My Birth Story, PPROM & a Global Pandemic
Here goes the story of how our baby girl came into the world. Its a little long and not the birth we had planned, its not a positive or negative story but may be a little triggering for some.
It all started during a hot sunny weekend in August 2020, my fiancé & I were going away for our little babymoon to the beautiful coastal village of Alnmouth in Northumberland. As we were not due for another 6 or so weeks we thought it would be fine. Alnmouth and St Valery B&B is a very special place for us as its where we went for our first romantic weekend away together not long after we started dating and where we spent our first anniversary together. So we thought it would be the perfect place to spend our last holiday as a couple without children.
Everything was going well on our drive up apart from my fiancé not getting himself some lunch when we stopped at the services. So we decided to find somewhere nice in the Yorkshire Moors for something to eat, but everywhere was very busy as it was such a lovely weekend. We eventually stumbled across a tiny village at the bottom of a valley that had space to park, a little shop and somewhere to sit & eat overlooking a beautiful stream.
When I got out of the car I thought I had wet myself as my knickers were soaked through so I changed them in the car park as no loos near by and there was no one about (thankfully I was wearing a long dress) but then the new pair became soaked. I couldn't stop the trickling waters which made me think my waters had released early. We then decided to get something to eat as I was starving and so was my partner who needs food to function, and discuss what to do. We had very little phone reception so I sent a text to my amazing circle of birth worker friends who were able to get us numbers for the nearest hospitals. When we got back to the car I changed my knickers again and got the towel from the boot to sit on and we made our way towards the direction of Middlesbrough (James Cook Hospital) as that was the closest. Once we had good phone reception we gave them a call and explained our situation and they said to come in to double check it was PPROM and to have some monitoring of baby.
I then spent two nights in the James Cook hospital in case of pre-term labour, bleeding or baby being in distress. My fiancé spent his time at the local golf course and driving range around the corner due to being in a global pandemic no visitors were allowed into the hospital, though I was able to meet him outside after he had been to Sainsburys to buy me some new knickers as mine were all soaked through & some snacks, I also gave him my bag of dirty laundry. I met some amazing women on the ward who were all in due to the risk of preterm labour and they were going to be there some time. We banded together & got chatting, telling each other our stories & why we were in. I am so annoyed with myself that I didn't get their numbers as I do wonder how they are doing. Not having our partners with us was really hard but having the companionship of the other 3 women in the room helped.
I didn't feel anxious or stressed out, all monitoring was stable I just wanted to get home. On Sunday they discharged me with instructions to go to Lister my local hospital on the Monday morning at 10am for further monitoring and to speak to the care providers about a plan. We then drove the 4.5hrs back south watching the temperature rise the further south we got. When we got home I went into nesting mode, I did the laundry, packed some hospital bags & had a little tidy. Then I had a cuddle with my cat Monty which helped me relax more and feel comforted.
Due to the Covid restrictions my partner knew he would not be able to join me in triage so he decided to go get our beloved dog Luna who had spent the weekend with Nan & Gramps while we had been away. Its a 2hr round trip but he needed something to do and needed the comfort of Luna being back home.
I arrived at 10 am as advised & our baby girl came into the world at 11:33am via a code 1 emergency caesarean. A very quick and overwhelming birth. I wouldn't say it was negative or positive just fast and overwhelming.
So here goes the birth bit, well what I can remember of it. I arrived and went into triage where they hooked me up to the monitoring & got me some cold water, we were in a bit of a heatwave & the temperature was 30+ so I was drinking plenty. I remember the nurses & midwives coming & going & checking the CTG readings, then the consultant midwife coming in & telling me baby would be arriving that day. I then text my fiancé at 10:41 saying ''They've just said baby might be coming today'' I think I was still feeling pretty calm at this point, drinking my water & preparing myself for baby to be born that afternoon. I then remember the nurse/midwife saying no more water. I think at this point the consultant midwife came in to inform me about babies irregular CTG readings which were high and unresponsive (so not moving much) that they would like to preform a code 1 emergency caesarean which means they would like baby to be out within the next 30minutes. I walked down to the labour ward and went to the loo in the room to do my pee sample which I hadn't been able to do when I arrived. When I came out of the loo things really sped up. I think I put on the gown at the point but still had my shorts on, I then lay on the bed while someone tried to put in the cannula which was being difficult, so they swapped hands, I asked at this point for someone to call my fiancé as he didn't know I was being prepared for surgery. Someone took off my shorts & knickers for me, I think it was the same lady who called my fiancé. The consultant midwife then asked if she could preform a vaginal exam, this bit I found uncomfortable & did my calm birth breathing to try to help relax me. I do wish in hindsight that I had declined the VE. I was then wheeled down on the bed to theatre where it then slowed down a little while they did the epidural, one nurse had to hold the CTG on my tummy constantly as they didn't want to loose babies heart readings. While they were preforming the caesarean I had an itch on my face that I needed someone to itch for me, I remember that bit. I really wish I had thought to ask if they could film it on my phone but I only thought of that later once in recovery.
They told me when baby was born & I listened out for her cry. I knew she would be taken to the neonatal ward as the doctors had spoken to me when the epidural was being done. Once she had been checked over & wrapped up they brought her over for a minute so I could give her a kiss. I think I was probably crying by this point. I think she also needed a little help with her breathing.
I was then taken to recovery where my fiancé found me once he arrived at about 12:30. I burst into tears at the sight of him & gave him the biggest hug. He was then taken by the nurse to see our daughter on the neonatal ward & to take some photo's for me. As it was quiet in recovery they let me stay down there until I think about 4ish before moving me upstairs to the postnatal wards. It meant that my fiancé could spend the afternoon going between me & baby, for us to process what had just happened, the birth of our beautiful baby girl.
I was wheeled down in a wheelchair that evening to see baby & we got our first family photo's, as it was the first day on the neonatal ward we were allowed to be there together which was so nice. I remember feeling like a hot mess as it was boiling up on the postnatal ward. Baby then spent almost 6 weeks on the ward due to many contributing factors. She is now 6 & a half months old at the time of writing this & doing amazingly well. I spent a couple of nights on the ward before being discharged home.
About 2/3 months later I had a birth after thoughts meeting so I could discuss in more detail & go through the birth notes with one of the midwives. I found this really helpful in helping me understand the quickness & also to remember some of it.
RCOG- 18 Jun 2019 — Preterm prelabour rupture of membranes (PPROM) complicates up to 3% of pregnancies and is associated with 30-40% of preterm births.
Post note - Take your maternity notes with you on any holidays when pregnant. I had left mine at home which didn't help.