I know this instead homesteading but thought maybe you would all like to read something a little more personal so to get a better idea as to the person behind the posts.
Where to begin? I have wanted to be a mum my whole life, I didn’t so much want the typical cliche happy family with a mum a dad and happily ever after. I just wanted to be a mum. As I got older it seemed less and less likely that it was going to be possible for me.
My Marfan syndrome affects my heart in a lot of ways (mitral valve prolapse, dilated aorta, life threatening irregular heart beats, the list goes on) so that was always something I had to take into consideration as pregnancy had the potential to put my life at risk as well as the babies. On my 20th birthday I received a letter from my doctor saying I was due for my first ever cervical smear, something no one looks forward to but we are always told “it’ll be fine, it’s just a routine check up, everyone gets them done”. Mine turned into a five year long path in my life that I wouldn’t wish on anyone. My results came back as abnormal, it became like a weird dance. A year later my results were fine, a year after that it was abnormal again and so I was referred to a gynecologist a colposcopy confirmed the abnormalities, then a biopsy identified them as low grade precancerous (they weren’t cancer, but had the possibility of becoming cancer). Another year later, another biopsy and things had advanced to high grade. The lovely gynecologist who we will call Mr Movie (made a bad joke once about looking like a movie star) made the call it was time to do something so I ended up having a supposedly straight forward procedure called a LLETZ procedure. Of course being me it wasn’t straight forward, I ended up losing a liter of blood which with a heart condition doesn’t go so well and takes a few days to recover from rather then a few hours. I will honestly say that procedure was the most painful thing I have ever experienced even after childbirth.
Fast forward six months and I go in for a check up (which came back all clear), the doctor like always asks uncomfortable questions like when did you last have sex and well I lied. My partner (who came to my appointments) and I joked about how funny it would be if I got pregnant because then they would know I lied. Never tempt fate because it will take that opportunity. A few weeks later I hadn’t been very well, just a bit tired and flu like nothing major really. My partner decided I should take a test, by this stage I thought it was pretty much impossible for me to get pregnant and there was no way I was. I took it though to humor him and within seconds two lovely bright lines showed up, I burst into a fit of laughter because it just didn’t seem real.
Anyway we knew from that moment that pregnancy for me wasn’t going to be normal, I was referred to an obstetrician which happened to be my gynecologist (the joke by this stage isn’t so funny any more). I was told the pregnancy was high risk and that I would have to be monitored closely. I went to appointments almost every week, but otherwise things when pretty smoothly. At about nine weeks I spent a night in hospital being monitored while they tried me on new heart medication, but even that went smoothly.
At 36 weeks my partner had to go away for work for two weeks, I still had four weeks to go and wasn’t having any major signs that baby was coming. I drove him to where he was going to be staying (1.5hours away) and then the next couple of days I started having pains. Being my first pregnancy I didn’t know what they were but they went away usually when I ate so I didn’t think it was anything major. The first week went by and I was still getting the pains, it got into the second week and I just had this feeling something wasn’t right. I called my partner and he decided it was time he came home, so I drove down (whilst having pains) to pick him up. That same week his Uncle died of cancer, we had Miss Six friday to sunday. Sunday night we had the most amazing mutton roast, mutton is my absolute favorite when it comes to roasts and my partner had cooked this to perfection. We had a nice relaxing evening and jumped into bed. 1am rolls around and I start getting the pains again except this time they were coming and going every 30 minutes, then they got down to 15 and were more intense. I didn’t want to wake my partner over nothing so just tried to go back to sleep, this didn’t work so I got up to go to the loo and noticed I was bleeding. That quickly prompted me to wake my partner up slightly freaking out and in his sleepy state we got everything together and headed to the hospital. We went to emergency instead of heading to delivery but was given a wheelchair and taken up to delivery.
They got me all hooked up to monitors for both my heart and babies, and was checked over. The midwives confirmed that yes I was in labor and it was a good thing I had come in when I did because I was further along then they thought. So the contractions continued on getting more and more intense. Then things suddenly changed I started getting constant contractions, as in there was no gap between them. My blood pressure then sky dived and bub’s heart rate dropped to compensate which essentially saved my life. If his heart rate didn’t drop I was at high risk of having a heart attack or stroke, because of this they decided to break my waters and put a direct monitor on his head and take bloods to make sure he was ok. I started getting really faint and feeling really unwell so they got me to lie on my side from then on, apparently being on my back was putting pressure on blood vessels which was causing the blood pressure problems. At 6am they decided it was time to give me an epidural (I was 5cm dilated at this point), this was recommended by my cardiologist to keep my stress levels down and heart rate reasonably normal. But because of the blood pressure they had to administer it really slowly, contractions were very painful at this stage but I could still breath through them.
I turned to the midwives at this point and told them that the baby was coming now, they didn’t believe me it hadn’t been long since I was only 5cm dilated but they checked anyway and sure enough I was 10cm dilated and Little Man was very much on the move. I had been prep’d for surgery and they wanted me to deliver in theater just in case and so everything at this point became very very hurried. They rang my cardiologist and put him on stand by, they rang my obstetrician who rushed to the hospital and I was taken down to theater all while being told just hold him in. Don’t push. At this stage I could still feel everything it was a little duller then I imagine it would have been but I essentially clung to the side of the bed trying my best to hold Little Man in. We got to theater my partner was whisked off to get gowns and I was left looking up at some new very young mid wife I hadn’t even meet. Next thing I know I was holding my partners hand and they are telling me to push something which I had been told I would not be able to do because of my heart. I had a ventouse assisted birth, but the suction cap failed halfway and the obstetrician pretty much ended up grabbing Little Man and pulling him out. He was put on my stomach and that was the end of the pain. They were so busy focusing on me that they didn’t notice straight away that the cord was around his neck, he was fine though. He was born at 7.47am (yes I went from 5-10 cm in an hour)
Little Man was tiny 5 pounds 4 ounces, with what I thought were huge feet. I got to have skin to skin contact and we attempted feeding but he wasn’t really interested. He ended up having to be wrapped and we both cuddled him close to us because he was classed as hypothermic. By lunch time they decided he needed to be incubated and he was taken to neonates and I was taken up to post-natal. Once the epidural wore off I was able to go down and see him. I just wanted to go home by this stage, but by now he was hooked up to an IV line for low blood sugar. I felt so helpless, it was meant to be me that wasn’t well afterwards but I was pretty much fine. That wasn’t the end of it either, because he was so small he had difficulty feeding, so we ended up giving him formula as well. The second day we were there he developed jaundice and had to be put under UV lamps, we had only just been down to neonates to put him under the lamps when we were informed by a nurse that my partner would have to go home. We had been told he was allowed to stay and when we tried to explain the nurse told us that they only did that for babies that were unwell in neonates. Our baby was unwell and the amount of emotional stress I was under it was a blow that I really didn’t need, I burst into tears.
We left the hospital on the friday afternoon, I had one night in hospital with Little Man with me before we could go home and in the time he was with me he improved drastically. Most babies lose weight after they are born, ours did in neonates and then gained in back in 48 hours with me.
It was never an option for me as to how I had him, it was more a safety thing then anything. If I had any other option I would have probably chosen something a little more relaxed, maybe a water birth. We have the option he in NZ of having hospital water births which is awesome.
Any way I best get to bed I have work tomorrow, first day back. Not sure how I feel about it, I am used to be around Little Man 24/7 so it is definitely going to be a change but I am only working two days this week so it isn’t a big deal.