It’s strange knowing in advance the “likely” date of your child’s birthday. I had two scenarios in my mind nearing the final trimester, either the Obstetric Cholestasis (OC) would return and he would be shipped out sometime after 37 weeks or I’d make it to the allocated 39 week deadline date for scheduled sections. Frustratingly I wouldn’t find out until around week 36 when I was diagnosed with OC again and thus given the date, this time exactly 38 weeks on the dot.
January the 12th 2018 was to be the day and I just had to make it to that date, which was not an easy feat. The OC really gave me a terrible ride towards the end, I felt very unwell and was on a fine tuned balance of medication to keep my liver functioning but also me feeling well enough to get around. Last time I only had a day or so from diagnosis to induction date, it was only eleven days this time around but it felt like an absolute eternity. When I wasn’t taking medication I felt so tired, my eyes were yellow and I looked like a person whose liver wasn’t working so well. On the medication I was constantly nauseated, had huge amounts of acid that had to be countered with another strong acid reducing medication. Acid was just overrunning my body completely it was hard to imagine that it was a health environment in which to keep a baby in.
The night before was very odd, it was hard to sleep knowing that I had such a big day ahead and I had medication for my surgery to take as a precaution before going nil by mouth. I wasn’t particularly worried about being too hungry as I had a morning list spot for the surgery and arrived in pretty high spirits on the ward. It was rather odd to be placed on the delivery ward, sitting in a bed which is design for ladies to give birth in and I had never visited before with either of my births. I never toured the hospital, the only experience I have is the pre assessment/induction suites, recovery bays and birthing centre that I checked out in my last pregnancy. We waited around for a few hours while meeting the various staff that would be performing the surgery, the ward had a few emergencies that took priority and then I ended up being bumped down the list so they could repeat bloods. It was getting very much late in the day and I hadn’t eaten since dinner time the previous evening, eventually a midwife appeared to give me some IV fluids as it had been such a long time. Four failed attempts to get a line in due to me now being very dehydrated and suddenly the surgical team arrived to say I was going down now for my section.
Off we walked, to theatre which was rather different to last time in which I was wheeled in a huge panic. The anaesthetist managed to get my cannula in straight away by digging an almighty hole in my hand, thankfully giving me something to numb the area first by injection. I’m pretty sure that will remain a scar forever but now I have matching ones each side. It was a much more relaxed affair, there was radio playing in the background and everyone seemed rather chirpy than stressed. Because of this I feel it felt longer, things really took a long time. The spinal was in soon enough and I was quickly moved into position, it’s a strange feeling – your legs becoming tingly and eventually when they come to spray them with a cold spray you cannot feel anything at all. After the procedure it is the oddest thing ever watching someone lift legs that do not feel like they are attached to your body.
Before long the surgery was underway, a little pressure cuff was inflating every minute or so on my arm just like last time. All my obs were carefully being monitored and soon enough they lowered the sheet of fabric down. The consultant doing my section was a big advocate of the gentle approach to C sections. This time once the incision had been made they gently pushed on the top section of my bump to help ease the baby out. It was rather amazing to watching him come out whereas last time Ariella was just presented to us over the fabric divide, on this occasion he was still curled up in the position he had been in the womb and covered head to toe in vernix. My first thought was that he was much smaller than his sister and that I was surprised by this. Previous scans had shown he was on the bigger side, maybe if he had made it to 40 weeks that would have been the case.
Rather than being whisked away he was put on me and later was checked by the team next to us on a small table while everything was stitched up and I was soon sent off to the recovery bay before moving onto our suite in the postnatal ward. Everything from the music, to the more relaxed staff, the natural gentle approach to the section and the nicer postnatal period afterward was brilliant.
We had prebooked a suite after my stay last pregnancy on the noisy inner city London ward, in which my baby slept but I didn’t sleep because of other babies crying. This time around it was mostly quiet and although I didn’t sleep much it was because I kept looking at Sebastian!
The next day I was up and moving around, in no real pain and ready to go home. I had my medication and once discharged we headed back home to greet Ariella, it was overall a really positive experience the only negative being the amount of time I spent nil by mouth. After a really stressful end of pregnancy with Obstetric Cholestasis it was fantastic to have him arrive safely and be able to go home so soon.