as she went to leave the room I remember asking if I would need a c sec, and her words still echo in my ears "Its looking that way, but lets hope it doesn't come to that" I think I knew then I had gone as far as I could, but we carried on. At just before midday when the dr left I said I want to push - they checked and I was 10cm, they talked about something called inactive pushing and active pushing because of the epidural even though it hadn't worked, but I have no idea what it meant other than a women for 2 hours repeating every 3 mois "well done, well done - and turning to my hubby and saying your nearly a daddy"
At 14.15 my dr and the anaesthetist came back in an said to us, they were sorry but babies heartbeat were showing signs of struggle, along with merconium in the waters, my bp was through the roof and quite evidently she didnt want to come out - the dr and the midwife proceeded to tell us it would be an emergency c sec performed under general anaesthetic because of the problems they had with the epidural, on my way to theatre in the corridor there was a hold up and as the gas and air was attached to the wall of the room I was in, I was very much in a public place, crying in pain and point blank refusing to put any clothes on, classy! But not having the gas and air to handle the pushing nothing out pain was nasty!
When we got into theatre we were met by The Rosie's chief anaethist who said to me give me 1 go at putting a spinal in, if it doesn't work I'll put you straight to sleep, by this time I had been in labour some 18 hours, had pushed for nearly 3 to feel the head go back in, was tired and fed up with people putting their hands up there for what felt like any apparent reason, so for the first time in the whole process I turned around and said after your staff's attempt to take the pain away, and failed quite frankly you can fuck off! He said there is no need to swear and I replied there is plenty, he then said right sit on this bench please, the theatre staff held me down on this horrendous metal bench whilst someone was putting cannula's in my hands, and he said "go one then tell me your plenty of reasons.." I can't even remember what I said as I was still pushing every 3 mins he then said to the theatre team lay her down - he then walked to my feet and sprayed me and said did you feel that, and I said "no" he asked are you still in pain and I realised I wasn't, he looked at me and said spinals in girl, good aren't I? Michael then came in and sat with the anaesthetist who stayed next to me throughout and said "in a min you'll feel some tugging and then you'll be a mummy" he was right I felt this weird tugging sucking feeling and then saw my dr stand up with this little bundle in his arms, saying she is a bit shocked so the paeds are going to check her over but she is here. As anyone can imagine not hearing a cry was the worst silence I ever felt and for what seemed an eternity (prob was no more than 30 secs) I stared at Michael with tears in my eyes, and then I heard her - the most beautiful heart warming sound, a sound so full of love and they brought her to us, placed her in Michael's arms and in that moment I was so in love with my beautiful baby girl and my husband.

A few days after the birth I was allowed home with her, that day I felt unusually emotional, and Mum said I had the baby blues, combined with the post op pain.
I will add here if anyone thinks a c sec is the easy route THINK AGAIN!!! Its major surgery, its exceptionally painful after the drugs wear off - and you have a newborn to look after whilst being in agony, plus you can not drive for 6 weeks after.
I hurt and was on strong pain killers for almost 4 weeks, healing time from a normal birth is MUCH less and more straight forward as I ended up having another op recently because of the C sec nearly 2 years ago!!

As the days turned into weeks I noticed the sadness wasn't going away, I had started to hide myself away, and that love that I felt in the 1st few days didn't seem there. I felt like this little person had invaded my perfect relationship and taken away my life, my figure and my husband. Luckily for me my best friend (not how that comes out) had post natal depression and her and I have always been so close and honest that when she realised the signs she helped me make contact with the dr, whom it took 5 mins to realise what I hadn't in 5 weeks and that I was suffering from post natal depression. I will add as I think its important that I never had any feelings of harming Lylha or anyone else, just that I wanted to lock myself away and not face anything and anyone. The dr prescribed me anti depressants but also talking therapy - which between the 2 really helped.
It also helped when I told my family and friends and I felt a weight have lifted knowing I was ill and I wasn't a bad mummy like I thought, and again this made me feel better.
I took baby steps and one day at a time, and of course I had bad days and me and my hubby have been on the brink of separation.
After 3 months one morning when I was dressing Lylha the moment hit me where the bond suddenly broke through and the immense love, protection, admiration and devotion came through and it was like a light switching on, which made all the sleepless nights and days, all the arguments with Michael, all the moments of crying myself to sleep OK,
It took a further 4 months before I stopped the meds and counselling and although I feel much better nearly 18 months on I still have days where things aren't great especially around the time of the month when bloody hormones grip me again.

I want to say to anyone who feels they have post natal depression or has had it, don't be afraid or ashamed its an illness, we wouldn't think twice about telling people we had a headache and took asprin to make it better.

I was told by my GP who incidentally is a man, that anyone that has major surgery (c sec) or major trauma (labour and birth) are given a week or two to recover and are fussed over till they recoup, accept when its having a baby, your given some pain killers, checked your haven't hemorrhaged and are told to go home, and be a mum. He is right, and its no surprise then mums and in some cases dads develop post natal depression.

Lylha will be 2 very soon, and we are very happy, still don't sleep.... she amazes me each and everyday and I love her more than words can say. I am still completely amazed by how amazing a woman's body works to produce life, and although I am far from ready at the moment YES I would do it again!

Thank you


  1. Your are so brave and inspirational. This is a lovely story that will raise awarness to so many mums. Xx

  2. Thanks for sharing, this made for an interesting read. x

  3. Hi Lau,

    Firstly, i'm a man in my 40's & a married father of 2.

    Just picked this link up from Twitter...
    It's got to be one of the most powerful stories i've ever read!
    It made me go through a number of emotions, hurt, anger, happy, sad & tearful...
    To go through all that & come out the other side happy & still in one piece, you must be a special person as your hubby & daughtermust be too!

    No one really understands what a woman really goes through before during & after with regards to pregnancy & as for the devil known as PND, well that's a completely different ball game!

    When my wife was pregnant with our 2nd, i got kind of depressed because every time we ever went anywhere, the hospital or the clinic for whatever reason, they always had something negative to say or report so, it was easy to get depressed very quickly.
    It got so bad that my wife said...i want a home birth!!

    To cut a very long story short, in the end, both my wife & i never had a chance to get Pre or Post ND or allow it to take hold...

    Before & on the day of labour, i was given some 'Trainee Midwife'

    I knew my stuff already & when my wife was having 1 in 10, i callled the MW..would you believe she 'Froze' & refused to come out!!!!

    I delivered my own son on the living room floor 10 minutes after the phone call!!
    By the time the midwife & Ambulance (which she'd called) finally turned up 20 minutes later, i'd delivered my son & he was already laying on mum's chest!!!
    They said to me 'What can we do?...i said you're too late so just clear up yeah!!

    Now, nearly 2 years later, at this very moment he's running around wrecking the place so the moral is to all you girls & women out there, don't worry about anything, when you're feeling low or depressed, have no fear, what's meant to be will be,nature will always take it's course & it will always turn out ok in the end...xx