When you get pregnant, when you go to the classes, when you finally give birth and your baby’s placed on you for the first time, you think about being a family, about going home and starting your motherhood journey. You don’t think about becoming critically ill and missing a lot of your baby’s first weeks! But apparently that’s what sometimes happens. I haven’t blogged for a long, long time as shortly after my last post I was readmitted into hospital and that’s where I’ve been up until Friday last week. Thankfully, I am much much better and Alexandra is a healthy, happy and thriving little girl (although getting bigger by the second – she’s nearly three months old already!).
So much has happened it seems overwhelming to get into it, but I’m just going to start at the start and when the post starts getting too long I’ll publish it and start a new one:
After Alex was born (birth story here), it’s all a bit of a blur for the next few hours apart from when they tried to take me for a shower, I collapsed and all of a sudden there were about a dozen people in the room! At around 1am they moved me down from the labour ward to a bay with four beds on the postnatal ward, meaning Dylan had to go home. I was just watching Alex all the time so the midwives took her cot out of the room and in with them for a couple of hours so I could get some sleep. We had visitors the next day and everything seemed to be going okay, my platelet levels were even going up.
On the Monday when she was two days old they were talking about discharging me because of this but then one of the lovely midwives, Karen, noticed Alexandra was looking a little bit yellow and suggested she get tested for jaundice; it turned out she was right on the borderline so she had around 17 hours of treatment. Over those 17 hours my oxygen levels suddenly started dropping and no one could work out why, the staff were all testing themselves, swapping machines in case the original one was faulty etc. I started feeling really dizzy and out of breath and ended up on oxygen – around this time I was transferred to my own private room. I was having to get help to get to and from the bathroom and was really feeling quite rubbish.
I ended up having numerous tests including chest x-rays and a CT scan where dye is put into your veins – this led to a diagnosis of extensive pulmonary embolisms in both lungs (blood clots) and pneumonia. I was put on warfarin which is a drug which controls the consistency of your blood and stayed in hospital for a further week. I look back on those first 12 days as quite a happy time because I loved the midwives and healthcare assistants looking after me and Dylan was allowed to stay so even though he was on a little camp bed, me on a hospital bed and Alex in a plastic cot at least we were all together in one room.
There were of course huge down moments, the most major of all being two days before the wedding when we had to have a serious chat and come to the decision I was too unwell and it would be too much of a risk me leaving the hospital for the day. Up until that point the doctors and rest of the staff were going to do everything possible to ensure I could get there, even if I was in a wheelchair and on oxygen, but by the Thursday they too said it wasn’t a good idea. I’ve still double barrelled my name by deed poll and we’ve both now started wearing our wedding rings but of course it was heart-breaking to call off something we’d planned for so long and put our all into organising.
Fast forward to the following Wednesday and there had been talk for a couple of days of me being transferred to the respiratory ward and Alexandra being discharged as she was absolutely fine and they’re not meant to keep babies past ten days on the antenatal ward. But I seemed to have got a little better (I was adamant I wasn’t going up to the ward without my baby so I was desperate to improve!) and the decision was taken that I could be discharged.
I’m going to leave this post here as it’s already very long! But I’ll be back soon with the next chapter.
Harriet and Alexandra x