Welcome to the world little Ava. You made your entrance 9 days early on the 7th May 2015, weighing just 6lb 11.5oz you were the smallest of all your siblings, much to everyone’s surprise as everyone would comment on my bump and how big we were!
It happened like the movies;
Only 20% of births begin with waters breaking, unlike in films when it happens almost every time! We weren’t expecting Ava to arrive so early so she sent me into a bit of a panic at 6.30am in the morning when my waters broke. James was having a cuddle in bed, and we told him that Ava was about to arrive he was really excited! Auntie Abi rescued us by coming straight over to look after Avas sisters and brother, while we made our way to hospital. We were anxious to set off quickly to avoid the roadworks as they had closed our town bypass and traffic during the day was almost at a standstill, luckily we were early enough to fly through and contractions started on the journey in.
Back to back
When we arrived at hospital, I was taken to the day unit and examined, we were only 2cm dilated but the midwife discovered you were back to back which explained my intense back pain all night. I was so excited to meet Ava, and pleased that the midwife decided to let me stay in hospital and have a wonder around as my other children arrived so quickly we expected Ava’s birth to be quite fast too!
A bath, and no more contractions
We ended up staying in the day unit for a while as I was sick, the midwife said we could use a room nearby with birthing balls and a bath, and because of the back pain we choose the bath. It really helped the pain, but after nearly 40 minutes in the bath my contractions (and sickness) had stopped 🙁 We decided to wonder the hospital corridors, trying to encourage more intense contractions.
Beef and Yorkshire Puddings!
We decided to try and eat as we had skipped breakfast, and the ONLY thing I wanted to eat was the carvery option, it did feel very surreal sat eating a roast dinner, in hospital, while contracting! I didn’t manage to eat much, but I felt much better for eating!
We returned to the day unit and asked if we could use the room with the birthing balls, Simon got a well earned chance to lay down as he has a slipped disc in his back and was in a lot of pain and I lent over the birthing ball trying my hardest to turn baby Ava! It didn’t work but I did manage to rest a bit as I only managed 2 hours sleep the night before and I was feeling pretty tired. The contractions had started up again and by 2pm we decided to return to the day unit and ask to be examined.
A temperature and shaking
I remember shaking as I entered the day unit and being unable to stop, when they examined me I had a temperature too so the midwife decided to send me over the labour ward. On labour ward things went a little crazy, but I don’t remember much. I remember the doctors trying to keep my temperature down with IV fluids, and struggling to get the cannula in I was so dehydrated. The doctors monitored my blood pressure, heart rate and baby’s heart rate which were both raised. I was also catheterised, and had an oxygen mask to use when I wasn’t contracting and using the gas and air. My blood results returned and showed I had an infection but they didn’t know what it was, so they started me on IV “Cef and Met” which are two very strong antibiotics 3 times a day.
Pain relief please!
I was caught off guard because I expected my labour to be straightforward and quick. I was up to only 2 hours sleep in 36 hours as i had not been able to sleep the night before my waters broke, and had eaten very little the previous day so I was running on empty. Baby was ‘back to back’ too so the back pain was constant. My contractions were getting worse and I asked for an epidural, I think I shocked myself asking because its the only thing I practically swore I would never have again after my experience with James! Luckily for my weak willpower, i couldnt have an epidural as the chance of my infection spreading wasn’t worth the risk. The pain was increasing and I was getting scared, so I asked for Pethidine. Simon says I reminded the several doctors and midwife’s in the room every few seconds about the pethidine! At 8pm the midwife’s changed shift, and my new midwife was quite direct, she said she needed to examine me first, and when she did she said I was only 3 centimetres dilated but she could stretch to 8cm. She said that baby would arrive quickly and that I couldn’t have pethidine, but she would get me Meptid, which didnt have chance to take effect as I delivered so fast!
Welcome Ava Rose
A few contractions later and I needed to push, and 2 contractions later Ava Rose was born, at 8.33pm on Thursday 7th May 2015, weighing just 6lb 11.5oz. Simon later told me that the midwife told me to stop pushing but I didn’t hear, the midwife later told me she had to push against Ava to stop her being delivered so fast! She was taken straight to SCBU as she was in shock from being delivered so fast, but was absolutely fine and came back just over an hour later. She is gorgeous and both Mummy and Daddy are besotted already.
A tiny cannula
Because of the infection, the doctors wanted both myself and Ava to stay in hospital for 48 hours to wait for our blood results to come back, and so they could monitor us. Ava had to have IV antibiotics too, and had a tiny cannula put in. It was so small and had a little brace to keep it strapped to her arm so it didn’t come away, it probably caused her no pain or discomfort but it was upsetting to think she had to have that because of me, and that I might of made her poorly. Over the weekend I had another temperature, whilst on the antibiotics, Oramorph and paracetamol, they took more swabs and bloods and extended our stay a further 2 days.
Hospital was a very lonely place without my little family, and my mobile internet ran out on the second day too, leaving me feeling isolated. I was breastfeeding Ava and she wanted to feed almost constantly, and didn’t settle well in her cot, so we both had little sleep, less than 3 hours per night. Ava was weighed on day 3 and despite feeding constantly she had lost 9% of her body weight and the midwives advised hand expressing every 3 hours in addition to feeding to help us establish my supply, but Ava was still very unsettled and I was severely sleep deprived and emotional. I was also fighting the infection, and having strong afterpains. I kept telling myself this was my fourth baby, and put a lot of pressure on myself to hold things together, when all I wanted to do was to cry and go home to be with my beautiful family.
Home at last!
After 5 long days in Hospital, I was discharged, the results from the blood tests found I had Strep A. It effects different people in different ways, some people get a sore throat and I got sepsis of my womb. The same virus causes Scarlet Fever which Lily had 3 weeks previously, and I was ill for 2 weeks prior to giving birth, which could be related. Infection control moved a lady from my room and closed it off as I left, as its so infectious, Id not heard of it before! Bringing my beautiful daughter home, and having chance to welcome her properly into our little family was magical, and for us this is the start of of the rest of our lives. We a little sadness we have decided that Ava will be our last baby, and I am looking forward to watching all my children grow and develop into amazing little people.