“In February 2018 I started to become really unwell. However, due to being a Type One Diabetic, I wrote it off to high blood sugars and got on with things. It wasn’t until March 5th that my partner and I realized it was something else. As he worked nights, I asked him to get a pregnancy test on his way home. The next morning I cried as I walked back into our bedroom with a positive stick in my hand. As happy and excited as I was, I was petrified something could go wrong as I’d heard a lot of horror stories from Diabetic pregnancies. The following week I was admitted to the hospital with high blood sugars, ketones and severe sickness. They ran tests showing high progesterone and said even though our baby was thriving, it would leave me suffering. And they weren’t wrong! By week 18, I’d been in the hospital around 5 or 6 times and had to stop going to work. It was constant bedrest for me. As well as my constant sickness, I had intense back pain which the doctors just put down to my Diabetes.
We found out at our twenty week scan we were having a little girl and both me and my partner, Matt, were beside ourselves with happiness. But two weeks later I was admitted again to hospital, due to excruciating pain in my back and severe sickness again. From a bedside scan they detected a lot of fluid surrounding the baby, leading to a diagnosis of polyhydramnios. Due to my diabetes we already knew she was a bigger baby than normal. My usual doctors started talking about needing to give me steroids just in case of an early arrival but thankfully realized she would be far too premature. They also diagnosed me with hydronephrosis, a kink in the tube to my left kidney, which explained the horrendous pains I was getting in my back. The whole time I kept having constant Braxton Hicks contractions which started taking its toll on me.
At 29 weeks, due to my hydronephrosis flaring up and persistent cramps, we ended up in the hospital for the 9th time. At triage they hooked me up for the first time to a CTG and could see I was having regular contractions. They took a swab that showed positive for preterm labour, saying I could end up going into labor naturally within the next four weeks but definitely before 38 weeks. A few days later I was examined and told I was 1cm, the neck of my womb was open and was 100% effaced. I cried all night and could hardly breathe. As horrible as the pregnancy had been the thought of her arriving so early terrified me. Speaking to Matt on the phone he managed to calm me down and cheer me up. Whatever happened we’d have each other.
After a long week in the hospital we finally thought they might let me go home, but unfortunately things started feeling odd. I told my midwife and less than ten minutes later a doctor was examining me. I was now 3 cm dilated and told I’d be having my baby by the end of the night. By the time Matt arrived, I was in a delivery room and far too excited for words. Nervous, scared, petrified but excited. As was he! However, 4 hours into my contractions we were told the neonatal was full and wouldn’t be able to accept our baby and that I’d regressed to 1-2 cm. I can’t remember the rest of the night but Matt said I wouldn’t stop crying my eyes out. 12 hours later I was being transported to another hospital yet when I arrived, my contractions had stopped and I was back to 1 cm.
I locked myself in my bathroom and refused to talk to my partner, to the midwives or doctors. I just sat on the shower floor, unable to cry, not wanting to feel anything anymore. I eventually opened it for Matt who came in and just held me. He felt as angry as I did, and even more helpless. The doctors lectured me about my diabetes and told me the risks of her being stillborn which of course I knew by heart. After three days we were glad to be transferred back to our usual hospital.
It continued like this for another four weeks, never out of the hospital for longer than 5 or 6 days. Finally just before 35 weeks I noticed the contractions get considerably worse, but due to having them regularly throughout we didn’t bat an eyelid.
The day of our 35 week growth scan things just started bad and got worse. We forgot our maternity notes and ended up late to our appointment. The cramps and contractions kept growing worse throughout the day. We had our scan which determined she weighed roughly 7lbs 8oz and while we waited to see my diabetic consultant things just intensified. When the nurse came around to call us in I could barely walk and was crying with every contraction – which were now every few minutes. Instead of going to my appointment, at 5pm on September 17th, we were walked straight to the delivery suite for our 14th hospital admission. Even though all signs pointed to me going into labour, my doctor examined and told me the neck of my womb was closed and I was just having Braxton Hicks! I screamed, cried, swore and kicked out as I couldn’t understand what was going on. They moved me into my own room, hooked me up and gave me pethidine to try and ease the pain.
Every four hours when I was examined, I was dilating 1 cm. High off gas and air, drugged up from co-codamol and oramorph, I suffered through the night assuming this was like the other times I’d gone in. At 3 AM they offered me an epidural, which I happily accepted! And then at 6 AM my midwife came in to examine me and popped my waters there and then, telling me I was at 5 cm now. The common consensus was to just get the baby out as enough was enough. Matt and I just froze and looked at each other with bewildered expressions. Our baby was coming, and soon. They put me on a machine to help induce me as I’d slowed down with dilating but other than that everything was going well. At 3 PM I was checked again with a worried face. Then a doctor came in to examine me, before walking to the other side of the room to talk to the midwife. When they came back, we were told I was actually 4 cm, and hadn’t been dilating. But my baby was struggling through contractions and distorting her head trying to get out.
I was a mess, ugly crying and scared. Almost 24 hours of labor and my worst fears were starting to come true. The thought of something happening scared me worse than anything in the world. Matt held it together for me and kissed me before going to get his scrubs on. They had to give me a spinal twice as the first didn’t take, but once I couldn’t move or feel anything, Matt came through and held my hand. At 4:13 PM on September 18th our beautiful baby girl, Melody Rose Nichols, entered the world not breathing. Four very long, excruciating minutes later she cried and began moving. They rushed her through to neonatal and continued with the rest of the caesarean. Neither Matt nor I could believe she was here, and safe, weighing a perfect 7lbs 7oz. After all of the stress, pain, complications and tears, we’d gotten our little girl.
Matt went around a few times whilst I was in recovery to check on her and take photos to show me. Then we waited impatiently to be allowed to see her. Four hours after she’d arrived, I finally met my daughter. She was trying to pull her ventilation tube out and had already pulled her feeding tube out. The nurses loved how determined she already was. Finally, at 12:30 AM we got to hold Melody for the first time and we both felt so much love and pure happiness.
Everyday she makes us so proud, she is thriving, happy, content and just completely beautiful. Unfortunately due to being premature, she has suffered five episodes of apnea which has resulted in her not breathing for short amounts of time. But other than that, she is a very healthy, happy little girl and we have never known happiness quite like this.”
SHARE this story on Facebook or Twitter to support moms along their birth journey.