This post is a paid partnership with NHS Leeds as part of their Big Thank You campaign.
Following on from my birth story, I wanted to have a little chat about the difficulties I faced the week after I gave birth, and how the support I received from the NHS helped me through that. At the end of this post, I’m going to be talking about the NHS Leeds Big Thank You campaign, so stick with me to read all about one of the most important campaigns I’ve been a part of, and how you can join in too!
So as we all know, about a year ago in a desperate attempt to induce myself, silly old me managed to pick up a kidney infection a few days before her due date. Makes for a funny(-ish) party anecdote, but as I’m sure you can imagine, it wasn’t all that humorous at the time. I had absolutely no idea at the time that I’d got an infection, so I just assumed the excruciating back pain and severe dehydration was all just a part of the labour package. ‘The labour package’, like it’s some cute holiday add-on!
I was caning water like crazy during the first few hours of labour, but unfortunately it wasn’t enough, and I eventually had to have a canula put into my hand. I cringe like hell any time I look at a needle, so this was kinda worst case scenario during labour, which is already not exactly a rollercoaster of fun! A few more hours of disorienting pain passed before the doctors informed me that my temperature was super high and not decreasing any time soon, which meant that Remy’s heart rate was going too fast and essentially they had to get him the hell out of there (me) ASAP.
By this point, I no longer cared about my insistent need for no pain meds or epidural. I didn’t mind that I wasn’t able to give birth naturally. Nothing in the world mattered more to me than delivering Remy as safely and as quickly as possible. Fortunately, this is of course exactly what all the amazing midwives, doctors and nurses wanted to, and turns out they’re a bit bloody excellent at their jobs.
It had to be less than half an hour later that I had a screaming, grubby, beautiful, loud baby in my arms, and I was sobbing with the relief of a 13 hour complicated labour. I couldn’t believe my luck, except it wasn’t luck, it was just plain and simple good medical care.
We had to stay on the recovery ward for seven days, which I was kinda gutted about at the time. I just wanted to go home and get on with this wild new journey, but weirdly it turns out that the week on the ward was the best thing that could’ve happened to us.
I was the typical new mum, and every few minutes I had a new question about Remy, or me, or breastfeeding, or his sleeping, or my bleeding – trying to figure out and look after my new body, and this baby, was mind-blowing and overwhelming as anything. The midwives couldn’t have been more helpful and kind with every beep of my bedside button. They encouraged me, informed me, helped me, supported me, and made me feel like I could really do this.
They helped me change the first nappy when I admitted, frightened, that I had no idea how to. They encouraged my breastfeeding, supported me in expressing milk, and explained that it’s totally okay to formula feed. They rocked Remy to sleep when I was too exhausted to, and played with him when I just wanted to escape the ward for a bit.
I’m thankful for the midwives who helped me during labour, and the incredible doctors, nurses and surgeons that helped me during birth. But most of all, I’m thankful to the midwives on that Recovery Ward. That was the scariest, most daunting week of my life, and this bunch of women who I’d just met made it so much easier and more accessible for me. They are absolutely my NHS heroes and I would like to say a BIG thank you to all of them.
So, if you’re wondering what this campaign is all about, I’ve sort of already explained it within this post. The Big Thank You Campaign aims to raise the morale of staff from across the NHS, Leeds City Council and community and voluntary organisations who often work over and above to get the job done, by showing them how thankful the people of Leeds are for the work they do. You can thank your hero at http://bigthankyouleeds.co.uk!