Sunday, 16 February 2014


My daughter Katy was due on 19th of October 2012. Pregnancy was much as I expected it, though this time I had the adventure of taking my son along to my midwife appointments. He took it all in his stride and enjoyed it. The midwife would let him help press the buttons on the doppler so he could 'help' her hear the baby, and hold one end of the tape measure to measure my belly. He would climb up on the exam table after me and pull up his shirt to have her feel to see if he had a baby inside him. It was really rather adorable.
Everything was normal, until 32 weeks, when my blood pressure began to climb. My appointments suddenly started coming more often. and some blood pressure medication prescribed. Because my son was born by c-section I was due to be seen by the hospital at 36 weeks anyway. But seeing as nothing was really controlling my blood pressure, the night before I had a frank discussion with my husband about what was likely to happen at this appointment, how I was going to handle it as he had to be at work.
The reality was that I was really unwell by this point. I struggled to do anything, the pregnancy was a huge strain, and having a three year old was not helping. Even with him at preschool half a day every day I barely functioned. I knew this pregnancy was not going so well as his had. I knew I wanted to have a natural birth after his c-section. But I wanted my daughter into the world safe more. Thankfully the appointment was during preschool hours so I could make the trek to hospital alone.
The appointment went exactly as expected. My blood pressure was taken, and the number was higher than ever despite me being utterly calm. I knew what was happening and I was fine with it. I could see them all gear up for the conversation coming. The consultant, his midwife and her student.
"I'm sorry, I have to recommend that we schedule a caesarean."
At one time that would have upset me. It didn't. I had already dealt with this in my mind. So I shocked them.
"Let's get the diary out then."
They actually laughed they were so surprised. It was an easy decision to make. I wasn't coping. They needed to put me on heavy medication that would hurt my daughter if she shared it with me for too long. So a date was set for the 11th. I would be just shy of 39 weeks pregnant. But they didn't dare leave me on my medication any longer than that for my daughter's sake. Though everyone was in agreement than should I for some reason go into labour naturally before the 11th, we would try for that natural birth I wanted. But I needed to come in to the day assessment unit every three days to track my blood pressure, any protein in my wee, and that my daughter was okay.
So I went home, I made arrangements for my parents to come stay to be with my son for the surgery, and started preparing him too. Going for monitoring every three days was hard. Sometimes I had to go in the evenings, sometimes at the weekend, I couldn't always fit it in while Patrick was at pre-school. It was even more tiring than ever. All I wanted to do was sleep. By the last monitoring session on the 9th I'd had my pre op blood draw and collected my medications for the op itself. And missy was messing us around. I was contracting. It didn't go anywhere, but she thought about coming on her own. But not soon enough to avoid surgery.
The 11th came, I took all my medication but was otherwise to eat or drink nothing. I said goodbye to my son at seven in the morning, a little bit tearful, but promised I would see him soon, and headed up to hospital.
Unfortunately a couple of emergencies had come in, so we had a long wait ahead of us, and with little information. We finally got a room about ten am. Hubby and I read, relaxed, I knitted, and tried not to worry about my son.2pm came round and the anaesthetist arrived with the paperwork. I started to get ready, into two hospital gowns, one front and one back. We moved rooms.Three pm and the anaesthetist was there for me though the midwife had been so rushed and I'd not had my sexy surgical stockings fitted. Hubby changed into scrubs quickly while they were wrestled on and we were good to go.
I understand that planned surgery can be scary, and its not exactly the dream birth in a calm room with no pain relief and the body does what it is supposed to perfectly. But it can be lovely too. I walked to theatre hand in hand with my husband, happy and excited to meet our much anticipated daughter. He held my hands and stroked my hair as the second anaesthetist put in the spinal block. There was a bright and cheerful atmosphere in theatre as the surgeons began to work, the first anaesthetist talking me through what was happening at my request. My shifting blood pressure dealt with calmly without comment.
She barely got to say that they'd birthed my daughter's head before she was loudly protesting all this messing her around. A few moment's later she was born at 3:32pm. My husband and I smiled at each other as she yelled blue murder at those who had yanked her from her cosy home. We placed bets with the staff, guessing what weight she would be. She was a long, lean newborn, perfect and pink as she was placed in my husband's arms. And she pouted. To this day she pouts when she is annoyed by things.
The male anaesthetist came closest, he bet 7lbs 2 oz. She actually weighed 6lbs 15.5 ozs. She was tiny, and remained in her father's arms for the next half hour as I was closed up. Pouting and looking for her first meal. But as soon as we were back in our room, she was placed skin to skin with me and stayed there for the next three hours. After a while, when she was ready, she went looking for her first meal, and latched, and suckled for three quarters of an hour. The beginning of a successful breastfeeding relationship. And she looked so incredibly like her brother!

Once again the care we received at the hospital was brilliant, and we could not have been happier. It was a brief stay, as we were released 46 hours after she was born. Finally home to be a family of four with her brother. 

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