23 February 2022



πŸ‘Ά third time parents

πŸ’™ known baby boy

πŸ—“ 34+2

πŸ“† 7th December 2021

⏰ 19:32

⚖ 4lb 15oz

🌟 planned section at 37+3

πŸŒ™ emergency section under general anesthetic at 34+2

✋ Triggers : placenta previa, vasa previa, polyhydramnious, premature birth, bleeding in pregnancy, NICU stay

πŸ‘Ά: 2 previous normal vaginal deliveries ( age 7 and 1 )

Please note I am aware that this story will seem anything but positive to most people reading this but to me it was positive because we both made it out alive and relatively unscathed. I feel like it's really important to share stories like this so women going through similar don't feel as alone as I felt in pregnancy! 

The birth of Freddie Joseph 

Today marks one month of Freddie Joseph and what better way to celebrate that than sharing his birth story. 

My pregnancy was smooth going up until 18 weeks where I had a small amount of spotting which was put down as a blood clot and nothing to be concerned about but as the weeks passed and I encountered more bleeds, it became apparent that it needed ro be investigated and at 24 weeks after bleed number 6 at a growth scan, I pushed the sonographer for an internal scan which is where they discovered I had placenta previa. It wasn't standard placenta previa as I had an entire separate placenta lobe covering my cervix, with my main placenta being anterior high. From that point onwards, each bleeding episode triggered a 24 hour stay from the point the bleeding stopped and over the following two months, I racked up a total of 17 bleeding episodes, a lot of hospital stays, meeting neonatal doctors and ever increasing anxiety. The bleeds increased in size and frequency too, usually happening in the middle of the night when I'd wake up for a wee and find yet another puddle of blood.  I didnt see the same consultant twice and each one I did see had a varying opinion on the severity of the situation ranging from complete bed rest to ' well I don't know why you've stopped working'. 

My final stay before Freddie was born was the week before where I was in Wednesday- Saturday after a bleed featuring clots the size of Mats hands where I received a third shot of steroids, had bags of blood ordered ready for a section and then it was called off last minute as the bleeding tailed off and I wasn't quite 34 weeks ( the seemingly magical week all the doctors wanted me to get to ).  I was having regular tightenings but was told that this was down to my uterus being irritated and that they were unproductive. I was booked in for a growth scan the following Tuesday due to my bump measurements not following a consistent line and then made my way home. When I got home, I felt different. I felt heavier and like I did shortly before previous labours. I finished packing my bags and told my husband I thought that the baby would be coming the next week, that I wouldn't see my planned section date of the 29th December.  

On Tuesday 7th December at 34+2, I made my way to the hospital in the morning for my scan. I'd had some thick bloody mucus  which looked incredibly like my previous to shows and made sure to mention that. I'd told my husband not to come because it was just a growth scan, I didn't even have a consultant appointment booked in so assumed I'd be in and out but that couldn't have been further from the truth. The room fell silent as  scan showed that my Placenta Previa had developed into a rare condition called Vasa Previa which is where the blood vessels connecting the placental lobe ran across the cervix and if your waters go, this can sever the vessels and cause both mother and baby to lose a lot of blood. It also carries a high risk of fetal demise if not discovered prior to waters going.  I'd read a bit about Vasa Previa and knew instantly that this was now an emergency as they also found I had Polyhydramnious (which comes with increased risk of waters breaking and cord prolapse) and that my unproductive tightenings had begun to dilate my cervix internally. I was taken round for a CTG trace which showed my tightenings were 4 in 10 and at this point started to become rather uncomfortable. It was at this point my phone ran out of battery and I had to wrack the depth of my brain for my husbands phone number because I was told I was being admitted to labour ward and that he needed to come in with my things. He was I was given some medication and an injection to try and stop the contractions to buy some time but they did nothing and the doctors came in to let me know they were just deciding if me or another emergency section needed to go first. It was at this point attempt number 6 at a cannula was happening in my hand -  my veins have always been a bit tricky but the fact I hadn't drunk anything for 6 hours by this point meant that they were even harder to find and I came over very clammy, faint and Freddies heart rate dropped to 80. The big red button on the wall was hit and the room filled with midwives who got me to lie on my side whilst they waited to see if his heart rate recovered which it did after a few very long minutes but this meant I was next on the list. The anesthetist came in to place the cannula and told me that after a discussion with the consultant, they wanted to do the cesarean under general anesthetic rather than the standard spinal block where you're awake but numb. The rational was that they had no idea what they were going to find when they were in there and that because of the position of the lobe, there was no option but to cut through it which had the potential for a lot of blood loss. They also discussed with me that there was a relatively high chance that they'd need to perform a hysterectomy if they couldn't get any bleeding under control which I agreed to.  Because it was a general anesthetic, it meant my husband couldn't come with me and he got changed back out of the scrubs they had previously given him. We were told that if the baby was okay, he would be brought to my husband where I could join them after I'd come round but that it was quite likely that he'd need to be taken to NICU straight away before either of us could see him. The very wonderful midwife who'd looked after me since I'd arrived on labour ward took me down to theatre and said she would stay on past the end of her shift because she didn't want me to wake up and not know anyone which I was incredibly grateful for ( she also took this photo of Freddie when he was born and several of her feet..). Once I was in theatre, I climbed onto the table and prepped. There was about 8 people in the room which seemed like loads including a team from NICU and 2 doctors performing the section. I remember lying looking at the ceiling, wishing I'd taken out life insurance in case it all went horribly wrong. There was a moment of discomfort when my catheter was inserted due to the lack of spinal block and then an oxygen mask was placed over my face whilst fentanyl was administered and I was asked to breathe in and out. I remember my eyes feeling heavy, the lamp above the table becoming fuzzy and the next thing I knew, I was in the recovery area with my husband sat next to me. I was quite groggy coming round and my throat was very sore from being intubated (it stayed like this for around a week afterward ) but I was only able to have small sips of water for a few hours and nothing to eat which was hard work given I hadn't eaten since 7am that morning. The midwife then told me how the securing had gone which was much better than expected, that there had been minimal blood loss ( much less than both of my other births ) and that my womb was intact. I was under anesthetic for 2 hours in total, Freddie was delivered 18 minutes after I first went to sleep. 

Freddie was born at 19:32 on 7th December weighing 4lb 15oz. He had cried initially when they lifted him out but quite quickly went into what was described to me as a state of shock and had needed resuscitating shortly after birth. He was taken to NICU and had oxygen for the first 2 hours of his life but was able to breathe by himself after this. He had a cannula fitted to administer antibiotics ( I'm still not sure why this was, I think it was a precaution ) and a tube in his mouth to give him feeds which weren't milk to start with but I think glucose instead. After I'd recovered enough to climb the a wheelchair, we were able to go down and see him at 01:30 in the morning, 6 hours after he was born and I honestly couldn't believe that this little dark haired thing in an incubator was mine. We weren't able to hold him but we were able to open the holes in the incubator and touch him.  It was a very surreal process, going to sleep pregnant and waking up not pregnant but with the baby nowhere to be seen - for a few days afterwards, I kept wondering why I hadn't felt him move and then remembering that he wasn't inside me any more.  He was moved from NICU to HDU ( high dependency ) the next morning where he stayed for three days, learning to breastfeed instead of having feeds through an NG tube and receiving phototherapy for jaundice. He then moved onto the transitional care ward where we stayed for a further two nights before day five baby blues hit and I cried my way to a private room for a further two nights, more jaundice lights, expressed milk top ups for weight gain and a lot more crying before being able to go home. With the covid restrictions in place on visiting hours, my mums partner testing positive for covid the day Freddie was born and my in laws being unable to help look after the other two for other reasons, he was only able to come up four very brief times in that week. As much as having a week in hospital helped me recover quicker physically because I could solely focus on recovering,  my mental health really suffered from not only the three days away from Freddie when he was in Neonatal but also being away from my two other babies and my husband, especially my youngest who wasn't quite 2. It was already in a pretty fragile state after the anxiety the pregnancy had brought me and I think I'll be looking at having a debrief with the hospital in time as there were certain elements of my care I don't think were appropriate or correct which I'd like to discuss to avoid anyone else being in the same situation.  Our stay was very short in comparison to some of the incredible babies and their parents I met but it is one I won't ever forget. I didnt talk about it during pregnancy but I really think the reason we struggled to name Freddie was because I didn't think I'd be bringing a baby home. 

We've been home for three weeks now and Freddie is the most content baby. As I type this, he is curled up on my chest sleeping, one of his favourite things to do. He's slotted into our family perfectly and I feel like he was always meant to be here with us. I am soaking up every minute possible with him because needless to say, he is most definitely my last - I was signed off from the midwife yesterday and I can't say I'm not releived about never seeing one again, especially after such a spectacularly shit pregnancy and birth.

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