The first post in my Celebrating Every Birth Story series is the lovely Jess from Babi a Fi who write beautifully about her life being Mum to one year old Marianna and lover of History and doll collecting!
You can also find Jess here:
I like to joke that I had the quickest labour ever. I had no pains, there was no pushing, and within twenty minutes of walking through the hospital door Marianna Iris Bird was welcomed into the world…
My due date was December 20th 2014, so I was looking forward to a very special Christmas present. We decorated the tree, hung an extra stocking over the fireplace and bought a newborn sized elf costume. Baby – they hadn’t been able to confirm the gender – had other ideas.
Christmas came and went.
As did Boxing Day, and the next day, and the day after that. The pregnancy had been hard work, less of the glowing skin and more of the lingering stench of sick, and I was desperate for it all to be over with. I willed every twinge I felt to be early labour pains, and scrubbed the house from top to bottom in the hope it might finally get things moving. By New Year’s Eve I was an over-emotional nervous wreck.
In fact, that evening I rang the maternity triage in floods of tears: I hadn’t felt the baby kick for at least three hours. The next hour or so was the worst of my life to that point. My parents drove us to the hospital, and we all sat in strained silence waiting for somebody to check that my baby’s heart was still beating. Thankfully, once I was hooked up to the monitor the baby started kicking for all it was worth. I was already booked in for a scheduled induction the following day, so I was told to go home and get some sleep.
I went home, but I didn’t sleep. I spent the night lying awake and alternating between joy – the end was in sight! – and panic – this time tomorrow I might have a baby!
So, the following morning found me waddling back from the hospital bathroom with my urine sample and struggling onto the bed. My mum was going to be my birthing partner and Anthony, my partner, was saying that he would just wait until we knew what was happening then he’d go and do his own thing.
The nurse came over to hook me up to the monitor and I could tell from her expression that something was wrong. When she said, “I’ll just fetch the doctor,” it was as if the bottom had fallen out of my stomach. That’s what they said when things were wrong, I’d seen it on television. The doctor came over, checked the monitor, and the next thing I knew the bed was being wheeled down the corridor. I remember thinking ‘this can’t be happening’ and asked the nurse if my baby was going to be okay.
“We’re going to try our best.”
I had thought the wait in triage was bad, but it was nothing in comparison. I’d been worried about being naked in front of people, but it was the last thing on my mind as they stripped me and inserted a catheter. The nurse held my hand while the anaesthetist put the mask over my mouth. I had flashbacks to being ten years old and telling another anaesthetist that I’d changed my mind about having my tonsils out. Then, just as it had been way back when, it was too late to back out of it.
I learned later that the placenta had ruptured and the doctors had expected the worst case scenario. Thankfully Marianna was pulled out breathing independently, and shortly afterwards handed over to her dad, who said her meconium covered appearance made her the spitting image of swamp thing. I had to have a few blood transfusions but was soon patched up successfully, then taken to the recovery room.
By the time I came round from the anaesthetic Marianna had taken a bottle – so much for our ‘skin to skin’ breastfeed! – and been dressed in a Little Miss Sunshine pyjama set. My mum handed her to me for a cwtch and I just remember thinking that she was so strange-looking, with her squished up face, even as we posed for a photographer for the local paper’s New Year’s Babies feature.
Not long afterwards Marianna was taken up to NICU and I was taken to the post-op ward. I don’t have many memories of the rest of the day thanks to all the drugs in my system, though I vividly remember getting hysterical early the next morning when I was told Marianna had had a fit – though not whether she had survived it. I was finally allowed to go and see her on NICU at about midday. I went home the next day and made the painful, though mercifully short, journey in every day to visit her.
Over the next three weeks Marianna was checked for just about every medical condition known to man, Anthony lost his job, and I somehow avoided having a stress induced breakdown. Finally, finally, after working through the hospital’s checklist of observed feeds and nappy changes, we brought her home. The surgeon who delivered her called her a miracle, and she certainly is! She’s now a healthy, happy baby with a permanent glint of mischief in her eye. Marianna has changed my life completely and, even though the experience was totally terrifying, it was all worth it.
Still, I have a feeling she won’t be getting any brother or sisters!
Why not pop over and see what else Jess is writing about on her blog Babi a Fi