Anxiety in pregnancy
I found out I was pregnant while on a trip to Canberra with my husband. I had spotting, my period was late and I was very nauseous. I ended up taking a pregnancy test when we got home, and it said I was pregnant, I was so surprised, as we weren’t actively trying!
I’m not the best person when it comes to medical situations, my first appointment with my GP to confirm my pregnancy was overwhelming and the thought of pregnancy and birth was honestly scary. Our first scan was scheduled at 14 weeks and I’ll never forget the feeling of seeing our little baby for the first time, it was so surreal. Excitement set in, but I was still anxious. The first trimester was filled with trying to hide morning sickness at work and any days off were filled with naps with our two dogs.
The second trimester brought more energy and less morning sickness (hooray!)
My husband and I did lots of hiking and ate breakfast at our favourite cafes. After having all the pregnancy related blood tests and a routine midwife appointment showed my blood pressure was elevated. My blood pressure remained high at each appointment, the OB/GYN decided I needed weekly blood tests, blood pressure profiling and CTG monitoring as there was a strong link with familial preeclampsia and hypertension.
I was admitted into hospital with a pretty high heart rate and hypertension, I was on a CTG monitor for close to 15 hours. Many ECGs and heart tests came back normal but the experience left me more anxious about having a baby…
I suffered from pretty intense anxiety during my whole pregnancy, I saw a psychologist to help with practicing mindfulness and breathing techniques.
At my 38 week appointment I was booked in to be induced, due to my blood pressure, honestly, I was pretty unfamiliar with the process and had no idea what to expect. I was booked in for Monday the 28th of October 2019 to be induced.
Monday came and both my husband and I worked in the morning and headed to the hospital at 2:30pm for a 3:00pm admission. We got to the maternity ward and were shown to a private room where we were introduced to a lovely midwife and she mentioned my blood pressure was still high, and I was still testing negative for preeclampsia.
I had a panic attack and asked for a C-section and I was so scared of delivering a baby naturally, I spoke to one of the OB/GYNs at the hospital and she convinced me to give labour a go, after that I agreed to have the prostaglandin gel. Had some mild cramping through the night nothing major. After a cervical exam and a stretch and sweep, they said I was about 2cm dilated and would need another lot of gel to help.
The next day we waited around for something to happen, but not much did. After dinner, I was checked to see if I had dilated anymore and I was around 3cms. The midwife called the doctor to see what he thought and he suggested a double-balloon catheter. I was taken to the birth suite, where the procedure was performed, after an hour I felt fairly strong contractions which kept me awake all night in pain!
The next morning, I was taken to the birth suite to have my waters broken. I was shown to our room, they brought a doctor in that put an IV line in and took blood from me.
They explained the process and that they were going to break my water and start the syntocin drip after. The midwife broke my water, while I was constantly monitored on the CTG machine. I had an early epidural to help with my high blood pressure. The feeling of the epidural was strange… I couldn’t move and my legs felt heavy, my epidural was partial, slightly over one side and I could still feel contractions. My contractions were strong but not regular.
The day was spent on the CTG and lots of waiting. Labour wasn’t progressing and I was still sitting at 3cm. They said that he was in a posterior position and his head wasn’t completely engaged so I had to sit with a peanut ball between my legs in the hope that it would position the baby better.
At 10pm the midwife came in to do a cervical exam and said that I had only stayed at 4cm and she went to ask the doctor how he wanted to proceed. He came in and explained they thought a Caesarean section was the best option, and the babies head was pressing against my bladder, causing bleeding and because I had two bags of the syntocin drip the risk of a postpartum haemorrhage was high. He also said he needed to investigate why the babies head hadn’t started to go down the birth canal.
I felt exhausted and anxious about the thought of having surgery but it was a relief that we would soon meet our son.
It was midnight on the 31/10/2019 and they got me all ready for surgery, I remember being wheeled down the hall and met the surgical nurses and it felt so cold in the rooms before the operating theatre. They wheeled me into the pre-op room where I met the anaesthetist who topped up the epidural and explained what was about to happen. I was shaking so much and asking so many questions out of sheer anxiety. My husband waited in the pre-op room with the midwife while they took me into the theatre where I saw my doctor getting ready for surgery.
I remember lying on the table and they brought my husband in. The midwife turned on music and everyone was so happy. Everyone in the theatres were laughing and the mood was calm and content. I remember in a sheer moment of panic I asked the anaesthetist if we could stop, and I want to go and he told me that they had started ages ago and that the baby is only moments from coming.
At 1:30am we heard our beautiful son crying, and was lifted over the drapes for us to see. It was the most incredible moment of my life, I can not describe the feeling. They took him for my husband to cut his cord and my husband carried him to me for skin to skin and had his first breastfed while we were still in surgery. I couldn’t have asked for a more perfect experience. The doctor explained that our sons head was sitting in a deflexed position and a natural birth may have been hard to achieve. I was up and walking around shortly after, and I was home the next day. I felt minor pulling sensations during the birth but nothing like what people had described!
I look back and wish I didn’t listen to people’s birthing horror stories as it skewed my idea of giving birth. One piece of advice I would give myself back then would be, to try and relax more and enjoy the experience!
Beautiful mama @jessdomenici