The light at the end of the tunnel
Reeyan is our precious first born. The baby we were longing for after quite some time. He arrived on the 3rd of September 2014. Now, we all have our labour day stories…here’s mine:
I pictured calmness, control and more importantly a damn water birth! Instead, I was told a few weeks short of the due date that my baby boy was small for gestation. University College London Hospital, the Elizabeth Garret Unit in Euston, saved our first-born. At 38 weeks, they found that oxygenated blood was only being delivered to his brain, meaning that his little body wasn’t growing as expected.
“Come in tomorrow afternoon and we will start the induction,” said my ever so polite obstetrician. Cue Lightening bolts; thunderclaps and the smell of the NCT birth plan burning.
“An induction?! Does that mean I can’t have my water birth?” As crazy as it sounds, even with the knowledge that I was to be induced, I still packed my swimsuit.
The 3rd of September 2014 was the day we booked our John Lewis delivery for the nursery to arrive. Apart from other necessities, his room needed that final touch and I found it. A large, blue, matty rug. Roy reluctantly walked with me to the shop carrying it back on his shoulders. Getting home, I unpacked it, eager to see how it looked in this freshly painted and newly furnished nursery. It was exactly how I imagined. Happy with myself, I finalised my hospital bag before making our journey into London.
The induction wasn’t pleasant, I was in labour for 20 minutes before hearing upsetting news that our baby was in distress. I was told this during the remaining 10 minutes of labour, whilst Roy decided to grab some things from the car! As maternity staff started to escort me to theatre for an emergency C-section, I could hear Roy anxiously rushing back. He was directed to quickly change into scrubs.
My adrenaline was pumping and I felt so cold. I couldn’t stop shivering. The anaesthetist kept telling me that it was the spinal block that was causing me to shiver, but this, I thought was more overwhelming feelings of anxiousness. It could’ve just been nippy in theatre. Roy held my hand tightly and for the first time, I can recall the sound of Reeyan’s cry. ‘Piercing’. At 19:53, weighing 2.73kg, he was very much here, with us and I couldn’t be more grateful.
I will never forget the first night with Reeyan. I was very drowsy from all the drugs, yet I noticed that Reeyan hadn’t cried for a feed. I continued to feed him nevertheless, but I wasn’t sure what newborns were meant to do. Did he get any of that feed? I was exhausted. We had faced quite an ordeal, but nothing could prepare us with what was to come.
“Shuddering is usually quite normal” explained the midwife on duty. “But let me take a measure of his glucose to be on the safe side….”
Reeyan’s blood sugar was 0.6, It should’ve been above 2.5. He was severely hypoglycaemic and had to be admitted to the neonatal unit. We were in bits. We couldn’t understand what was going to happen to him, we had no control. Our baby boy had to be treated with a central line of dextrose. In other words, a line carrying sugar had to be inserted from a vein in his ankle all the way to his heart. As well as this, the most traumatic memory, was the process of getting his cannula in, the cries were even more heart wrenching.
I know some babies have gone through worse and this by no means is a comparison, but I cannot put into words the emotions that we went through. We do know that from the womb our baby boy is a fighter. A fortnight after he was born, despite all this, the biggest test came. Depending on the results, he would either be discharged home or referred to Great Ormond Street Hospital. Probably one of hardest things I faced as a new mother was being told that Reeyan had to go six hours without a feed. For those who’ve had children, you know that newborns feed every two hours. The medical staff wanted to see if Reeyan was ready to maintain his glucose levels. Apart from a few cries and many cuddles, he passed! We finally welcomed our baby home on the 17th of September 2014.