21st March 2010 11:57This is probably going to be long, so grab a cuppa! Amelia is almost 6 weeks old, so thought it was time to share my birth story. I found reading other girls birth stories so inspirational and educational, that it only seems right that I post mine, and maybe it will strike a chord with someone else. I think the best time to start is when I was 35 weeks pregnant and I started to get a very bad rash on my abdomen – very itchy. I contacted my consultant – The Prof, and he said I needed to go to A&E immediately for a blood test, as I may have Colastatis (a condition where the liver produces too much bile). Into A&E with myself and DH, blood test taken, admitted overnight, but blood results were inconclusive, so I was discharged. Then at 36w+4, the following Sat, the rash had worsened on my tummy and was raised, like red welts. The itch was driving me crazy and nothing was helping to reduce it. The Prof sent me back into A&E and once again blood tests were taken. Amelia was breech also and I had a slight show, so I was admitted. Within a few hours the rash had started to spread to my legs and arms and I couldn’t sleep with the itch – I can’t describe how horrendous it was, I just wanted to peel my skin off. Anyhow, on Monday, I was expecting the Prof to discharge me, but to my surprise he came in and said that he felt it was safer for baby and me to do a section the following morning. He stressed how potentially serious Colastatis was and that they would always induce by 37 weeks with this condition. As I was breech, they had no choice but to section me. I was extremely nervous – I really did not want a section – it filled me with fear. But more importantly I really didn’t want to deliver my baby at 36+6, was worried that it would be too early. I was given 2 sets of steroid injections to help with baby’s lung development. Found them very sore to be honest. Then on Tuesday, at 36w+6, I was taken to the theatre in a very fetching surgical gown and stockings! I was absolutely terrified and also completely overwhelmed that I would finally meet my darling daughter. It’s a feeling I’ll never forget. DH was sent to change into his George Clooney scrubs (He looked gorgeous!!!), and I was brought into theatre. I couldn’t get over how many people were there – but the support and kindness from them all was amazing. The midwife introduced herself and I told her I wanted to breastfeed and really wanted skin to skin contact, so she said she would do everything in her power to ensure I got that. The spinal block stung a bit, I was really not looking forward to it at all, but honestly girls, don’t waste anytime worrying about it. I had watched too many Home and Health baby programmes on sky, depicting this and it looked so much worse than it actually is! Very quickly I began to feel warm and then numb. I was prepped and then the Prof came in. When the curtain was placed in front of me, the Prof called for DH to come in. DH was amazing – so calm and loving and supportive. I couldn’t get over how strong he was, ‘cos the same guy practically faints at the sight of blood and he was seriously worried about how he'd cope in birth, whether for a section or vaginal labour. But he really put my needs first and didn’t let his fears take over. I’m so proud of him. He held my hand and constantly told me how proud he was of me and how much he loved me. I was so scared and also so excited all at once. I could feel rummaging around my tummy – no pain, but I knew something was happening. The midwife had said to me that we should listen for the sound of suction and when that happened, our baby would be born in seconds. Sure enough we heard the suction, then I felt a tugging sensation, then our beautiful daughter made her first cry. I’ll never forget it. Both DH and I were crying as the Prof held her up over the curtain. She looked so big – 8lb 5oz – and so long, but the immediate gushing of love I felt was incredible. I ached literally to hold her. The midwife took her and brought her to me straight away and I got to hold her on my shoulder – after a few minutes DH took her for a cuddle and she peed all over him, which we both found hilarious! While the Prof stitched me up, Amelia was left with DH and I and it was wonderful having this time with her. I had been so worried that she would be whisked away from me, but that wasn’t the case at all. Then I was taken to recovery and DH stayed with Amelia while they did the Agar test and cleaned her up. While in recovery, my blood pressure dropped suddenly, and apparently my lips went blue and I passed out. I came to a few minutes later with oxygen on me and several docs and nurses all around me, telling me that I’d given them all a fright. I was kept in recovery for a couple of hours as my blood pressure was so low, but my midwife was amazing and brought Amelia into me and placed her under my gown, so I had that precious skin to skin contact. She stayed there with me like that and we were wheeled back to my room with Amelia still under my gown snuggling up to me. Things got a bit scary at times after that for both Amelia and me. After a few hours of being in our room, her breathing got very shallow. We called for a nurse, who called for a Paed and Amelia was whisked away to ICU. She needed antibiotics and penicillin and was on a drip for 48 hours. Although we were told she would be fine, we were just so worried. Seeing her little hand with a drip in it was so scary. But sure enough in 2 days she was back by my side in my room doing much better. Then it was my turn! My blood pressure continued to be extremely low and the rash that I had been told would disappear within days of the section had gotten worse. It started to blister and 70% of my body was covered with it. Infection control was called in and they thought I’d caught MRSA or something …. Swabs were taken. The Prof felt that it wasn’t Colastatis anymore, it was something else. I was put on drip again and given antibiotics and steroid creams. To cut a long story short, within a few days I started to see an improvement – I was diagnosed with an extreme case of PUPPPS, which starts at 35 weeks and lasts up to 6 – 8 weeks after birth. I also lost a lot of blood during the section (4 times the normal amount) and my blood levels were not rising, so I needed a transfusion. In a few days, I started to feel better, and in true tag form, Amelia started to get sick again. She was slightly jaundiced but her jaundice levels spiked to almost 400 (they should be around the 100 mark I think – don’t quote me!). She was put on the Billie blanket for 8 – 10 hours, but 4 days later she was still on it, she just took a long time to recover. Her weight dropped to 7lbs 2oz, and she stopped feeding. As I was bf’g, it was a horrendous time. She just stopped latching on and refused to feed. I had to start expressing and the midwives cup fed her. It was very stressful, but I was determined to persevere and now, I am so glad I did. They were all amazing and really supported my decision not to bottle feed. Finally, after 12 nights, both Amelia and I were given the all clear to go home. Leaving the hospital, DH, Amelia and I was such a joyous moment. Our little family going home together finally. A lot of you know how hard the TTC journey was for me and DH. I yearned for a baby so much and being preg with Amelia, well overjoy is an understatement. I loved being pregnant, I felt so much love for the baby I was carrying and couldn’t wait to meet her, but I was unprepared for the depth of my feelings once she was born. I am besotted with my little angel, she is perfect in every way. I stare at her constantly in awe and love every single second of being a Mommy – even the night feeds! This is the happiest time of our lives – I didn’t think it would be possible that DH and I could be any happier together, but I was wrong. Amelia has just strengthened our love, and life could not be any better. So for anyone who is TTC at the moment, or having a tough pregnancy, who suffered a miscarriage or death of a baby, it’s worth it girls, it really is. When you hold your baby in your arms finally, all those tears of pain are washed away with tears of joy. Lastly, thank you to all my friends on WOL in TTC, P&B and now M&K who have helped me through this rollercoaster of a journey. I wouldn’t have coped without you all – you really helped me through some tough times. I look forward to sharing stories of our little girl growing up with you all.