Adventures in birth: day 1
On 8 days and counting, I went to the hospital for my weekly check up. For once, James wasn’t with me as he had viewings to do in the studio. Little did I know this appointment would be the beginning of my birth adventure.
As it turns out, my blood pressure was high (140/100). Also, my urine had some protein in it. This set off alarm bells for the consultants because these are two signs of pre-eclampsia, or pregnancy- induced hypertension. It’s not good. It can be fatal and the only way to make it go away is to get the baby the hell outta Dodge either by induction or caesarean section. One consultant wanted to start me on induction right away; another wanted to wait and see what my blood results were like before going that route (my bloods turned out to be fine).
Either way, it meant my water birth was 200% off the cards.
It’s upsetting when you realise the birth you fantasised about is not going to happen. I always knew my birth plan was created for an ideal world, but still, I had to shed a few tears and readjust my expectations when the reality of the situation hit home. Induction doesn’t mean that I can’t have a natural, drug-free birth like I wanted (without water), but it depends on how far along the induction route I need to go in order to kick start my body into labour. If I get to a point where they need to break my waters, then, from what I understand, it’s the equivalent of going from zero to sixty in three seconds. No gradual introduction to contractions, but instead a sudden, intense pain. Thus, it is more likely I’d want drugs to help myself cope.
The first step along the induction trail is a cervical sweep. This is when the midwife basically sweeps her finger across the cervix to see if she can get it going. In my internal exam earlier, my cervix was still found to be quite hard and I think they determined that a cervical sweep wouldn’t really work with me. Although Abdul is ready to come out, my body isn’t there yet.
In the morning (countdown day 7), they will look at my blood pressure from overnight and decide whether I should move onto the next stage of induction, which is a prostaglandin pessary. If yes, they will insert it and let it do its stuff over the next 24 hours. If no (because my BP has stabilised), I will be sent home with daily visits to the hospital to monitor my stats.
James has been wonderful today. He dropped everything to join me at the hospital and then went into Kingston to finish my hospital bag shopping (and to get me dinner from Carluccios). He also picked me up a tub of my favourite Marks & Spencer ice cream, which was pretty wet by the time he got it to me. I still ate it. And as a treat, he got me a few delectable slices of salami, which I have not eaten since September. Heaven. I figure it can’t do anything too bad at this point; after all, as a salami-eating, cat-owning Italian, the chances that I don’t have toxoplasmosis are in the region of Donald Trump being elected president.
I’d also like to thank all my followers on Twitter who have done a spectacular job of keeping my spirits up with their messages of support.
So now I am in for a night of monitoring. I am currently hooked up to both a foetal heart monitor and a blood pressure machine. I’ve never been admitted to a hospital before, so it all feels odd. I have to press a button whenever I feel the baby move, which is often. Blood pressure is still high, but all my other stats are good.
I’m going to try to get some sleep soon and attempt to visualise my labour starting. I’m remaining philosophical right now. The important thing isn’t that I have the perfect birth, but rather that I have a perfectly healthy baby.
And there is always a silver lining: at least it means my waters won’t break while I’m standing on our new carpets!