Thursday, 1 August 2013

To C or Not To C, THAT is the Question. (Blog Hop Version)

Hello! I had a bit o’good news yesterday at my one millionth scan, the arrhythmia has gone! She has a NORMAL heartbeat. Double Whoop Whoop! Great news. She’s also growing well and has a lovely big head, just like her brother. Apparently his measured off the percentile scale with 6 weeks to go in my last pregnancy….although he’s not exactly a Mr Tefal-head now, thank god (ref for those born before the 1980’s). So I am not too worried she’s gonna be a freak. Not just yet anyway. She seems to have the Palmer nose again tho….hooray! I do like to impart my genes to my children. It gives me a sense of achievement unparalled by degrees and other such accolades. (I have no other accolades btw. And my degree is in Art so some intellectual snobs may even disregard THIS as an accolade. Therefore to some, I am accolade less).

But another issue I have been having with my consultant and her band of merry men/women, is whether or not I will be allowed a C-section. I’ve a list of reasons why I want one, but until recently I was still umming and aahing. One thing I loved about the first week or so after my last birth was that I felt so well and energetic afterwards. Once I was home and all the horrid drugs had worn off I mean. Even my second degree episiotomy stitches didn’t bother me too much. I just rammed my face with co-codomol when they did. BUT. The birth, the 2 days on the recovery ward on 2 drips with a catheter up me bits and the induction week of hell leading up to said birth were not so grand.

My last birth went something like this: The cholestasis I had developed at 25 weeks had started to get to a point where it wasn’t responding to treatment anymore, my bile acids were increasing at an alarming rate (sending me almost insane with the itches) and I had unsurprisingly started to develop pre-eclamptic symptoms, despite having had low blood pressure for the entire pregnancy. So they decided to induce me at 37 weeks which meant a week in hospital whilst they shoved gels and pessarys and pokey fingers up my foof trying to “stimulate” my cervix to get it moving, ending in nothing. Not a sausage. During which time, I became increasingly more sleep deprived as I cannot sleep in hospital, especially given that I was made to share a room with several women for which the induction process DID work. (Nothing like rubbing my nose in it). Even with a sleep mask, ear plugs and temazepan (yes they did give me sleeping pills which didn’t work) you are still woken every few hours for your stats to be checked.

Eventually they decided they were going to just go for it and break my waters and if THAT didn’t work then they give me the dreaded syntocin drip. Hooray, we’re finally gonna get this thing started! Except, oh wait there’s no midwives?! Oh ok, yeah we’ll wait. Til the next day. Oh and hang on, so now we have a midwife but no rooms? Yeah I am FINE to hang around for a few more hours/days/weeks/months!!!

This was where i was, on that bloody machine for a week.
So anyway, it happened. They broke my waters. I wasn’t allowed to eat or drink anything and a few hours later when nothing happened, they strapped me to the trace monitor on the bed and stuck the drip in my arm. Which bought on a wall of contractions within half an hour. Contractions ON TOP of other contractions. I opted for the epidural, like any sane person would. Right?! I’ve since heard that people endure that drip without pain relief and I am amazed. It was hell. And little did I know at that point it was going to be another 18 hours of it. I think this maybe because I am a big fatty, but my epidural wore off every 45 mins but they couldn’t top it up until an hour to an hour and half, so I had at least 15 mins of pain each hour.

When it was eventually time to push, she let the epidural wear off a bit so I could have more sensation to be able to help me push. I also had severe back pain which the epidural wasn’t touching at the end and I was in agony. And after an hour and half of pushing, the consultant overseeing pulled the plug and said it was time to drag me (writhing and moaning in agony) off to theatre for a forceps delivery. Once in there, they gave me a top of epidural, this did nothing. So they gave me morphine. Wow. That was delicious. But so much so, I felt like I was on a flipping game show, I was so happy. At the time I thought I was just mega-relieved that the pain had stopped. I wasn’t in least bit concerned that when my baby was pulled out, he didn’t make a sound. And that he was on the new baby station with ALL the medical staff huddled around him for 10 minutes whilst they tried to stimulate him to breathe on his own (which he didn’t for 7 minutes). No I was too busy flirting with the South African Anaesthetist, to notice that my husband had gone white as a sheet with tears in his eyes. And when they bought Gus over to me for skin to skin, I tried to pull my top down and pull off the heart monitor pads dotted across my chest but I couldn’t do it so I just handed him back, unbonded.

Then I was wheeled back to the recovery ward, where the come down from the morphine started, the dehydration and starvation from nothing passing my lips for 24 hours and the days and days of no sleep hit me like a wall. I had the horrible disassociation thing you get when you’re severely anxious. I felt like I was looking at the world thru a bubble. It was horrible. I wasn’t interested in Gus. I desperately wanted something to eat and drink (but I kept throwing up) and sleeeeeeep. But I couldn’t. I wasn’t allowed to even shut the cubicle curtain to puke and cry in privacy. My mother, who had been one of my birthing partners, unable to come into theatre, had been sat waiting for 3 hours in a corridor (because they’d kicked her out of the room) was allowed a 2 minute visit before being shunted out by the midwives. It was horrible. I was convinced I was too dehydrated to produce any milk so refused to try and latch him straight on, a mistake I now bitterly regret given my subsequent problems with feeding. I was an absolute, total mess, emotionally and physically. Oh and to top it all, I was told by the Consultant paediatrician that there was a chance that Gus could be brain damaged from not having breathed on his own for so long!

I don't have mumps. I have water in my FACE.
After begging and pleading with one of the midwives I was allowed to go to a private room to sleep for 2 hours whilst Emlyn did a fantastic job of giving Gus his first bath and his first feed. Things I should have been doing or having some part in. When I came around, my entire body had swollen up like a balloon with severe oedema (water retention). I didn’t pass urine for 24 hours because I was so de-hydrated and I was kept on the recovery ward (with no visitors) with 2 drips and a catheter for company for 2 days instead of the standard 4 hours. When Emlyn left me on that first night (also severely dehydrated and exhausted having not slept either), I was almost catatonic with fear. I had no idea what I was doing.

TMI warning: And the downstairs aftermath, well to be fair, there doesn’t seem to be too much damage in terms of sensation (!). I still have a healthy sex life! And was able to get back on it within 6 weeks of giving birth with minimal discomfort….which I’ve since discovered is pretty good going, especially considering I had stitches. But I do have a bladder problem. I think it’s slightly prolapsed and it’s embarrassing to say the least.

So, in light of the horrific birth, the damaged wee bag, the baby that could have been brain damaged, the week of no sleep, and the onset of cholestasis meaning intervention will be inevitable AGAIN this time, I thought this might stand me in good stead of being allowed a C-section with minimal fuss. Apparently not.

No, my Consultant has written almost in CAPS that I am apparently a GOOD candidate for a vaginal delivery. And she spent half an hour trying to convince me that I might end up feeling exactly the same way even with a section. But one of the biggest things for me was the week of sleep deprivation BEFORE anything got started. That’s not a healthy basis to start a medical procedure on, surely? And yes of course there are loads of risks associated with any form of surgery, especially for the chubba’s, but they are risks and not definite. And she reminded me that I maybe sleep deprived after the procedure because of the pain. But excuse me for pointing out the obvious but isn’t sleep deprivation with a new-born a given?! I think I’ll be in a damn sight better shape if I haven’t endured a week of sleepless hell beforehand though!

I meet with the consultant midwife on Monday morning to decide my fate. Given my consultant’s recommendation, it seems to me like a done deal. I’m not allowed one, and that’s final. But I guess we’ll see.

Anyone with any thoughts on this, please tell me. Everyone’s birth experience is different and all pretty harrowing in their own way I’m sure. But if you think I am being completely na├»ve about hoping a C-section will be a better choice for me then please let me know, all advice appreciated!

Thank you guys!

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