Well, that wasn’t what I was expecting…

In which Plan C comes into effect, in full detail.  Don’t read on if you’re squeamish – this is my story, as much as I remember 24 hours later.

Wednesday, I had the cleaners come, I visited Miriam and Oscar, I visited Anna and Lara, and then I picked Mark up from work.  It was a pretty full day, and I was so focussed on encouraging Inigo to make his grand entrance, that I wasn’t exactly focussed on how he was doing.

By the time we got home, it was about 10pm, and I sat down with a big bowl of Bravo Lemon Lime Gelato (brand mentioned because it is the stuff of legend), hoping to kick start a bit of activity.  By the time I went to bed an hour or so later, I still hadn’t noticed much in the way of Inigo activity, and I started to get a little concerned.

The next morning, instead of sleeping through the coffee delivery (Mark is a wonderful husband), I woke up, sat up, drank the coffee, and waited for the espresso to pass through the placenta and excite some action.  Two hours and a spa later, I resolved to take myself off to hospital for a check.

I arrived at hospital just before 11am, and was hooked up to a CTG pretty quickly.  The machine found a heartbeat that was racing a bit, and we resolved to watch it for a while to see if it settled while the coffee wore off, and to watch for movement (which was minimal).

After an hour on the machine, the heartrate dipped a bit, which prompted the midwives to consult with a doctor, who decided that the trace was worrying enough that I wouldn’t be leaving hospital without a baby, either by induction or C-section.  I rang Mark, Mum, and the Doula, and told them all to be prepared.

The Doctor did an “internal”.  If you’ve had a baby, you know exactly how unpleasant this is, if you haven’t, I’ll spare you the details.  Suffice it to say that although it was unpleasant for me, Inigo found it really distressing, and his heartrate dipped alarmingly.

The Doctor found that my bits weren’t anywhere near ready for labour, so a C-section was decided upon, a consent form was called for, and things went very Monty Python for a little while.

My blood pressure had dropped, so I was feeling a little woozy, they turned me on my side to relieve the pressure, and both of us started to feel better.

The senior midwife returned, had a chat to the scalpel happy doctor, and convinced her that the surgery could wait at least until Mark arrived!

I handed my mobile to the lovely Leilani (one of the student midwives that has been looking after me) to follow up support people (and mainly to find Mark), as they wheeled me off to an ancient operating theatre.  No complaints about the hospital at all, and the staff have all been beyond compare – but wheeling a frightened woman into an operating theatre that looks like a morgue, and then insisting on sticking needles in her spine before her husband shows up is a little bit mean.  I understand that they were doing their best for me and my baby, but at the time I was a very small scared little person.

Just before the second needle went in, Leilani managed to let me know that Mark was just outside, and would be allowed in as soon as the anaesthetist was done with me.  Soon he was by my side (in a very silly outfit, and I couldn’t feel my toes.  They put up a sheet so I couldn’t see all the action, and I asked them politely only to give me the barest detail about what was going on.

My blood pressure dropped again, and I began to feel nauseous.  I was given something to raise my blood pressure, which helped for a little while.  Soon my blood pressure dropped again, and I was throwing up violently as I felt Inigo being lifted from my open abdomen, and heard him cry for the first time.  2:18pm, 29/11/07

At which point I became aware that there was an “issue”.  Turns out there were a few issues, and one of them has potentially nasty consequences.  We’ll going to be ok, but it’s been a hard day for our new family.

Inigo had always been a pretty active little guy, hence all our worries about turning him.  And that’s why I was suspicious that he was so quiet on wednesday.  It turns out that his placenta had started to deteriorate, the amniotic fluid had also diminished, and that he’d done a poo into it at some point.  And then his breathing reflex had kicked in before he was out in the world, and he’d inhaled some poo into his lungs.

This happens quite a bit, and the consequences range from a few days on oxygen, to total loss of lung function, and death.  Inigo breathed on his own straight away, so it was pretty likely that his issues were going to be on the more minor side – but we had to wait and see.

I was allowed to see him for about a minute before he was taken off to the special care ward.  Mark went with him, and I was stitched up and wheeled into recovery.  Again the lovely Leilani was there with me, and managed to talk them into letting mum come down to the recovery ward so I didn’t have to be alone.  Which was wonderful, because they kept me there for ages while I waited for the spinal block to wear off enough so that I could feel my toes again.

Finally I was wheeled upstairs and allowed to see Inigo.  He was naked under a heat lamp, with a space helmet over his head delivering oxygen.  He had electrodes and a cannula, and SP02 monitor taped on to him, and he looked like a little alien space man.  And because I was all wired up too, all I could do was hold his little hand and stroke his skinny little rib cage.

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I stayed with him for a few hours.  I couldn’t hold him, I couldn’t feed him, I couldn’t even give him a kiss, or change his nappy.  But I did start to feel a bit connected to him, and I have certainly seen lots of uglier babies than this one.

Eventually, I made it to my room at about 7pm.  I still couldn’t really feel my toes, but the pain of the surgery was starting to break through, and the weight of the days events was starting to hit home.

My parents were there, Marks parents were there, so I decided to postpone my meltdown for a little while.  Christine came for a visit, Mum and Dad left, Bev and Ted left and came back with food (thanks!).  Everyone left at around 11pm, and I tried to sleep.

Finally gave up at around 6am when the drugs ran out, and I’ve spent today arguing for more drugs, between visits to the special care nursery, and nursing my wounds.  I have expressed a little milk, which has been given to Inigo via syringe.  I won’t be allowed to feed him until he is off the oxygen, which might be Monday.  Or it might not. 

So apparently my “maternal instincts” are developed enough to have got him through what could have been nasty if I hadn’t acted.  It’s a good feeling.  While the outcome hasn’t been wonderful, it’s a lot better than the alternative, and it does look like we’ll be able to take the little guy home sooner or later.

In the meantime, we were able to convince the special care nurses to let me hold him for a few minutes tonight.  We had a little skin to skin contact, and being able to hold him for the first time brought such a rush of emotion that I can’t possibly write about it without losing the plot completely.

Tonight, I have managed to convince them to give me a sleeping pill, so I am looking forward to not being a raving lunatic tomorrow.

Thanks everyone for your text messages, comments, emails, flowers, phone calls and esoteric vibes.  Everything is appreciated, and I look forward to us both being healthy enough to introduce him to you all.

17 thoughts on “Well, that wasn’t what I was expecting…”

  1. ((((((((( Lara )))))))))))) (& Mark too, of course).
    WHAT a way to meet your son. I’m so sorry that it was nothing like you expected, but thrilled that you listened to your instincts and looked after both of you so well. Congratulations for doing everything so right! And for creating such a spectacular thing! A real person!
    Your emotions will be going through the roof right now (bloody hormones) and I’m not at all surprised that you aren’t sleeping and are feeling a bit like a raving lunatic. Welcome to Motherhood! 😉
    Hopefully I’ll get to meet him soon. He looks simply gorgeous!
    Welcome to our world, little Inigo!
    xxxxxxxx

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  2. What a drama, Glad you listened to your instincts.

    Take care, you’ll need all your energy to heal and for the active little guy. I am sure he’ll be back bouncing around, keeping you on your toes in no time.

    Best wished from all our family.
    DH wanted to know if our baby would be anywhere near as cute as Inigo 🙂 not sure if that’s possible.

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  3. I find it quite ironic that Louis’ birth story and Inigo’s ended up being almost identical. But pewarned is never forearmed in the birthing stakes, is it? I hope you’re both home on Monday, and that the cleaner’s job hasn’t been demolished in the meantime!

    Love to you and Mark and Inigo.

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  4. Sorry to hear that the day didn’t exactly go as you’d hoped, but at least Inigo is here and on his way to full health. Well done on listening to your instincts!

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  5. Just Jussi sent me. I’m glad she did. I can tell you I’ve survived two births much like you describe, and I have two gorgeous big healthy sons who have bigger feet than their mother. they’re 13 and 10. Keep breathing, listen to your body, don’t surpress any more of those tears and say yes thank you to offers of help. Keep pumping. Keep visiting. Isn’t he lovely? I had a photo of my first boy next to me, the midwives took it. There was method in their madness. You can breastfeed. You will. It will be hard, but you can do it. Hugs to you new parents. believe me, you’ll look back on this time with wonder, but make yourselves proud. love from a stranger, thanks for waking up my memories.

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  6. We missed you at R&L today, but Inigo featured in the conversation. Everyone wishes you both all their love and we will see you at home soon.

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  7. Congrats to you and Mark, and best wishes for a quick recovery for you poor little boy.

    Sorry for the slow reply – i appear to be a bit out of the loop these days. I’ll keep an eye on your blogs for any news.

    Sending lots of love your way!

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  8. Lara, I know of you through David Reidy’s podcast. My best wishes to you and Inigo and Mark. My first birth was full of unexpected, scary things as well. If you don’t have one yet, have Mark get you a big, squishy teddie bear. It really helps the nights go better. 🙂 I resolved always to have one while on any overnight hospital stays. By my third child’s birth, I was only there 19 hours and begged them to send me home!
    I agree that pumping your milk is really important and perhaps by now all of that is all good. If not, get help from your doula. I went to La Leche league, as no women in my family ever breast fed. Support is everything. I am so glad that you have a ton of it from us crazy knitters! KC KnittinCacher on Ravelry

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