The Don't Want To Be Working Mum Guest Post

This is the third instalment of the NICU Mum medical files, for those who haven't already check out the first two by clicking here to read Carly's story and also Lisa's autism journey with her son. I started the medical files in hope that by sharing real and honest birth and parenting stories that it would help others relate and take comfort from them. As well as raising awareness for different experiences and conditions that some may have to face. It is my hope we can all support one another even when things take a turn from the envisaged birth plan you had when you went in to give birth. You can view part one of my birth story by clicking here.

Rachael rocking the bump
I connected with Rachael who is behind the brilliant blog;  Instagram and Facebook  

She kindly agreed to share her amazing story. These are her words, these are her feelings, this is her story. I resonated with so much of this. It does just go to show you really can fine comfort in others and it feels like you are not alone.

My birth story

B and I were sat in the doctor’s office for our initial consultation to start fertility treatment when we found out I was pregnant. To say we were stunned was an understatement. I've got poly cystic ovaries and we'd been trying to conceive for two years and now it had happened naturally. We were so overwhelmed and so so lucky.

My pregnancy was awful. There was no 'glow' people talk of, I was bloated and sick. I put on four and a half stone and thanks to indigestion, Gaviscon was my new best friend. I'd been on maternity leave for a week when at 37 weeks pregnant I started bleeding heavily. We drove to the hospital, it felt like the longest drive of my life, and when we got there I expected to be seen straight away but instead I had to wait for over an hour. Bleeding, worrying.

My labour was long with a lot of complications. I was put on an oxytocin drip to make my contractions stronger. I had my waters broken and was given pethidine for the pain. It didn't touch the sides. After what felt like a lifetime I was given an epidural. I hated it immediately. I was definitely in less pain but I felt like my leg was swelling up, I kept moving it as it felt weird. By this point they were finding it difficult to monitor the baby's heartbeat so decided to do an internal fetal monitoring where an electrode was inserted through my cervix and screwed to the baby's head. My leg was still feeling strange and I told the midwife. She very helpfully told me that my leg was the least of my worries! Now perhaps she was trying to be funny but this made me panic even more than I already was.

Such a sleepy head
It all got serious when the baby's heart rate went really high and I became tachycardic. That's when the room filled with loads of doctors. More drugs were given to me. I remember looking at B and my mum and they looked petrified and had fallen silent. Then after seventeen hours I was whisked off to theatre for a cesarean. It wasn't meant to be like this. I'd written my birth plan and this wasn't it. I wanted a water birth with no pain relief and here I was drugged up and scared senseless.
The epidural numbed the side of my face and right arm meaning that I couldn't face B. I had to face the anaesthetist and although he was a lovely man it wasn't him I wanted to be looking at when I gave birth to my baby.

The four days I spent in hospital after having my beautiful, very chilled girl were awful. I never saw the same doctor or midwife twice. The lady in the next bed, who I never saw as her curtains were closed the whole time, made groaning noises all day and night. There was other people's blood in the shower. I had lots of visitors but had never felt so alone. I'd longed to have a baby but wasn't expecting it to feel like this. I started having chest pains but was too frightened to tell anyone in case they wouldn't let me go home.

The first few weeks at home I felt scared and panicky. I didn't like leaving the house and unless I was with someone I wouldn't. I was ok as long as I was sat on the sofa cuddling my baby. I would stare at her, drinking in her new baby smell. I loved her so much but would get nervous something would happen to me. I was scared I would die and leave her. The chest pains continued. B found it difficult to understand why I felt the way I did. He used to tell me that we'd got everything we wanted so stop feeling sad. If only it had been that easy.

I felt like I was living in a bubble. I looked fine on the outside but was in complete turmoil inside. Surprised at how weak I felt I would cry a lot, especially at night. I would be so exhausted but unable to sleep reliving my birth and the midwifes words "that's the least of your worries."

Enjoying a nap
By the time my six week check came around I was a wreck and finally admitted that I was having chest pains. I was sent to the hospital where I had various tests to try and figure out if I had blood clots. I had an ECG, a scan on my legs and radiotherapy. The hospital were fabulous to me. They found nothing. There was nothing wrong with me, not physically anyway. I was suffering from mild panic attacks and anxiety.

I opened up to a friend who I knew had anxiety and she gave me some self help books which taught me different breathing techniques that helped me, particularly in the middle of the night. I also opened up to my health visitor, before this I was too scared to as I thought they would think I was a bad mother who wasn't coping and my baby would be taken away from me. Throughout all of this my love for my baby just grew and grew. She was wonderful but I felt like I was failing her as I was so anxious. Irrational thoughts would go through my head. I felt like I was loosing my mind. The health visitor was marvellous. She gave me so much of her time and made me feel like I wasn't alone. She told me that it sounded like I had post traumatic stress disorder and set up for me to go and see a counsellor.

Look at us now!
Counselling was the best thing I ever did. I was finally able to talk through my issues without worry I would upset someone. I have the most amazing, close, supportive family who I can open up to and talk to about anything but I was worried I was becoming a burden on them. Talking to my counsellor who listened without criticising or judging or giving me helpful advice about what I should and shouldn't do to get over it was so positive and beneficial. I was able to vent and cry and she was able to get me to understand my problems. It felt great to share my worries and helped me coped better with my issues, making everyday life more bearable.

At the time only a handful of people knew how bad I was, as I was ashamed. Ashamed that I couldn't just shake these feelings off, ashamed that I couldn't cope on my own, ashamed that I needed to see someone to help me through. But now I'm not ashamed or embarrassed to admit that I didn't have my shit together. I realise now that everyone goes through rough times and we need to stop worrying about others judging us and take the time to look after ourselves. I am stronger now. I am a survivor.

So happy :)
Go check out The don't want to be working mum's brilliant Instagram and Facebook!

Go give this lady some love on her brilliant blog;

Similar NICU Mum Posts;

My birth story part two
Elijah's heart surgery
My guide to surviving NICU
A letter from a guilty NICU Mum


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