Okay, here we go.
I'm going to write down what I remember about my Daughter's birth, which admittedly, isn't a lot. However, I think it will be good for me to be able to write it all out again now, and it may shed new light on things I'd overlooked in the past, or even help me with the questions to ask my midwives when I see them next.
Where to begin... The hardest part about documenting her birth, is that I was hospitalised 4 times (for a total of 49 days) from 22 weeks (although obviously, not continuously).
22 weeks (which is where I am now, eep!) I woke up one morning before hubby went to work. Felt something warm drip "down there". Didn't think too much of it though, it was only a tiny amount, so I stayed in bed for another 20ish minutes before it got the better of me and I went to the loo to check.
Sit on loo, notice two dark spots on my undies (they were black so I couldn't see what colour the spots were) only to wipe and be faced with blood. Bright red blood. I remembered I had to call the Birthing Unit straight away, and I also needed to call Ian who was starting a contract position that day. I don't remember who I called first.
Ian arrived home at the speed of light, and the trip to the hospital was made in record time. We went into the delivery room, I had to show the midwife my pad (I remember at the time being absolutely mortified by this proposition, but some how by the end of my pregnancy it became second nature - welcome to pregnancy & childbirth, leave your dignity at the door!). Midwife confirmed it was darkish in colour which indicated an older bleed, I'd have to stay in hospital overnight, which in turn, turned out to be 3 days.
Ordered to have no sex at all, and nothing to "stimulate the cervix". Great. No heavy lifting, no vaccuming etc etc.
Next bleed I was 28 weeks (I think, it's getting hard to remember) at a sporting event. I should never have left the house that day though, I had this hideous feeling all day that I was going to bleed or that I was already bleeding, and thus spent a massive amount of that day in the bathroom "just checking". This one was very scary indeed. A trip in an ambulance, whisked into the ED then the birthing unit, jeans covered in blood whipped off the minute the ambo drivers left the room. Lots of people buzzing around, drips, bloods taken, canula's inserted, first round of steroid injections given - OUCH! Bleeding stopped after around 12 hours, then transferred to the ward, but not before idiotic male midwife thought my waters had broken and then failed to find baby's heart beat, instead he found mine and scared the hell out of me by calling in other people, who reassured me it was my pulse rate that was being picked up on the CTG and within seconds, someone much more competant managed to find a very happy and content baby heart beat. The following day I was given an ultrasound. Placenta still very low, still completely covering the os. Baby has massive feet, and measures a week behind. Dates pushed back by 1 week, so 27 weeks. 3 days in hospital.
1.5 days after discharge and I'm back at the birthing unit at 1.30am with more bleeding. Not a great deal like last time, but bleeding none-the-less. Dr's are unhappy to see me, midwives are getting used to me by this point. 2 canula's inserted incase I need to deliver. Talk about sending me to St George or RPA should things turn pear-shaped. See my favourite midwife who see's my name on the patient board and asks to be assigned to me, bless her. Bleeding dwindles away to practically nothing, and due to the ward being full, I'm shown to the "Good Room" within the BU. It has a corner spa (although not for you!), double bed and tv - none of the other rooms have the luxury of a tv, which means you hear nothing but the moaning and screaming of labouring and birthing women, not the easiest environment to 'relax' in. Plus this room is hidden at the end of the corridor, and around a corner, far away from the chaos. 4 days in hospital, advised to go to another nearby(ish) hospital should I bleed again before 34 weeks because this hospital isn't equipped for a preterm delivery any earlier than 34wks. Great.
10 days from last admission, wake up to go to the loo (such is a pregnant woman's perogative) and, you guessed it, blood. Speed of light drive to next hospital. Get lost in carpark, can't find the enquiries desk, can't find the lifts, can't find the birthing unit. Finally find the bloody place after running the corridors and announce to the staff behind the desk "I'm 29 weeks and I have Placenta Praevia Grade IV and I'm bleeding". None of them blinks an eye. After about 2 or 3 minutes a midwife comes up to me and shows me to a birthing unit, highly unimpressed that I've disturbed her from whatever it was she was doing. Gives me a gown to put on, tells me to give her a urine sample, get changed and get on the bed, she'll be back later to check on me. Thankfully I wasn't bleeding to death at this stage otherwise I would have been quite pissed.
Dr comes to visit me, and tells me I shouldn't be there because I am not in the residential zone for that hospital. I show him my yellow card where the Registrar had written for me to report here should I bleed. Dr is cranky as all hell and starts world war III with other hospital for sending me there when I am not their "problem".
Eventually shown to a room on the maternity ward. A four bed room. 2 women labouring opposite me, one with a newborn next to me, and a bathroom down the corridor. Lovely. Dr comes to see me and asks how long I stay in my old hospital with each bout of bleeding. I tell her that their policy is 48hrs once the bleeding stops. She says I can go home after 24 hours, "this is excellent", I think.
24 hours comes and goes, in the mean time I've been moved to the opposite side of the maternity ward, to the antenatal wing, right next door to the feto-natal unit (where they do all kinds of weird things with unborn babies, like blood transfusions etc). Dr visits again, I have to stay another 24 hours. I am pissed off, but what can I do about it? I lay in bed and wait for the hours to pass before I go home.
The next day arrives and I'm greeted with the wonderful news that I will not be going home today, I will in fact be staying here until I reach 34 weeks or deliver the baby, whichever happens first. And, should I make it to 34 weeks, I have the choice of staying at this hospital or transferring back to my original hospital until the baby is born. Next time I go home, I'll have a newborn. I am only 30 weeks. Feeling really pissed off at this stage!.
Somewhere between here and 35.2wks I have another 7 bleeds. One of them I remember so vividly. It was a Saturday and I'd decided that I should have a Nana nap around midday. A male nurse comes to do my obs but see's that I'm asleep so leaves me to get some rest, what a doll. He comes back as I wake up and asks if he can take my blood pressure, sure no problem. I offer my arm to him but he insists I sit up with my feet dangling over the edge of the bed to get a more accurate reading. As I sit up I feel a warm gush and jump up out of bed declaring "Oh my God, I think I've pissed myself" (charming as ever!) and head off to the toilet, bp arm wrap thing dangling off my arm. Get to the bathroom door and notice legs are covered in blood, there's a trail of blood from my bed to where I'm standing and a big bloody patch on my sheets. Fark!
Male nurse panics, I get back into bed as he presses the alarm button. About a billion people rush into the room, and before I know it I'm strapped to the CTG machine while the male nurse preps me for surgery. He takes off all my nail polish and tapes down my rings ready for the big event. Quizzes me on what I've eaten lately (umm, a packet of twisties!) and I sign consent forms for an emergency c-section.
A doctor, who I think may have been Russian going by her accent, with an apalling bedside manner, enters the room and sees that I am having regular contractions which are going off the charts. She kindly offers me pain relief, "you would like some pethidine?" but I refuse, it's not hurting. With all the blood mopped up, and all the evidence thrown into the linen hamper, she declares that the bleed itself was not significant, that I don't need to go to surgery, stating the blood loss was only 50mLs and leaves. Male nurse shakes his head in disbelief, saying, "that was way more than 50mLs". Ian's Scooby Doo boxer shorts have seen better days.
That was the scariest of all my bleeds. Given I was due in February, and it was December when I was admitted, it was a foregone conclusion that I would be fortunate enough to spend both Christmas and New Years Eve in hospital. Not a fun time to be on complete bedrest I can assure you.