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Updated: Jan 19, 2022

On the 13th of January I will be 37 weeks pregnant, my daughter Deryn will be six years old and I will deliver her sister baby Cole. She will be born via a caesarean, baby Cole has Gastroschisis, a condition that means she has part of her intestine on the outside whiles she’s still in the womb and will need an operation soon after birth. I want to write a paragraph every day if I can for the next week or so, some days it will be more some days it may just be a few words fragmented, not quite fitting together right, like my thoughts. I'm also very scared of operations, I don't like being touched, everyone has fears, I have to face mine this week.

8th of January-

As I write this “journal update”… I’m in bed typing into my phone notes, today I’m very tired. I was up with heart burn all night! Tomorrow we have my daughters birthday party I’m exhausted already but she will of course love it! This time next year I will be preparing for two birthdays… wow weird thought!

9th of January-

Once again I’m tired, typing again on my phone. We successfully held my daughters birthday party. It was fun, of course she more than enjoyed herself and as a family we made some wonderful memories. She picked a Pokémon themed party… which of course meant me up late last night stressing making a Pokémon cake, in the next couple of days we will do her birthday photoshoot, she’s very excited about this and has loads of ideas! I’m hoping she doesn’t ask to do it today as I’m feeling drained. The last few days have been intense as I’ve (safely) tried to see all my friends and family that I will be unable to see for a while depending on the hospital stay. I feel as if It’s time to be left alone now we are not leaving the house for a few days, of course with social media having a support system at my fingertips is a possibility, this means I can be on my own, without feeling on my own.

10th of January-

Today I’m extremely anxious, I feel it everywhere in my body. I wish I was in work, busy, everyone is still fast asleep in the house right now so I have no distractions. It’s barely 7am and I want this day over with, but that would also mean getting ever quicker to C-day. I’m definitely not mentally prepared for that yet! Today I have my usual monitoring and a PCR, I feel sick. I’m a bit nervous about that obviously, probably why my blood pressure was a little high today. I bet all of this was simpler without a pandemic going on!

I’m now hooked up to a machine, it’s the nice midwife with me, I can’t remember her name, but she’s my favourite because she’s always happy but also really well organised, I like that. In and out more or less.

11th of January-

Today me and Deryn did some maternity photos, This makes me think about Deryn's birth. It was painful but she came into the world screaming and strong. She wasn’t playing around and decided to be born at home, which turned out to be perfect! She’s still strong now, thankfully she doesn’t scream much these days. For someone who was a bit of a handful as a toddler she’s a very well behaved and happy child. She was very happy to help me create my last set of maternity photos, and she was super excited about painting me… the idea was a little bit of paint! A nice green heart or something, but as usual Deryn had her own idea and decided to cover my bump but like everything she does it turned out just perfect. She’s definitely always had her own mind and is confident with it! She will make a wonderful big sister very soon.

We picked green because it’s the colour used for #gastroschisis awareness it’s also Deryns favourite colour so that worked out well!

12th of January-

I’m in the car on the way to Cardiff to have my bloods done etc. I can feel the sun on my face, it’s really cold out but the sun coming into the car feels warm for now, or it’s the cars heating. I’m not sure, however I feel calm at the moment. Tom’s not allowed in with me today, I had a phone call this morning which covered a few bits, so today at Cardiff hospital for checks and to pick up some tablets ready for tomorrow. Today I feel like I’m fighting every urge to sleep.

We had a great day, once we were back from Cardiff we finished prepping for Deryns birthday, which is by a weird twist of fate the is same day as our caesarean! So two daughters born on the same day! We had, presents, a party, cake, sparklers and all sorts, now I’m in bed with my daughter and husband having cuddles. She doesn’t get to fall asleep in our bed often, however she usually ends up here! I love these moments, I don’t want to be apart from her… I’m so nervous now but need sleep, I’ll try for a few hours so that I can string a sentence together in the morning.

13th of January-

I want to stay in bed with my daughter snoozing and my cat purring, I want to stay in this moment. I can't write much i'm just to nervous...The drive to the hospital is almost silent. I’m tired when will I get sleep next, feels like maybe never. I look over my timeline on Facebook, photos of Deryn pop up. I wish I was still with her. The car is full of bags, it's almost like preparing for a holiday, driving to the airport. Destination Cardiff, departure 8.30am T2… do we have our boarding passes? I wish we were going on holiday, holding hands walking along a beach somewhere would be nice right now! Instead I feel like we are driving into the unknown, but I guess we are!

I have lots of messages off friends, I appreciate that. I’m too tired for all this I’m not ready. I want to hide and sleep, still wishing I was just getting knocked out today! My stomach drops as we pull up, I don’t want to go inside. Driving into Cardiff hospital was busy, everyone going about their days, I wonder what they are all doing today…

I’m now in a bed it’s a blur how I got here but I obviously managed to walk and arrange myself, not sure how but here I am waiting. Tom is doing a crossword kindly gifted to us by a good friend and one of Deryns godmothers. So his mind is busy for now, trying to focus on mixed up words in black and white text. I’m exhausted, if I could sleep like a normal person today would maybe feel easier. However I do not and I feel sick with nervous but the bed is comfy. I’m not looking forward to staying here without Tom or my baby, I already miss Deryn so much. But the team seam nice, I’m waiting on more people to go over the operation.

I can’t believe I’ll know longer be pregnant in a few hours, it’s a weird feeling, of course I’m excited I just wish this was to kind of birth were I was expecting to go home after. Still just so much uncertainty surrounding it all.

It’s now 9.17am and I’m nervous. I’m controlling myself very well remembering the techniques my councillor taught me about grounding myself and staying calm.

Now it's 10am and the person who is going in before me is almost ready to go… I go on my phone to distract myself, scroll the internet and numb my mind a little, Tom looks worried, I’m nervous for him also. We are waiting for the team at Noah’s ark to get everything ready for baby Cole, then I’ll be prepped for surgery in the next hour or so. Again I feel sick, I’m tired still but excited, my emotions are all over the place as anyone’s would rightly be, this isn’t a straight forward birth.

More people, more talking, more information, they are all very nice though. They ask how I am, I tell them I’m nervous we talk a bit about my mental health and anxiety, they ask, I tell, they do a good job in trying to ease worry. These are questions of course they ask everyone, I find it hard to believe that anyone going into this situation has a clear head. My back already hurts thinking about the needles though and I can feel myself start to shake a little.

It still feels weird that I will have another daughter today, this time 6 years ago I was already sitting on my sofa feeding Deryn, her soft, warm newborn skin against mine. Everything about that process just seemed so natural, it all just kind of happened and worked out. I have to trust that is process with this baby is what is meant to happen also, it may not have been what I had in mind, however it’s what is happening. It’s just everything is so uncertain. I know I will have to come back to a bed on my own, without my baby. There’s a little baby box at the end of the bed I’m lying in, that box will remain empty. I will be brought back here to recover while she is taken to Noah’s ark. I will be in a room with the other mothers and their babies i'm still getting my head around that.

11.38am- More conflicting information, yesterday I was told they aim to discharge within 24 hours now it’s gone up, meaning il be on own in hospital for longer, however seeing as the information keeps changing who knows right! My biggest stress right now is getting a referral to the RMH not for myself yet, I know il have a bed tonight. However my husband might not, I’ve asked a number or people, and we qualified for a room so that we are not a worry, but until I know he has a bed tonight also I can not relax in fact I feel quite sick with worry about it all again, his well-being is just as important as mine... I’ve now been giving new information that I will not be accepted into the housing until maybe 5 days after my caesarean which makes no sense to me at all. Something about fire safety. However again this is new conflicting information it could all change. The pushing and questioning all the time is also exhausting, I wish I had something in black and white, a magic ticket. I know it will all be sorted in time, I just have a tick list in my head and Tom’s safety and comfort tonight needs sorting out, it’s very high up on my list!

It’s now 12.06pm my caesarean has been pushed back, an emergency has come in and of course these take priority as they should, so i’ll be waiting here longer getting more anxious as the day continues.

The woman next to me is learning how to feed her new daughter, all that separates us is a thin blue curtain. It’s all a bit difficult to hear, knowing I won’t get those moments, at least not for a while anyway. I’m really tired now, as much as I’m dreading everything I could really do with it all being done, but I have patients and understanding. I keep waiting and keep control of my breathing. In and out, slowly.

I can't help but think how many emergencies will mean the birth of my daughter being pushed back until tomorrow? Is that possible? How will I handle that?

It's 1pm and I’m starving! I’m usually good without food in general, in normal life anyway but pregnancy makes me hungry, i'm eating for two and after all right! I need food my body is feeling very weak right now. I was last allowed food at 10pm yesterday, so I’ve gone quite a while now, but again I get it I have to wait and listen to what I’ve been told to do.

1.20pm quick scan and it's almost go time! I'm shaking again, will I be able to control my breathing in there? Well one way to find out!... BOOM I’m not pregnant anymore! It’s weird I can’t feel my legs at all, I don’t like the feeling! I need my movement back. I’m also itchy, I obviously wasn’t allowed my phone in with me for blog notes so here is how is all went from my memory-

I got into a hospital gown. I walked into the room, I remember this well the feeling in my stomach, I wanted to run away, I’m fast for a small person however pregnancy would probably make me easy to catch. The room was bright, clean full of people, the team is 17 people large! Midwifes, specialists and students. The fact that there needed to be so many people there really added to my anxiety, however it was all relevant.

It was intense and I was terrified. I’m not going to pretend otherwise, in fact I will be honest about everything I felt and the details. So skip this bit if needed, I'm also on some strong pain medication as I write this, so it will be extra honest. This isn’t meant to scary anyone, everyone’s experience will be different.

It’s invasive, I felt extremely exposed, in a dignified way of course. They explain everything very well, talk over the process etc. It's a lot to take in, yes however all necessary. They got me to sit on a bed, I know there will be some details I'll miss out, this is just what I remember of course some parts are a little fragmented. There’s was an injections in my hand, a REALLY cold spray on my back. I’m hooked up to a monitor, they are keeping an eye on my vitals. I remember starting to shake, they ask if I’m warm enough, the room is well heated my temperature isn’t the problem I tell them I’m fine just a little nervous. Next there was another injection in my back, they explain to me what needs to be done and how I need to hold my body for this, it’s scary but has to happen. There is some stinging and pressure. My legs go warm, I feel the heat rising up my body, and I start to lose feeling. They moved me so I was laying down. I really start to shake now, they noticed this and ask me some questions, I’m obviously not cold, and I need to calm down, we talk over some feelings as I control my breathing. I can’t move my legs I’ve lost a lot of feeling, it was so strange because my brain was telling me to try and stand up, that I needed to get up. Of course I couldn’t, human instinct I guess, however not ideal. They were very good at calming me down. They talked me through everything, what I would and wouldn’t feel. They don’t start anything until they are happy that you are comfortable and they are sure you won't be in pain. There's a large sheet put up, I couldn't see anything.

The sensation is just so strange, I didn’t feel pain, however I felt movement, pushing, pulling, pressure, hands. I hated it, it‘s not a feeling that anyone would like. They gave me medicine, before anything started I needed a catheter put in, never had one before, it was weird. Of course by this point I couldn’t move my legs, I could feel them pushing my feet together, they were talking me through everything so I was aware of everything that was happening to my body. Then I felt a pressure, it didn’t hurt, it was uncomfortable and I was aware of being touched. I was glad when it was over, then apparently there was tablets given to me, I didn’t feel this at all. Next up apparently I needed to be shaved for surgery, Tom really found this amusing, which of course I then found amusing because he was laughing so much and we both couldn’t stop laughing. Again it’s all done in a dignified way, it’s just all very weird. It’s also important to find humour were possible!

They did some tests to make sure I wouldn’t feel any pain, they were also keeping me calm, so many people, all very nice and professional of course. So the feelings, I felt then moving across my body, I felt the pressure of hands, I knew they were cutting into me at this point. I felt them pushing down and I was aware of what was going on. I felt a pressure push down towards the top of my stomach and then Lunar Jane Cole was born. She was born in silence, apparently looking very angry! It took a while for her to cry, but when she did I felt lighter. They took her off to a corner of the room and talked me through what was going on while they worked on my body. This seamed to take forever. Tom was soon able to go over to her, they wrapped her bowels up and cleared her air ways, she needed help with breathing, but they bring her over to me in a glass box ready I would of loved to have held her and kissed her little head however she needed to be taken off almost straight away to receive the help needed. We had some quick photos though, I felt deep happiness, then she was gone. After all she needed a life saving operation before her life could even properly begin. That’s a massive deal and I have forever to hold and kiss her head.

The team where great, and they were happy with her size, colour and very positive. I was clearly getting stressed and they defused my anxiety as much as they could. I didn’t cry, shout or anything like that, I just I closed my eyes and breathed a lot, they said I did remarkably well, they probably say that to everyone! Tom’s also been amazing, I couldn’t of doing anything of this without him. Takes two and all that right!…

The pain and fear was worth it, I would do it again in a heart beat to get Lunar out safely and the team really do look after everyone throughout the operation, including partners. It wasn’t the birth or pregnancy I had in mind, however it’s the start of Lunar’s story, and it started how it was destined to.

The students thanked me for letting them experience it, everyone has to learn and these students will all one day save lives and deliver babies themselves, I wasn't expecting to be thanked by them, I was grateful that my stressful situation has some positive outcomes everything can be a learning opportunity I guess! The team have been amazing, I’m very grateful, the student midwifes are especially lovely!

And like that I wasn’t pregnant anymore I have another beautiful daughter...

I will do a follow up blog in the next week or so, for now Lunar is stable and doing very well!

Other pregnancy related blog's

Thanks for reading! Sorry for all the typos!

Helpful link for PAPP-A information click here

Helpful link for Gastroschisis information click here

Helpful link for miscarriage information click here

Helpful link for ECV information click here

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