As pregnancies go, it was uneventful. I had the occasional bouts of nausea, and sometimes had to sit bolt upright in the middle of the night as a wave of reflux threatened to choke me in my sleep. Nothing major.
All went well until my baby decided she liked it too much in my womb, and was still in there five days past my due date. I had gone in for a cervical sweep the week before, but she had probably dozed through that, ignoring us all.
I had a show that afternoon, and started thinking, okay, maybe this is it. A while later, I had pains in my tummy. They didn’t feel anything like what I’d heard contractions felt like, so I called big sis K who told me to get checked out at the hospital. T got home, and off we went. After taking my vitals etc, they determined that my baby was in distress, so they strapped monitors to my belly, and kept me in overnight, for observation they said.
I was okay through the night, but by the morning, I took a turn for the worse. Apparently I drifted in and out of conciousness and went into delirium. Everything happened in a blur, but I remember reeling out T’s mobile number as I was being wheeled into theatre for an emergency Caesarean section.
Baby came out, and had a low Apgar score, so was whisked away for attention. I think it took me a while to come round from the anaesthetic, but I eventually did to find T and my dear friend and birthing partner, Kemi, around my bed. Eventually my baby got handed to me. My little fighter, her stats had improved, and she didn’t need further observation. All was well with my world.
A day later, I woke up from sleep to hear my baby crying. I was disoriented and tried to reach her. I had a line in my arm through which I was being given an intravenous drip, and somehow, I fell off my bed ripping the line out in the process. My arm started to bleed, and I must have passed out.
I woke up in the High Dependency Unit, in all sorts of pain. I was rigged up to various lines and contraptions, but all I had eyes for was my baby, sleeping in a cot net to my bed. The nurse, Rosie, noticed I was awake, and came over to say hello. She explained that because I had been in a side room, it had been a while before I’d been found, and I’d lost some blood. A racking cough swept through me, but I halted it when I felt the pain from every stitch of my CS. My chest hurt, and it was hard to breathe. I’d contracted pneumonia, I was in a bad way.
Even though I wanted to breastfeed baby, I couldn’t because of the cocktail of antibiotics that was being pumped into my veins. So I had to give her bottles, all provided by the hospital, dinky little glass bottles of SMA Gold, and how she gulped them down!
Day after day, the medics came to see me, haematology consultants, obs & gynae, physiotherapists, .…the complications had arisen as a result of my genotype. I had been relatively healthy for years, and had not realised the need to disclose it, and as at that time, it wasn’t something that was routinely screened for. My bad.The highlight of my day was the evening, when T came in not only to see me, but to also to bath his daughter. The nurses had shown him how to once, and from that moment he had carried on unassisted. This is a tradition that carried on till she was about a year old. I probably bathed her about four times in that whole period.
I was eased off the cocktail of drugs gradually, and was eventaully able to breastfeed my baby. I’d completely lost my appetite though, and just couldn’t eat anything, so I was put on a liquid food supplement. Different flavours, for breakfast, lunch and dinner. After almost two weeks, I was well enough to sit up and begin to move around, and then I discovered that I couldn’t. My legs seemed to forgotten how to, and they just wouldn’t move. Cue further physiotherapy, this time with a zimmer frame. I literally had to learn how to walk again, and eventually I was discharged.
I was so glad to be back home, my mum was delighted to spend time with her granddaughter that was not regulated by visiting hours, and T, he was over the moon. Mum tried to coax me to eat, but my appetite was still on exile. Then the midwife visited, and said since I was breastfeeding, if my body didn’t get enough nutrients, it would begin to convert my bones into milk for the baby. Something along those lines. I believed her, and my appetite returned. I started eating.
A few days later, I felt pains in my chest, and that evening, I was back in hospital again. I remember lying on a stretcher type bed in A&E as this male doctor tried to take my blood. Saddam Hussain was all the rage then and I nicknamed the unsuspecting doctor the Butcher of Baghdad as he rummaged around in my veins unsuccessfully. The verdict came, the chest infection had reoccurred, and I had to be admitted again.
I told all who would listen that I wasn’t going in without my baby, so we eventually got admitted together. It was back to the HDU for both of us, but this time it was better. I could talk and walk, I recovered faster. Come Christmas day I was in a side room with T and our baby. Our first Christmas together. I was discharged a few days after that.
I remember one of the doctors who came in to see me in that room. She told me she had had to fight hard for me, she had nearly lost me, and I had to take of myself, if not for me, for my baby. She emphasized the need for me to wrap up warmly at all times, and to keep even my head covered. I will never forget her words.
The treatment I got from the NHS was amazing. Totally out of this world, and I remain eternally grateful.
And now my baby is 10 years old today. E1, the child of my not so young age. My darling daughter who has been blessed with a maturity far beyond her years. My daughter, who quietly excels in all she does. Whose infectious high pitched giggle delights the hearts of all who hear it. I love you darling, you were and are worth it all.
My thanks go to God, the Sustainer of life, He who fought for me when I did not know I was in a battle, He who overlooked my ignorant mistakes and still had my back.
Lord Jesus, she is the evidence of your care towards me, towards her, towards us, just as her name declares. May she live her days in fullness to the glory of your name. Thank you Jesus.
And to you dear readers, thank you for stopping by to go down memory lane with me. For those of you that desire to be mothers, may God answer your prayers in due season, in Jesus name. Amen.
I’ll have this song on repeat all day….My God is awesome! :D