(Goblin is 30 months)A lot of my friends are pregnant or giving birth and it got me thinking about my pregnancy and birth experience with Goblin. When I was pregnant I wanted to hear lots about other people's experiences. But when I scoured the internet for birth stories they tend to fall into one of two categories:
1) Beautiful peaceful harmonious drug free home-births
2) Horrendous scary stories of babies having to be ripped in an untimely fashion from their mothers womb and rushed to intensive care.
When I started writing this post I was confident that mine bridged the gap. But having read it back I think to some readers it might fall into scary category 2. It didn't feel that way to me though - See what you think.
|The day before Goblin was born
My pregnancy was pretty normal. I was ridiculously tired all the time but I put that down to the 3 hour daily commute to London and back for my full time job. After all, the books all say that fatigue is part of being pregnant. However at 31 weeks I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes. At the time I thought I had no symptoms but looking back I suspect some of the fatigue and constant peeing, as well as the huge amount of amniotic fluid I was carrying, were probably symptoms. I was after all a prime candidate being over weight, of South Asian decent and having a family history of type 2 diabetes.
|Goblin at 1 minute old
I had wanted a natural drug free water birth in a midwife unit, but they told me that due to the diabetes I'd need to have an insulin and a glucose drip so I'd have to give birth in the hospital. I'm a pragmatist and I wanted what was best for my unborn baby, so I resigned myself to a hospital birth. This first blip in my birth plan was probably a good thing as it prepared me mentally for what was to come.
After my diagnosis up til the birth I had to make weekly trips to the diabetes clinic and see a midwife and diabetic nurse. I was put on high doses of insulin which were increased weekly and I never did get the sugars under control. By the time I gave birth I was on 20 units per shot, 5 times a day (for anyone who doesn't know, that is a lot of insulin). I'm not bothered by needles so I was quite happy to follow this regime but I don't hink my colleagues at work were quite as sanguine when I whipped the needle out at my desk.
|Goblin breast feeding just after birth
On induction day we had to get to the hospital for 8am. We knew we'd probably be waiting around so Hublet brought the laptop and we watched back to back episodes of the West Wing. At 8pm they said they were sending us home. I was disappointed. I'd expected to be going home with a baby. But when I went to find out what I was supposed to do next, and explained that my induction was due to the gestational diabetes, they 'miraculously' found me a place on the ward and started the induction immediately. Then they sent Hublet home - no men allowed on the maternity ward ( I guess I accidentally stepped into a time machine and was transported into the past).
|The morning after Goblin's birth
They'd told me that Goblin's head had not engaged and that if my waters broke I should not get up because there was a risk that the umbilical cord could fall out of my cervix - which is apparently very bad for the baby. At 2 am my waters broke. I mentioned earlier that I was carry a ridiculous amount of amniotic fluid. It poured, out of me, across the bed, through the sheets, onto the floor. I was at risk of drowning in my own amniotic fluid (slight exaggeration - but only slight) so against medical advice I stood up and went looking for a nurse. My labour started immediately and by the time I found a nurse I was huffing and puffing quite a bit and the nurse gave me some drugs. They may have been paracetamol or codeine - I have no idea, but it didn't matter because with the very next contraction I puked them up anyway. And that was the end of the drugs for the next 4 hours - they couldn't give me any more because they didn't know how much I'd ingested.
|Goblin day 1 - "Who knew babies come with hats"
At 6am the midwives decided it was time for me to go to the labour ward and I was allowed to phone Hublet. He arrived just as they were wheeling me down the ward corridor - the trip to the hospital is half an hour by car and I am pretty sure it didn't take half an hour to get down the elevator so lets not go there!
Once in the labour ward they kitted me out with 4 drips.
1. Induction drug
4. haven't a clue - probably just to make me look pretty and even
Have you ever tried going to the loo down a corridor in an open backed hospital gown with 4 drips trailing - not dignified!
Now this is where I deviate significantly from what my original birth plan had stipulated. Instead of the "no drugs", I opted for lots of drugs. When you already have 4 drips in your arms, whats a few more chemicals to add to the mix.
The Pethidine was great, I fell asleep between contractions. I don't have much memory of large parts of the day but apparently with every contraction I was violently sick to the point were they ran out of sick bowls.
|Hublet cuddles 1 day old Goblin
|My twin visits the hospital on day 3
They needed to get my informed consent for the operation, so the obstetrician explained the procedure to me. For those who haven't already spotted it I have a wonky face. One aspect of this is that my eye doesn't close properly when I am asleep. Throughout the whole discussion of the operation I was fast asleep with one eye open and the obstetrician had no idea. Hublet spotted this and pointed it out but they woke me up and got me to sign the forms anyway (informed consent is not really what it says on the tin). Then they took me off to the surgical wing and Hublet was scrubbed and gowned and brought in to see.
|Goblin's first day home with Nanny and Poppy
They offered to leave Goblin in the bed with me for the night (So much for the NHS advice about not co-sleeping) but I was so high on pethidine I didn't trust myself, so I asked them to look after him. At about 6am they came to tell me that Goblin had been admitted to the special care baby unit (SCBU) because his glucose levels were low. This sounds more scary than it was. We knew that due to the diabetes there was a high likelihood that Goblin would need to be put on a drip, so I wasn't worried when they came to tell me.
|The day after Goblin was born
|Goblin's first international call to inform his German friend he'd arrived in the world.
If you'd like to read about other birth stories why not check out Crayon and Critter's Mothers day "My child's birth story" link up