Our beautiful baby daughter Anabelle was born sleeping June 2010.
Blessed with the screaming arrivals of our gorgeous rainbow sons,
Alexander October 2011, Zachary November 2013 and Lucas July 2016.

After Anabelle - Raising Rainbows
Heartbreak. Joy. Death. Life. But most of all Love.

Saturday, 22 October 2011

Xander's Birth Story

As everyone knows our birth story starts with a planned induction. After 36 weeks of pregnancy we’d reached the end of our sanity rope. Growing Alexander had been wonderful, but also very stressful and emotionally draining; 8 months of holding our breath waiting for the worst to happen but hoping, praying, for the best.

Our induction was in for the long ride again; although not as long as Anabelle!  Alexander only made us wait 3 days instead of 5!  It’s going to be a long read.

Tuesday 11th October

I arrived at the hospital and given an hour to settle in before being examined and starting the induction. Despite being 1cm dilated my cervix was still very unfavourable and quite far back.  I will admit I was a little disappointed after all the pre-labour symptoms I’d been having for weeks.  So they started the induction and I sat around waiting for things to happen.

In the meantime the baby-doctors from special baby care came to see me to have a chat about any potential problems that Xander might experience because he was being delivered 4 weeks prematurely.  I wanted to be fully informed of what to expect if he needed a little stay with SCBU and what the ‘usual’ problems they usually encountered with a 36 week baby. They assured me that they weren’t expecting him to need their help at all and that if he had any premmie issues they would probably be minor but that they would be present at his birth as a precaution.

About 12 hours later I started having quite nasty period pains and all the usual Braxton Hicks contractions but nothing that hadn’t already been happening for weeks previous.  I took some painkillers before going to bed and by 2am I was feeling fine again and got a good few hours sleep.

Wednesday 12th October

I woke up about 8am with nasty period pains again. I was examined again and was gutted to be told that there had been no change since yesterday morning; still only 1cm dilated and still far back.  I was given the next pessary and sat around waiting again.

Around 1pm I started having really bad pains that by 2pm had turned into contractions.  It appeared I was going into labour.  By 4pm the contractions were coming thick and fast and I didn’t know what to do with myself. This quickly turned into contractions overlapping each other; one was starting before the previous one had finished. Agony.

The midwife gave me some pethadine to try and ease the pain; it made me woozy which surprisingly helped me cope quite a lot!  I’d reacted badly to the pessary and my body was hyper-stimulating and almost going into labour too quickly.  

The doctors explained that this was dangerous for Alexander because neither of us were getting a rest in between contractions and potentially could cause a placental abruption.

I was taken to delivery suite, not to have my baby but to have some 1:1 care and be given a drug to stop the contractions and stop the induction.  

As relieved as I was to get rid of the intense pain I was really disappointed that things had started only to have to be stopped again. The consultant said she didn’t want to give me another pessary and that she would examine me in the morning to try and break my waters, or failing that make a plan.

After a few hours recovering and being observed down in delivery suite I was taken back upstairs to the wards to have some sleep.   I didn’t have any more pain other than period pains all nights and by morning was feeling really despondent.

Thursday 13th October

Consultant came to examine me at 8.45am and I fully expected her to tell me there had been no change again.  However, I was very pleased when she said I was 2cm dilated now and although it would be ‘tricky’ but she reckoned she’d be able to break my waters and then after a few hours put me on a drip to really get my contractions going again but in a more controlled way. Cue me being moved very quickly downstairs to delivery suite again. I phoned Jon at 9.00 after the examination, who was already in work, to come in.  He works in Cardiff which is about an hour away from the hospital.  (Driving within the speed limit anyway!)

When I was induced with Belle it was breaking my waters that really got things going, and she arrived 5 hours later, so I was fully expecting the same or similar to happen again.

I thought they would wait until Jon got there, but at 9.30am the consultant broke my waters while I was on my own. As last time I had contractions more or less straight away, still on my own and feeling a bit panicky that Jon wasn’t there holding my hand.  By the time Jon arrived I had started on the gas and air and got into a lovely warm bath to help. 

Unlike my last labour; although the contractions had started they weren’t as intense as soon as my waters were broken this time. At this point they were averaging 5-6 minutes apart so we were encouraged to go for a walk before I was put on the drip at 11:30am.

So we went for a walk and on our return at 11:30am I was told I was now 4cm dilated. Things were moving in the right direction! I was put on the drip which really geared things up; the pain suddenly got far more intense, contractions far more regular and I was grabbing at the gas and air!  At this point I think I was coping really well.

At around 1:30pm I was examined again and was now 6cm dilated. All the while the drip was increased at regular intervals to keep encouraging the contractions along. I remember things getting a lot more painful from here on in as the drip was turned up.  Around 3pm I had a pethadine injection which did very little at all and when I was examined again at 4:30pm and told I was still only 6cm dilated I had a big not-coping wobble and asked for an epidural.

We were now 7 hours into labour. I know each labour is different, but after delivering Anabelle in 5 hours and always being told subsequent labours were ‘easier and quicker’ I was feeling very emotional and desperate to have Alexander out soon by this point.

The epidural was a feat and a half. It appears I have a difficult spine to work with.

The anaesthetist arrived and spent 10 or so minutes going through all the risks with me and saying he couldn’t start until he was sure I understood. Now I know this is protocol but I was in full blown labour, having contractions every 2 minutes and really not in a fit state to be listening to him; and all the while wishing he would just get on with it to give me a break from the pain.

Anyway, he had two unsuccessful attempts at positioning the epidural and called for his senior colleague to have go.

Senior colleague has a go and manages to position the epidural but not at brilliantly has he would have hoped. He explains he is unsure how effective it was going to be.  It actually was very effective; but only for short bursts.   For an hour or so I was feeling so much better; still aware of the contractions, but they were now almost painless. For a little while I felt much more able to cope again and re-acquired the calm environment I wanted for my sons birth. 

Unfortunately it wasn’t to last. The epidural wore off as quickly as it had worked. It seemed it was either all or nothing. Over the coming hours it was topped up twice, until at 9.30pm I was examined again and told I was fully dilated and would be ready to push any minute.  They were reluctant to top up the epidural again because they wanted me to be able to feel when I needed to push to avoid an instrumental delivery.

So I started pushing. And pushing. And pushing. For over 2 hours. Alexander wasn’t coming and I was exhausted.

Midnight and Friday 14th October arrived and I was reaching the end of anything I could cope with anymore.  I think I actually reached emotional meltdown levels, to the point where I was begging them to help me.  And help they did, but only after Jon forcefully putting his foot down, saying enough was enough and that I was finished and beyond exhausted and it was time to get our baby out before my distress became his distress too.

I don’t understand why they were initially reluctant to intervene but after another examination which showed Xander hadn’t actually moved any further down into my pelvis despite all my pushing efforts the Doctor agreed that they would be unable to perform an instrumental delivery and arranged an emergency c-section.

Because of the ineffective epidural I had to have more needles in my back to give me a spinal block and off we went to theatre. I was feeling frightened of the surgery but relieved all in one go and I couldn’t believe how many people were in the room!

And then there he was: Alexander Jon Morgan came SCREAMING into the world at 00:45 on Friday 14th October 2011. Weighing a very healthy 8lb 13oz and 57cm long! (Whopping for 36 weeks!) 

It really was the most beautiful sound we’d ever heard and I instantly started sobbing,  before I’d even seen him, completely relieved because he was alive.   The midwife showed him to us and then he was taken to side room for the paediatrician to check him over with Jon.  They let Jon trim the cord and then Xander had cuddles with his Daddy for 20 minutes while I was being stitched back up.  

As soon as I was in the recovery room we had lovely skin-to-skin cuddles and we took every bit of him in. Amazed by the amount of hair he has and just how much he looks like his big sister.
Labour recorded at 15 hours and 15 minutes.

It wasn’t the birth I was expecting; after Anabelle I really did think I would be able to push Alexander out too. But it really doesn't matter to me that he ended up being a 'sunroof' baby - he's here in my arms and that is the only thing that ever really mattered.  The de-brief about the c-section with consultant told me that his position wasn’t great and that is why despite me pushing with all my might he wasn’t moving. She also thinks he was possibly too big for me.  I dread to think how heavy he would’ve been by 40 weeks!!

Since his birthday...

Me - I must be honest; I don’t think I’ve ever felt as poorly as I did in the 4 days after his birth.  The trauma of Wednesday and Thursday, a full labour and over 2 hours pushing plus a big operation completely took its toll.  I seemed to be recovering very slowly compared to other women on the ward who had had sections as well. 

I became very anaemic and it has only really been parts of yesterday and today now the iron tablets are kicking in that I’ve started to feel normal in myself again. Obviously I’m still very sore from the operation but that is to be expected and coping well now when the painkillers are working!  

It was hugely frustrating not being able to get to Xander when he needed me in hospital as I was bed bound until the Saturday morning; and even when I was able to get out of bed the amount of pain I was in moving around and feeling so faint all the time made caring for him very difficult.  Feeling so much better now are home and Jon is looking after us both.

Alexander -  has had some of the minor premmie problems the baby-doctors had discussed with me on Tuesday. My poor little man struggled with maintaining his temperature, blood sugars and is being slow to take to feeding due to a bit of an under-developed suckle. The paediatricians prescribed him formula top-ups while we were in hospital because he just wasn’t taking any milk down. Now we are home we are trying our very best to get to grips with breast-feeding. 

Xander also has jaundice and had to spend 18 hours under the UV phototherapy lamps. (Midwives still keeping an eye on this now we’re home as he is still a little bit on the yellow side.) Of course he wasn’t very impressed because it meant he was having very little contact with us as he was only allowed to come out for feeds and nappy changes. It was horrible for Jon and me too. 

All in all Alexander has been a very brave boy though; his little heels are covered in puncture marks from all the blood tests he has had to have in his first week of life.   He now weighs 8lb 4oz at his last weigh in on Wednesday so we’re really hoping we can get feeding established now to get him on the up again.

We came home on the 18th October and walking out of hospital with him really was one of the best moments of our entire lives. A total wow moment of ‘yes we’re bringing our baby home this time’

Jon and I are just completely smitten by him. I love watching Jon with his baby boy; he is just so proud and full of love!  Makes me all gooey seeing my two boys together and Alexander is blissfully unaware how precious he is to us both.

Yes we’re completely shattered, of course this beautiful newborn time is stirring up lots of painful emotions and missing Anabelle on a whole new level, yes we’re already getting fairly sleep deprived and have lost all ability to manage our time; but there isn’t a single thing we would change about finally being a ‘here on earth’ Mummy and Daddy.

Our dreams for Xander came true and we’re loving every minute. 


claire2101 said...

Many many many congratulations! X

Geves Lafosse said...

Your post made me cry - I'm so happy for you. It's wonderful that you have Alexander home but so poignant remembering Anabelle too. xx

Twopointfourchildren said...

so many congratulations enjoy your new little family xx

Louise said...

Thank you for sharing your wonderful story.

Rebecca said...

Well done you! I had a very long induced labour before an EMCS for similar reasons - she was just too big for me! You will feel better soon though, don't worry, and try not to overdo it.

Thank you for sharing and enjoy these next few precious weeks.

Anonymous said...

So happy to read your lovely story. I love your choice of "leaving hospital" outfit for Alexander - a RAINBOW jumper - for your super special rainbow baby! How beautifully perfect. I have bought box frames for my babies' first special top and booties (Great little trading company Keepsake box frame) so they are displayed on the wall on the landing and make me smile when I see how tiny the clothes are (babies grow sooo fast!) Try to take it as easy as possible in between looking after Xander (I know, I know - when/how?!) but do try and rest up a bit. And a thousand congratulations to you and Jon. xxx PS the scary thick CS scar WILL fade to a dainty thin pink line eventually - promise! Louise (well wisher) xxx

Sarita Boyette said...

What an amazing story ending in the birth of a lovely baby boy! Hope you are feeling stronger now. I love his rainbow outfit!

Anonymous said...

I read this at the weekend and just sobbed, the photo of you leaving hospital with Alexander is just the best thing I've seen in a long time. I hope you're all settling in at home xxx JMC

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After Anabelle - Raising Rainbows. I'm Caz, Mummy to beautiful angel Belle and my wonderful rainbow boys, Xander, Zachy and Luc. Wife to Jon. Twitter @cazem Instagram @cazzyem
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