Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Birth story {Part One}

On Tuesday 7th October, at 36+3 weeks pregnant, I went for my last routine growth scan. I'd had three of these scans in the preceding weeks, standard procedure when you're classed as having a high risk pregnancy.  The sonographer seemed happy, but when we spoke to the doctor afterwards she was a little concerned that the baby's growth had slowed down a little and crossed a centile line on the growth chart.

It was nothing to panic over, she assured us, but we were advised to come back in several times over the next week to monitor the baby's movements and heartrate. I asked to be hooked up to the CTG machine there and then for reassurance. I was connected to the machine and had to press a button whenever the baby moved.  All appeared to be fine. 

I went back in for another CTG on Thursday, and, again, there seemed to be no problem with the baby.  But I was becoming increasingly concerned with the level of swelling I was experiencing in my legs and feet, and which was now starting to also affect my face.   I asked the midwives to test my urine and they found some protein in there. Just a small amount but more than a trace. My blood pressure was also higher than it had previously been.

Week 36: Resting my poor swollen feet and legs

Cue lots of Googling about pre-eclampsia from me.  I know Google can be your worst enemy in self-diagnosis but I am not able to resist checking!

On Saturday morning, at 37 weeks pregnant, I trekked off to the hospital for the third CTG. As I lay on the bed, my bump hooked up to the machine, I felt very tearful and vulnerable. Something felt wrong and I felt scared for my baby. I just wanted him here, safe in my arms.  My face was looking so puffy by this point, and more protein was found in my urine. My blood pressure had crept up to 145/95 and the midwife called a doctor to examine me. 

37 weeks pregnant: at the hospital, ballooning up and feeling scared
The decision was taken to admit me to the antenatal ward overnight for observation.  G arrived a few hours later with some overnight things and we waited for the consultant to come and see me.
After a couple of hours, the consultant arrived on the ward.  'Well, you have pre-eclampsia,' he said in a very matter of fact way.  'And the only way to cure pre-eclampsia is to deliver the baby'.  I'd been informed by the junior doctor from earlier that they would probably try to bring down my high blood pressure by medication over the next few days before considering any other course of action. 
'So, we're going to try some medication before thinking about induction, are we?' I asked.  'No.  This situation is only going to get worse, and, you're full term, so we're going to induce you.  Now.'
I think I must have audibly gasped.  'Now, as in tonight?' 'Yes. We will be taking you down to the Labour Suite soon'.
I was so shocked that things were happening so fast.

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