Such a beautiful birth. Such an incredible time
Things shifted – and so this is where I’ll end Ophelia’s birth story, and begin my own *other* story another time.
For now, it is simply the unknowing, mystery unfolding, learning to trust, labouring like I never thought I would, listening to inner wisdom, following my body, blissfully unfolding into birthing my daughter into my own hands..
So the mysteries of birth continue… teaching us things and also leaving us in the dark sometimes. Leaving us there to wonder, with no answers.
I lay on the couch for two hours after birth soaking in my littlest new love. It was beautiful and perfect. I started feeling just a little weak, and asked Steven to get me some of the sliced turkey to eat – feeling like maybe I needed protein. He kept offering me the lasagne I had made the days before, saying that I really should eat something more filling, something substantial – but it just didn’t sound good yet. I ate the sliced turkey, some strawberries, and a cup of tea.
My midwife was soon getting ready to tuck me into bed upstairs and leave us in our blissful baby moon – she weighed baby and was having me get up to go empty my bladder before she would leave. So I got up and started walking towards the bathroom, just a few steps away – as I got to the doorway I started to feel light headed and my vision going blurry. I stood supported with the second midwife while they brought a chair to the hallway for me to sit on, I could barely keep my eyes open – feeling like I was going in and out of sleep, feeling suddenly so heavy. (apparently I passed out here but I don’t really have memory of that, I feel like I just fell asleep for a second) They checked my blood pressure which was fine, brought me strawberries covered in sugar in case it was low blood sugar.. I drank cold water and popped strawberries into my mouth – determined to feel normal and get to the toilet and back to feeling better. Rebecca said that she thought that if I just emptied my bladder it would be fine, that I had just had a lot of fluids in labour.
So we tried again, Steven in front of me with his arms around me to help lift me up – I stood and convinced myself that I was okay, that I could get to the bathroom – and then my vision started to blur and then….
…then I felt myself trembling as I was hearing my name over and over again. I opened my eyes, my two midwives were above me looking into my face saying my name. I asked if my baby was okay, am I okay, what happened?
Midwife asked me if I have ever fainted before – no.. never.
They pulled me on the chair back into the living room and lifted me to lay on the couch while they rang the ambulance. Continually checking my blood pressure, which stayed fine. Rebecca started a catheter thinking if I just emptied my bladder all would be okay. Checking my uterus, which was contracted nicely with minimal bleeding. She began a saline drip.
Meanwhile my doula was getting Ophelia dressed and continued to check in with me, keeping my baby in eye sight and letting me know that she’s okay – that she had a good long feed and she is just fine.. Offering, when she could – to have baby placed back on my chest.
Steven was white as a ghost, I looked to him for reassurance to know if I was okay – he nodded and told me I was fine.. His white face was telling me how scared he was.
Himself and Tara (my doula) went around gathering the other bits for a hospital bag and some clothes to put on me before the paramedics arrived.
I continually was feeling in and out of being okay. Once I’d start to feel somewhat normal my lips would start tingling and my head feeling dizzy..
The three paramedics arrived quickly and began moving things to bring the stretcher in to me by the couch. Steven fed me a banana while they took my pulse, oxygen levels, blood sugar, blood pressure etc. They moved me onto the stretcher, then my midwife gave me a shot of syntometrine (ouch!) just in case I started to have a post partum hemorrhage which is what it seemed could be the only answer to why I was responding this way.
We loaded into the ambulance on this bright summer day – my midwife coming with me in the ambulance and Ophelia wrapped up in her arms while Steven and Tara followed to the hospital.
In the ambulance I was feeling in and out of being okay – they put an oxygen mask on me when I described that my lips and fingers were feeling numb
I started to cry as we pulled into the hospital, feeling overwhelmed and upset by all of this.. I was brought into labour ward and transferred over to the care of the midwives there with my midwife with me. They began taking blood samples to run, continually checking on my blood loss. So far nothing showing any reason for why I am feeling this way.
The saline in my arm went into the tissue so my arm was swelling up and feeling bruised and heavy – when I noticed how swollen it looked we realized and midwife changed into a different vein where I could instantly feel it going into my vein with a cold rush. I started to perk up immediately, and started to come around to feeling back to mostly normal about 4 hours after arriving at the hospital.
Ophelia and I were admitted for the night, Steven and Tara left me a little after 10pm to go home. I was brought to a private room with an en suite bathroom, where I tucked Ophelia into the bed with me and tried to get some sleep.
It felt so lonely – I wanted to be home in my own bed with my baby.. I missed Claire and Jack and I hoped they were okay after such a long day away and to come home to mama being in the hospital. I didn’t have my phone and felt so out of touch with everyone.
Blood results came back and there seems to be nothing to give reason to my fainting. My iron levels are a little low, but not crazy low. I didn’t lose much blood, and had a completely intact placenta and membranes. There simply was so real reason – and that left my midwife baffled and also keeps her on her toes to know that she can never know everything with birth, that there is always something to learn..
I stayed in the hospital longer than I had wanted – waiting on the paeds to go ahead and do the newborn check so I wouldn’t have to go to my GP to have that done. Waiting on baby’s blood results and awaiting an Anti-D injection when she came back with a positive blood type. Waiting.. waiting.. I waited for too long and felt like I was forgotten about. I began to feel teary and went to borrow the midwife’s phone to call Steven and ask my MIL to just come and get me – that I could just go to the GP, and that my midwife could just do the anti-D at home. I just wanted to get out of there, and cried the moment I heard Steven’s voice. Thankfully they were getting ready to come to me anyway.
I don’t know what part of birth this story is… I don’t feel like it’s part of Ophelia’s birth story.. but staying the night in the hospital did taint how beautiful the birth and immediately post partum.. I’m trying to go back to that bliss time instead of the loneliness and desperation I felt to get out of the hospital. It scared me, even though nothing happened.. and I hate having that feeling immediately after such a gorgeous experience.