My Baby Was Born To Save Me

There are 364 days between my eldest Poppy and my youngest Holly. I’ve not talked a great deal about Holly so far on here. In all honesty, it is still a hard subject for me to even think about. Nevermind sharing how my youngest baby was brought into the world. But I find sharing very therapeutic so here goes.

28th September 2018 – The Beginning of Nearly the End

Holly was born the day before her sisters first birthday. My pregnancy with Holly was complicated. The night before she was born I was sat in the car whilst my husband drove me to the hospital. I’d started bleeding again. A lot of memories around the time of her birth are foggy but this I remember clear as day. I said, “If this is going to happen I just want Poppy to have her birthday first.”

Two children in the garden
With a 364 day age gap, I can see into Holly’s future and back into Poppy’s past. They are so different and unique.

It had been a looming threat for a while. I knew this bleed could mean being admitted for weeks. Obviously we didn’t want that to happen, it was a major inconvenience to Poppy’s life, Oliver’s job and my happiness. It wasn’t the worst bleed I’d had, so there was part of me that was hopeful they’d send me home. There was no talk of when I’d get home, it was midnight so my doctor wasn’t on shift anyway.

I sent my husband home, it was getting late and he’d have to be up early with our daughter. It was probably the most comfortable I’d felt in the hospital but I was getting used to the whole routine. It was the early hours of the morning when I got settled onto the ward. I tried to get comfy for the night but I was in a lot of pain, which was new.

The Moment It All Went Wrong

At 5am I felt that familiar sensation, and I knew something bad was happening. I knew I was bleeding. The midwife didn’t give me my call button. And in an effort to reach it from my bed I tore if from the wall. That’s when they panic set it, I had to shout for another woman in my bay to press the buzzer.

The rest from there is a blur and is simply what I have been told because I remember very little. The whole ward was filled with an emergency alarm to alert doctors. I got taken to delivery, they weren’t expecting me of course. I moved beds and the sister of the delivery suite took one look at me. She looked at the doctor, and this is the moment I knew. I knew we were in trouble.

Semi-conscious I heard, “there’s no time”, “I don’t have time to get you to sign a form do you consent”. And the scariest “I can’t find a heartbeat”

I woke three hours later, I use the word “woke” very loosely because I can’t really remember anything. When I “woke” I hadn’t even realised I wasn’t pregnant anymore, I still felt pregnant. I looked up and saw a ginger doctor who I thought was my husband. It wasn’t him but everyone agreed they looked alike. It was so confusing if he was in the room why wasn’t he with me. I cried but fell back asleep.

A picture of a baby just born heading to the neonatal unit
The first picture of Holly – This was taken on the journey from theatre to neonatal. She was being wheeled past Oliver and he got the chance to see her and take some photos to show me. I can only begin to imagine how hard that was to do by himself.

Oliver broke the news to me that our baby girl had been delivered and she was in the neonatal unit. He showed me a picture of her, not that I could see her face. I remember thinking I don’t even know if that’s my baby. I’d never met her, I didn’t know what she looked like. I had to trust my husband that, that was our baby. Which is so weird for me to look back on.

I was at that moment happy that she was alive because I remembered that there was no heartbeat. But in the space of three hours so much had happened. There was so much for me to learn about and so much more to happen.

After Surgery

I wasn’t allowed to get out of bed for at least 24 hours, I spent that 24 hours attached to machines, oxygen and drip pain relief. I asked Oliver to go and check on our baby, the idea of her being alone in there was horrible. Even though I wanted to see her I wasn’t in a fit state to go in my bed. I felt like everyone was meeting my baby before I did and I was the person that carried her. I refer to Holly as baby girl for now because until she was a week old we didn’t name her. We weren’t sure how we were meant to name a baby we’d never held. It didn’t help that we had no names in mind before she arrived.

I was still on the emergency ward by the theatres because the surgeons weren’t confident my bleeding would fully stop. I had to have a conversation with my husband to say that if anything was to happen again I consented to them doing whatever necessary to save my life. Which would have been a hysterectomy, at 21 I was mentally preparing to for that surgery. Thankfully that never happened.

At that moment that Oliver left a group of doctors came in, I was expecting a well-being check. I was then asked repeatedly what I was going to do for contraception seems this birth was so dangerous. I honestly had no words. I’d been out of surgery for 5 hours and I could barely keep my eyes open. Those doctors made me feel even more irresponsible than I already did. They made me feel like I was to blame for what had happened.

Once they left I cried, they had genuinely hurt me and it isn’t often that I get upset around professionals. But it was the weakest moment of my life. My midwife came back in and when I told her why I was upset she was fuming. She stormed off, she herself too couldn’t believe the conversation they’d had with me. When she came back she told me that she informed them of my distress. I was and am so thankful for her even now nearly a year on.

The End of 28th September

Nothing else really happened on 28th September. Oliver checked on our baby throughout the day and I began to come around. We spent the rest of the day trying to build up a picture of what happened. Holly at this point to our knowledge was stable, she couldn’t breathe by herself but she was breathing.

It may seem silly to hear but I genuinely feel she took that day to let me rest. To let me find some energy to deal with what was to come. Because as soon as I met my baby girl everything then went downhill.

To be continued…