My name is Lily-Sue, but my mummy calls me Munchkin (or 'Munch' for short!) I am 8 years old, and this is where my mummy will help me write all about all the fun things we do together. I hope you enjoy reading about the adventures of my mummy and me, Munchkin, with the occasional appearance from the siblings - Beastie and Plumlet.

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

The day The Munchkin Patch changed forever!

As the Munchkins multiply!

On Tuesday, 22nd September, 2009, at 3.12am, our beautiful Munchkin arrived into the world. After 20 odd hours of labour, a healthy supply of Gas & Air, an Epidural (with top-ups!) and a dose of Pethidine, she was delivered by 'Urgent' Caesarean Section at Basildon Hospital. They didn't call it an Emergency Section, as the doctors gave me the option to continue with the labour for a further 3 hours, after which they would insist on surgery. I was tired by this point, baby had suffered several episodes of distress and the anxiety levels in my partner, mum and dad (who were all present in the Delivery Room with me) were reaching a point of no return. Therefore, I opted for the Section, or the 'Sun Roof Delivery' as it was known amongst the midwives to save baby any more stress!

Munchkin was found to be Back-to-Back and the cord was caught over the top of her head, and therefore would not have been naturally delivered with any success no matter how long we had prolonged the labour. She was safely delivered by a wonderful team of midwives and doctors, weighing a healthy 7lb 8oz. I healed well following the surgery and was settling into our new and mind blowing routine within a few weeks.

Munchkin will be 3 next month, and has grown into a wonderfully vibrant little girl. We knew that we would, one day, love to give Munchkin a little brother or sister, but had never really discussed when. Well, our opportunity for this 'discussion' subconsciously passed us by. On 23rd October, 2011, I was faced with the familiar '2 Lines' on the pregnancy test and realised that Munchkin's younger sibling's arrival was not hanging about for discussions or plans. Estimated Due Date was 26th June, 2012.

Scan at 12+3 
Scan at 20+6

The pregnancy progressed with no real problems. One or two little health 'hiccups' along the way, but nothing major. I was consultant led as a result of the complications we experienced with birth #1. However, after our first Consultant appointment, and having made the decision to go for a natural birth rather than an elective Section, I was not required to see the consultant again until I was 39 Weeks. During this meeting, it was explained to me that they had decided that they would not allow me to exceed my Estimated Due Date, and that when I returned at 39 weeks, they would use the 'Stretch & Sweep' method in an attempt to naturally induce labour. I kept up my midwife appointments and scheduled blood tests throughout, and slowly began to remember how uncomfortable late pregnancy was! It was, however, the kind of discomfort I knew I would miss as soon as it was gone! So I did all I could to enjoy the time I was carrying Mini Munchkin.

At 36 Weeks

Munchkin became more and more excited about becoming a big sister as the months progressed, and this excitement simply bubbled when we found out we were expecting another girl! With lists as long as our arms, we tried to decide on names, but nothing jumped out at us as the name we wanted for our little girl. Until one day, Munchkin suggested a name, and that name has stuck throughout and was the name we finally settled on.

The 19th June, 2012 came round, Week 39, which was the day the doctors were hoping 'things' would start to happen. With a packed hospital bag in the boot of the car, I saw the consultant who attempted to perform a sweep on me, but this was pretty unsuccessful (not to mention painful!) as my womb opening was too far back for them to comfortably reach. This didn't stop them from having a good try though! At this point, for reasons I will never really understand, the consultant announced that baby was definitely engaged and comfortable, and she was therefore happy for my pregnancy to continue past my EDD if that was what nature was intending for me. I felt a little deflated (no pun intended, as 'deflated' was one word you would definitely not have used for me at this point if you saw me!!) Doctors and midwives assured me from the start that I would not go past my Due Date as they deemed it 'risky', but now, all of a sudden, it was ok. Well, best laid plans and all that. Home I went to continue the pregnancy, complete with the heartburn and daily Braxton Hicks.

Then that day arrived. The day that would change the shape of the Munchkin Patch forever! This had been just a pretty regular Friday. We had all gone about our usual routines. The evening  of Friday, 29th June, 2012. Munchkin had gone to bed at her normal time and I had settled down for a chilled out few hours of 'me time' in front of the TV. I was feeling heavy and uncomfortable and fed up at being 3 days overdue which contradicted the original plan. I was struggling with the terrible heartburn which could only be kept under control by the regular glasses of chocolate Nesquik I was putting away, but as far as I was concerned, the professionals were happy with the way things were going, so we were carrying on as normal as possible. This day drew to a close, and at midnight, after dozing on the sofa for parts of the evening, I decided to take myself to bed. The moment I made this decision, I discovered that baby had other plans for me!!!

At midnight, there was no mistaking it, the contractions started, and they were coming on strong and fast. From 12.53am, I was 100% certain that this was no Braxton Hicks and therefore started to time the contractions whilst the Mr was frantically calmly trying to contact my mum so she could be on hand for Munchkin should we have to make a quick dash to Basildon Hospital. Trying to call anyone at 1.00am is a task, but after a few attempts, he succeeded and she was on her way. No sooner had he put the phone down to my mum was I pleading with him to call an Ambulance, as something didn't feel right. I was on my knees in the middle of the lounge floor, hunched over the lifesaver that was my birthing ball (which incidentally, I would recommend to any mum-to-be!!) which all seemed pretty normal for a woman in labour. But things weren't right. It was all happening so fast. The contractions were, at points, so close together, I knew I needed to get to hospital, and fast! At least if an ambulance could get here before my mum, I could get to hospital and the Mr could follow on behind. My waters broke whilst he was talking to the very helpful lady on the 999 control desk. However, the colour started to drain from his face as waters were followed by blood and the lady on the phone began to prepare him for the possibility of having to deliver baby himself in our lounge!

Mum arrived just in time - she knew exactly where my back needed rubbing!! Minutes later, our emergency medical help arrived. A Rapid Response Paramedic working alone. At this point, I knew I wasn't going anywhere! Apparently, he was the only medic that answered the call. Trust me to go into labour in the middle of the night at the start of the weekend!! 

However, he came bearing gifts!!

Within minutes of him arriving, I was lying flat, inhaling as hard as I could manage on the Gas & Air, whilst he was on the radio trying to locate some back up! Eventually, his pleas for assistance were answered by a pair of Paramedics complete with an Ambulance ... 15 miles away! They were on their tea break and didn't respond to earlier calls as they assumed someone closer would be available! They were on their way. They reached us just as I took the canister's last bit of Entonox. So we needed to move fast so I could be hooked up to a fresh tank!

I remember it was raining as the two Paramedics helped me to the ambulance, and I stopped in the middle of the road to enjoy it for a moment. For just a second, getting a replenished supply of gas & air didn't matter. The rain in my face was the best feeling in the world ... for just a moment. I was soon brought back to the ground with a bump (almost literally!) as the next contraction kicked in with such force and speed, my knees gave way. I was practically carried the last few steps into the ambulance. 

Within seconds, the gas & air was flowing again and we were on our way to Basildon Hospital ... blue lights and everything!

As we were approaching the hospital, I remember one of the Paramedics admitting that he had always sworn that childbirth was not as painful as kidney stones. On this night, he retracted that statement entirely, and decided that maybe that wasn't the case! I caught a glimpse of Mr's face opposite me in the ambulance, and saw a mixture of emotions. That helpless feeling and the anxiety from not knowing what will happen next, yet the relief that he was not having to deal with the situation alone, as he had feared just hours earlier. We were taken into a room, and then this is when everything just kind of stopped. Me and the Mr found ourselves in this room for what felt like forever, alone, unsure of what was happening. It was probably only a couple of minutes, but it passed very slowly. A midwife entered the room and asked my permission to examine me. Seconds later, she was calling for another midwife to confirm her suspicions. The calm and the silence at this point were broken. The diagnosis of 'Bum first Breech' was made and I was told I was going to Theatre for an Emergency Caesarean Section.

"But my Midwife and Consultant assured me just days earlier that baby was correctly engaged!!"

All sorts of questions were going through my mind, but now was not the time for questions. Midwives and nurses were dashing around in a chaotic yet organised fashion, no one had the time for explanations. I was going for surgery, and that was that. Whilst a doctor was trying his hardest to secure a cannula into the back of my hand amongst the hustle & bustle, a midwife argued with him saying I needed to be taken to Theatre first. He was adamant that he would do this first, so as a result of this 'battle of wills', the procedure was unsuccessful and just left me with a lovely bruise! I was in no fit state to resist anything by this point!

As I said, laying in the middle of the Operating Theatre awaiting a C-Section, was not a new thing for me. I remember it well from Munchkin's birth. However, this time was very different. Instead of going into surgery, exhausted after 20 odd hours of labour, 2 tanks of Entonox, a shot of Pethidine and an Epidural with top-ups and everything appearing to be a blur, I was flat out on a bed, watching everything going on around me. Seeing the doctors, surgeons and midwives preparing themselves, and me, for the operation. I was listening to them speaking to one another in their medical terms, performing the statutory procedures required before surgery. I was following them around the room with my eyes, looking at objects and instruments I really should have been ignoring. Everything seemed to be happening in slow motion. I was lifted onto the Operating Table and told to look at the Mr! I was scared. I felt so conscious of all that was happening and this disturbed me!

Within minutes, at 3.50am, Mini Munchkin was lifted from behind the screen and held up for us to see. I couldn't see beyond the screen, but Mr saw enough. She cried out, and my tears began. Mini Munchkin had been safely delivered, weighing a healthy 7lb 14oz, and looking almost identical to her big sister at birth! 

We had done it ... I was 'put back together again' by the surgeons, congratulated and taken to the Recovery Room. Here, we were looked after by 2 midwives who casually chatted with us until they completed my initial paperwork and were satisfied that I was strong enough to hold Rosie.

It was all over ... Or so I thought ...!

Arriving on Cedar Ward, all sorts of memories came flooding back. I was directly opposite the bed in which I had spent the first 36 hours of Munchkin's life just under 3 years earlier. It was a nice feeling. The Mr was still with us. It was now around 6am. Something was wrong. Whilst I should have been cooing over our new baby girl and preparing myself to get a couple of hours sleep before the doctor's rounds began, I was in fact doing all I could to get comfortable. I was in pain. Ok, pain after a Section is hardly unusual, but this pain was different. This pain was getting worse and worse until I could not sit myself up, or move in any way. I seemed unable to describe the pain to the doctors and the midwives, and felt that I could not quite express to them just how agonising it actually was. I was told it was just my spinal anaesthetic wearing off, but I never remembered it hurting quite so much. A dose of Morphine, and we agreed that Mr would make his way home in the hope that he would get there before Munchkin woke up. I remember very little from this point, so I can only assume that the morphine took hold of me and sent me to sleep through the pain. They must have run tests on me whilst I was asleep, because I was woken by a surgeon holding my hand, telling me I was going back into Theatre for further surgery. He was explaining to me exactly why, but nothing was sinking in at all. The only things that he said that I understood were, "We may well need to remove your womb during the operation", and, "yes, it is important that you have the surgery ... if you wish to live, of course?!"

From here on in, everything is a bit of a blur. "Don't worry - we'll take good care of baby ..." said the midwives as they wheeled her away. I remember thinking, "but what if she gets hungry ...? But what if she cries ...? But what if she gets lonely ...?" After all, Mr had gone home and no one was there to look after her! I was too weak to ask questions. My head was a turbulent sea of thoughts and panic, but it all had to stay in my head and what was about to happen was completely out of my control. 

In the meantime, a midwife had been given the unpleasant job of phoning Mr and telling him that there had been complications and he needed to get straight back to the hospital as quickly as possible. He left immediately with my mum and Munchkin and started the worrying drive to the hospital. What had happened was, in a nutshell, after being stitched and 'repaired' post Caesarian, my body inevitably started to relax and recover. As it did, so did the blood vessels that had been ruptured during surgery. However, these blood vessels had not been repaired which resulted in a great deal of internal bleeding. I had lost nearly 6 Litres of blood internally!

Once my family had arrived, they were taken straight to the High Dependency Unit where they found an empty ward, occupied by one lonely crib and a midwife watching over its inhabitant. Inside that crib was an oblivious Baby Munchkin, but I was not there. I was already in surgery, being prepared for my second lot of major surgery. All I remember here was looking around the room and noticing all of the shiny silver instruments arranged neatly around on various table tops. A sight I wasn't expecting to see twice within a matter of hours. I also remember them placing the mask over my nose and mouth and telling me that I would slowly fall asleep. Apparently, I did, and the next faces I saw were those of my wonderful man and mum and the beautiful Munchkin. I was on HDU, and back with my family. Only this time, I was hooked up to a drip, intravenous antibiotics, the usual post Caesarian catheter, a drain through my stomach, tubes on my face and had various other needles attached to my hands. Apparently my face was puffy and grey and I didn't look like me at all. No wonder Munchkin chose not to kiss me as they were leaving! She complained that mummy had "straws on her face" and this really unsettled her. It broke my heart, but I was too weak and confused to protest or reason with her! 

Later that day, I was washed, and had been able to tidy my hair. I was still unable to move, but thanks to the utterly amazing ladies on the HDU, I really didn't need to. I don't like to call them 'staff' as this is such a formal word, and the way they looked after me was all but formal! They were loving, caring and sensitive. I was breast feeding, and so needed a great deal of support around the clock, yet nothing I asked for was too much trouble. All hours of day and night, when I pressed my buzzer (which I did ... a lot!) a midwife would be at my side within seconds. I really cannot put into words just how outstanding they were to both me and my family. That first night, they really wanted me to get some sleep. Baby, on the other hand, wanted to feed for 10 minutes - every 25 minutes! So they helped me feed her, and would then take her away to the midwives office so that I could get some rest and baby could get lots of cuddles! They would then bring her back when she needed another feed.

Twice a day, I had visits from the Mr, Munchkin, mum and dad. Munchkin came running onto the ward calling my name at the top of her voice (once she was confident that the 'straws' had been removed from my face!) Each visit, she would come climbing onto my bed, clutching her 'Doctor Box' and would proceed with her checks of mummy. Taking my temperature (well, the temperature of my arms, anyway!!), listening to make sure my heart was still beating and cutting my hair (?!!) as apparently this was a very necessary medical procedure. The midwives fell in love with Munchkin straight away and would sit with her, playing these games with her. Within an hour of her visiting the ward for the second time, she had free access to the office, where they would take her off and treat her with biscuits! She became quite attached to a certain 'cardboard bowl' found near my bed and insisted it was a new hat, so one particular midwife sat with her and helped her decorate it with different colour pens! This was now her 'Doctor hat' and it too accompanied her on every visit! They were truly phenomenal ladies!

Eventually, I was well enough (just!) to be moved down onto the ward - one step closer to home! Again, the same ward I stayed on when Munchkin was born. Only this time, I was given a private room. My iron levels were being closely monitored as my count was so low. They did not want to consider discharging me until my count had exceeded 8 - a number they just couldn't seem to reach! I continued to breastfeed, although still needed lots of support with it. After all, I could barely lift baby out of her crib by myself! She did not appear to be a very content baby, and was not happy in her crib. Still feeding in a very sporadic manner meant that neither of us were getting much rest! I was assisted in expressing and supported when feeding. However, being a much busier environment, as well as being 'hidden away' in a private room resulted in reduced attention and I realised how lonely it could get. There were points where my antibiotics were forgotten and there was a mix up with my pain relief. I told the nurse that I was taking Co-Codamol, but she insisted my notes said I was on regular Paracetamol. Needless to say, the Paracetamol was less than effective! There were many benefits to being given the private room, and I was very grateful for the personal space, but there is a great deal to be said for spending this first couple of days in the company of other new mums!

The evening of Wednesday, 4th July, 2012, and I was finally discharged from the hospital. My iron levels were still below 8, I hadn't eaten anything since the Friday evening (something else they probably should have been monitoring?!) and was carrying a bag containing a collection of drugs that could have kept a small pharmacy in business for at least a month, but I was going home to start our new lives as a family of five (yes, MUST include the pooch!) The recovery time was going to be slow, but with the help of my wonderful family and my trusty friend, Co-Codamol, I knew I would be ok.

Rosie is 9 weeks old now, and dismissing the minor, common problems, she is doing very well. She is settling into a routine ... ok, so maybe not a routine that quite suits us, but it suits her, so that's her routine for now! And Lily-Sue is an amazing big sister, showering her baby sibling with cuddles and kisses at every available opportunity! We are the luckiest parents in the world to be able to watch this bond slowly blossom between them, and I will cherish every moment of it. After all, I know it's only 5 minutes until I will be hearing, "Muuuuuuuuuuuuuum ... she's in my room nicking my make-up again!!!!!!"

I have recently linked this post with Mummy Mishaps on her Flashback Friday. Why don't you check out the other wonderful Birth Stories that have linked up too ...?



  1. Wow I have tears in my eyes reading this, how scary for all you, glad Rosie arrived safely and that you are now back on your feet x

    1. Thank you hun! I certainly had tears writing it! Back on my feet now, returning to a bit of 'normality' xx

  2. Awwww I read these heartbreaking, life threatening birth stories and feel terrified on your behalf, but then read on to the end and all I can think is how well it has all turned out and what a lovely outcome and how it was all worthwhile! Lovely photos too, such beautiful girls xxx

    1. Thanks Fiona. It was all worth it in the end. Thank you - my little Munchkins! xx

  3. Wow you went through so much, so glad you all made it home safe and sound in the end. What a gorgeous little family xx

    1. Thanks honey! They make me very proud :) xx

  4. Bloody hell Liz I had no idea. How terribly scary. Glad you are on the mend now xx

    1. :) It was very frightening, but so worth it! Thanks hun xx

  5. So well written honey.
    Such a frightening time. But a beautiful outcome - in the end :)
    Hugs and kisses

  6. Nikki summerfield5 September 2012 at 21:01

    Aww Liz that was wonderful to read and written so well. I could visualise the whole thing. Not a nice thing to go through but a wonderful story to tell x x

    1. That really means a lot Nikki! Thank you xx

  7. Written so well, so glad you are both ok, This birth story brought tears to my eyes, You have 2 beautiful girls and you are a fantastic Mummy x

    1. Ahh, bless you! Thanks Lisa. They are beautiful, but I'm meant to say that, haha xx

  8. wow what a well written birth story it was like we were right there with you, so glad you are home and everyones safe and wellnow your girls are beautiful x

    1. Thank you so much for your comment! It was a hard post to write, but one I'll always cherish now! :) x

  9. my goodness what a heart stopping account! I was so engrossed throughout! Both of your daughters , asides from having such lovely names, are utterly gorgeous and looked so alike at birth. awwww what sweethearts.
    I am so pleased that everything worked out ok in the end for you - must have been so scary at the time. i do like a happy ending :) x x

    1. I am so so touched by the lovely feedback! They do look very alike and we are thankful every day that we have 2 healthy, beautiful girls. It was scary - probably even more so for my family - but we're all ok now and settling in to a comfortable family life with Rosie. Thanks again hun xx