The last 22 months of my life have been a bit of a whirlwind to say the least! The 2nd September 2016 was the day I got to meet my beautiful little girl. It was also the day that changed my life in more ways than one and I thank my lucky stars every day that I am still here to tell this story.
Following a rather long, draining and painful latent phase of labour after 6 days I was finally admitted to hospital to give birth. On examination by the midwife is was apparent that baby was back to back, the head was in an awkward position and I would need help to deliver. As my progression had been super slow during the last week and I had only just reached 3 cm’s dilation the doctor suggested I be induced via IV drugs. I remember my community midwife saying that if I found myself being induced by drip that she would recommend having an epidural as it takes a long time (often up to 14 hours) and its better to be comfortable than putting yourself through extra pain. I was exhausted already and had hardly slept or eaten for days at home with no pain relief other than a tens machine on my back. I agreed to be induced as long as I could have the epidural first. The cannula was fitted, I was hooked up and all we had to do now was wait.
I did manage to progress to 7cm overnight, but after 14 hours all progression completely stopped – we had hit another wall! We were into day 7 of continuous back contractions, we had tried everything and I was totally exhausted!! At this point the doctors suggested a c-section and although I had my heart set on a natural water birth, it was just never going to happen for me. I just wanted baby to arrive safely so I signed the forms for the c-section and we got prepped for theatre. Part of me was relieved because I knew this would finally end and I would get to meet my baby.
At 10.17 on Friday 2nd September 2016 our baby girl was born, Ella May and she was a whopper 9lb 2.5 ounces!!!
Whilst laying there on the operating table feeling overwhelmed with joy I just wanted to get back to our recovery room so that I could hold her close to me and enjoy that special bonding time. 5 minutes in the recovery room, Ella was lying on my chest, nuzzled in and feeding like a dream – but soon the midwife who was closely monitoring my OBS realised that something was not quite right! My blood pressure was low, my heart rate was going up…I was bleeding out (internally)! I don’t remember everything clearly as I was lightheaded and dizzy, but I remained conscious the whole time so I can relay most of what went on. More and more doctors and nurses entered the room, followed by the Obstetric Consultants and Gynaecologists. My midwife was great, she kept talking to me and re-assuring me, which helped me stay calm. Blood was ordered and was being pumped into me, faster as time went on. The team that were working on me explained I would need to go back to theatre so they could stop the bleeding.
Following a number of procedures; insertion of a bakri balloon, a general anaesthetic and a B lynch compression suture of my uterus I was taken to ICU and placed on a ventilator so my body could recover. My partner and family were told I might be there for a couple of days. I had lost a total of 8 litres of blood and had 10 units of blood transfused with all new plasma. This would of course take a while for my body to accept.
Typical me, later that evening I was trying to pull the tube out of my mouth and needed further sedation for a couple of hours. The consultants allowed me to come off the ventilator later that night and I remained in ICU overnight for 1 to 1 monitoring. I was allowed back to the post natal ward the following day but I was a bit wrecked! I just wanted to spend time with my baby girl and start to recover properly. I started to feed her properly 2 days after she was born and by some miracle my milk came in a few days later. I was so happy that after everything that had gone wrong I was still able to feed my little girl 🙂
I am so grateful for the support I received in hospital from all the staff and for my family’s constant support in those first few months. My partner and family were amazing and helped me loads in the first few weeks of recovery. I had someone with me practically all of the time because I was so weak. My iron levels were so low in the beginning that I felt very faint and drained so walking was kept to a minimum. I couldn’t carry Ella in the first few weeks, as I just wasn’t strong enough to walk with her in my arms as well.
After a few weeks of a super high iron rich diet, iron supplements and a few hospital check ups I was starting to build my strength again 🙂 However, I had a long way to go before I felt like ‘me’ again.
Looking back on it now it was probably a good 4-5 months before I felt anywhere like my old self again. My body had been through a lot but I was expecting it to be back to normal like my other mummy friends were and this frustrated me!
I have to say that going through this experience has definitely changed my outlook on life in more ways than one. Prior to becoming a mum, I worked most of the time and spent many hours during evenings and weekends either filming, editing or catching up on any of the 1 thousand jobs that come with running your own business (I’m sure all those self employed business people totally get this!)
There was always something that needed to be done and I would endeavour to get it done, so in essence it was ‘All work and no play’! This lifestyle had become the ‘norm’ for me and my health had suffered because of it.
During my pregnancy I had planned to take 6 months maternity leave and then to return part time until Ella was a bit bigger. However, following my experience having her and my longer recovery time we decided that I should take another 6 months to allow my body and mind to recover fully and so I could have more quality time with Ella while she was a baby.
Things were different now, priorities had changed and my whole mindset and outlook on life was different. When you realise you have been given a second chance at life you definitely start to look at things differently. You don’t worry or grumble about the little things. You cherish time with family and friends, loved ones and those you care about. You breathe the air around you and fully appreciate what you can see, hear, touch, smell and taste. You go out of your way to help others. Negatives become positives. You make the most of everything and every day by filling it full of fun and happiness.
So, I decided to focus my time and energy on Ella by letting her have as many new, good learning experiences as possible in order to allow her to enjoy life, be happy and have fun 🙂
I feel I have become a different person through all of this and now live to work, rather than work to live. Not everyone is as lucky as me, so I’ll leave you with this;
“Live life to the full, find happiness and enjoy fun times every day because who knows what tomorrow might bring!”