My water broke around 1am on July 20th 2010, I was 32 weeks and 4 days pregnant. Our local hospital rushed us to Townsville General Hospital where we sat in the labour ward and willed our baby not to come. I was informed that labour would most likely start within 24 hours and was put on strict bedrest. The day passed uneventfully and at 1am the following morning I lay in bed thanking the universe. I'd made it the full 24 hours! Premature labour hadn't began. Yes, I'd made it I could relax and go to sleep!
Then at 3am the twinges started, I was rushed up to labour ward and put on the monitor, the twinges stopped. So back to sleep I went, the twinges started again, then stopped half an hour later so back to sleep I went again. After a good couple of hours like this I came to believe that it had all stopped. It was only just beginning...
The nurses had taken some blood samples at 3am and they'd come back with some potentially bad results, turns out there was an infection in my waters and bub had to come now. Not ideal at 32 weeks, but the safest option. "Okay", the nurse said "so we'll have to induce you". Well that made sense bub had to come so real labour would have to start. It only briefly crossed my mind that perhaps there should have been talk of a cesarean.
In a whirlwind I was placed on an oxytocin drip to get things started, it didn't work, the nurse increased the dose, it still didn't work. After about an hour of increasing the dose required to start the contractions I realised my arm had swollen to about three times the size. The cannula had tissued, that's why it hadn't been working. When they replaced the drip no one thought to decrease the oxytocin. This time it worked, it worked really well. Ok, labour was under way, it was painful (funny that), but it all seemed to be going well.
I was hooked up to the monitor the entire time so they could keep an eye on bub's heart rate. It was great, sounding like a little racehorse, then a contraction hit and I couldn't hear the galloping anymore. But when you're in the middle of a contraction everything is fuzzy, everything seems distant and the only thing you know for sure is that it hurts like hell! I came out of the contraction and I could hear my little racehorse again, the next one hit almost straight away and again the galloping sound faded into the background, wait a minute, was it even there anymore? "We need to place a small probe on the baby's head" the nurse's voice came through the pain induced haze.
Oh okay, this must be standard for an early birth.
The next contraction hit hard, the fogginess settled in and the galloping noise died to nothingness. "WE NEED YOU TO PUSH NOW", a voice jolted me out of my little world. What was happening? Why was the nurse yelling? All of a sudden the room was full of staff. The team from the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) were waiting at the end of the bed with a resuscitation kit, doctors were talking hurriedly and the med student who had been looking on before had been asked to leave.
The next ten minutes were the most terrifying of my life. The nurse informed my husband and I that every time I had a contraction it was causing the baby's heart rate to drop. The lack of amniotic fluid meant that the umbilical cord was no longer cushioned from the impact and it was being crushed. Every contraction was bringing our little baby closer to death.
Bree was born at 1:09pm on the 21st of July 2010. She wasn't breathing, not only had the lack of waters lead to compression on her umbilical cord it was also wrapped in between her legs and around her neck. She was placed on my chest and my husband said "Well she's not a screamer". I saw her little purple body, she wasn't moving I screamed at them to take her and they did. I don't know what happened next, there were complications with my placenta and a team of people surrounded me blocking Bree from view, I saw a brief glimpse of a little lifeless body being wheeled away followed by her dad and I spent what seemed like an eternity waiting to find out if my precious little girl had survived.