“I’d recommend them to anyone and everyone”

When I found out I was pregnant with baby #3 I knew that I wanted and needed something ‘more’ that what the NHS could provide me with, after 2 very normal very textbook pregnancies and one amazing labour and delivery and one not so great, homebirth turned transfer to hospital,I set out looking for the ‘more’. I also had numerous treatments for abnormal smear tests and was told I may have difficulty carrying a pregnancy to term due to the amount of cervix removed.

My ‘more’ was found in the shape of Yorkshire Storks and a consultant in Leeds (2ish hours drive from me). I was thrilled when I spoke to Sharyn and she said the travel was fine and booked a consultation, I knew there and then I wanted to book. My booking was done with Claire and I explained the situation with the cervix and nothing was a problem, they’d come with me to my appointments too.

My antenatal appt with the Storks were all normal and plodded along nicely. My appointments in Leeds also turned out well and everything held up just as needed and I was discharged from there at 26 weeks. My bloodwork did show some rare antibodies that sent the hospital into a tizz, but the Storks weren’t phased by it (I should add this is because the levels were barely detectable) and said they’d just make sure they did the cord bloods at baby’s birth. At my 28 week blood draw the levels were still low but I was booked for a consultant appt and scan… this turned out to be a growth scan and everything was fine (Chris came to this appt as I was ready for some negativity but there wasn’t really any).

Everything went on as normal, all plans were in place, pool was ordered, hypnobirthing course done, we were ready….. baby Thomas was not!

My ‘due date’ came and went and not much happened, there were the odd episodes of surges but they never came to anything. On Tuesday 12th Feb, at 41+2 NHS dates, 40+6 my dates, I decided enough was enough and after taking the kids to school we would go for a long brisk walk! As I was locking the door to do the school run I felt a bit if a warm gush but didn’t really think much of it. Took kids to school and off we went walking, 20 mins into our walk I felt another gush, thought I’d wet myself…. but it happened again during a Braxton Hick.

I text Claire and then Chris and Debs after the 4th time it happened (I was seeing Chris that afternoon anyway) just to ask if I needed to do anything. We finished our walk, I gushed a lot more (sorry pub seat at the seafront) got home had a shower and had my antenatal appt with Chris. All was fine and dandy and she thought they’d see me later that night as I’d started having some surges. That night, all night, mild.irregular surges, went to bed – nothing! Wednesday- nothing!

Wednesday evening Claire rang to advise that NHS protocol is to start induction 24 hours after waters have broken if labour hasn’t started and did I want her to arrange one or possibly some monitoring. I opted for the monitoring on the Thursday morning, so we got kids off to school (they were off to dads after school until monday) and off we went to antenatal assessment, I explained the story and expected to be told you’ve just got a weak bladder now! The midwife did an exam and speculum and a amnio sense swab, she said speculum looked clear and I was 1-2cm. Took swabs away, came straight back positive for amniotic fluid. I sent the unit crazy as I was now coming up 48 hours and they wanted me straight in delivery suite.

I declined, asking for a CTG and an arrangement for induction the next morning if the ctg was normal and I hadn’t laboured spontaneously overnight. Debs was coming to see me anyway but met us at the hospital and was a reassuring voice in amongst the chaos, explaining things and questioning things in the right places for me. CTG was done – all perfect, but I opted to be booked in for Friday at 7am. Consultant read me the riot act and I signed my “against medical advice” forms. Off we went… and the surges started, but as always fizzled.

So Friday 7am in we go, i was really glad at this point that Chris could accompany us into the hospital. Got all hooked up to monitors, bloods done, obs done, all textbook and lovely. Presentation scan, bub’s head down, good to go with the drip as I was already 1-2cm.

Drip got going about 9am and i started contracting within about 40mins, it got ramped up every 30mins, but by 10.30 Thomas was having quite a few heart decels, so onto my right side, no change, left side, no change, right again, no change-  emergency buzzer, and then he was recovered perfectly. Drip switched off, consultants called in. They were off to do a planned section and didn’t want me having any intervention while they were tied up, so left to just crack on. Chris mentioned that if the decels kept happening we could be looking at a section, but baby was ok for now. The drip had kick-started my labour though, and by 1pm I was contracting on my own 3 in 10, I was examined again… 1.5-2cm, I was gutted! We had a handover to new midwife and was told we were set to restart the drip.

I queried whether or not the lack of progress was my cervical surgery history and whether or not we could just try and keep going without the drip for now. But a long chat with James and Chris around what if it was that, I could go on my own for a couple of hours and still need the drip or I could go for the drip now and speed things up. I asked the midwife to start the drip on the proviso that if it didn’t work this time and bubs wasn’t happy, we would stop it and go to theatre, we wouldn’t try the “wait and see if he recovers.”

The drip started again at about 4pm, (I think) the contractions were horrific, I don’t ever remember my spontaneous labours being that bad but I’d managed until now with just my hypnobreathing. I had some gas and air and was going ok. 4.30 pm when they turned the drip up, Thomas had more decels that were quite scary, the drip went off, emergency buzzer pressed, head midwife came in ‘let’s have a look’.

I said no, we just…. and before I could get the words out the consultants were in and he declared it a category 1 emergency section, Chris warned me the room was about to get very busy and before she finished saying it the room flooded with people, telling me things, asking me what I’m allergic to, when I last ate, could I sign here, if you bleed out we will take the uterus…. and I was so proud of myself I shouted, I can’t listen to everyone at once, please! And they almost formed a queue, I was signing consent forms while having catheters fitted while James told the anethstetist my history etc and then I was wheeled out and into theatre. 

I lost all my bottle then, I cried like a baby, the midwife was holding my hands and the lovely man doing my spinal gave me a cuddle Haha he said it’s ok, you don’t need the gas and air now, I’m taking all the pain away -  he lied, it hurt like hell going in -  but then the “hot water running down my legs” feeling hit, and then they let James in in his dashing scrubs (apparently he had a mini breakdown in the room when they wouldn’t let him follow me just in case I needed a general anaesthetic, but again Chris saved the day I’m told) then within 3 mins of James getting there, Thomas was out. Screaming like a goodun!

He was 7lbs3, loads of dark hair, so alert! Born at 17.08.

He was taken straight to the resus table just in case, and he was wiped down and wrapped up and given to James, I was quite sad about this as I desperately wanted skin to skin, I also found it difficult to move my arms to touch him as one hand had a cannula in that was blown and painful, and one that had a cannula that was being used. In hindsight, id of asked for it removed there and then, rather than later in recovery.

It was amazing seeing James with Thomas though, the bonding there was something I wouldn’t of seen had I had him all of that time, James did make sure we got some cheek to cheek though! I did make sure they remembered to cut his cord long, so I could use my cord tie, and the midwife remembered I’d asked for my placenta to take home (I’d forgotten all about that bit until she brought the bag in later!)

It took a long time to get me stitched up and I lost over 1.5ltrs blood I’m told. I passed out and almost threw up but were ok.

When we got back into the room, Super Chris was to the rescue once again and made sure I got my skin to skin, made sure Thomas got latched on correctly and did our cord tie, the hospital midwives were busy setting up monitors and compression machines so her help and initiative here was again invaluable. Thomas’s cord bloods came back negative for the antibodies I have, so he was ok in that respect.

I was happy to hear that even though my waters had been gone 3 days, there were no visible signs of infection, we were being monitored for 24 hours but everything was fine, and on the Saturday Debs came to hospital and made sure they discharged me after the 24hours! Postnatal appointments with the Storks were invaluable, the daily visits in the early days and the reassurance at the end of a text, I had a cord issue and a thrush worry but both were answered and my mind set at ease. 

Having my staples removed was interesting, but they know their stuff, and the dressing coming off was worse than anything! Chris came to my postnatal consultant appointment at the hospital and we talked through some of the issues, the no skin to skin being our main one, hospital answer sucked but hehe, even more reassurance around ‘next time’.

I suffered quite a bit with my mood, a large part of that I think was to do with my plan for Thomas’ birth and then the reality of what I got, but again, nothing was a trouble and the Storks helped a lot.

I’d recommend them to anyone and everyone, and in a heartbeat I’d book again, James is almost convinced on baby #4, but let’s give it a few years!