On Sunday 17th January 2021, at 1.15am, I woke up to feel my waters had broken. I was 35 weeks pregnant, was supposed to have another week left in work and was completely unprepared to go into labour. I rang the hospital, who didn’t sound convinced there was too much of a problem. I was asked to come down to be triaged and to bring my maternity notes with me. When I was assessed, I was told I was 2cm dilated and the pains started very shortly after. My husband was sent home to collect my hospital bags and I was taken to a private room to prepare to give birth.
I had packed most of my hospital bag and was just missing a few bits – some more huge underwear for myself, clothes for me for a hospital stay and, obviously, baby clothes for a baby born at 35 weeks.
My eyes played up immediately. I had very fuzzy vision for around half an hour, whilst I was being admitted by the midwife and hooked up with a cannula, to get steriods into my system quickly for the baby’s little lungs. I think it was stress related. My trigeminal neuralgia didn’t flare up once, despite me having to have a covid test upon admission. I was hooked up to an IV very quickly and remained on that for the duration of my labour. My cannula was very uncomfortable and, by the end of labour, was being held in to my hand just by surgical tape. I still have yellow bruises on my hand and wrist two weeks after giving birth.
I dilated to 4cm very quickly and then suddenly I was 8cm. I wanted an epidural for the pain, but my anesthetist was stuck in an emergency c section. The diamorphine I had been injected with at 4cm had run out, but I wasn’t allowed another dose, because it would have made my baby sleepy for the birth, so I gave birth on just gas and air. It was absolutely rubbish and I could feel everything!
My pelvis and hip pain was immense during labour – I had been diagnosed with pelvic girdle pain, or symphysis pubis dysfunction (SPD), around half way through my pregnancy. No position was comfortable and I kept trying to close my legs for comfort – obviously not ideal when you’re trying to get a baby out! I hadn’t yet had my birth plan consultation with the doctor – that was due at 36 weeks, just a few days too late. That appointment would have assessed my pelvic girdle pain and would have recommended that I not give birth on my back in stirrups – something I ended up having to do. I still have quite a bit of back and hip pain and I’m awaiting my first physio appointment coming through.
I pushed and pushed and my baby made her way down the birth canal, but I couldn’t just get past the final hurdle. A doctor came to see me and I ended up having an assisted ventouse birth, with baby girl Blake entering the world at 2.16pm on 17th January – almost exactly 13 hours after my waters broke – weighing a healthy 5 pound 9.
I didn’t know I was having a girl and I was too tired to even cry by the time she was placed on my chest. A neonatal doctor was on standby, but Blake had no immediate problems and was allowed to stay with me. I felt so blessed that she was healthy after being born prematurely.
I have never been so in love in my life.
If you want to read about my experiences of being pregnant with trigeminal neuralgia, please click here.
If you would like to read about life with a newborn and chronic pain, please click here.
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