Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The 3rd Little Reason - A Birth Story.

Joshua is the odd one out in our family.  He looks nothing like the others, and his personality is very different as well.

I remember the 20 week scan, where I, unwillingly, found out I was having a boy.  We TOLD the sonographer that we didn't want to know what we were having.  She did all the usual checks, and proceeded to do the femur measurement.  She knew what she did was wrong.  She quickly pulled the transducer off my belly and started back up at his head.

It was too late.  I had clearly seen his bits.  It was a profile shot, knees bent, umbilical cord curled, and boys bits sticking straight up.  My heart sank.  I didn't want to know.  Brett didn't want to know.  I didn't say a word.

The pregnancy went smoothly, and I never mentioned it to anyone.  I got to 38 weeks and I started having strong Braxton Hicks.    I asked Brett to take some photos of me that week, because I just knew it would be the last chance we would get.  And I was spot on.

Saturday night I started feeling "off".  My instincts kicked in and I curled up in bed, knowing that something was going to happen that night.  I woke to contractions throughout the night, and would fall asleep in-between.  I didn't time them.  They weren't regular enough yet.

When I woke Sunday morning, 10 days before my due date, they kicked up a gear.  They were becoming more and more painful and I would hold onto the back of Brett's lounge chair and rock.   The contractions were increasing in pain, but weren't getting any closer together.  I would scream in pain during a long contraction, but not have another one for 10-20 mins.     At about 11am, I told Brett that I thought something was wrong.  He looked at me like I was crazy.  Why would something be wrong?  I rang the hospital and told them my concerns.   Other than the fact that they weren't getting closer together (but were getting stronger and longer), I had no other symptoms of something wrong... other than my mothers instinct.

They midwife was lovely and said  I should come in.  She said that being my 3rd, I would know.  We organised Hayden (3 years) and Lucy (just turned 2) and headed to the hospital.

Upon arrival, they hooked me up to the monitor for 1/2 hour and watched as the contractions were all over the place.  They had no consistent pattern, but were peaking for longer and stronger.   The midwife thought something was wrong with the monitor machine, so asked for the OBGYN on duty to come and assess me.

When he arrived, he did an internal, and discovered that I was 3cms dilated and my waters were bulging down and out of my cervix.   This wasn't surprising to me, as I have strong sacks that haven't ever broken on their own.  He suggested that we break my waters and get things going.  I agreed, but having flashbacks of Lucy's Birth, I asked for the epidural first.  It was a quiet Sunday, so I had my epidural within 15 mins.

What happened next was any mothers worst nightmare.  As soon as my OBGYN broke my waters, the babies heart rate dropped to 60BPM.  I remember the panic that filled the room.  Two midwives and my OBGYN quickly pushed me onto my side... He said something about maybe the cord was around his neck and if I rolled onto my side, it would help.

No change.

The rolled me onto the other side.

No change.

My OBGYN quickly put a clip on the babies head to get a more accurate reading (remember they thought it might have been a faulty machine).  His heart rate was dangerously low.

I remember looking at my husband, tears filling my eyes.  What is going on??  This isn't how it is supposed to go.  This wasn't my plan.  

There was no time between a midwife quickly shoving an awful drink down my throat and the OBGYN calling theatre.  "Code 1 Emergency C/S on her way.  We are heading to theatre 2" He called.

I was whisked away and remember getting dizzy as they ran me down the hallway.  They had whipped my epidural up to MAX and I was having a bad reaction.

Brett had no idea what was going on.  A midwife quickly gave him some scrubs and said "follow me".  No time to ask questions.  He followed.

I was already in theatre and being cut open when he arrived.  I was in tears.  Brett was in tears.  The effects of having my epidural turned to max started to show.  I started to feel excruciating pain in my shoulders.  I was freezing cold.  I remember uncontrollably shivering.

Within a second they pulled the blue screen down and the anaesthetist pushed my pillow up and I saw as they pulled my baby out.  There was only a split second between them holding him up, and announcing it was a boy and him being whisked away.

I started thrashing about on the table.  The pain was unbearable.  I couldn't control the trembling. Brett looked at me and said "Honey, are you alright? Are you alright?"  He was so worried about what was going on with me.

I ordered him to follow our son.  "I am fine, please go with the baby".  I slowly slipped into a coma.  I was out.

I woke almost 2 hours later in recovery.  I was alone.  A midwife came over and asked me how I was feeling.

"Where is my baby?  Is my baby ok?"  I asked.

She said he was fine and back in my room with his daddy.  I was relieved.  I asked if I could go and see him.  I was told I had to be monitored for a while first.  I asked what had happened.   "I am not sure hun.  I am just a recovery nurse.   I will find out for you".

After what seemed like eternity, I was finally wheeled back to my room.  I was met by my husband, holding our son.  "He is fine" he said.  My mother was there and I said "We are naming him Joshua" to which she replied "I know, he is gorgeous".  I have never told anyone, but I was gutted that his name was already announced without me there.  I know it wasn't my hubby's fault.  He would have been excited.   But it is something I have never gotten over.

I was the talk of the maternity ward.  Every midwife that entered my room, would look at my chart and say "Oh, you are the Cat1 Emergency C/S".  It upset me that they were all talking about me, because I still had no idea about what had happened.

It took me 3 days to find out the full story of what had happened.  My OBGYN didn't know, and I never saw the OBGYN on duty again.  Finally on day 3, I went for a meeting and spoke to the Head Midwife.  She explained everything to me.

It was a Placenta Abruption.  She said I had a clot on the placenta and they suspect it burst when my waters were broken, which in turn caused the placenta to come away from the wall of my uterus.  Because the placenta was high, and Joshua's head was engaged and then dropped right down when the waters were broken, I had no external bleeding, which is usually the first sign.  Thankfully they got him out in time, and he had no problems what-so-ever.

My 3 babies 3.5 and under.

Because he is the middle child, I do have a special place in my heart for Joshua.  I think I over compensate and make sure I spend lots of time with him.  I don't want him to become a stereotypical middle child.

He is growing into a wonderfully, kind, loving and affectionate little boy.

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  1. My goodness I was crying how traumatic for you! he really is going to be a heart breaker happy birthday Joshua!

  2. What an awful experience. I'm so glad the outcome was positive though. Its awful being in recovery with no baby. Xx

  3. oh my gosh dani, i remember this but now that i'm more intune with motherhood, well i just burst onto tears reading this, what a terrible experience. but yes you were very fortunate it all worked out and he is a beautiful little man

  4. Wow! Dani so glad Joshua is here today and you are ok :) What a shock!

  5. I cannot believe how similar your birth story is to that of my middle child. I too was in full labour and 10cm dialated when we arrived at the hospital to find that Ashton's heart rate was very low, by the time they had the CTG on it was even lower. A code 1 was called too. We were so lucky, it was a Sunday for us too and the entire theatre staff had to be called in. Ashton was born 23 minutes after we arrived at the hospital...on a Sunday - how blessed we were. I was put under a general and my husband was left not knowing anything either. I don't remember coming back from recovery, I spent all day awake/asleep. Everyone saw Ash before I did. He was in special care nursery. No one told me what happened either, and when they did they only told me that it was an abruption and nothing else. It was only 7 months later when I asked for the medical records that I really found out. I still cry about it. I too knew there was something wrong while at home. It is a miracle that Ash is alive and didn't suffer any disabilities from his birth. I struggled for a long time with grief of missing out on my natural delivery. I felt that I didn't fit in. I was so very sad that my baby almost died, but so happy to have him. It was impossible for my friends and family to understand and I didn't really feel that they tried. It was a tough time. I still cry when he reaches milestones because I know that if we had stayed at home for just one more contraction that we would not have him. I also feel a special bond with him and am so thankful for him.

  6. I cried reading this - and Andrea - yours too.


I am a Mama of Five. A wife to one. I believe in documenting life using stories. I love telling you mine and would love to hear yours.

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