We arrived on the stifling hot ward just before 4pm. Our feet were squeaking as our shoes hit the floor and that hospital smell wrapped itself around us easily and quickly. We’d been expected. They’d been waiting for us. We were led onto the same antenatal ward we’d visited briefly before The Toddler’s birth and a sense of calm settled itself around me at last. I felt safe then. I knew that what would be now, would be.
We were shown to a bed and my ankles were measured for support stockings; I was to wear these for the entire stay in hospital. My order was taken for dinner and a student midwife was quickly by my side to take blood pressure, pulse and temperature. And then the CTG. By this point I had my own straps so I was hooked up quickly. And those numbers again. Still erratic, still confusing.
After 30 minutes, I was taken from the CTG and we were left to ‘relax’ for a couple of hours. Hard to do with the lady in the bed opposite labouring fairly loudly. And then it struck me.
I was in hospital amongst ladies who were in labour. Contracting. Having babies. What was I having? I wasn’t in labour. There was no way my body was going to be contracting, pushing my baby into the world on this ward. I could close my eyes, but not my ears to the sounds. And each was like a strike to my heart, even though I’d promised myself I was ok, finally, with the section. I was just a day away from meeting my poppyseed and that was good. But to hear ladies experiencing the one thing I wanted to experience… it hurt.
I felt a fraud. Once Ghostwriterdaddy had gone home and the CTG had been hooked up again, I felt like I shouldn’t be there. My baby shouldn’t be imminent. My baby should be able to stay tucked up warm and safe for a little longer. It wasn’t our time, not yet.
Throughout the five (Yes, FIVE) hours that I was hooked to the monitor, my faithful Twitter buddies kept me sane.
And as the numbers dipped from low 60s to low 200s I just knew that there was something wrong. I knew it. I’d been there before. I’d been in that bed, watching those numbers, listening to that heart beat and I knew. I was ready for the roar of the silence but I has SO wanted this time to be different.
And it was. Instead of people running and rushing and talking over the top of me, they sat and they waited. And they talked to me. I will forever be grateful to the midwife who sat and held my hand and listened to baby. I talked and she listened and while she calmed me, she never let on how concerned she was.
The monitor was picking up decelerations and she wasn’t happy with any of it. The registrar agreed. I was asked if I was experiencing tightenings at all? When had I last eaten? Could I make sure that I remained nil by mouth? Could I lie on my left side? Could I stay on the CTG for just 30 more minutes?
A doctor came to insert a cannula into my hand. I was told that the CTG was picking up contractions and that there was every possibility that the doctors would want to take the baby out tonight. I was told again not to eat, or drink and I started to panic because I was supposed to take a Rantidine tablet at 10pm but I wasn’t sure whether I should still do that, or wait, or rip the straps from my body and tell them all to leave us alone. To let me keep my baby inside for just a little bit longer. I wanted to rest. I wanted to lie, one more time, with my hand on my belly feeling that baby’s gentle, slow rolls. I wanted to think about meeting my baby in a calm and peaceful theatre. I wanted everyone to leave me alone and let me be with my baby for one last night.
Another 30 minutes passed and I was told I was being transferred to the labour ward. A bed was being arranged so that I could be monitored more closely. It was likely that the section would be performed within the hour. I was to call my husband so that he could be with me.
This was not going to plan.
This VBAC journey I began all those months ago could not end in another emergency section! Not when we were this close.
And as quickly as the panic began, it started to subside. A senior consultant made the decision to remove the straps and set me free from the CTG. Over the five hours that I had been monitored, she was happy that the trace showed baby to be stable enough to stay inside for one ore night. I was able to rest.
And to think.
And to allow my hand to rest on my belly one last time. To watch my baby move beneath my skin one last time. To dream of that poppyseed one last time. And to send a small thank you to my baby for staying put for one more night.