"I had Myla three and a half weeks early. My first indication that something was wrong was having itchy hands and feet…"
Lisa had Myla three and a half weeks early as the doctors suspected that she had a rare liver-related condition called obstetric cholestasis.
For the first three months I had morning sickness that was pretty much 24 hours. It was like being seasick all the time although I wasn’t actually vomiting.
My aim was to get fit. I started swimming and did a gym weekly class for pre and postnatal women. It was a great environment as women who had already given birth brought their babies to class. I did three days a week at the gym and I felt good and was eating well. But I ate tons of chocolate. I put on two stone – I’m sure that would have been considerably more if I hadn’t been exercising.
I found it interesting how both physically and emotionally I was adjusting to the reality of becoming a mother. It did take me that long to sort out my emotions. It is as though nature gives you this time to do so. I had vivid dreams. In the fourth month I dreamt I met my daughter – even though at the time we had no idea of the sex of our baby.
I had Myla three and a half weeks early.
My first indication that something was wrong was having itchy hands and feet. A woman in my gym class had the same symptoms and had ended up having her baby early due to a rare liver-related condition called obstetric cholestasis.
When you are pregnant, it’s common for your temperature to rise and because your skin stretches it often becomes itchy. But because I had spoken to this woman, I mentioned my symptoms to my doctor, and was immediately advised to go to hospital. They kept me in for 12 hours. I had blood tests and a diabetes test because they suspected I had obstetric cholestasis.
At 9pm they asked me to return the next day. They wanted to induce me.
The following morning they gave me an internal that triggered mild contractions. These went on for some time.
They wanted to speed up the process by breaking my waters. It didn’t hurt, in fact, I didn’t feel a thing. The contractions started getting harder. I used a tens machine for quite some time, adjusting the volume, to help me though the contractions.
They eventually took me to the delivering room and left me there pretty much on my own. Another four hours went by then at 10pm the contractions intensified.
They then had a look to find I had only dilated 3cm. It was so disappointing as I had hoped I’d already be 7- 8cm dilated. When my midwife told me I was not going to have the baby until the morning I asked for an epidural so I could sleep.
I awoke around 7am and was 10 cm dilated. I was ready. I thought I was going to throw up.
We decided that Daniel was not going to be with me at the birth. He can’t stand the sight of blood and I had decided that I didn’t want him there watching me pushing and straining. My ideal was for him to come in and see me afterwards with our baby. I wanted to present our family to him.
It was all very calm, we were on to the next stage. My epidural had worn off.
They started telling me to push. It was really hard work. I had a different midwife, someone I didn’t know, so it was like having a personal trainer. There was also a second midwife, an older woman, holding my hand – it was lovely.
Then the baby’s heartrate began falling. The doctor came in to perform vacuum extraction or "vonteuse’.
Myla came out straight away. I had torn slightly, was stitched up, and was given an injection to deliver the placenta, but all the time I was completely unaware as I was looking at my baby, thinking, "Oh my God".
It’s the meeting that is the most amazing thing. You know you’re having a baby, you’ve been living it for nine months and when they actually come out it is the most bizarre moment. You’ve been dreaming of what they look like and suddenly they are there with you, looking up at you. It’s remarkable, completely remarkable.
She was all screwed up and all bloody. There was huge lump at the top of her head where they had tried to get the vonteuse off her head when it was stuck.
They took her away, cleaned her up then gave her back to me to put on my breast. They asked if they could bring my partner in.
Daniel was in shock. He took our baby and cuddled her. She didn’t cry at all, she was sucking her index finger, as though she was still in the womb.
Myla was very brown when she was born. When we came home the next day, I woke up to find she was bright yellow. I called the hospital, and they instructed me to go straight to the baby hospital, this time with a sick baby.
Myla was given loads of tests, everything including meningitis. She was in an incubator with tubes carrying fluids going up her nose to prevent dehydration. They took blood tests every few hours from the ball of her foot and she had a splint on her arm with antibiotics going through her to fight possible infection.
Eventually they told us it was jaundice. It was all such a blur during those few hours. They treated the jaundice with ultraviolet light.
I wanted to breastfeed but Myla was unable to stay awake long enough. I was expressing milk every three hours, both day and night.
It was an intense few days but very bonding.
They did every test under the sun. At least we left there knowing that we had a healthy baby.
The birth of a baby is an emotional strain for any couple. It’s all so new.
Looking back now, I laugh when I think I used to take her into the shower – I must have been a complete mad woman.