Tag Archives: Birth

Dexter and the Extended Breech Saga – time to take on the NHS

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For those who know me, they’ll know my pregnancy had its complications. As with all babies, Dex began his little life up high in the safety of my uterus. Unlike most other babies, throughout the duration of my later pregnancy he got quite comfy in there and didn’t fancy the traditional nose dive required for a safe birth. As we’re all aware, we duly have our scans at 12 and 20 weeks and put our trust in our midwives to inform us when our babies have taken this fateful plunge. So what if they get it wrong?

The truth is that we knew Dexter hadn’t turned. I hadn’t had that ‘moment’ that most women have when they feel baby plummet (a.k.a lightening). I’d also had a 3D scan at 32 weeks that clearly showed baby up high in a pike position that Tom Daley would be proud of. This, despite the fact I’d had reassurances from my midwife weeks earlier that baby was head-down. I even remember laying on the table in the Children’s Centre with my top pulled up high, jeans down, and Craigy watching on – I recall at that moment saying I was worried about Dexter’s positioning – but I was laughed at and told baby was fine. He wasn’t.

A routine doctor’s appointment at 34 weeks confirmed this. 34 weeks! The doctor couldn’t be 100% sure that the lump she felt above my pelvis was head or bum so did the right thing and referred me to the hospital for a scan. 1 week later, at 35 weeks, we finally had our fears confirmed and a highly emotional mummy felt bitter. Bitter. Dex was actually in an extended breech position and I believe he had been the entire time.

We were immediately offered a C-section or the opportunity to have a massage to turn baby around (ECV). The nurse at the hospital was a little hurried that day and we felt rushed into making a decision – she seemed to be signing to us to have the massage so we opted for ECV. Craig and I sat in bed that evening looking at the leaflets wondering if we’d made the right decision. We just had never considered a C-section and were looking forward to a water birth – this seemed the only choice. But the leaflets were full of stats and warnings and I remember sleeping fitfully that night wondering if I should put my baby through the trauma of being prodded and pulled so late into the pregnancy. Our appointment was at 37 weeks and I worried Dexter would be too big and the act of tugging at him would result in a C section anyway – turns out I was right.

The ECV was declared as successful by the consultant. I’d sampled the gas and air as baby was manipulated round by his bottom inside of me. I remembered being utterly thrilled and posting on Facebook about how proud of baby I was. The odds had been stacked against us but my baby played ball. The water birth was still on and I’d be able to carry full term and make the best of those precious weeks of pre labour maternity leave. In reality I had just 1 day of mat leave before Dexter was delivered.

Less than a week after the procedure, my placenta abrupted and I went through the horror of bleeding-out in my living room . I wasn’t to know that most mothers will go on to successfully deliver. I thought I’d lost my baby. That ride to the hospital in the ambulance was the worst I’d ever had. I couldn’t understand why the ambulance didn’t have the equipment to check baby’s heartbeat, I was scared to death and Craig was 1 car behind us unable to ride with me. Just 6 hours later, after being initially told I would be discharged, the bleeding was severe enough to order an immediate emergency c section – Dexter arrived the very next morning.

I’m not reliving all this to complain about the NHS, apportion blame with the midwives, doctors or consultants, or feel sorry for myself. The beautiful truth is that Dexter is here and he’s safe and happy. My issue is that there’s now an outstanding problem resulting from him spending 38 weeks with his little feet and legs stretched out in front of him. He grew like this inside of me. His bones fused together in that position. He never got a opportunity to flex and twist and kick and stretch like normal babies. Back then, to our mind, we’d be lucky to escape with no consequences. We haven’t been lucky.

The midwife discharged me from my C-section with a follow-up orthopedic appointment. This was to check his hips and was routine for babies who spent so long in the extended breech position. The happened on his 13 week birthday (yesterday) – again far too late in my opinion but we weren’t worried. Dexter has displayed no problem with his legs, knees or hips so we assumed everything was fine. The specialist was lovely and very gentle when performing her checks – she confirmed that everything was progressing well so we were hugely relieved and ready to put this mess behind us.

Just as we were about to leave, I mentioned casually that Dexter really favours his right hand side and would rather stare at a white wall on this side, than turn to face the opposite direction. It was said almost in jest as we were less than a foot away from her door ready to leave. Surely if that was something serious, and something that could have resulted from Dexter’s pre birth positioning, someone would have forewarned us. To us, Dexter would simply grow out of it, it was just one of those things. But yep – you’ve guessed it, it isn’t.

The doctor stopped us in our tracks and had another feel of Dexter. She watched us physically manipulate his head and Dexter cry in bewilderment and discomfort. She continued to be chatty and pleasant but has confirmed that this could be a result of the breech. Never-the-less she didn’t seem overly concerned. She’s ordered an x-ray and the appointment will be sent to us in the post. I hope that this letter will arrive tomorrow and the appointment will be within the next week. In truth, I suspect my ever-the-optimist approach is about to be tested once again as it’ll be for a date in the faraway future and we’ll sit here worrying for another few months.

We’re left feeling a little anxious and confused. Surely Dex doesn’t deserve all this. He’s been through so much already and I just want to move on knowing he’s okay. We’re beginning to worry that Dexter might have a permanent crooked neck, maybe even a spinal problem… we’re playing amateur doctors and nurses with our own child and we’re scared.

For now, we’ve been told to manipulate his head regularly and place ‘temptation’ (toys, the tv, and ourselves) to his left. It doesn’t appear to be working as Dexter’s head feels stiff when we move it. He’s a baby, OUR BABY and he’s precious and delicate. We don’t want to do more harm than good so we’re reluctant to force him. But what if we don’t? What then? Will just waiting and hoping, and messing about with rattles and the direction of his bouncer be enough to encourage the problem to work itself out naturally???

Having just walked in and found me upset, Craig and I have agreed to make a follow-up appointment with our GP. We simply can’t afford to ignore what our child is telling us. It’s this blissful ignorance that caused the problem in the first place so it’s time to toughen up.

Your Dramatic Entrance!

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Here follows a mini timeline of your birth:

12:30pm (15th May 2012)

Mummy arrived at Reading town centre as she had a photo shoot at work at 2pm. Mummy was in a bit of a strop as she didn’t feel like having her picture taken and thought she looked hideous. The plan was to get her hair cut before the shoot so she got into town early. On the way to the hairdressers she popped into to see her best mate Paul Smith at his work (Goldsmiths Jewelers) with a belated birthday pressie.

1.00pm

Mummy got her hair cut at SuperCuts (a ‘cheap’ hairdressers in the Oracle – the only place that would see her at such short notice). The hairdresser was a very camp Thai guy so mummy was chatting and beginning to relax into the day.

2.00pm

The photo shoot! Mummy was having pictures taken for the re-launch of her work website. She wasn’t overly impressed with the photo but hey, she was 8.5 months pregnant and tired. She over stayed her welcome afterwards for some cuddles and a good old gossip with the girls (Charley, Charlotte, Nic, Nikki and Laura).

4.30pm

Daddy picked up mummy and they went food shopping at Tesco’s. You’ll soon find out that shopping with Daddy is a royal pain in the butt; he likes to ‘browse’ the aisles and spends AGES comparing the prices of everything. Mummy was beginning to feel you wriggle about and thought she felt the first twinges of you getting ready for birth. She was so excited she posted about this on Facebook.

7.00pm – 10.00pm

You were wriggling away and mummy was feeling a little uncomfortable whilst she was watching the telly.

10.00pm

Mummy went to bed – she wanted to lay straight as she had a few mini cramps. She wouldn’t feel you again for a few hours.

12.00am (16th May 2012)

Daddy had come to bed around 11pm and wanted to get his head down for work the next day. Mummy wasn’t tired and her mind was racing with thoughts of you so she went to watch a film in the living room (Four Brothers).

12.15am

Mummy felt some water between her legs and thought her waters had broken. She felt down between her legs and felt she was soaked right through. When she lifted her hand up she saw it was bright red with blood. Mummy panicked BIG TIME and shouted to Daddy to help her. She was running throughout the flat and shaking as she thought it was bad and you might be in trouble. Daddy and mummy rang the hospital and they called an ambulance.

12.30am

The ambulance came and took mummy to the maternity ward at the Royal Berkshire Hospital. Daddy followed behind in the van. The ambulance men were very nice and told mummy not to panic.

12:45pm

Mummy was taken on a hospital trolley to the maternity ward. They strapped her straight into a machine so she (and they) could hear your heartbeat through her tummy – mummy cried because she was so relieved you were okay. The nurses then felt her tummy and tried to work out whereabouts you were inside of her. There had been some problems with your positioning throughout the pregnancy; at 36 weeks you were upside down with your tiny feet pointing downwards. In order to give birth safely you had to be the other way around so the doctors had massaged mummy’s tummy to get you the right way up. The nurses wanted to make sure you hadn’t been cheeky and pushed yourself back into the ‘naughty’ position or she’d have to have a Caesarean section (where they cut you out of mummy’s tummy – Daddy calls this “coming out through the sunroof”). A scan determined you were still head down (Yayyy!) so they thought you would be okay.

3.15pm

After a consultation with the doctor,  they thought you were doing well but were still worried about mummy’s bleeding. They took her to another room to strap her up to a monitor which would continuously track your heartbeat and mummy’s. Both mummy and daddy were very tired so tried to get some sleep. At this stage both mummy and daddy suspected the nurses would send us all home as mummy’s bleeding was much better.

4.00pm

Mummy needed a wee so got up to use the toilet. When she did, there was lots more blood and mummy began to cry. The doctors were called in and a decision was made to deliver you straight away. This meant mummy had to have a Caesarean section after all. The next few hours were chaotic as mummy had to sign lots of forms to consent to the operation. Mummy was scared but also secretly happy as she was scared to go home.

5.15pm

Mummy and daddy went to the operating room. Daddy had to wear scrubs so looked like a doctor. Mummy had to wear a special gown and had to be numbed from the chest down so the doctors could get you safely out without mummy feeling anything. Mummy’s memory is pretty hazy from here as she was very scared and anxious. Needless to say – the operation began. One day, when you are older, daddy will talk you through it as mummy has largely blocked it out.

5.51am

YOU WERE BORN… 38 weeks – 5lbs 14 (16th May 2012 @5.51am)

 

The legend himself – our tiny miracle xx