Real births: 9 months of sickness, gestational diabetes and an elective caesarean

It was a hard decision for Rebecca after such a tough first pregnancy but she really wanted baby no 2

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Following a full on nine months of morning sickness and a semi-elective caesarean section with her first child, Rebecca and her husband were in no particular rush to try for a second child. Fast forward three years and the baby bug had got the better of them, and they were quite looking forward to having a younger sibling for Matilda. However, Rebecca was feeling anxious about the 9 months ahead.

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Here’s Rebecca’s story in her own words:

Making the decision to have another baby

“For three years, we had said that Matilda would be our “one and only”. My pregnancy was by no means horrific but I suffered with all day sickness from the moment I found out I was pregnant until the day I had her.

“I put on a staggering 5 stone and eventually had Matilda via a semi elective c-section, after a failed induction. I didn’t even get to 1cm and my waters broke as I was walking to theatre, and they had meconium in them. She weighed a hefty 10lbs 11oz.

“My uterus didn’t shrink afterwards and I had to be put on a drip. I later learned that I was close to needing a hysterectomy. After birth, I didn’t produce any milk. At 10 months, after visiting the GP every week with a child covered in eczema, she was diagnosed with a dairy allergy and as much of a joy that she was, the first year was testing.

“Mr R was now self-employed and I was leaving the police to start work with him. We were moving to a bigger house and we were just in a better place than we were when we had Matilda.

“I spent an emotional evening on Facebook Messenger with Marley (who was up feeding her new born) where I told her that I had had a change of heart and didn’t want Matilda to be an only child. She knew before Mr R! A few nights later, I emailed Mr R from a night shift asking what his maternity leave policy would be. I was amazed his response was positive and that he would go with the flow of whatever made me happy.”

Dealing with severe morning sickness

“We started trying to conceive in September 2012 and fell pregnant in the first month whilst on holiday, probably after far too much wine. We were delighted and we floored my parents with the news – they didn’t think they’d be grandparents again.

“This pregnancy was interesting to say the least. Sickness hit me like a brick wall again. In October, whilst my mother-in-law was visiting, I spent 6 hours vomiting. I was also having chest pains and subsequently breathing difficulties. Mr R called an ambulance and I was rushed off to A&E, continuing to be sick in the ambulance on the way. I spent the night being pumped with fluids. Some people will do anything to get away from their mother-in-law!

“Unfortunately, my GPs were less than sympathetic to my sickness and wouldn’t give me anything to help ease it, so I was in for another 7 months of feeling vile. Sickness aside, things were going OK.

“I was consultant led due to my previous section and due to my BMI (body mass index). Luckily for me, my consultant was the same lady who delivered Matilda and she was wonderfully supportive. I was very open minded as to how I would deliver this baby, and I had an appointment booked to discuss VBAC (vaginal birth after Caesarean Section) with the specialist midwife.”

Dealing with gestational diabetes

“Due to my BMI, I was booked in for the GTT (glucose tolerance test) at 28 weeks. Shortly afterwards I received a phone call from the hospital saying that I had gestational diabetes and they wanted to see me the very next day. I was given a blood testing monitor and told to check my sugars pre-meals and pre-bedtime from then on. The same day I was sent for a growth scan.

“The baby’s abdomen measurement was off the scale. Abdomens are in proportion to shoulders so this put me in a high risk for shoulder dystocia. Suddenly, I didn’t feel quite so “go with the flow” about labour, especially as One Born Every Minute had recapped one of their most scary episodes featuring this particular scenario. I was to be scanned every two weeks from then on.

“My blood sugars were well-controlled with diet although I did have some high readings, which prompted doctors to prescribe me Metformin. Growth scans continued to show that this was a big baby and at 32 weeks I was booked in for a section, scheduled for 38+6. I was scanned at 37 weeks where it was predicted that the baby was weighing in at 9lbs 13oz already.”

The elective caesarean birth experience

“I managed to keep my section date a mystery from most.  My Mumdrum pester partner, our parents and our childcare for Matilda were the only ones to know. It was quite funny keeping people guessing!

“I was first on the list for the elective caesarean sections for the day and was told I would be going to theatre at 8.45am. All I can say is how totally different an elective section really is. The anaesthetist took a long long time finding the right spot for my spinal, taking a good 15 minutes or so compared to the 5 minutes it took with Matilda’s birth. With Matilda, I was tipped downwards on the bed to make the anaesthetic reach my toes more quickly but this time, I was just lying on the bed for another 15 minutes waiting for it to do its job.

“We were all laughing and joking, mostly about the shocking music on the radio. The anaesthetist kept squirting Mr R with the alcohol spray as he said he didn’t like needles, and the staff kept faffing with a towel to keep me covered up to which I told them “Honestly, you are all about to see my insides, let’s not worry about the towel”.

“My consultant was ready to start and had to shout “unless someone removes this towel, I can’t get started”! She also proclaimed that my old scar was wibbly wobbly and I sent the room into silence when I said “Well you did it darling”!

“I was given a trial drug in surgery which stems blood loss, and it was noted that I lost less than 500ml.

“A few minutes later, before the rest of their body was out of me, I heard our baby scream. A bit more tugging and at 9.39am I was shown our baby – a GIRL! I couldn’t believe it.

“I’d spent all of the pregnancy thinking I would have a boy. She was covered in vernix so was taken off to be cleaned up. Mr R was handed a nappy, which floored him and we were all amazed that she weighed in at a diddy 9lbs 5oz. Not quite the giant baby we had prepared for.

“We named her Heidi Alice.”

“It was so calm, I even surprised myself with how well I have recovered this time”

“We spent a few hours in recovery, where I was given white bread toast with marmalade – boy, carbs have never tasted so good! Both of our blood sugars were monitored for 48 hours. Heidi had a few wobbles so she was given formula top ups. We have continued with the mix feeding as it’s working out so well for us all.

“For those who are toying with an ELCS (elective caesarean section), I can thoroughly recommend the ELCS route. It was so calm, and I have even surprised myself with how well I have recovered this time. I was practically skipping out of my bed once the catheter was taken out and we are just 11 days in and I am desperate to get driving again.”

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