At 26 weeks and 5 days I was admitted to Edinburgh Royal Infirmary, having been sent to an appointment there for monitoring. It's never a good sign when you are asked to fill in a menu card shortly after arriving! They decided that they would probably need to keep me in until Baby B was born, which really scared me. At least I was put into a side ward after spending the day being monitored in a ward along with someone who had already had her baby by c-section the previous day and someone else who was in for monitoring.
Once I was settled in the side ward and Alan had fixed up the phone/TV/internet package things started to become more bearable! Alan stayed with me all day and I had lots of blood tests, urine tests, blood pressure monitoring, time on the CTG machine to monitor the baby's heartbeat and movement and a scan which showed that the baby was still doing ok.
That evening we were given a tour of the neonatal unit and the chance to speak to a paediatric doctor to discuss what would happen when the baby arrived.
The next day was just more of the same and during the night on the Saturday night, I woke up feeling really ill. I had the worst - and weirdest - headache that I have ever had in my life...so painful when I was lying down that I just could not bear to lie down at all....and my fingers were so swollen that I could not bend them. The thing that had actually woken me in the first place was baby B going absolutely nuts leaping around in my stomach - my whole stomach was jumping from the outside ...typical that it was the first time it was really doing that properly when Alan was not there to feel it! At least I knew baby B was still doing ok though. A midwife came in at 6am to take blood (lovely start to the day!) and found that there was not a single place left in either arm where she could take it as I was so mutilated! She got a doctor to come and put one of those hideous things in my hand so they could take blood that way :( Then the dreaded blood pressure check and it was through the roof...I had about 4 doctors in trying to work out how to get it back down again and they gave me some different medication.
I felt much better after that and went in the shower, only to feel as if I was about to faint. I have never had such a fast shower in my life! When they came back to check my blood pressure again, it had dropped worryingly low, which was why I almost fainted, and this was the start of things going very wrong.
I was put on the CTG monitor again for an hour, and was then told that I was being sent for a scan. I didn't have time to get Alan up to the hospital for the scan, and ended up sitting in the waiting room on my own along with loads of couples who were there for scans. I have never felt so alone or so scared in my life. While I was sitting there waiting I started to get really weird flashing lights in front of my eyes, which is another of the symptoms I'd been told to look out for, and the headache was getting worse and worse. Alan was later told that I was just an hour away from organ failure...
The woman who did the scan was so horrible, using lots of medical terms that I did not understand at all. She then said to me "Of course, you know from Friday's scan that the baby is not doing at all well"! I went straight back to the ward and burst into tears on the poor doctor and midwife but they were really lovely with me. The doctor explained that she had decided to do an emergency c-section that afternoon because things had started to become dangerous for me and for the baby.
I phoned Alan and 7 minutes later he came flying into the room! I was feeling really ill by this point and was just lying on the bed feeling horrible! By all accounts I didn't look all that great either! The anaethetist came to talk to me about whether I wanted a spinal or general anaesthetic (I decided on a spinal so I'd be awake for the birth and Alan would be able to be there) and then I was given a lovely stylish gown to change into and eventually was taken along to the operating theatre. I was absolutely terrified when I was getting the spinal but once it was over, I was fine. I just kept saying to Alan "I'm going to be a mummy TODAY!"
There were soooo many people in the room, including quite a big team of paediatricians ready to whisk the baby away as soon as it was born. There was a very strange moment when I was lying on the operating table and they went round everyone in the room introducing themselves! The spinal felt really weird and I was convinced my legs were in the air but Alan assured me they were flat on the table. Alan was allowed to sit up beside me and he held my hand all the way through. The doctor told us when she was about to lift the baby out, which was about five minutes after they started, and we heard crying, which was amazing because we'd been told not to expect to hear the baby cry at that gestation. We both had tears in our eyes!
The doctors were trying to get Alan's attention to go and see the sex of the baby but they didn't manage to get him quickly enough so they told us it was a girl, and took her straight away to the incubator. She was born at 14.44. We decided to name her Sophie Mary Anne - the middle names are after her two grannies. It was the most amazing feeling in the world when she was born, and knowing she was ok after all the stress and worry. It was so difficult not seeing her though.
By 15.15 I was in the high dependancy ward with a lovely midwife called Betty looking after me for the whole afternoon. Alan started making the phonecalls to let people know that Sophie had arrived, and after about two hours he was allowed to go and see her. He took a photo of her to bring back to show me.
First photo of Sophie, 2 hours old
Daddy's first gift to Sophie was a beautiful pink rocking horse, and he also brought in a pink teddy bear from her granddad, so even though my baby wasn't with me that first night, there were still signs around my bed that I'd had a baby girl. It was so hard not even getting to meet her that night, especially when they brought a woman into the ward with her baby who had just arrived at full term, and her husband who was very loud and jokey.
Sophie's first gifts
Sophie was born on Mother's Day, which was very strange, as her daddy was also born on Mother's Day. Her birth was a very happy occasion but also sad, as Alan's mum is not here to see her granddaughter, and we miss her very much - but we still feel she is very much around to watch over her beautiful granddaughter and we are sure she had a hand in Sophie's safe arrival.