So finally we're home, safe and sound. We've been settling in and sleeping, and generally trying to notice what the world outside a hospital room feels like. I wasn't sure if I wanted to write a 'birth story', but I think for the sake of my head I need too, so I will apologise now for anyone remotely not interested.
We know the initial stages, pre-labour was taking it's time. This looked promising and all seemed to be going well. My waters broke early hours of tuesday (11th) and before I knew it I had an excited boyfriend running round the flat in need or rescue remedy! I took my time before phoning the hospital - the membranes ruptured in a pretty obvious way, but I didn't want a false alarm.
They have this test for confirming if the membranes have ruptured, and I now know it's not reliable or conclusive. The midwife on call at the hospital did the test, couldn't confirm they had gone, chose not to take my word for it, and sent us home. Very frustrating as it left me self-doubting, and it rather peeved my midwife, who had words later on.
The next morning we were back again, and this time 2 midwifes and 2 doctors all confirmed that yep, definitely, they had gone. Problem now was that I hadn't naturally gone into labour. Most women do within 24 hrs, and by 48hrs labour should have started by itself. After 48hrs, the risk of infection to baby and mother gets a bit serious. So they decided to give me some hormone gel to kick start labour. 2 doses and 24hrs later it just wasn't happening.
It's now gone past that 48hr mark, so we're left with no choice but to be induced via the hormone drip, Oxytocin, which totally controls the contractions. This stuff isn't nice. It makes everything much more painful and you also have to be strapped up and plugged in all the way through. Not good, considering I'd firmly decided against an epidural and wanted an active water birth. Now I find myself unable to even move, but glad at least to be on our way.
At the peak of each contraction, the baby's heartbeat dips as the uterus contracts and pushes, and then recovers afterwards ready for the next one. Baba's heartbeat started dipping early, and a bit too much. Then it failed to recover at all. His heartbeat was indicating that he was being starved of oxygen. Next thing I know the emergency alarm is being sounded and the crash team came charging into the room. I may have been at the gas and air which made things a bit blurry, yet I knew exactly what was going on. Baba was in trouble. It felt totally chaotic as panic set in. Within minutes we were being rushed to theatre.
It all got very surreal, as it happened so quickly yet I was acutely aware of everything. Being rushed around on the delivery bed, with people jumping out of the way, just like it happens on TV, with a look of fear and hope on their faces. I was screaming by now, as the drip and gas and air had stopped. I was begging to be knocked out completely; there was no way I was going through this on a local anaesthetic alone - I was completely freaking out. They were prepping me up as they read me the side effects for my consent and went into complete panic...it all happened so, so quickly.
Coming round in recovery, there were a million questions I wanted to ask but could only manage a few. I asked about my baby - he was fine. I asked were Tom was - he was with the baby. I asked when I could see them - soon. I felt so relieved that Baba had survived and was well, and yet so sad that I hadn't met him yet. I felt like I couldn't cry enough, yet I'm told the tears were flooding down my face. Eventually I was wheeled off to meet him, and join Tom, my mum and Sheila.
The little fella was not only fine, but amazing. I couldn't stop looking at him, trying to absorb everything. Tom was allowed to stay with us for quite some time, and that gave us a chance to get to know our son a little more. He took to breastfeeding easily and Tom proved he was a total natural at dealing with nappies.
We should have only been in a few days to allow me to recover from the C-section, but more things started to go wrong. Blood tests showed that Aran had infact got some kind of infection, which was not surprising as he was born 60hrs after the waters broke, and he came back to us with an IV in his hand. If that wasn't enough, I noticed on the saturday morning that his colour was a bit off, and after more tests we discovered he was jaundice. That meant he had to have light therapy treatment in an incubator, which was really upsetting. It was horrible enough to have the IV in his hand, let alone see him laying there in the incubator, trying to settle him. The jaundice also bought about a low blood-sugar level and some dehydration. All things that seem pretty common to newborns, but all happening at once to our little man.
The pediatricians didn't seem to be communicating well with us or each other - as somehow they managed to miss 24hrs of his antibiotics, and couldn't make up their minds how long the course should be or when we could expect to go home. He was constantly being tested, bloods for this and that, he even had a lumbar puncture which was rather unpleasant. The poor little fella - hardly a fantastic welcome to the world.
All the tests came back negative, and there was nothing seriously wrong with Aran - which we knew, really. And finally they discharged us this saturday morning, some 11 days after my waters broke, 9 days after he was born.
So it's not been the easiest of journeys - Baba wanted to do things his way and my body for some unknown reason didn't do as it should. My head's a bit of a mess to be honest, I can't help but feel I've missed out on something, y'know? Don't think it's all sunk in yet, really.
We are though extremely happy to be home, and Tom is the best dad ever. And we feel incredibly lucky to have Aran here, with us. He's a little star - a good feeder and an even better sleeper!
Thank you all for your well wishes and comments - all of your good vibes have done their job, as Aran survived a difficult journey and will no doubt benefit further from so much support :)