Labour of love: I nearly died in childbrth
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My beautiful boy is now 14 years old.
On the eve of every birthday, I break out into a cold sweat, remembering the horror we endured to bring him forth.
It passes, but I don't think it'll ever truly leave me.
Living in Scotland, I contracted gestational diabetes, and had a split pelvis that made every step from February to July (when he was due) feel as if I had broken glass in my pelvic region.
The only relief I could get was in a swimming pool; I duly walked and swam in the pool most days (Four to six times a week).
I was in Scotland, and because of the diabetes and split pelvis, I was admitted on a Wednesday to be induced.
The first round didn't work, so I had labour on and off until Friday morning, when they gave me another dose. My last food was Thursday night.
Going through to the labour suite at 6pm that Friday, I was given an epidural, and had my waters broken.
I was hooked up to three drips - glucose, insulin, and syntocin (to hurry baby up). Baby had a scalp trace put on him, and we waited. And waited. And waited. I had a good block of the pain, but something was wrong.
My inexperienced midwife waited until 5.15am Saturday morning to inform me that she would 'just get the doctor'. I raised my blanket, and found my gorgeous, sexy legs were now the size of totara trees.
'What the heck have you done to my legs?' I shouted. The doctor came in and said 'Sign this.' No hello, no nothing.
When I asked what it was, he said 'Dinnae fash yoursel'. Just sign it.'
'I'm no Glasgow wifie, mate. Tell me what's wrong and I'll sign.' He would not.
'That could be a loan guarantee for you, bro, I'm not signing!'
A new midwife leaned in front of the doctor and said: 'You have suffered acute kidney failure and you're dying. We have 15 minutes to prep you for surgery or you're both dead.'
I knew it already, but needed to hear it. Thanking her, and signing shakily, with fingers the size of sausages, I was moved onto the gurney to go to surgery. It had taken two people to lift me onto my bed; it took six to lift me onto the gurney, that's how swollen with fluids I was.
Seems I had three litres pumped in via the drips, and 200ml cathethered out; a more experienced midwife would have noticed it was going into my tissues.
Getting to surgery, my team casually chatted amongst themselves whilst David, my anaesthetist, topped my epidural up. Their casual manner grated, after three days of labour, two without food, and the knowledge we were in danger.
I looked up at them. 'Excuse me? Guys? My name is Grace Miller, I'm a long way from home, and I'm dying. I don't care about *your* golf holiday, Greg, or where you'll be taking your mum shopping later today, Trudy. Ditto your dance classes, Pete. I need you to bring your A game today and get my son out alive, without killing me in the process. Do you think you could do that for me, please?'
The team looked chagrined, apologised and totally focussed on the job at hand. They cut my boy out, and showed him to me immediately. He cried out, and the nurse took him to be cleaned up.
Just 45 minutes more, and I was holding my miracle boy.
He went to the special baby unit, and at 60cm long, looked like Frankenstein compared to the tiny scraps of humanity in the incubators!
After five days we were allowed home, and haven't looked back.
Though when my friends asked me 'will there be another?' I replied in the negative, every time. They told me I'd forget. I never have.
There can be only one! I'm sure you'll agree, though, my handsome boy was totally worth it. He certainly is, to me.
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