My fourth and last pregnancy was a bit of a roller coaster. I had grade 4 placenta previa (my placenta was fully covering the cervix). I was excited to be expecting another child, but by 20 weeks I was placed on modified bed rest. I couldn't lift things, I couldn’t go on walks, I really was made to rest and not do much, which was hard with 3 children aged 7, 6, and 4. Then the bleeding happened. I learnt after a few anxious trips to the hospital, if it was brown blood it was less concerning.
At my 31 week pregnancy care appointment, I went alone thinking everything was ok. I had been having Braxton Hicks pains but thought nothing of them. The doctors told me I was in pre-term labour.
I had to ring my husband who was at work, to tell him I was being admitted and was in pre-term labour. I was so scared. My siblings and Mum didn't fully understand how serious placenta previa is. So some of them actually acted like I was being a drama queen. I had to be escorted down to the Maternity day unit for steroid injections. Midwives were rushing around putting bands on me and putting the obstetrician on standby. The injections hurt – I was bruised for about a week. The nurse who gave me the injection said I was so calm for someone who was in labour and I said to her " I don't really feel any pain right now, it’s just cramps". Then I got hooked up to some monitors to measure the contractions and monitor my baby.
I eventually got moved to the maternity ward, i was put in a private room next to the reception desk. I stayed there for 6 weeks.
I got to know the midwives on the ward, some would pop in and have a cup of tea or watch TV with me. I was what they called a long term patient. They told me I was the least demanding on the ward, never complaining and always friendly to them. I think they just liked that I always had cupcakes in my room!
Every day that passed was like a mini goal , on the way to reaching full term. I had a few bleeds while in hospital and I got whisked down to the labour rooms where all these drips and things were on standby to stop the labour, as I couldn't go into labour naturally without risking bleeding out or the placenta coming away from the uterus. So I was being given various medications to help with the pain of contractions and to stop them. Every day I had blood tests. At one stage my veins collapsed and the doctors decided to let my arms rest from blood tests for a few days.
I could not walk anywhere really without letting a nurse know where I was going. I couldn't go outside the hospital. I technically should have been transferred to Melbourne but because of how unstable my condition was , the obstetrician made the call to keep me in Geelong. Geelong's SCU can only take infants born 34 weeks or more. So my obstetrician had the goal to get me to 34 weeks. The day I reached 34 weeks , the obstetrician came in and gave me a high five. We had made it to the mini goal. The next goal was to try and get to 37 weeks.
I connected with a student midwife during my hospital stay but she ended up being told by her teacher I was too high risk for her to do her student midwife follow assignment on. But she remained in contact with me, asking me how I was and how the pregnancy was going. I also connected with a Heartfelt photographer who turned out to be a midwife by day and photographer during her time off. She was at another Geelong hospital. Being able to talk to her was great.
When I reached 36 weeks I went through all the booking info for the C-section, it was my first C-section. It was all a blur of information being told to me and signing forms. I was scared. I told the obstetrician that I didn’t want to be under a general for it, as my sister had been under a general for two C-sections and she struggles with having missed out on the first few moments of her children.
I was 37 weeks when I had my C-section. I remember a ward midwife was excited she was rostered on for my C-section. It took three attempts to get my spinal block in , before the third attempt I was crying as I knew this was the last attempt and if it didn’t work I would have to have a general. The Heartfelt photographer was not able to come as she was scheduled for a surgery at her hospital.
The anaesthetist talked to me and kept me calm the whole time to help keep my anxiety levels low. The midwife distracted hubby when I started to bleed too much, she got him to go with her to weigh and measure our son. It took them about 15 minutes to stop the bleeding. I lost about just over half a litre of blood. When I was wheeled into the recovery ward, I was so happy that I had made it. I felt like I had run a marathon and won. I was breastfeeding my son all the way to the ward. The midwives on the ward all popped in to gush over him, he became a bit of a celebrity.
After I had him, I was happy he didn't need to go to SCU, as my first son went there for 2 weeks after his birth. I had been worried I would again be going home without my baby. The day we went home, the midwives and some of the doctors said goodbye to us. A few helped hubby get everything to the car. After we got home my anxiety skyrocketed. I started to become worried that he would be prone to getting sick and have other issues because he was born on the cusp of being premature and full term. I got a tad irrational with it, especially with germs and sick people. I ended up talking to a GP about it who linked me into a mental health nurse. Five years later I ran into the obstetrician who looked after me during this pregnancy, while I was having a check up with another doctor. He remembered me and hubby, and the moment I introduced Ali to him he was so happy. I have made the decision to not have any more children. I don't think I could go through the emotional roller coaster again.