· By Tiny Hearts Education
I had an ectopic pregnancy in September 2021 and wasn't aware at the time. I was never in any pain. I took a pregnancy test as I kept vomiting, and it was instantly positive. I booked a doctor's appointment as I was still having what I thought was my period, and they told me to come back when I reached 6 weeks. This didn't sit comfortably with me as I had no idea how far along I was. So I went to a different clinic where they sent me for a blood test straight away and then again the next day. My blood test results didn't increase as expected, so I was sent for an ultrasound, where they couldn't locate anything. It was a suspected early miscarriage. My levels were still increasing slowly, so I was sent for many more ultrasounds and blood tests to try and locate the pregnancy. I had to do this alone at the time as COVID-19 restrictions were still in place for only the patient and no support person. This was extremely daunting, having to go into every appointment alone. Finally, they located the pregnancy in my right fallopian tube. I had the methotrexate injection and approximately 40 blood tests to ensure my levels were decreasing. Having the worst veins didn't make this easy, and I soon became a regular at the pathology clinic. I found it very triggering to scroll through social media and see a pregnancy announcement, birth announcement or even someone pregnant and question why that couldn't be me.
Fast forward 6 months, and having the all-clear, I fell pregnant naturally in February 2022. I was so anxious to go to the doctor, having experienced an ectopic and it being likely to happen again and having a 4x4 holiday trip planned with our close friends soon after. However, everything was healthy and in range at the time, apart from the constant sickness throughout the pregnancy. I started to have many random bleeds resulting in a hospital visit followed by a detailed ultrasound and examination every time to make sure everything was ok. They could never find a reason for the bleeding. Every time I went to the toilet and wiped, I was so scared to see blood. I found out the gender when I did the NIPT test and kept this a secret from my partner as he didn't want to know, but I told anyone who asked, and he thought I slipped up to him. I went along with it, as he was definitely wrong.
I was then diagnosed with gestational diabetes and had to test my sugar levels 2 hours after each meal. Then, I had to take metformin at dinner as my fasting levels were just over range. To keep my fasting levels in range, I would have to have one cup of milo and 2 vita-wheat biscuits with a slice of cheese every night. My sugar levels would be uploaded to an app each day and were checked by the diabetes educators at the hospital, where I could add notes to each reading if I ate something different which impacted my levels. I could also communicate via chat. If I had a high level, it would send them an alert.
I was given an induction date at 39 weeks. I packed my hospital bags and went into the hospital, where I was sent home as I was already 3cm dilated and was told to come back the next day for them to break my waters. My waters were broken at 8am, and I was connected to the drip at 11am. I had bad back pain, and I got sterile water injections in my back. It felt like a swarm of bees stinging me. I tell everyone these hurt more than actually giving birth! I then asked for stronger pain relief and was given gas. This was taken off me as my baby's heart rate kept dropping. I wanted the epidural for pain relief, so I had an examination. I was told it was too late as I was fully dilated and would be meeting my baby soon. I had my son at 12:59pm. He was placed on my chest, stuck his middle finger up and then started sucking his thumb. I required several stitches and was allowed to have the gas back for this.
Oliver was a healthy 8.3 pounds with a head of hair which explains the worst heartburn I had that I was put on medication for (I didn't know if this was karma for telling my partner all the time that heartburn can't be as bad as he says it is. I definitely had to eat my words.) Oliver had to pass three blood sugar level readings before we were allowed home, which he passed, and we were allowed to go home the next day. I had the easiest birth and recovery, which I say made up for the pregnancy I encountered. I had to repeat the glucose test at my 6-week checkup to make sure my sugar levels returned to normal, which they had, and I will now have yearly checkups. I am in awe of the female body and what it is capable of. I highly recommend if you can help a student midwife out with their studies, let them attend your appointments with you and even the birth if you are comfortable.
Photography: Polly Wright Photography