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Ruby’s Birth Story – Part 1

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Tuesday 3rd August 2105, a day I remember well. I couldn’t believe what I was looking at. I never thought anyone’s feet, let alone my own, could swell up so much. I had traveled down to Waterford for a weeks holiday with my parents, sister and her children. A quiet little holiday before Ruby Rose arrived into the world. We choose to go to Waterford simply because it was far enough away to create the feeling of a proper holiday but near enough for Andy to get me to the hospital should Ruby decide to arrive earlier than expected. I wasn’t due until August 26th, so no one really though we’d have any problems. Little did we know.

I had been experiencing slightly blurred vision the previous two days before hand, but thought nothing of it as my eye sight is fairly rubbish anyway. But then with the expansion of my feet the morning of the 3rd (they were literally as big as hobbit feet!) I began to worry a little bit and decided I’d should mention it to my mam, who immediately thought it was preeclampsia – meaning you can suffer from high blood pressure and apparently hobbit sized feet! So I spent the next day or two with my feet elevated as much as possible, with the hope that the swelling would go down. I was due to go home on Friday the 7th for a routine doctors appointment so I decided that I would just mention it then.

So Friday morning came and myself and Andy headed back to Newbridge for my appointment. At this stage the swelling was alternating between very swollen to not quite swollen, but it never really went down. At this stage my feet were really beginning to hurt, especially when walking and it felt like the skin on my feet was being stretched to its limit. Needless to say, my doctor took one look at me and confirmed preeclampsia. She also did some tests which showed protein in my urine. So I was  quickly shipped up to the Coombe Women and Infants Hospital in Dublin with a doctors letter. I was seen fairly quickly and a number of tests were done and some checks on Ruby. I was told that I would have to be admitted to do a 24 hour urine check to confirm preeclampsia. Even though they were pretty sure I had it.  But before I could be admitted my consultant had to come and check me out. This was at 7pm. I was sent out to a waiting room to wait there until he came. He arrived shortly after 12.30 am and didn’t even assess me. He just looked at my chart. This was extremely frustrating as I was waiting in a tiny room that fitted only four chairs in it. I had no where to put my feet up (which were now so swollen that they looked purple and I could no longer walk on them without help from Andy). I was also exhausted. By the time I got into a bed, it was between 1.00 and 1.30 am.

7am the next morning, I was woken and told that I needed to start the 24 hour urine test. As it was over the weekend I finally had a confirmation that it was definitely preeclampsia on Monday 10th at morning rounds. I had to spend most of my time with my feet elevated to help bring down the swelling which had started to travel up my legs to my knees. They also had to monitor my blood pressure very closely.  To top things off, my 37 week baby bump was measuring at 42weeks! It didn’t really help that I’m only 5ft and I had a large fibroid just outside my womb. Depending on where they are positioned, fibroids can make a baby bump bigger than it really is. Just to be sure, I was sent off for a scan to make sure there was no excess fluid. With everything thing that had happened so far, this really didn’t help with my nerves. But luckily, the bump was all baby. She was measuring very big, and tall. Her stomach measurements were a bit bigger than average – due to my gestational diabetes. So they began to talk about induction. I was a bit gutted as I really wanted to try for a natural birth (even though everyone kept telling me that I wouldn’t be able for it!).  I really wanted to be able to move around and try different positions and only wanted to use gas and air. Andy even had a €100 bet with me that I would beg for epidural – I made him a counter €100 bet that I wouldn’t need one. Mostly because of the idea of having to put a needle in my spine! The idea really terrified me! I also figured that if my sister can push out two babies with just gas and air that so could I. But it wasn’t to be. Because of the gestational diabetes and preeclampsia, I had to be monitored at all times during my labour. So I spent most of that Tuesday and Wednesday trying to get my head around the induction and what it entailed. I also spent much of my time bouncing up and down on a pilates ball that one of the midwife’s gave me to use – to help to encourage the baby’s head to move down and into the correct birthing position. I had no idea when I was going to be induced, I was just told it would happen at some stage.

On the Tuesday morning, during rounds, I was given a sweep by one of the female doctors on my medical team. To see how “favourable” I was – I had no idea how painful it would be. I remember thinking after it, that if I can’t handle that, how will I ever handle labour! But the doctor was lovely and explained that I was already starting to dilate and that things were looking good. But I still had no confirmation as to when I was to be induced. I had thought that if I was lucky, I’d be called on the Thursday or Friday. But 6.30 am on Wednesday morning I was woken up by one of the midwifes on duty and told that it was time. I got such a shock that I started to panic about trying to pack my bags for the delivery suite and I was worried about how long it would take Andy to get up to the hospital from home. The midwife calmed me down and assured me it would still be a while before everything kicked off. So with her advice, I waddled off down the corridor to my delivery suit. I rang Andy and filled him in on the situation. He told me that he would be up at the hospital at around 10am. Things would just be starting to kick off by then. Safe with the knowledge that Andy would be with me by the time any pains would start, I ate the breakfast that was brought to me, tried to keep myself as calm as possible and let the nurses set me up for the day ahead. But you will have to wait until part two for he rest of that story.

Until the next blog.

The Irish Mammy x