Despite being 25, having been with my boyfriend Scott for 7 years and having our own home I felt about 14 telling my mum, I don't know why she was delighted. As a family we were experiencing a tough time my uncle had been diagnosed with terminal cancer, I felt guilty that life was just beginning inside of me but so cruelly being taken away from us at the same time. It was good for us all to have something positive to focus on for the future. We told my uncle as a surprise for his 50th birthday, his reaction was the best we got he could barely walk but danced the length of his living room. It gave him a new determination in his fight.
My pregnancy was pretty uneventful - or so I thought - I embraced it and loved my time with my bump. I developed a crazy thirst from about 28 weeks and told myself that it was normal my baby was getting bigger and needed more from me so I needed to keep hydrated and just listen to my body. I mentioned it to my midwife and it was dismissed as well so who was I to question the 6-8 litres of fluids I needed every day, the professionals weren't worried about it, I hadn't heard back from any blood tests so 'it's just one of those pregnancy things'.
I was convinced my baby was breech, having constant pressure below my ribs on the right surely it had to be their head. The midwife kind of agreed, she couldn't be entirely sure either way so sent me for a presentation scan at 37+5. This showed my baby was engaged and ready to go but measuring below the 5th centile, I was sent to maternity assessment for a few hours which showed my blood pressure was raised and the decision was made to induce me at 38 weeks - 2 days away. I was going to start the process of having my baby in 2 days. I wasn't prepared. Yes the moses basket was set up, the nursery was ready, the wardrobes were full with little white outfits just waiting on someone to wear them and be joined with lots of pink or blue. Yes I had double, triple, quadruple packed my baby's hospital bag, unpacked it again just to check we had everything and then pack it again. I kind of had mines packed too there were just a few things left on my list to get. Yes I had been waiting months for this...but I wasn't ready, not yet! My life was about to change forever. This tiny little person would be here soon and they would need me more than anyone has ever needed me before; was I going to be enough? I never doubted for a minute that Scott would make an amazing dad but could I be a good mum? I had never changed a nappy, sometimes I even questioned if I could look after myself properly how could anyone think it was a good idea for me to be responsible for another life? Those 2 days passed in a blur and it was time to head off to the hospital. Leaving the house knowing I would return with my baby and as a mum. I would be a completely different person it was daunting, exciting and I think I felt every emotion.
We got settled on the induction ward at 2.30, got my bloods taken and prepared for the long haul. I had a sweep felt a few cramps but nothing major to report. We watched the football, the grand national and then picked a film from Netflix. We had to pause it every 15 minutes to let me go to the loo, I was drinking and peeing constantly - my thirst had been crazy but this was a whole new level. My blood results had shown abnormalities and a doctor came to talk to me about my fluid intake not because it was excessive but because my body was showing signs of dehydration. I was to have my fluids monitored and a catheter fitted.
At 7pm my mum and mother in law came up for visiting but weren't allowed in because the doctor was fitting my catheter. How strange a feeling is that? I kept patting the bed around me convinced it wasn't in right and I was wetting the bed, much to Scott's amusement. The midwife decided she would just stick the trace on again and check my blood pressure - just while she was there. That decision saved both our lives. My heart rate had rocketed to 160bpm and my baby's had dipped to 50bpm. We were off to the labour suite to have my waters broken, and we had to go now! Scott and the midwife were throwing my bags onto my bed and quickly got me downstairs grabbing my mum on the way past. I was prepared the room we were going to would have quite a few people waiting on us and it was highly likely I would need an emergency c-section.
It all goes a bit hazy from here. I was handed gas and air and my waters were broken. The next thing I heard was this baby needs to be born in the next 10 minutes and talk of general anisthetic. I was wheeled out the labour suite being asked 101 questions about my medical history. I didn't get time to hug or kiss Scott or my mum. Nobody was allowed to come with me. All I could do was shout back that I loved them. Again the theatre was full of people, the consultant giving orders making sure everyone knew their roles. A mask was placed over my face and I was told to count to 10. 1...why is this happening...2...This isn't going to work I feel fine...3....and I was under.
At 7.46pm my gorgeous baby boy was born. At 8.01pm Scott got to meet his son for the first time and my mum her grandson as he was whisked out of theatre in an incubator to go to special care. They were told I should be in recovery in 30 minutes. More and more doctors passed them into the theatre I was in. It took 2 hours to stabilise me before I was taken to high dependency. I woke up to find out I had a son, he was doing fine and should be with us soon. Scott, my mum and my mother in law were allowed in. At 10.21pm 5lb 11oz of pure perfection was placed in my arms, my son Arran.
Sadly we lost my uncle when I was 16 weeks pregnant, but he will not be forgotten the Isle of Arran is known as the sleeping warrior and Arran has my uncle's name as his middle name.
3 days in high dependency followed with 24 hour 1:1 midwife care. Arran was doing great, they had to keep an eye on his sugar levels so the midwives had to do most of his feeds for the first 24 hours and give him regular blood tests. On the hand doctors were baffled by what was going on with me. My blood pressure and temperature took a few days to stabilise, I was sent for scans, my veins collapsed from the amount of blood tests but nobody was really sure what was happening. The worst part was my fluids being restricted, my mouth was dry, I couldn't eat and I lost my voice because of it. I was diagnosed with diabetes insipidus, my placenta was creating enzymes that were attacking my pituitary gland and stopping my kidneys from working properly so despite my excessive fluid intake my body was actually dehydrated. It's a rare condition and to be pregnancy induced it is 1 to 100,000 births. Nobody who treated us had dealt with it before and according to my sister in law our story is well known in the Princess Royal. I had developed pre eclampsia too.
On the 4th day I was transferred to the general ward and the 5th day we were going home! (I said goodbye to those I shared the ward with never thinking I would see any of them again, until I walked into Daisy Tinnies with Arlene and saw a familiar face from the bed next to mines)
Our birth story isn't what I had planned although my whole pregnancy I joked I was petrified of labour and they could just knock me out and wake me up when my baby was here (be careful what you wish for ladies). I hate how Scott was denied being at Arran's birth and couldn't cut the cord as we had planned. I hate how we have no idea what happened in the first 2 hours of Arran's life. I will be forever grateful for that midwife's gut instinct to check on us. I know we had someone watching over us that night and he would have done the same dance as he did when he found out he was going to be a great uncle.
We were told if the midwife and doctor had waited until after visiting to do their checks there was a good chance I wouldn't be here, and neither would my son. We were told that a simple drop under my tongue every day to counteract the enzymes causing the issues and a daily aspirin for the pre eclampsia would have prevented it all. I hope expectant mums aren't scared by this but that they will learn to trust their own body - if it really doesn't feel right speak in depth with your midwife instead of assuming 'it's just one of those pregnancy things.'
But this is our story; now I wouldn't change it for the world because it's how my amazing little Arran came into the world and brought so much joy after so much pain.