Sunday, January 15, 2012

Saturday 11th June 2011 –
Freya Catherine Hemmett’s dramatic arrival into the world!

I have just worked out this may be the best way to explain how Freya arrived so early as some people know and some don't... :) However, FOREWARNING: WHILST I HAVE STRONGLY EDITTED THIS, IF YOUR STOMACH TURNS EASILY, DO NOT READ! ;)


SO…. Before I go any further, throughout the first part of this – the labour - I need to re-iterate that at no point did it occur to me that I was in labour…

I had been ‘in and out’ of Basingstoke Maternity Day Assessment Unit (MDAU) throughout the week prior and then finally signed off sick for a week with high blood pressure and advised by my doctor it could be longer (Thursday early am I went in with Braxton Hicks & was told I wasn’t in labour & didn’t have an infection so no reason to suspect I would have her early). Then on Saturday morning, I woke up at approximately 5am, feeling ‘liquid’ down below. Thinking I’d had a pregnancy related accident, I got up and went to the bathroom, grabbing a towel, then went back to bed. I don’t know how close together this happened but I started to get a pain across my lower back, like sciatica, and a pain in my lower tummy, assuming it was Braxton Hicks/ IBS. I took paracetamol but due to how early I’d woken up I was really tired so wanted to try lying down to sleep, every time I lay on the bed, I’d get another pain and I couldn’t find any position that was comfortable. Rob woke up so did things like rubbing my back. In the end I told him I needed something so I could sleep, could he call an ambulance? He said he’d call the MDAU. He did that but due to the pain I was in it was hard to explain what I was thinking (which was that I needed something to help me be able to lie down for more than 2 seconds, in order to rest because I was concerned that I’d get to the point of being so tired everything would give way and I’d hurt myself/ baby). So they said they could make an appointment for 8:30am but I said I couldn’t make the half an hour drive to the hospital so ‘don’t bother’. I think we had a little argument, when I asked Rob to call an ambulance instead as I couldn’t do this for another 3 months (ok, 7 weeks) until her due date. He pointed out that calling an ambulance wouldn’t make any difference.

So I carried on, with pain coming, I was really tired. Rob wouldn’t let me have anything more than paracetamol (I begged for anything, not caring that I wasn’t meant to take too many pain killers). Any movement (even talking or thinking) was agony so in the end I told Rob to lay lots of towels on our bed and go downstairs. So I was naked, our bedroom is at total mess because I was the only one in the room aside from our lovely cat, Firby, who sat on the edge of our bed for most of it – Rob came up at one point and opened the window but I asked him to close it at about 10:15 cos I was cold). I took 2 senokot, as well. I had also thrown the towel, which was mangled (it turned out that I thought it was the glue, it was actually my mucus plug. In hindsight, Rob and I have now realised what was my waters breaking and the mucus plug but at the time…). Rob had got up, showered and (on my instruction) gone downstairs but was still checking I didn’t want anything. At probably approximately 10:30am, I was lying on my right side, pushing, when I felt lots of water. I’ve had lots of UTI previously so thought ‘Come on Antonia, you cannot allow yourself to get more ill’ so I forced myself up off the bed, thinking I had to go to the bathroom. Having stood up, (my side of the bed there’s just eno room to stand up, with a wooden ledge round our bed) straight away again, I felt the need to ‘push’… I pushed as hard as I could… (by which point I didn’t care where I was) and Freya fell out, screaming, head first, onto the wooden ledge! I screamed… Rob ran upstairs, into our bedroom (he said he saw me stood there, naked, with his tiny daughter on our bed, attached via the cord, both of us screaming and crying). He shouted at me ‘pick her up’ (I think I’d frozen in shock) so I did, then he seemed to freeze in shock so I shouted 999 at him (don’t ask me why I didn’t shout ambulance or anything else!). He (I don’t actually remember this thinking about it) said he ran downstairs thinking his phone was there, and then upstairs then realised it was in his pocket! So he called, by which point Freya had stopped screaming (he’s stood next to me and Freya, still on the same spot by our bed) so I started screaming, worried she was going to die. She then cried again, the lady on the phone told Rob to keep us both as warm as possible, wipe Freya’s mouth, etc (weirdly, I think I calmed down a teeny bit and ‘sense’ kicked in cos as he repeated this to me, I was already doing that and talking gently to her). By around this point the ambulance had arrived so Rob ran downstairs to open the front door.

Crew was made up of 1 Irish Paramedic (IP) & 2 Male Technicians (Tech). So IP comes in & apparently said we all seemed incredibly calm – Rob said we weren’t but we think it was adrenaline/ shock, etc. I am now mortified and will never let my bedroom (or me for that matter) be that untidy again! Anyway, IP came in, opened a ‘delivery’ packet (that I still have), told Rob he was cutting the cord which in hindsight is funny cos I’d told Rob I didn’t really want him ‘down the business end’! Anyway, IP also told us he’d delivered his own child/ren and that most of them don’t get to see even 1 delivery so it was good. He was then concerned about getting us to hospital asap due to blood loss (apparently the local midwife had said wait for her and he’d overruled her). I didn’t understand at the time how ‘important’ this could be so actually remember asking if I could have a shower (I looked down and discovered blood was dried down my legs) but just put a dressing gown on over the ‘basics’ & flip flops… The knickers were then cut later in the ambo, so he could see if the placenta had been ‘delivered’…

I am trying to grab things on my way out that might be useful like I’d started packing a bag, my handbag, asking if the cat was ok, Rob mentioned our washing machine had broken so could leak all over the floor! Then having got in the Ambulance, the Tech left the door open so IP had to suggest he should maybe shut the door so my neighbours couldn’t see ‘everything’, then they couldn’t work out from the sat nav where we were going! My biggest concern was already just that having not enjoyed being pregnant at all for 32+4 weeks, I didn’t want Freya to die. So I remember talking some random rubbish – IP said we didn’t need to worry about the lights and siren and I said I wasn’t due to working for the Police (saying this whilst trying to hold Freya, I’ve never been in an Ambo before, never mind having just had a baby)… Then he discovered having got part way to B’stoke that the suspension on the Ambulance suspension wasn’t working – this was when I nearly fell off the stretcher & he’d nearly fallen on me trying to see how my bleeding was going…

So, we get to hospital (about 11:10am, Rob said that some idiot actually overtook the Ambulance on the way!) Freya is taken off me by a Nurse & Doctor – Bernie & Liz.

Before I forget: Rob has phrased it that Freya decided to ‘break her Ambulance virginity’!

So I am ‘wheeled’ on the stretcher to the MDAU… The next bit was EASILY the most painful bit for me. I had my legs put in ‘stirrups’ (I had only just started reading about birth plans prior to this and didn’t want stirrups!), I was supposed to 'lie still' with my back and bottom flat on the stretcher, whilst they ‘investigated’ what had happened. I had a drip put in my left wrist, an injection in both legs, gas & air with my right hand and was still in absolute agony, moving on the bed. Rob was on my left shoulder and said it was horrible because they were trying to do everything at once. In hindsight, I think they had to but I didn’t know that and we were both terrified, cos I’m in agony and we both want to know what’s happening with Freya. The nurse put her hand up inside me in the end to pull the placenta out, did the ‘stitch’ they have to do & then all I heard was ‘Volteral will help’ – apparently she was telling me she could put a thing of it up my back passage that would dissolve on it’s own. I’ve taken it before so I was just screaming ‘yes, just do it’! Rob said I kept pulling away and they kept telling me I had to stay still.

My parents arrived early afternoon, and I was allowed to have a shower… Which would have been fine except my mum insisted on sitting in the ‘toilet’ area to check I was ok, winding me up so I stood there, said I felt a bit rough and then the next thing I knew, I’d fainted (never done that before!) and slid down, so I’d bumped my head on the tiles and my mum was worried about the shower being on and me drowning!

I was kept in until the Monday, by which time I was desperate to go home as we were being given cards and presents, I hadn’t been home at all so didn’t know what state the house was in and was trying to get by on telling Rob what clothing etc I needed. Plus I was tired and sore. Oh yeah, then there’s also the ‘small’ factor that Freya was in the Special Baby Intensive Care Unit and I was slowly beginning to realise that she was really ill and I was absolutely exhausted, from everything that had happened and so many people (family) and trying to be ‘sensible’ for them!

I was finally able to go home, rest for about half an hour and then come back again with Rob to see Freya…

After that I wasn’t so bad, physically. The first week and a half I was expressing milk but hated it so the local midwife told me to stop! And Freya certainly doesn’t seem so far to have an issue with it. I told the midwife that I hadn’t been sure anyway, explained the circumstances and that I was really tired, hated it and she said she was going to tell me to stop as she felt that was best for me, if Freya was going to be ok. And at the moment, I don’t regret it. Rob asked how I’d feel (or have felt) when it looks like she’s ‘nuzzling’ for me when I have a cuddle but the only thing I’ve felt a little bad about is that cos she’s always been in hospital, if she’s been hungry I can’t just give her some milk.

So that covers the first few weeks of Freya’s life. She had various treatment for breathing but eventually the nurses realised that she was better not having the mask at all as she didn’t like it and then the same thing happened with feeding – she was taking what she needed from a bottle, then Monday 4th July we called the unit & were told she’d pulled her feeding tube out overnight & as a result they were going to discharge her!

Now she’s home and is just over 3 months old. The first 6 weeks or so of her being home, she was quite hard to look after as she’d scream every time we did anything, like change her nappy. She’s always been well behaved in other people’s company & now she’s such a cute & well behaved baby most of the time, a total Daddy’s girl and very sociable!

P.S. Just remembered: Just to clarify, 1) yes it did hurt, just because Freya was small & I only had 2 paracetamol does not mean it's any more comfortable! 2) Yes I did have 'stitches' (was advised they only do 1 long stitch now but I had one) 3) Freya seems to be fine now, just small so needs to gain weight. At birth she was 3lb 13, last week she was about 9lb. She's weighed fortnightly but that's the only 'check up' she has, unless I take her to the Doc's. :)
4) I actually wrote this a while ago but didn't get a chance to thoroughly edit it so whilst it is 'old' news for some of us, it does at least set the record 100% straight, as there was a bit of confusion. The most important thing is that we're all ok.


Anonymous said...

Antonia (aka 'the mum'): I have just realised that I copied this story from my facebook page so some of the latter information is a tad out of date. Just to clarify, as of January 2012, Freya weighs approx. 13lb 5oz... Thank you! :) xx

Precious and priceless so lovable too, the world’s sweetest littlest miracle is, a baby like you.

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