This post is terribly late, and so much has happened since. Also, this post was originally intended to be a kind of ‘what to expect at a planned section pre-op appointment’ since lots of people were asking me what the appointment entailed. But it turned out that my pre-op appointment didn’t exactly go to plan. At all.
I waited almost two hours on the busy antenatal assessment unit, listening to the midwives hurry here and there and the machines beep and whirr. My own hands never left my belly, resting there waiting to feel the poppyseed kick. Since my last steroid jab, things had gone quiet again and I was waiting to go on the CTG to set my mind at rest once more. I’d also been unable to sleep so had been up and anxious since 4am, which wasn’t helping matters. By the time the midwife eventually arrived with the paperwork and medications, I was a mess.
Reduced movements, again. Nothing to do with the steroids, despite what Doctor Google had reassured me earlier. My midwife strapped me to the monitor straight away, seeing how upset I was and having read of my history. I was told to sit tight for 30 minutes, and to call if baby’s heart rate deviated from between 100-160. It’s a long 30 minutes when your eyes are fixed on those jumping numbers. When you want them to read 100, 110, 120… When they jump erratically and your heart jumps with them.
After the 30 minutes were up, the straps were removed and the second set of steroids were given. OUCH.
Then the pre-op.
Bloods were taken first. This was so that my surgical team had a sample of my blood in case a match was needed for a transfusion during or after my section.
I was given two pre-op energy drinks to take with my pre-op medication (one Ranitidine tablet to take that night, and one Ranitidine tablet to take with a Metocloprimide tablet and the two drinks in the morning) and reassured that my MRSA swabs had come back negative.
The midwife then went through the standard set of questions for a c-section, including my reasons for wanting an ‘elective’. At this point, I felt compelled to tell her that my c-section wasn’t elective. Despite my doctor writing that the reason for my section was the fact that I had had three previous sections already, I needed to tell her I disagreed with that. Three previous sections was not enough for me to ‘elect’ to go through it a fourth time. Three previous sections were exactly the reason why I didn’t want a fourth section. My section was planned, not elective. Planned due to IUGR. Because my body wasn’t growing my baby well enough. Because in reality, my body wanted to keep this one inside for at least another 5 weeks. It wasn’t our time yet, we weren’t electing anything.
But I consented.
I signed my name because I knew it was the safest thing to do. I knew that the hospital were not happy for me to stay pregnant any longer. I knew our time was up.
So, questions answered, bloods taken, steroids given, signature written… we were done. All that was left to do was to go back on to the CTG to get one more trace of baby. One last chance to monitor that little heart beat, to watch those numbers jump and to be sent on my way. My midwife mentioned that due to some readings from the CTG and the fact that I had been in for repeated reduced movements quite a lot in this pregnancy, she wanted to speak to the doctor before I was allowed to go home.
Another doctor. Another new face. Another medical professional that had no prior knowledge of me, or my history. And the words you need to be admitted. We want to keep an eye on baby. We’re not happy with the way things look at the moment. We want you to stay for monitoring overnight.
I wasn’t prepared, and yet my midwife admitted that she’d known this would happen. She put her arm round me as I cried, and she told me that it was for the best. That baby and I would be safer in the hospital tonight. If anything were to happen, as they feared they might, they wanted to be able to act quickly.
And so shaky legs took me home to collect my bags, and the children, and to say goodbye. Our last night as a family of five cut short. The last chance to kiss The Toddler and try to explain that she would no longer be the baby of the family. The last chance to see my babies as a trio. No time to hold them and to whisper that I would be home soon. No smiles and flutters of excitement as we got ready to meet out baby. Instead, we were scared. We were heading towards the unknown, already convinced that things were not going to turn out as we’d hoped they would.
I am a star ambassador for the MAMA Academy, who have this week launched their wonderful Wellbeing Wallets. If you’re pregnant, please consider purchasing one to keep your notes safe, and to help empower and educate mums to be in pregnancy. More info coming soon! For more information on measuring growth in pregnancy please read about MAMA Academy;s Made to Measure campaign here, and to find out more about foetal movements please see here.