As I’m writing this, it is the 6th of April, two days before your 7th birthday. This day 7 years ago I had arrived at Great Western Hospital in Swindon to be induced. You were was my first pregnancy, I had no idea what to expect. This is story of the day you were born.
I was being induced at 40+3 because of suspected diabetes. I had tested positive for gestational diabetes at around 26 weeks but had not had any issues with my blood sugars, and never had a reading that was high, but the induction was still being carried out as a precaution. I had been having scans every 4 weeks from 28 weeks to check the baby’s growth and she wasn’t measuring big as is common in GD pregancies. At my last scan the monographer had estimated her birth weight would be about 7 and a half pounds.
I had had a relatively straightforward pregnancy, bar the constant morning sickness (HG until around 16 weeks) and then I was sick at least twice a day right until I gave birth. I also had SPD and had to finish work at 28 weeks as I was struggling to walk – one day on maternity leave I had to call Ell to come home as I couldn’t get myself off of the toilet.
We had been asked to arrive at the hospital for 2pm on the 6th April – as always we had managed to get ourselves lost – it had been a standing joke between me and Ell throughout my pregnancy that we had never travelled to the hospital the same way twice.
I wasn’t worried about giving birth – in 2006 I had almost died of pancreatitis and was in intensive care for a week. A nurse had joked with me that if I could handle the pain of pancreatitis I would sail through labour (not entirely accurate I have to say). I was however really worried about the internal exams. I was 23 and so had not even had a smear test at that point.
We were put in a private room (I’m not sure why) and the induction was explained. I was hooked to the monitors which showed baby was happy, and they did my first internal to insert the pessary. I had told them I was worried and the lovely midwife Carol (who randomly ended up being my community midwife with Mason) let me have gas and air – it made me rather giggly – I posted this to Facebook not long afterwards. We were told it could be a while as my cervix was not dilated at all, and was very high.
I’ll be honest at this point, I hadn’t done any antenatal classes, I had read plenty of books but nothing went really in depth about induction and I honestly thought our baby was going to be with us within 24 hours.
For that reason, Ell (bless him) spent the night camped in the arm chair and ended up sleeping on the big windowsill in the room. We were convinced something would happen overnight. The pessary didn’t do a thing – when I was checked the next morning I hadn’t dilated at all.
The next midwife on shift the next day wasn’t as lovely as Carol, she reminded me a bit of Ms Trunchbull from the film Matilda – and quite frankly she scared the life out of me. She placed the second pessary and then moved us on to a ward with four bays (I’m assuming a space had become free and they wanted the lovely private room for people who were paying for it).
Later I had one of the doctors come round to check me. Ell still laughs about this now, but he wanted to do an internal and I refused. I kid you not, this guys hands were like spades – I’ve never seen such giant hands on someone.
We randomly ran into friends of ours from school and found out they were also being induced. After an afternoon of mild cramps and another check by the midwife and still no progress, we were told the plan was that they would check me again in the morning and they would be taking me to delivery to break my waters regardless. Ell was asked to go home and told they would ring him if anything changed. By this point I was tired and emotional and had a mini breakdown – Ell promised me he would keep his phone ringer on loud and be back as soon as I phoned (it was a 45 minute drive to the hospital).
I had a pretty restless night – there were other two women in the ward who were in labour and one was definitely louder than the other. I was woken at 6am by a midwife who told me to ring Ell and gather up my bags as they were taking me down to delivery to break my waters.
I rang Ell in a panic – it all suddenly seemed very real – and he assured me he would be on his way within 5 minutes (once he’d fed the cat).
I waddled down to delivery where they monitored me for half an hour and then explained they would break my waters. The midwife was very kind and asked if I would rather wait for Ell but I told them to just do it. The poor nurse that came in to hold my hand – bless her, I think I hurt her by squeezing too tight. The midwife did an internal and the pessary hadn’t really worked at all – I wasn’t dilated but my cervix wasn’t as high. She told me it wouldn’t be comfortable as she would have to open my cervix to be able to break my waters. Thankfully they let me have the gas and air again. Having your waters broken is the weirdest sensation and feeling something so warm pouring out of your is surreal (and gross). My waters were broken at around 7am.
When Ell arrived they had just changed the bedding and my mild tightening had turned to contractions and had ramped up really quickly. Within 20 minutes I was finding it hard to stand and they raised the bed so I could lean over it. The gas and air was constantly my mouth from this point onwards.
I had to be monitored because of being induced so I was confined to the bed a lot as the baby kept moving around and the monitor couldn’t keep track. It also wasn’t showing the contractions – we found out later that Izzie was ‘back to back’ and I was feeling all of the pain in my back which was why I was in agony.
I was then attached to the drip that makes your contractions stronger around 11am and after having another internal – by this point the pain distracted me from the worry of having them – I was about 3cm dilated. The trace kept losing the baby’s heartbeat, and so they tried to place a clip on her head – but it kept falling off as she was moving around.
I was getting tired and was in constant pain and this went on for hours with me biting down on the gas and air. For a week afterwards my jaw was so painful as I had bitten down so hard on the mouthpiece that it felt like my jaw had misplaced. Another thing I remember was that time seemed to pass really quickly and that Ell kept disappearing out of the room I think it was to get food but I remember thinking it was really annoying. When reading this back, he informed me he had gone off to the canteen for a full English breakfast!
Eventually I was in so much pain I asked for the epidural. Typically there was no anaesthetist around to give one – everyone was in surgery and I was told they would get one to me as soon as possible.
When the anaesthetist came into the room I was so high on the gas and I wasn’t making any sense. I think at this point I really embarrassed Ell. The anaesthetist was an older guy and I asked him his name. He told me it was Mr Jackson – I giggled and thought it was appropriate to shout ‘shamone’ in the style of Michael Jackson.
They manage to put the epidural in quite quickly but was still in a lot of pain. At this point the midwives had changed shifts again and I was happy as I knew the midwife. Her name is Nicky and my mum had previously taken her children for preschool years ago. We had met her through the diabetic clinic and so I was really pleased to see her when she came in the room. She did a quick check and I was around 5 cm dilated.
They soon realised after putting ice on my legs to test how much I could feel that the epidural wasn’t working – by this point it was around 4 PM. They decided to get the anaesthetist back to check but I started saying that I want to push I think I panicked everyone a little as they started saying ‘don’t push, don’t push, you are only 5 cms’. Nicky checked me again and I had gone from 5 cm to 10 cm in 15 minutes and was ready to push.
Once I was told I was allowed to push I didn’t care about the pain any more I was determined I was going to get this baby out. I remember at one point having a bit of a moan and Ell telling me that ‘if I was moaning, I wasn’t pushing’. Tough love but it worked. After I’m 20 minutes of pushing they realised that the baby seemed to be coming down so far but then ‘bungeeing’ back up.
It didn’t take them long to realise that the cord was wrapped around her neck and all hell broke loose. Huge amounts of people rushed into the room and they told me that they would have to cut me (episiotomy) to be able to cut the cord while the baby was still inside of me so they could deliver her safely. I was really scared I knew that if they cut the cord she would have to be born quickly as it would cut off her oxygen supply. Because of this they decided to use the ventousse and I had to push harder than ever before to get her out.
Izzy was born at 4:45 PM, less than half an hour then after I had said I wanted to push. Even though I’d told Ell to stay by my head he decided to look – because she was back to back he said that he looked down and he could see this little face and eyes staring back at him. When she was born she cried really quickly and I was absolutely besotted. I remember saying how huge she was and everyone laughing at me and telling me that she was so tiny. When they weighed her she was 5 lb 14 oz – no where near the 7 1/2 pound baby that we had been expecting after our last scan.
Isobel Ellen Brushneen born on Thursday, 8 April 2010 at 4:45 PM weighing 5lb 14 oz. She was perfect with lots of hair and dark eyes and the tiniest little head. She was absolutely beautiful.
Because I’d had had to be cut I obviously had to be stitched up. The numbed me up all but I was just looking at this gorgeous little baby in my arms and just didn’t care. The stitching up took longer than the pushing the guy was down there for around 45 minutes and Ell actually joked that he was writing his name- nice!
Ell had been keeping both sets of parents (now grandparents) updated throughout the day and Ell’s dad had decided to go fishing because they weren’t expecting the baby to be born any time soon. Ell’s mum had to ring him to come back so that they could come to the hospital to see Izzie. Unfortunately, due to lack of beds on the ward, we were left on the delivery ward for a long time and by the time they got we got up to the ward the visiting hours were nearly over. They did let everyone in to meet her quickly though.
My mum bought her a pink rabbit that was almost twice the size of her. We noticed quickly that she sucked her thumb. I also remember Ell changing her nappy and getting her dressed and wondering how he knew what to do because neither of us had ever been around a baby before. I remember being totally in awe of him, and more in love with him that ever, because I just thought he was the most amazing dad even in those early moments.
That first night even though I’d hardly slept for days I couldn’t sleep. I was totally and utterly in love with my new baby and all I wanted to do was watch her sleep.
Unfortunately this is where the story took a bit of a turn. Because of my gestational diabetes, the consultants had asked the midwifes to monitor is Izzie’s blood sugar levels to check they weren’t low. Low blood sugar is common in babies born to gestational diabetes mothers. Unfortunately at around 4 AM she had had consistently low readings and they whisked her off to the special care baby unit. I was left behind on the ward not knowing what to do. I was exhausted and upset and on my own without my baby. I wanted to go with her but the midwife could see how tired I was and insisted that I got some rest. I slept solid until the morning and then work up in a panic because my baby wasn’t there.
As soon as Ell arrived at 8 AM they took us to the special care unit. Little did we know at that point, that later that morning they would discharge me and I would have to leave my baby at the hospital. Izzie didn’t come home until she was six days old. Because of the low blood sugar, she had to be tube fed every four hours and was in an incubator. Over the next few days we learnt to tube feed (gravity feed) her and eventually she was moved into the nursery which is one step closer to coming home. We had to send my mum out to Next to buy some tiny baby clothes as she was so small and because of the tube feeding was quite sick regularly and needed changing a lot.
Before we could bring her home the hospital insisted that we both spent tonight there in the parents room and looked after her all by ourselves. I was determined that night I would not ask for the nurses help at all. It was pretty funny though in the morning the Ell woke up after sleeping solid, and commented how she had slept through the night – uh no she hadn’t Ell, I just didn’t sleep! The following morning we were discharged from hospital.
We were ecstatic to be going home. I won’t lie, the time that Izzie was in special care was really hard. To have to leave your baby at the hospital and go backwards and forwards constantly to visit but not take her home was heartbreaking. Although it was only six days, each night we would both just cry. We should’ve had a newborn keeping us awake but instead we were getting nine hours sleep a night. In a way this was probably a good thing as by the time she came home we were both well rested. Also because she had been tube fed every four hours she was automatically pretty much in a four hourly routine by the time she came home. She used to feed at 7, 11 and 3 and then 7, 11 and 3 like clockwork. Even now you are still an amazing sleeper, and love a routine.
I can’t believe my tiny 5lb 14 oz baby is now seven years old. You get more beautiful every day and every year that passes you continue to amaze us with your sense of humour, your independence and your sweet, kind heart. Obviously you have your moments as every child does, but I couldn’t be a prouder mummy.
Happy 7th birthday Izzie Munch you are the one that made me a mummy and I will be forever grateful. Your firsts have all been my firsts as a mum, and I can’t begin to tell you how much we love you and how proud we are of you. Hopefully one day you’ll get to read this and learn all about the day you were born.
All my love on your 7th Birthday Munch