Wow, has it really been over a year since I last wrote here?! I guess I have been somewhat preoccupied with other things including pregnancy!
I gave birth to a healthy baby boy on 19th September, he is absolutely beautiful and I am totally in love with him. It is incredible how much love I feel for this tiny little person who demands all of my attention and time. he is 19 days old today and I still can’t quite believe that I am a mummy.
We’d been trying to conceive for over 2yrs when I discovered that I was pregnant. I barely dared to believe it when I saw the positive test result and felt sure that something would go wrong. But here I am 8 months later holding my precious child in my arms. I feel so incredibly blessed, especially after all that I put my body through with years of disordered eating and self abuse. The fact that my body has healed itself enough to produce a healthy baby is amazing. Throughout the 2yrs of trying for a baby I was convinced that I had broken my body beyond repair and that I would never have the child I so desperately longed for. But there is hope, all you young women out there who are struggling so much right now please remember that there is always hope, even when you think that you are beyond repair there is a point in fighting for recovery and health.
So many times along the way I have wanted to give in, to return to the ED, to insulin omission and self abuse but I kept on fighting thanks to the support of my wonderful family and friends, especially those who have also walked this destructive path.
For those who are interested, here is my birth story:
Amos John was born on Sunday 19th at 11.49am by Emergency C-Section after being induced on 17th.
I was admitted to hospital to the antenatal ward on Thursday after my Diabetes Antenatal appointment due to my blood pressure being borderline high. Baby was absolutely fine and I’d just had a growth scan where he was jumping about all over the place and measuring 8lb 8oz.
I was in a bay with 3 other women, I’m a light sleeper at the best of times so barely got any sleep that night. It was decided to induce me the following day rather than waiting any longer. So on the 17th I was examined which was agony as they had to root around for my cervix as it was so far back! A pessary was inserted to get things going at about 11am. Nothing happened all day and it came to the end of visiting time and Ben had to go home. But at about 11pm I started to get contractions. They became more and more painful and regular throughout the night and I must have paced up and down the corridor 100’s of times. I kept trying to settle down in bed but could not get comfortable and didn’t want to disturb the other women in the bay who all appeared to be sleeping soundly so instead alternated pacing up and down with having warm baths to try and get more comfortable. I didn’t get any sleep that night.
The following morning (18th) I was hooked up to a CTG for monitoring, baby was perfectly happy and my contractions were measuring from mild to moderate. At this point I was happy to continue with no pain relief.
At 11am it was time to be examined to see what progression had been made. The examination was more painful than the contractions. Again the midwife had to dig around to locate my cervix and it was still really far back and to my disappointment I was only 1cm dilated. I had hoped that the huge amounts of pain I was in were indicitive of lots of dilation going on. However with all the pushing around trying to find my cervix the midwife accidentally broke my waters. This immediately put a bit of a time limit on things and I was told that I would be moved to delivery suite in 6hrs if nothing had happened. As my waters broke she felt the baby’s head move down considerably. At this point I found out that my baby was back to back which was probably what was increasing my pain levels.
After my waters broke my contractions immediately became alot stronger and I asked for gas and air. The G+A did not help with pain relief but it gave me something to concentrate on and I found myself getting quite giddy as I was breathing in so much. at this stage I was still on the antenatal ward which meant I was in a bay with 3 other women. This wasn’t ideal as it made me incredibly self conscious of the amount of noise I ws making (however Ben assures me that I wasn’t making much noise at all, I just thought I was). As time progressed I became increasinly distressed with the pain and was unable to move around much as I was being pretty much continually monitored on the CTG with short breaks inbetween. I tried bouncing on the birthing ball but sitting in that position was more painful than laying down.
Here my recollection of events begins to get a little hazy…I was examined again about 4-5hrs later and I think at this point I was 4cms dilated. I began being sick from the gas and air and finding it difficult to cope asked for something stronger, so was given morphine. This elevated some of the pain but unfortunately made me quite spaced out. The midwives told me that I would be moved to delivery as soon as a bed became available. In the end it was 7hrs after my waters had broken.
On delivery suite I was examined again, as I was examined more waters gushed out and the midwife told me that on the ward the midwife had just ruptured my hind waters and that this gush was the rest of my waters. On the delivery suite I had constant one to one attention from a midwife which was wonderfully reassuring. She had a desk set up in the room with me and stayed their constantly, the only time she left was for a break and whilst she was on her break another midwife came and sat with me.
I was being monitored constantly on a CTG monitor, had a drip with antibiotics (for Strep B) and 2 more drips one with insulin and one with glucose (for my diabetes) so was unable to have a particularly active labour. However I kept saying that I needed to go to the toilet, the midwife tried to convince me that it was just the feeling of the baby pressing down and that what I really needed was to deliver a baby. But I insisted that I needed the toilet so each time the midwife and Ben had to unplug everything and carefully manoeuvre me and all the medical equipement to my bathroom where I would do the tiniest of wees and then they had to help me get back to the bed again. Somewhere along the line I was given diamorphine (apparently I asked for it!) and beyond that point I was really off my trolley. Apparently I kept apologising for making too much noise (even though I wasn’t) and kept asking Ben if he was okay.
I was offered an epidural which I agreed to, but I don’t remember much about it to the extent that I have no recollection of them inserting a catheter and got a bit freaked out by it when I was on the post natal ward and tried to get out of bed!!
I laboured all through Saturday night but managed to get a little bit of sleep once the epidural had taken effect. I could still feel the contractions but they weren’t all that painful and I was glad for the relief and rest I managed to get as by this point I had been in labour for over 24hrs and had not slept proeprly for over 48hrs.
I continued to labour into the morning on the 19th and on examination I was 10cm dilated however there was a ‘lip’ on one side of my cervix which had not moved at all and was preventing the baby from moving any further down. Due to this and how long I had been in labour for since my waters broke it was decided that the safest thing to do was to perform a C-Section.
I was taken down to theatre at 11am and prepped for the operation. I felt a little bit of tugging and pushing and then the wonderful sound of my baby boy crying filled the theatre room. He was placed onto my chest and we enjoyed skin to skin whilst I was being sewn up. He was then weighed and we were very surprised to find he was 7lb 11oz (3.5kg) as we were expecting him to be at least 8 and a half lbs.
I attempted to breast feed him once we were back on delivery suite but he wouldn’t latch on. Due to his blood sugars being low he had to have some formula from a cup. After that we enjoyed a happy couple of hours having skin to skin and introducing him to his grandparents before we were taken down to the post natal ward.
After several hours we decided on the name Amos (we had a list of 8 names but wanted to decide once he was born what we would call him).
Unfortunately Amos’ blood sugar went low several times and he was very sleepy. I think that this due to the fact that he was born by C section at just 37 weeks and me being Diabetic all affected feeding. Despite wonderful help from a breast feeding specialist Amos would not breast feed properly and whilst at the hospital I had to express the minimal amount of milk that I did have and syringe feed this to him and top him up with cup feeds of formula.
I was up and about by the end of the day and in surprisingly little pain after my C Section. However the following day I felt really unwell and a blood test showed that my Haemaglobin levels had dropped from 10.4 (which is already aneamic) to 7.4. I had to have a blood transfusion of 2 units of blood and following this my Hb levels rose to 9.4 so now I am on iron tablets 3 times a day.
We continued to work on trying to breast feed and the midwives were so supportive with this. But they wanted Amos to be feeding well before we left hospital so this prolonged our stay as he wasn’t feeding properly and was having to be woken for feeds. On the postnatal ward there were no side rooms available so I was in a bay with 3 other women and their babies. By Thursday afternoon I was so fed up, highly emotional and exhausted from having no sleep for a week (although Amos slept throughout the night till I woke him for a feed I could not sleep due to other peoples babies crying all night and other women snoring loudly!!). I reasoned with my midwife that I was happy to continue cup feeding and expressing at home and that I would feel more relaxed at home so this may help my milk to come in as at 5 days post birth I was still only getting 1-2mls when expressing and Amos needed much more than this.
So we were discharged on Thursday and by Friday I was producing around 30mls everytime I expressed. Amos however would not accept the breast and we made the decision on Wednesday to bottle feed him. I am still offering him the breast and am expressing what I can. Currently he is getting about 1/3 expressed breast milk and 2/3 formula. I had wanted to exclusively breast feed and was getting very stressed that he would not feed.
However since going onto the bottle Amos has been happier and so have I so I have to accept that it is the right decision for us. He is still getting some breast milk and the important thing is that he is now feeding well and after losing a significant amount of weight he is now back up to his birth weight and we have been discharged from midwife care to the health visitor. He continues to need waking for feeds but I have been told that this is probably due to him being born at 37 weeks via C Section and not being quite ready to be born. He is a delight and I find it incredible the strength of my love for him already. We are settling into life as a family of 3 and already we are seeing aspects of his personality and character coming through!