Can a birth truly be planned? (Pre-eclampsia awareness)

Can a birth truly be planned?… We all have the perfect image of pregnancy and birth installed into our minds when you see that faint little line on the test. But it doesn’t always turn out as imagined.

In this post which was written by my wife, we will share what happened in the pregnancy and birth of our firstborn Elijah, hopefully also bringing some awareness of Pre-eclampsia.

This an important story but also still quite hard for me to delve into, as it was a traumatic one. My pregnancy with Elijah seemed to be what I thought was a ‘normal’ one. I knew absolutely nothing about pregnancy so I wasn’t aware of the signs and risks you need to look out for that could cause complications.

I had heard my midwife mention ‘pre-eclampsia’ but honestly did not know what it was and did not bother to research it because I was not classed as high risk anyway.

I was finding that work was becoming quite difficult early on and couldn’t understand why I was struggling so much at such an early stage in my pregnancy, I know a lot of people who work right up until they drop!

We were also in the process of buying and moving into our first home, so I decided to start my maternity leave at 31 weeks. I could start to notice the ‘weight’ (what I thought was fat) I was gaining at this point. I just thought I had been eating more than usual because I was pregnant. After an hour of being on my feet I could barely walk from the pain and swelling.

My midwife told me this was all normal, it was just the extra weight of the baby putting pressure on them.

So I took her word for it and carried on thinking I was having a normal, healthy pregnancy! after all, they are the experts. I wish I had done more research, my mother kept telling me something wasn’t right, one thing being an adult has taught me is your mother is ALWAYS RIGHT.

I went to my 37-week appointment and I remember waddling down the road in such pain from ‘lightning crotch’ but other than that I felt great, the sun was shining and I felt fresh. the midwife took my blood pressure and said…

“Hmm that’s quite high, I’ll try the other arm”

That didn’t make a difference it was still high! She made a call to the hospital and asked me to lay on the bed for a check over.

“You’re not classed as someone who is high risk for pre-eclampsia”

Ladies this means NOTHING. I hate to call my health care professionals down as they have such a hard job, but I do feel like I was let down by my midwife. My appointments were always very rushed and I was made to feel like I was overreacting whenever I raised a concern I had. So that led me to be unprepared for the complications I had instore.

I was sent from my GP surgery to the hospital and my midwife said “it’s probably all going to be fine, but id take some sandwiches for the day”. I didn’t leave that hospital until 11 days later, with my beautiful son Elijah in my arms.

When I got to the hospital I was taken straight to the delivery ward as they expected I would need an emergency C-section. Hours, and numerous medications later my blood pressure was stable and I was transferred onto the maternity ward to be induced instead.

It was the hottest summer id ever experienced and I was stuck on that ward for 6 days before they finally broke my waters, as before this there were no delivery beds available. but the worst was yet to come, I was in labour for 16 hours before the midwife finally said I was ready to push, by this point I was already totally exhausted.

After two hours of passing out in between pushing there was still no end in sight. They finally decided I needed a forceps assisted delivery, Elijah had passed meconium inside me and the risks were becoming too high to carry on.

I have never felt exhaustion like it.

Elijah was delivered safe and healthy by an amazing surgeon who I will never forget. I lost a litre of blood during delivery so I was very weak and refused to let my husband go home. We were kept in and treated for another 5 days on antibiotics, which I found very hard, my mental health suffered enormously throughout that hospital stay.

My first experience of pregnancy and birth did not go as I imagined or planned, I cannot help but feel a little angry for being palmed off and uniformed by my community midwife. I will never forget this experience and feel that it could have gone so differently had I done more research.

What is pre-eclampsia?

The NHS website states that, Pre-eclampsia is a condition that affects some pregnant women, usually during the second half of pregnancy (from around 20 weeks) or soon after their baby is delivered.

Early signs and symptoms of pre-eclampsia:

Further symptoms:

  • severe headaches
  • vision problems, such as blurring or seeing flashing lights
  • severe heartburn
  • pain just below the ribs
  • nausea or vomiting
  • excessive weight gain caused by fluid retention
  • feeling very unwell
  • sudden increase in oedema – swelling of the feet, ankles, face and hands
All information used is official information from the NHS website.

Thank you for reading, if you are experiencing any problems through pregnancy always consult with a certified medical professional, always trust your instincts you know your own body, never hesitate to get checked out if you feel anything is wrong.
Also is you are a new parent reading this congratulations! go check out my top 5 new parents must haves here.

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