Pre-term birth isn’t something you think you are going to have to deal with the first thing you think is that you’re going to fly through the pregnancy with a bit of morning sickness and have a healthy bouncing 6lb baby. But in my case it couldn’t be further from the truth, and this is where my story begins.
After being in a loving relationship with my partner for 2 years living in our own house we finally fell pregnant after losing our first at 12 weeks. Over joyed we couldn’t wait to tell the world, the first 3 weeks were fine then the sickness started I felt a little bit giddy thinking I was feeling everything every mother goes through. But then it didn’t stop and it wasn’t just the mornings it was all day everyday even the smell of food would send me running to the toilet, I just couldn’t keep anything down. So at 8 weeks I went to the doctor and was admitted to hospital with hyperemesis gravidarum (a severe form of morning sickness the condition only affects from 0.3% to 2.0% of women during pregnancy) and was there for 2 days on a drip to keep my fluids up.
I was sent home with anti-sickness tablets. I was fine for 3 days but then it started again it got to the point that I just stopped eating and only ate when I was forced by myself or family. I felt so guilty but I couldn’t bare the thought of being sick, even when I had nothing left to being up I would be hanging onto the toilet dry heaving to the point I was exhausted and had to be carried to bed by my partner. At 10 weeks I was re-admitted to hospital where I was kept for 4 days until the tablets were into my system and was re-hydrated again. Unfortunately it didn’t stop it. And I just had to face it head on and just keep eating little and often and drink plenty of water, nothing stopped it even being asleep didn’t stop it I was up every hour hugging the toilet.
Me with my head down the toilet was beginning to become a normal sight to my partner when he got home off a night shift. The next few months went past in a blur of sickness and sleep I didn’t have the energy to do anything, even going in the car was a struggle checking I had enough bags for the journey and a change of clothes in case I wasn’t quick enough with the bag. It was awful I even stopped going into town the looks I would get off people because I had to be sick down a drain. One occasion stick in my head and that was when I had an antenatal appointment and I couldn’t wee so I had to go into town and drop off a urine sample later on when I had had a drink.
So chaperoned by my mother we went into a shop to get a drink and all of a sudden the sick feeling started creeping up, I was praying that the queue would hurry up but then it hit me I dashed out the shop sat on the bench and arched over the drain praying the feeling would go. But it didn’t and I was sat heaving with people staring talking about me saying I was hung over luckily my mother soon followed and ran over and quickly put people straight by shouting she’s pregnant not hung-over At some woman who went by looked down her nose and said well that’s what you get for drinking. After that I stayed out of town at all costs.
It finally started getting better at 6 months and 2 weeks and I thought I was finally going to enjoy my pregnancy. Then I found out that my family was moving back to where we had moved from 3 years previous I was heartbroken and it had a knock on effect on my pregnancy. I was under so much stress with helping my dad out as he stayed behind until everything had been sorted the other end I was back and forth from my parents helping pack, making sure my dad ate and helping sort out some-one to move into their house till it sold so it didn’t get broke into, this as well as crying myself to sleep each night took it all out of me.
One day after my family had all settled into the new house I was laid on the sofa just trying to get my rest up and I was hit full force by a dizzy spell, nausea and seeing dots, I knew something wasn’t right after thinking back about the book I got from my midwife I realized I may have Pre-eclampsia after ringing Michael and my mother in law I was told to stay as still as possible and they would get back as soon as possible and get me to the doctors, I got off the phone to them I called the doctors and got an emergency appointment and they was useless as normal and just sent me straight up to the hospital as they didn’t know what was wrong.
After being admitted to the maternity ward me and my partner sat there for 6 hours without a single nurse or a doctor seeing me so I discharged myself leaving the hospital with a big container being told to collect my urine for 24 hours and to go back Sunday morning. Saturday came and went then Sunday morning I got to the hospital at 9am and was put in a room and left with my mother in law. Thinking I was only going to be there an hour or so. My mother in law left at 11, and I was sat alone until 3 until my partner got to the hospital I was final sent home at 10 with a scan at 4o’clock on Wednesday the 12th august 2010 and a doctor’s appointment on the 13th.
Wednesday came round and we decided to let my mother in law come as she had always wanted to come to a scan and we thought this was the perfect opportunity for her to come if only we knew it would have been the worst time for her to come. As I sat there with a full bladder fit to burst hugging my 30 week tiny bump I was imagining his little face on the screen and his tiny heart beating smiling away to myself. I was finally called in. and got laid on the bed, feeling the cool jelly being put on my bump I stared at the monitor and there was my baby boy for the first time I had seen his face everything was so clear his cute little button nose.
I was in love with this unknown little boy growing inside my tummy just waiting for them 40 weeks to pass. 10 minutes passed then another they was doing all sorts of things on the screen they finally printed off 5-6 photos for me free of charge. I was so happy I saw my little boys face his heart beating like a train, I cleared all the jelly off my tummy and I was told to go and sit back in the waiting room I thought nothing of it cause it wasn’t a normal scan I just thought they was going to tell me that all was fine but I couldn’t have been further from the truth, I was finally called in 20 minutes later after what felt like forever I just wanted to go home and show my partner the photo of our gorgeous boys face.
I was led into a small room with my mother in law and told that my placenta wasn’t working properly. I can’t go into details as I just completely phased out when they told me this. I was then taken up to the maternity ward. I got put on a bed and told to try and relax as much as I could and keep calm still not knowing what was going to happen apart from I was going to be given steroid injections to mature his lungs. I was then informed by a lovely nurse that my son would be born at 9am the following morning or during the night if things took a turn for the worst.
I just remember sobbing my heart out in my partner’s arms and an n.i.c.u nurse coming to get us to take us round the neonatal intensive care unit. The rest of the night passed in a blur of restlessness, sobbing, injections sitting crying my eyes when my partner had to leave and a bit of sleep. I remember waking up to be given my second injection and not being able to get back to sleep, after sitting there in bed for an hour just staring at the scan photo wondering if my son would make it, I went and asked if I could for a shower.
After a quick shower I went to get back into the bed but was met in the hall and told I was going to be taken up to the delivery ward so after they put me on the bed and put all my stuff on it I was wheeled up and helped into the gown and socks. After they had finished dressing me and stripping me of my dignity they left and I called my partner to tell him I had been taken to the delivery ward so he didn’t panic when he got to the hospital, when I got through to him he was in Tesco with his mother and father getting maternity pads big knickers tiny baby grows and other thing I would need, when I finished telling him where I was he set straight off to get to me and left his parents to do the shopping.
Whilst waiting for him I had 2 different nurses come in 1 to put on the magic cream to numb where I would have the drips, and another to put the needle into me, she was a student nurse and my god did she make a hack job of it she tried putting it in my arm and she didn’t get it right she then attempted to put it in the same place twice more without success leaving me with a big purple bruise she then finally got it in my right hand after 4 attempts in my left hand and 2 in my right.
My partner arrived at the hospital at 8.45, 15 minutes before I was due into theatre and he couldn’t believe the mess the nurse had made to my arms and hands, time passed so slowly all I could think was I wonder if he will survive, and what did I do wrong. Then came the knock on the door cradling my tiny bump I wandered into theater and was put on the bed in tears I braced myself for the spinal block and to be fair it was nothing like I expected it wasn’t painful at all there was just a bit of crunching as the needle went through the cartilage in the spine. After then being helped to lay down on the bed cause I couldn’t feel my legs they started putting on the sterile solution when I was asked to bend my legs and open them slightly to which my reply was I can’t feel them I can’t move them.
To which they helped me out. It’s true what they say leave your dignity at the door and pick it up on the way out!! Cringing at the thought of me laid spread eagled on the bed high on morphine I turned round and said I haven’t even shaved properly; luckily they assured me that they had seen worse and that I had done a good job. After the separator up my partner came in and sat next to me his face was white, and all he could do was joke with me, one of them being well at least you won’t have a baggy minni, after about 5 minutes I asked if they had started which they said that they were half way through, after 5 more minutes of being pulled around feeling like a rag doll I heard the words he’s out.
Why Wasn’t My Baby Crying?
Panic set in where was my babies cry? why wasn’t he crying and then I heard the sweetest cry I had ever heard. Nothing like new born babies scream it was just so delicate. I felt a tear escape my eye slowly running down my face, I asked why he was only just crying, and I was that they had bought him out in the bag of waters to minimize the shock. Laying there whilst I was being put back together my partner decided he wanted to have a look at what was happening. He sat back down turned to me and I asked what it looked like his only reply….red.
He was a rock in theatre making me giggle and keeping me positive then next thing I knew I was being pushed through to recovery the poor nurse that was looking after me must have had a headache after I left I was just sat talking and talking about nothing I dread to think what I said cause I can’t remember a word I said. After being in recovery an hour I was taken back to the room I was in before I was taken to theatre Ringing round everyone telling them what had happened and that I had had my son 10 weeks early. But unable to tell that anything about him as I hadn’t been told anything worried I sent my partner up to N.I.C.U after 20 minutes of arguing the toss as to why he should go up and see our son he finally left. Arriving back in the room where I was he laid 2 photos of our son on my chest picking them up and turning them over I was shocked by what I saw there was my son looking purple wrinkly and his eyes shut.
I couldn’t stop the tears falling I felt I was going to lose my son, he didn’t look strong enough to fight what this world was about to throw at him.
After pestering the nurses constantly for 5 hours I was finally told I could go and see him, at half past one I was wheeled up with my mum my partner and his parents into the n.i.c.u to an incubator covered with a blanket and lots of machines surrounding it beeping. Laid there watching the nurse lifting the blanket up I saw my son for the first time so tiny, vulnerable. My little boy was fighting for his life and there was nothing that I could do to help him. Reaching into the incubator touching him for the first time I waited for that “burst of love” to surge through my body, but it didn’t I felt like a failure and not feeling this mother child bond made me feel 1000 times worse.
I was taken back down after 30 minutes to get some rest, I was taken back down to the maternity ward where I was put in a room on new born babies and there mummies and felt heartbroken, my partner had to leave as it wasn’t visiting time but before he left he asked that I was moved to a room without parents and babies cause it was getting worked up, and was moved to a room where there was 2 mums that was due to go home the following day at 6pm my partner returned and just sat with me for an hour till we was taken back up to n.i.c.u, when we got back up there we was greeted by the nurse who had showed us round the night before, she asked if I had held him yet which I hadn’t she then turned to my partner and told him to get his phone out cause he may want to recorded what she was about to do.
She walked over to the incubator where my son was laid attached to lots of different machines with different tubes snaking out of his tiny body all with different life saving purposes. Picking up my tiny son she told me to pull my top down and she placed him there his tiny heart beating against mine, his tiny hand clasping my finger he weighed 2lb 1oz and felt like I had nothing laid on me hours passed and I just sat with tiny delicate son laid on my chest waiting for my parents to get there at 9.30 my partner had to leave and I was left on my own cradling my new born tiny 2lb 1oz 10 week premature son until my parents arrived at 10pm.
My mums face was a picture she looked as shocked as me when she saw that I was holding him, my parents left and I was taken back down to the maternity ward where I just laid there going over what had happened in the last 24 hours. Wondering why I hadn’t felt the rush of love towards my child. Finally falling asleep after being laid in bed for 3 hours I work up in agony, pressing the buzzer the nurse came in and realized that the bag that was joined the catheter full to the brim after it was taken out I was taken to the toilet and the relief from pain was amazing breathing a deep sigh of relief I was helped back up and left to have a shower.
Waiting for my partner to come back I got out of bed and was sorting through all the stuff that I had I got told of so many times for moving around so much but I couldn’t just sit there and listen to other people cooing over their new born children, 9am finally came and so did my partner he wheeled me up in a wheel chair. When we got to n.i.c.u I was scared of what they would say, if he was okay, and he was he was perfect finally there was the rush of love it was almost unbearable the feeling of it all rushing over me.
Tears rolled down my face I grasped my sons had and promised I would do everything I could to help him to get strong and I did, after 4 days of being in hospital I had enough I felt as though I was sinking into depressions and that I wanted to be discharged, I was told that at 12pm I would be discharged but wasn’t until 9.pm that a doctor came and sat and talked to me about being discharged. And asked me why I wanted to go, my reply was simple.
If you don’t discharge me I will walk out I can’t stand being here in a room full of women with healthy new born babies at their side so whilst I waited to get my medication I went back up to see my son. Finally at 11pm I got a call saying that my medication was ready and I could pick it up whenever and get myself of. So saying good bye to my son I picked up my medication and went home my partner was amazing looking after me and helping me on and of the toilet. Two days later my partner was told he had to go and work away again I was heartbroken but had to hold it together as I was the only one that my son had whilst his daddy was working away.
On the 6th day my son was taken of c-pap and was breathing on his own and didn’t go back on it, I was told that he would take 1 step forward and 2 back but he never did my tiny little solider put up a fight and a half and conquered everything in his path the only thing he did suffer with was jaundice but that was only twice, after 5weeks and 4 days I finally gave my son his first bottle and boy did he guzzle it then at 6 weeks I was told that he could come home in the next week if he kept up gaining weight and on the 26th of September I was praying he had gained enough weight to come home when he was weighed that night he weighed in at 3lb 8oz and was told that I could take him home some day soon if nothing happened and the doctors were happy.
So for the next 2 nights I roomed in with my son the first night I was fine running on adrenalin but the second night I was knackered and at 5 am I nearly gave into the offer of the nurse having him for an hour so I could get some sleep but I didn’t cause I knew the next night if all went well with the doctor that day that I would be taking my son home and would be on my own, at 8 I woke up and he was sound asleep my mum got there at 9 and helped pack everything up and get him dressed, after it was all packed up wheeled him through to the day area and went and put everything into the car and bought up the car seat and sat and waited for the doctor to come and see us.
We got the ok from him at 10.30 and at 12pm I put his tiny sown suit on him put him into his car seat got all his medication together said our goodbyes and walked out of the n.i.c.u doors turned and did a little celebration dance to the n.i.c.u security camera and headed to the elevator with my mum recording every step of the way. I WAS FINALLY ONE OF THEM MUMS THAT I ENVIED SO MUCH WALKING OUT THE DOOR WITH MY BABY IN MY ARMS GOING HOME FOR THE FIRST TIME