During my first pregnancy, everything went wonderfully. It was one of those textbook pregnancies, smooth sailing, epidural, amazing birth surrounded by my husband, mum and dad. It was an incredibly special moment as we welcomed our beautiful daughter Willow into the world at 41 weeks and one day.
Fast forward 2.5 years, I was pregnant again, but this time grieving the loss of my dad and working through some Thyroid issues. I was placed on levothyroxine for the second time in less than a year, and both times my body had a severe reaction to the medication with heart palpitations, shakes and severe anxiety. I was basically told I needed to stay on the medication; otherwise, my body would not tolerate my pregnancy. However, for my mental health, I needed to come off the medication.
Surprisingly my thyroid levels stabilised as my pregnancy progressed, much to the shock of the doctors dealing with my case. From about 14 weeks right through to the end, my pregnancy was quite good. This time with heartburn and also a few little scares here and there, but each time we were reassured everything was all good, and our minds were at ease that our little man was growing away.
It got to the end of my pregnancy, and I was coming up to 36 weeks and had a little scare, so I proceeded to the hospital to get tests and scans to make sure bubby was okay. It was during these scans that we found he was measuring big. So it was recommended that we book in for an induction to get him out earlier if he hadn’t come by 38/39 weeks.
I wasn’t so keen on being induced; however, I was happy to do what was right for baby and me. We got to 38 weeks, and I was still nowhere near dilated, nor was my cervix showing any signs of being ripe, so we waited another week and was booked in to be induced. However, when we got to 39 weeks, I was still nowhere ready, even with some stretch and sweeps and all the wives tales out there.
We tried everything, and nothing was happening. So we decided again to wait another week. This time, we had a bit of success, and I started to have a bloody show, as well as little niggles and pains.
I was booked in to be induced on the Tuesday, and we proceeded in to get a stretch and sweep where I was delighted I didn’t need the balloon catheter as I was now progressing into labour naturally. The midwife said to drive home and if things started to intensify, to come back. WELL- this is where it all started!
My husband and I walked back to the car, and I said to him, oh wow, these contractions are changing. We kept driving, stopped to get some chicken and avo for sandwiches to make and got home. Mitch made some sandwiches, and as this was happening, my contractions were intensifying.
I called my midwife, and she said to come back in as it sounded like my labour was really starting to progress. When we got into the hospital, I was checked and was 5cm dilated!
I was quickly moved to the birth suite as I desperately wanted an epidural (my one wish the whole pregnancy), and they needed to get me comfortable and set up.
Once we arrived at the birth suite, my beautiful midwife set the room up, fairy lights, music, essential oils and crested such a calm and beautiful environment for me. I was able to labour naturally for a little while and was active through my contractions.
My midwife checked me and was ready to break my waters as they had not broken yet, but advised that if my heart was set on an epidural, now was the time to have it as it will escalate quickly after my waters break.
Although I was having a beautiful experience, I didn’t want it to get unbearable and regret the decision, so the anaesthetist was called and came into our room about 30 minutes later to place the epidural in. Once the epidural was in, I was laid in a comfortable position. However, I could still feel my left side a little bit and knew this felt funny. My midwife placed me into a different position, and the epi kicked in on the left side. From there, I progressed beautifully, and before we knew it was ready to push!
My midwife asked me to do a practice push, which actually turned into the real thing as he was ready to come. Within 5 minutes, I had my beautiful baby boy, Alby, on my chest. Afterwards, I was adoring him, we FaceTimed mum and Willow and were in a little love bubble, but I started to notice a bit of commotion down below with my midwives looking at each other as I felt a tugging sensation.
My midwife advised that they were having trouble getting my placenta out and would call one of the doctors in to try and assist it out. The doctor came in and tried to help it out. However, it was not budging one bit.
She explained that I would need to go into theatre to remove it immediately as it had already been an hour since Alby was born.
So very quickly, they prepared me for theatre, and I was whisked away while leaving Mitch and Alby in the birthing suite. My procedure was complete overly quick, and afterwards was wheeled into recovery and met Mitch and Alby there.
My goal was to get out of hospital as soon as possible as I just wanted to be home.
We got an early discharge, and off we went. I felt funny with a huge headache, but I put it down to exhaustion. The next day or two, we were in our love bubble, enjoying our little family of four, when I started to develop an excruciating headache.
We had visitors over, and I had to excuse myself as every time I sat up, I would get this headache with no relief and laying down was the only thing to ease it.
I contacted my midwife, who advised me to come into the hospital, where I was told I maybe have a dural puncture from the epidural, and it should ease over the next few days as well as being prescribed Endone. I was given Endone whilst in hospital, and it eased the headache, so off we went. The next day the headache returned, and even with a full dose of Endone, I could feel myself going downhill.
I ended up in bed, laying down with the shakes. It was horrible as I could only sit up to feed Alby but was in intense pain the whole time. I got up to go to the toilet, and I fainted to the ground.
My husband called the ambulance, and after waiting 8 hours (yep-8 hours!!!), they arrived to take me to the hospital. I was advised the only thing that may help me would be to get a blood patch, which is where they reinsert the epidural while also taking blood from my arm and then inject that blood into the epidural site, which creates clotting where the dural puncture was.
So off I went back into theatre to get another epidural, but this time to fix my headache. I had immediate relief and for the next four hours had to lay on my back, could not move a muscle, while trying to breastfeed Alby- we ended up expressing some breastmilk and let’s just say- I never knew how flexible my boobs could be until this moment!
Certainly, many lessons were learnt, and we officially closed the having babies chapter after this experience!