Thank you so much for all the love you’ve sent our way as we welcome our baby, Lily Grace Ann into this world. The past two weeks have been a bit of a blur and I still can’t believe that our little girl is already settled in our home.
I was un-sure whether to write a post about Lily’s birth story, as there are some parts I wish I could forget. But, I’m hoping it might help someone if they ever experience anything I have throughout my pregnancy. I wasn’t able to find a lot on the internet of people’s experience of suffering with a subchorionic hematoma nor had I heard of Group B Strep. So, hopefully as well as documenting my thoughts on the labour. It might also help someone who was in the same position of me.
On 14th October, I was preparing a few things in our home for my baby shower at the weekend. Chris had been moving furniture, hanging pictures and building flat packs up the day before and I was slowly sending him crazy with my nesting phase. While he was at work, I remember getting on the floor to try and take a photo of our new headboard to post on my Instagram. Just as I was pretty pleased with myself that I got ‘the shot’ in a reasonable time, I stood up and felt fluid leaking from me. Instantly I thought I needed to rush to the toilet. But, as I started to walk to the bathroom I soon realised that I didn’t need to go nor had any control over the fluid leaking. The fluid quickly turned into blood and I noticed my usual painless Braxton hicks had turned quite painful. After a concerned call to my mum, I called the labour ward at the hospital to ask for their advice. As the fluid and blood was easing off they reassured me that there was nothing to worry about (I had turned 36 weeks pregnant that day) and that it was most probably my ‘show’. This can happen anytime around a month to a day before labour. So although I was showing labour signs, everything was pretty normal for how many weeks pregnant I was. They told me to give them a call back if the bleeding got any worse or if the Braxton hicks turned into contractions. It was only an hour later that the fluid was leaking from me again and the ‘show’ had been a lot heavier. The hospital wanted me to come in to monitor the baby and check my waters hadn’t broke. So, I hunted Chris down from work and we headed on our 40 minute journey to the hospital. During this time the bleeding continued and I was pretty uncomfortable with the braxton hicks, which were starting in my back and moving round my hips before easing.
As soon as we arrived at the hospital they hooked me up and we were monitored for an hour, as well as having a few swabs taken by the doctor to check to see if the fluid leaking was my waters. The baby’s heartbeat was perfect and apart from an highly elevated heart rate on my part (I suffer badly with anxiety) they sent me home and told me to keep an eye out for any contractions, as although there was definitely fluid leaking, my waters were still intact.
We spent the rest of the day heading to a few shops to pick up the last bits I’ve been wanting to buy for our house. I can remember feeling pretty good and apart from the Braxton hicks coming and going – I was feeling better than I had in days.
The Day of my Baby Shower…
The next day we continued with jobs around the house and I started putting up the decorations for my baby shower. My baby shower soon came around and the only complaint I had all day was not having any appetite and of course the Braxton hicks were pretty uncomfortable. I didn’t want to sit down as I found walking/standing eased the discomfort.
By this time I was noticing that they were getting really regular, but were not increasing in strength – so I didn’t for one moment think they were contractions (as much as my mum and aunty were saying they were!). They were happening in my back and I had never heard of ‘back labour’ so was oblivious to what it would feel like. That evening I went to bed around 8pm and slept till 2am when I was woken with awful back pain. I suffer with a slipped disc in my spine, so I’m usually pretty good with battling back pain. I had to prop myself up, but didn’t manage to get back to sleep. If you follow me on twitter, you might have seen my sudden panic asking whether anyone else had suffered badly with Braxton hicks. I felt relieved to find out that other people had felt the pain throughout their pregnancy too.
Heading into Hospital
The morning of 17th October I had a mad urge to re-pack my hospital bags. I emptied them all around our bedroom and spent the next few hours organising everything I would need and added a few more baby bits into my bag. By the time Chris came in from work around 3pm, I decided that if the pain continued into the evening I would definitely give the hospital a call.
I remember worrying that Chris hadn’t finished filling the skip we ordered the week before, so while I took a shower and put on a face of makeup, he finished moving the rubbish we had accumulated in our garage into the skip. I was feeling like I was over reacting with the Braxton hicks, but thought I’d hang off calling the hospital just in case I needed to go in till he had finished.
The spotting was beginning to get heavier, so I finally gave the hospital a call at around 8pm. They told me to come in for monitoring again. We got our bags together and organised everything with our dogs, then arrived at the hospital at 9:30pm. After having the baby monitored for 15 mins and having another swab performed, we were moved on to a ward at around 10pm. I was kept pretty much in the dark at this stage and stupidly assumed that I was just being kept in so they could monitor me. But, in actual fact I was in active labour, dilating and my contractions were pretty close together. I had been experiencing contractions for a few days, instead of the Braxton hicks after all!
Chris managed to get some sleep while I kept wide awake through the contractions (which I still thought were Braxton hicks). I remember a woman opposite my bed who was screaming out in pain. I kept telling Chris in-between his naps that I would NOT be able to bear being in as much pain as the woman in labour and that I had changed my mind about having an epidural, as the Braxton hicks were painful enough!
At around 4:40am I remember the midwife asking me if I would like any painkillers. She came back with half a co-codamol to take first and to have the other half in half an hour as I’ve never taken a higher dose before. With taking a sip of water with the first half of the tablet, my waters then broke! I had to shake Chris to wake him up from his pretty snug recliner. My next contraction instantly happened and I suddenly felt the urge to PUSH! The next part is a bit of blur to me but according to Chris, he had to run out the ward and find a midwife who then came with a wheelchair to take me up to the labour ward. They soon realised that I did not have time to move off the bed as the baby was already making an appearance. We then traveled up the lift and into our room on the labour ward. I then remember one of the midwifes telling me that I should wait the next contraction out as Chris has rushed off to the toilet (typical Chris!). With the help of gas and air, I somehow controlled the urge to push. But, as soon as he walked back to my bedside I was told on the next contraction to push as she would be here.
At 5:05am on 18th October Lily Grace Ann Wright , weighing 5lb 4oz came into the world. The next few hours were perfect! I had been pre-warned by my best friend, Becka for all the after-labour experiences. But, luckily I had no tears or needed any stitches. I think I got off lightly, as I had no complaints! I felt incredibly lucky that I wasn’t in any discomfort at all and the shower I took shortly after was possibly the best shower I’ve ever had too!
Lily was under the care of a transitional nurse due to not being full term and on the smaller size. But, after a slight concern on her blood sugar levels, Lily then made such an improvement which meant that she would no longer be moved to ICU. Which meant she could move to the transitional care ward with us.
Group Strep B Infection
Over the next day Lily was getting stronger and stronger and although she was still under constant monitoring, she was showing signs of improvement. Everything was going so well, but the following day we received some results from a test I had on the Friday previously. I had tested positive for Group Strep B (GBS) and Lily would need to be treated with antibiotics immediately while they waited for her results to see if she had became infected during labour. For anyone who hasn’t heard of Group Strep B, the general harmless infection can be found in both woman and men. Sadly the infection can be fatal to babies, causing still borns, sepsis (infection of the blood), pneumonia (infection in the lungs), and sometimes meningitis (infection of the fluid and lining around the brain). About one in five pregnant woman carry the infection and due to there usually being no side effects, I wouldn’t have known that I was carrying the infection if I didn’t have the tests to check if my waters had broke the week before giving birth.
The test results would take 48 hours to come back and in the meantime we would receive a separate test result to show if there is any concern of infection. This result came back to show that her levels were high and that there was an infection present. So, we had to continue to wait the full 48 hours for her results for GBS. Lily also had to receive treatment for being jaundice which is common in babies, especially premature babies. But, her levels for jaundice soon dropped. She also dropped to 4lb 9oz, which we were assured was OK. But, as I was breastfeeding she had to have a feeding tube inserted to top her up with formula to be certain that she was getting enough milk.
After the longest 48 hours, we were so lucky to find out that Lily had not contracted the infection and that she could finish her first stage of antibiotics. It was such a relief to see her IV removed from her tiny delicate hand. Before we could head home, we had to establish her feeding. She had to be independent on feeding for 24 hours before having her feeding tube removed. This was as well as not needing the feeding tube re-inserted for a further 24 hours, before we could head home. Since she was born, she also had to stay in a heated cot until she could fully regulate her temperature. She luckily began regulating her own temperature just after having her IV and feeding tube removed.
Without going into too much detail at the moment about her feeding and weight loss, we were able to take Lily home the evening of 22nd October after a very emotional 5 days in hospital.
Although Lily was born 4 weeks early, she’s putting on a steady amount of weight and is showing full health. We won’t know if she wanted to make an appearance early due to the infection, as I also discovered that I was at a higher risk for a premature birth due to suffering with a Subchorionic Hematoma (blood clot) during the first and second trimester of my pregnancy. After Lily making massive improvements herself; we funnily enough had to wait for myself to be discharged from consultant care due to having a high temperature and very fast heart rate. This was due to my milk coming properly in and my anxiety. But, they had to be certain that I hadn’t caught another infection.
Although, Lily’s first week in the world was pretty emotional and everything happened in a blink of an eye; we feel extremely lucky. Things could have ended a lot differently. But, we’re now so pleased to be at home with the most content baby so we can enjoy every minute!