These might seem like just normal pictures but these were the moments that still massively effect me. I still can’t talk about Izzy’s birth or the first 6 weeks of her life without crying.
The bottom left was the day she was born, I’d gone through nearly 3 days of labour (I failed to progress after 48 hours induction, 2 sweeps and having my waters broken, twice), 9 hours of that I was contracting every minute for 45 seconds. And after all that I was only 2cm dilated! I later found out that because of the picotin causing my contractions to become too close together, Izzy’s heart rate started to dip and within an hour I was having an emergency c section. I planned a natural birth, hoping to be in the birthing pool and only wanted pain relief as a last resort. I was put on a drip and my contractions went from really bad period pain, to absolute excruciating agony and asking for gas and air within 30 minutes. After 4 hours I asked my midwife (if you could call her that, she didn’t actually say one word to me the entire time) for pethidine, which did absolutely nothing for the pain, but knocked me out for 45 seconds between each contraction. Knowing what I know now, this is called a cascade of interventions. At this point I didn’t even know she was in danger and the consultant came in to check any progress and told me they needed to get her out. I saw the fear in my mum and James eyes but I knew it needed to be done. Within 30 minutes, she was here.
I struggled with breast feeding and getting her to latch, once James had gone home from the hospital, the realisation I was on my own, in charge of this little mouse after nearly 60 odd hours of no sleep, when I couldn’t feel anything from the waist down, let alone get her out of her crib. The next morning I was woken up by a nurse at 5am after 2 hours sleep (if you can call it that) I was made to shower. I asked her if she’d stay with Izzy while I did and she said she would. I hobbled to the bathroom which turned out to be a shower, inside a bath tub. I ended up flooding the bathroom with water and blood and came back to see Izzy had been left on her own, in a communal ward. After I was left for 40 minutes despite pressing the emergency button more than once so someone could come and dress me. Eventually I had to walk all the way to the desk in a towel to ask someone to help me, with blood running down my legs in absolute agony. The rest of that day was a complete blur until the dispenser bringing my painkillers missed my round and I was in absolute agony. James had to go home after finally getting someone to give me morphine after 3 hours of waiting. I failed feeding her again and had a complete breakdown to the point a nurse came and took Izzy away to feed her so I could sleep.
Fast forward 3 days, everything still a blur of excruciating pain from the incision and trapped air from surgery which had traveled to my shoulder. I decided to express milk and to combi feed.
Then started the first of three incision infections, which led to having some hardcore antibiotics and I could no longer give her breast milk. During the start of the third infection Izzy started developing a cute little grunt when she was sleeping, we had family round and everyone commented on how warm and cuddly she was. Little did we know it was the start of something else. Her grunting starting sounding worse and her chest was working harder than it should. She felt hot and temp was 40. We rang 111 and was told to wait up to 4 hours for a callback, looking back now I should have taken her straight to A&E but I thought I was being too overprotective. 4 hours had passed so I rang them back saying I’ve been waiting for a callback and she’s getting worse. We finally got seen by an out of hours doctor after midnight after initially ringing at 7pm. I explained her temp was very high and she was grunting. He said he thought my thermometer was wrong as he’d never seen a baby this young with a temp that high. So he took her temp, it had now gone to 41. He apologised and sent us straight up to A&E. We were taken to a ward straight away and she was getting worse as the minutes went on. She went purple and mottled and wasn’t waking up. Within 20 minutes she’d been taken to a private room and placed on a bed to try and find a vein to administer antibiotics. I remember walking into the room and seeing my tiny little girl lying on a full sized hospital bed with 4 nurses on each arm and leg, trying to find a vein to get her IV in. I couldn’t bare watching them do it to her so James stayed with her and I went to phone my mum. Before I had chance the consultant came and explained she was very ill and they would need to give her a lumbar puncture to rule out meningitis but she is too ill and we would have to wait. Luckily, after a few hours of antibiotics, she was starting to improve and they took her away to give her a lumbar puncture. We were told to sit the other side of ward so we couldn’t hear anything as we weren’t allowed into the room. After, we were sent to the children’s ward where she had 2 hourly monitoring, IV antibiotics and pain killers for 3 days. We were incredibly lucky to have found it so soon, despite having to wait for a doctor. We were told it was an infection but they didn’t know where as it had progressed. It wasn’t until we’d left the hospital and looked at her discharge notes that we saw that it said sepsis. She was sent home with antibiotics for 7 days and improved with every day. A few days later a health visitor mentioned that the infection I had could have passed in my breast milk to Izzy! Here comes the guilt again.
I KNOW I’m lucky she is here, and I KNOW it could have been worse, but this was MY worst and its taken her being back in hospital last weekend with a pretty serious skin infection and me having a panic attack for me to realise there is something wrong. I didn’t get offered any counciling after everything that happened, and I didn’t have a regular health visitor, but I think even I was offered I’d probably just think it was what I was meant to think after so much trauma. I’ve recently been referred to 12 weeks CBT so I am hoping I’m on the road to recovery.
Apologies for such a long post.