Started having more regular and painful contractions early Thursday morning. At around 4am I went for a shower to see if that would stop them but it didn’t. Waited for another hour and a half before feeling I couldn’t any more and woke Andy up. We called the hospital at around 7am and they told us to make our way in. When we arrived at the hospital they hooked me onto a monitor. It showed my contractions were coming every 3 minutes but the midwife felt they were not strong enough as I had not dilated any further. She suggested I go home and have a bath and walk to help bring them on more. However the Sister In Charge that day on the Delivery Unit felt I should stay on the Lady Mary Annex as my contractions were regular. We walked, slowly and painfully, down to the ward.

I managed to convince Andy that we should walk down to the Concourse (the large food and shopping area at Addenbrooke’s Hospital) so we could get lunch. I’d been on the ward before and really didn’t want to have to sit there waiting. Not long after getting there I was in so much pain. The contractions were still about every 3 minutes but I was in agony. Andy got me a wheelchair and rushed me back to the ward. He went to get someone to be told, ‘She will be in pain she’s in labour’..very helpful…. Fortunately a cleaner heard my cries and went to get someone. My waters broke in a Hollywood style. I was then very very sick… It seemed like forever and I was eventually taken up to the Delivery Unit.

When I arrived there the lovely midwife gave me Gas & Air while we waited for the Epidural to be set up. The Epidural never quite worked and I used Gas & Air throughout. The midwife kept telling me to have breaks in between contractions. I did try but – ouch! I have to say that the pain was 100 times worse than when I gave birth to Jennifer (and I thought that was as bad as it could get). Things were going wrong – my pulse was getting higher and higher and baby’s heartbeat was rising too, so the midwife called in the doctors.

I didn’t know what was going wrong at the time but knew things must be. I was in agony and lots of medical professionals were coming in. I won’t go into details of the delivery as it is too hard for me to even think about at the moment. Our baby was finally out of me though but I heard no sound. I knew then that something was wrong but was feeling very exhausted. They took her and put her on a resuscitation table. Doctors were asking my consent to give me a blood transfusion. They wanted me to sign something but I couldn’t. Next thing I really recall is Andy getting me to touch our new baby’s hand while they were wheeling my bed out to take me to theatre.

Theatre was not scary. It was very big and there were lots of doctors. I remember them pressing on my stomach constantly to keep my uterus going (mimicking contractions I think), and putting various things in me. I remember when they stitched the thing in my neck (for my heart) thinking ‘will I look like Frankenstein?’ – not sure why? Everyone was so lovely to me and kept saying such reassuring things. When they had finished I remember a midwife asking about the baby’s name. I told her that it was Danielle and that my husband must not call her Dorkas (a name that was jokingly suggested to us by my mother-in-law). Later on I was told I lost 3.2 litres of blood, placenta had not separated and that my uterus had collapsed.

When they finally wheeled me out Andy was there waiting for me. I was pretty high on drugs but do recall family coming to see me later on. The nurses and midwives were there all the time to monitor me. I had lots of tubes and wires but luckily couldn’t see them so was not as worried as I might have been.

At about 1am they arranged for me to be wheeled in to see Danielle. After rearranging my monitors etc they took Andy and myself through. I was so pleased to be able to touch her but scared about her being in NICU. I did feel some hope though as our first daughter had been in NICU and came through fighting. I was not able to see her beautiful face as I was at the top of her incubator and she was wearing a white hat. They let me stay for about 5 minutes and then wheeled me back again so they could hook me up again.

After ‘reassembling’ me the midwife that night encouraged me to sleep. I was not able to and just felt so numb. Thankfully Andy was able to sleep in the room with me that night – I was basically under intensive care monitoring. We didn’t know what the prognosis for Danielle was and I was feeling so scared for her. I desperately wanted her to fight through but something inside me kept telling me that she wasn’t going to.

Liza Field 10th April 2010