A Mother's Instinct.............Trust it!

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So, I'm just going to say this straight away; what I'm about to talk about is rare so all you pregnant Mum's and Dad's to be out there (who happen to be reading this), please don't freak out. I am writing this to share my story and potentially raise a tiny bit of awareness, that might help someone.


Finding out I was pregnant was a nice mix of excitement, fear and anxiety, reading up on what was happening inside me
(maybe a tad obsessively at times) and of course the good old sickness. Ticking along in this unkown new land of mum to be and then one day (16wks), I start to have pretty strong Braxton Hicks and a few spots of blood in my pants. Every medical professional I asked said it was all normal and on checking the baby said all was fine and then Carry on as usual. This was tough as my gut said no its really not ok but being an introverted rule follower, I did as advised and forced myself to not panic. I'm one of those people who walks into the doctor's and pretty much apologises for being there.


One Sunday morning I started to leak fluid and was so frightened I couldn't get out of bed, I had visions of my waters gushing everywhere. I called up the local maternity ward and the nurse on the phone asked a few questions and then said all sounds ok? ! I burst into tears in a blind panic as I just knew inside myself it wasn't. So I went into the hospital where they checked me out and said it was something to do with my cervix and I should expect more bleeding and that it was all ok, CARRY ON AS NORMAL. What really is normal? They had no clue what was normal for me either.


Once again, I followed the advice and told my gut to just shut up, convincing myself I was being silly. I then started having dreams that I was in the bathroom at work and a tiny baby girl came out and I named her Snow. I know I sound like a complete loon but it was so very vivid and happened more than once and I did actually tell my partner, so I promise I'm not just making this up.


I had to go to Colorado for a work meeting which had been planned since before falling pregnant. I was 23 weeks and I went to my GP to make sure I was all ok to travel. Guess what I was told, all looks normal and healthy, carry on as normal. Everything was booked and paid for, and the meeting was pretty crucial to a business move we were about to make so yet again I gritted my teeth and told myself to man up and stop being paranoid. I did however get the insurance checked to make sure both me and the baby would be covered in the event of premature labour (we used Insure and Go and they do cover this - they we're amazing by the way!)


Off we went to Colorado, had a few arguments with cabin crew about the seat belt signs being on forever and me needing to pee etc. We got the meeting done, although I felt terrible. One morning I had to show my partner my knickers as I had sooo much bloody goo, but due to being told to expect bleeding, only a week before, we thought it was ok so once again ignored it. It was my show, but being only 24 weeks at this point I had not got that far with my pregnancy self-education so was none the wiser. The "show" had not been mentioned by female family members or friends, nothing I'd done at school or seen on TV had ever mentioned it either (probably because it's a bit gross!).

Looking rather goofy at 24 weeks pregnant in the foothills of the Rockies


I went into a Pilates workshop the following day, feeling a little peaky; did a class and had to sit out a few times to take a few breaths which, in retrospect was due to powerful contractions but I still had this mantra in my head that all was OK and it was just pregnancy stuff I had to deal with. I got back to the friend's place where we were staying and managed to hold down a conversation over some food then headed to bed early as I had to be in workshop again the next day. I had a bath, thinking maybe I'd done too much so just needed to chill out and get what I thought was just Braxton Hicks to settle. Let's not forget that I had been having these pretty strong for a while now and was told it can happen and not to worry unless they were painful. Well here's the tricky judgement call, what is the difference between pain and discomfort??! I would say it was around this point that they did get painful! After wriggling around into various positions that I thought might help ease them it dawned on me that they were really intense and coming pretty regularly. They were not settling, and it was midnight.

I didn't want to wake my friends who had work the next day and I couldn't get my phone to work to call Charlie to get his opinion on what to do. I rang the local hospital and explained what I was feeling to have them suggest an ambulance. I declined in the paranoia that it might all be nothing. I found a taxi card on the fridge so called for a taxi which took another 30 minutes and as I didn't want to wake anyone and cause a fuss I stood outside. It was 12.30am and -10c(!) outside, the taxi found me squatted down in agony. I got in not looking pregnant at all as I was just 24 weeks and 4 days, quite tall and had a winter coat on so when the driver asked me what was wrong, he got a shock when I said I think I might be having a baby. He put his foot down and got me to the hospital.

I walked in and feeling unsure and silly, told the receptionist who tried to get me to sit in a wheel chair but I stubbornly declined. The doctors asked me to pee in a pot and seconds later i was told......"YOU ARE IN LABOUR". It hit me, shit it is actually happening, I was right all along and oh my god the baby is only 5 and a half months cooked!

The hospital staff were putting things in pretty much every orifice, jabbing me with needles, telling me things which I couldn't process whilst I was trying to get hold of Charlie to let him know. I did not want to be on my own at this point, but I was and just had to deal with it.

I was sent over to a larger hospital where they could care for babies/fetus's of this gestation. After 30 minutes or blue flashing lights, lots of hard core contractions and a few random phone calls from estate agents and midwifes in UK(!), I landed at a large hospital in Denver at 5am. I was, by this point, 3cm dilated. Various people were entering the room and spouting stats at me, I was being checked constantly, monitors for the baby, my blood pressure, oh and I was not allowed to leave the bed, even to pee. Charlie rushed in the room at 9am in a bit of a mess, after having gone round every hospital in Denver! I spelled the name of the hospital completely wrong whilst in a fluster messaging him, oops! By That point all had calmed down, the copious concoctions of drugs were working. To be honest I think I had mentally shut down with fear and shock by this point, plus I felt guilty and a tad stupid for not trusting myself.

Another rough shot but to give you an idea

By the 3rd day of constant monitoring, lots of skype calls and complete bed rest, we were getting used to things, but I just didn't feel right, so I said to various medical professionals "somethings not right, my tummy feels strange" and guess what happened? Even whilst being monitored and seeing contractions coming and going they said its OK, baby is fine. I kept asking if they could examine me, but they didn't want to due to the risk of setting things off again. I just knew it didn't feel right.

Charlie popped back to the place where all our stuff was to pick up some clothes and phone chargers etc and I made a few Skype calls to my family. Chatting away but pausing for a few deep breaths here and there. Then, just as Charlie arrived back, I go bam into way more obvious contractions, get checked and "oh yes, you are 7cm. Baby is footling breach and so tiny, we need to do a classical (vertical and best avoided if possible) c section, uh now!".

So, that was my first pregnancy story, I'll tell you the rest soon but not to panic you too much, we had a beautiful girl, it was snowing as I had her, so the snow part of the dream along with the tiny and girl (we did not know the sex) parts all were true. No, I didn't call her snow and yes she is fine now which we are eternally grateful for. We had a lengthy stay in 3 different NICU's across two continents. Next time I will fill you in on our NICU roller coaster experience....

Ror after she was born and on her way to the NICU

Instinct, gut feeling or whatever you want to call it, in my book is real and not to be ignored, please trust your body. The guilt of not doing so is yuk. As I have said a few times, this experience is rare and usually it is fine but if you don't feel right have the balls to fight against the 'you're fine, all looks normal' mantra we get in an unfortunately over stretched health service. I would also like to recommend that anyone in the early stages of pregnancy read up on the early stages of labour and what happens in the 3rd trimester. Learning a little more in advance may have prevented Ror being born so early. There's loads of info out there once you can look past the crazy changes happening to you in the moment.

Tobs and Ror, is a way of me earning a living, whilst looking after my children and I want to give back and help others who land in this situation. If it is wasn't for the amazing care, equipment, research and support, Ror wouldn't be with us today.

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  • Jess on

    I know exactly what you mean when you say listen to your instincts, it’s the strongest tool we have and so many times I think don’t be silly, I’m sure everything is fine and I’m sure all women feel like this in their 3rd trimester?
    My first and last baby was premature by 6 weeks because I had acute fattt liver of pregnancy. It’s a really rare condition, that occurs in the 3rd trimester, usually with first time pregnancies and male babies. The symptoms are pretty much the same as what you learn in NCT as what being pregnant makes you feel. Except for being so tired all the time.
    I’d always feel him doing the can can at around 3am every night, but he got fainter, and I thought that wasn’t right so I rang triage and I thought I had a bit of sickness and diarrhoea . The midwife instantly told me that I must not go into hospital because they didn’t want the other mums getting sick. I said to her I can’t hardly feel my baby moving and she told me oh if you don’t feel well you won’t feel him?? So I waited a week and got worst, I was being sick and constipated, and I was blowing up like a balloon. I couldn’t keep any food down. Until one Wednesday night, I chucked my guts up like I had down all week thinking I’m still sick? But this time I couldn’t feel any movement at all. I went and sat in my living room and thought I’d wait for my partner to get up for work. I didn’t want to disturb him? I don’t know why i wasn’t more alarmed? Maybe because I thought of what the midwife had told me oh the phone.
    So I waited in the dark just trying my hardest to feel anything. By the time he got up for work I couldn’t move anymore. My mobile battery had died and the charger was on the other side of the room. He asked me why I was sat in the dark. Now I said to him I couldn’t feel baby moving. But he claims he didn’t hear me say that and thought I was in labour. We’d learnt in our NCT classes that labour can go on for days, so he said ring triage or gp, he’s off to work and off he went. I was texting him on my iPad I said I was scared and something was defiantly wrong, he said he’d come back but got stuck in traffic. And to ring his dad. I thought he’d be busy so I waited and tried to get up to realise that I couldn’t. So I called his dad, he answered and said he’d be there in 10. He was and he gave me his phone I called triage again they said come to the delivery ward because the nct ward was full.

    They strapped me to a bed, pulled the blind down and gave me a trigger button and said when the baby moves press the button. He didn’t move. We could see on the monitor that his little heart was beating but iregularly& he was in the fetal position not moving at all. The consultant said he wasn’t happy, need to get the baby out quickly! 20 minutes let’s do this now! A nurse pulled the blind up and looked at me and saw that my the whites of my eyes were yellow and my skin was yellow.
    I remember being on the table in a delivery room or surgical room I was awake for the catheter and I could feel cold wet stuff being painted on me and then this weird plastic stuck to me and a surgeon said they can’t wait for my bloods to come back (I didn’t remember them taking my blood) but I was really poorly and I might not wake up straight away. Then the guy holding the mask over my mouth and nose said look at me look up!
    3 days later I woke up in critical care& my baby was in the special baby care unit in an incubator being monitored. I was moved to the high dependency ward where I stayed for a week being poked and prodded with tubes in my neck and tubes in my hands and arms.
    My family told me that the hospital had to ring Kings hospital in London because the doctors didn’t understand why I had liver failure and my kidneys were on their way out. They explained my symptoms and The Kings liver specialists said I had acute fatty liver of pregnancy and once you remove the baby her liver will go back to normal. Which it did, eventually.

    We’ve recently found out that AFLIP is hereditary. It’s so rare because both parents have to have this mutated metabolism gene that is passed to the baby which is then passed back up the ambilical cord to the mother (me) slowly causing a fatty build up in my liver until it can’t function anymore. I had every symptom of liver failure, the peak being itchy skin.
    The liver speacislists at the hospital said the mortally rate is very high and I was lucky my baby saved me by not moving. And I was 5 minutes away from death for me and the baby inside me. Which has stayed in my thoughts every night since they said it. Scaring me and upsetting me even now.

    Like you say you’ve got to trust your instincts, that bitch midwife told me I wouldn’t feel my baby if I wasn’t well!! So even though I thought this can’t be right I can’t be this tired and sick I thought she must be right!
    I feel like if I met her now I would punch her in the face!
    My baby had to be resuscitated when he was born and was tested for sepsi and all kinds of things. He was poked and prodded too!

    But my beautiful little premie baby is doing really well now. His name is Albert and he’s 4&1/2 months old. i didn’t get to hold my baby until 5 days after he was born, he was so small but you wouldn’t think that now! He’s so tall and he’s always smiling and laughing now. He’s mine and my partners world!

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