Just 5 weeks after I got my coil taken out I realised that my period was a few days late but there was no way I could have got pregnant that quick, right?
Wrong! My husband and I had always said that we would try to put off taking a pregnancy test for as long as possible to try to stop us getting excited too early. But, I was scheduled for a colonoscopy, which you can’t do when you are pregnant, so I had to take the test. I was so excited to be pregnant but we had agreed to not tell anyone until the 12-week scan. Weirdly, the only person I had told was the receptionist at the colonoscopy clinic!
I’ve had Crohn’s Disease since I was 21 but since surgery I have been symptom free and free from any medication. But even still, it has never been a great thing to have…until I became pregnant!! Strangely, it then became a kinda great thing to have since they wanted me to have an ultrasound every 4 week. Definitely a bonus when many people in Sweden only have 1 their whole pregnancy! Seriously though, the care was fantastic. I ended up with appointments and phone calls with my Crohn’s specialist at Karolinska, my GP and the doctor at the MVC the whole way through my pregnancy! I couldn’t believe how much extra care I had. Everyone kept apologising for the fact that I had all of these extra appointments but for me I thought it was a great thing. I had so many people focused on making sure that me and my baby were as healthy as possible. Plus, I also got to say a wee hello to my baby every 4 weeks!
Like a lot of first time mothers, I was convinced the baby was going to come early. So, of course, he kept me waiting and waiting…until eventually I was induced at 42 weeks plus 1 day! That is one hell of a long pregnancy, especially when you have felt pretty crap for most of it! Anyway, the birth went pretty well…went from 3 to 10 cm in 1 hr 45 mins and then had some super short 13 minutes of pushing…at the time it felt like a lifetime but I appreciate that mothers who pushed for hours won’t have much sympathy for me!!
A couple of hours after the birth my husband and I were moved to the patient hotel, which really is a wonderful part of the Swedish health system! We got settled in to our Premier Inn-style room and ordered up room service for dinner which we ate while we stared helplessly at our gorgeous wee Noah! Dinner was fish in a creamy sauce with potatoes. I’m sure it was delicious but it wasn’t exactly what I felt like after the last 24 hours so my husband happily finished his…and then mine! At midnight, we were brave enough to trust Noah to carry on breathing while we tried to get some sleep. We slept with all the lights still on, of course, and woke up every 5 minutes to check he was still alive!
At 2am I woke up with the sound of my husband throwing up in the bathroom. Not sure what to do, I called the on-call midwife and explained that my husband was throwing up and Noah was only 12 hours old! Noah and I had to leave the room immediately to go to another room so I suddenly found myself alone with Noah in a hotel room with nothing but my pj’s…and my catheter bag. Suddenly, the Swedish system didn’t seem so great as I would have loved a nurse to just pop in and check on us! At 4am I realised that Noah needed his nappy changed, something which I have never done before! So off I went to the bathroom, trailing my catheter bag behind me to start trying to clean this tar-like poo off Noah’s bum and of course get pee’d over…oh the joy of little boys!! I remember just thinking, where on earth is my husband!
As much as that night was horrible for my husband it was actually pretty special for me. I had never been that maternal but that night I lay in the bed with Noah beside me in his wee plastic crib looking at each other and I completely fell in love. It was such a special time. At 7am my husband called to say he was being kicked out of the patient hotel because they were scared he was infectious. He was instructed to leave his key in the room (he wasn’t allowed to go to reception to check-out) and leave our bag for a nurse to collect and bring to me. They said that I should ask a family member to come and spend the next few days with me. But, as much as I love my mother-in-law that wasn’t quite how I envisaged our time there! So it was agreed that if I could successfully breast feed and the doctor said Noah was ok then we could go home that day. I spent all morning trying to breast feed and even though the nurses had said they would come and help me, I think they were scared that I was contagious so I didn’t get any help. Luckily the doctor said Noah was ok to leave so my husband collected Noah and I (with instructions to stay outside!) when he was just 25 hours old and I still had my catheter in and off we headed home.
All of this was because my husband ate too much for dinner! Yes nothing else was wrong with him but instead of being annoyed with him I was actually thankful for that special first night I had alone with my son.
If you’d like to know more about pregnancy in Sweden or about the recent news coverage of the maternity ward crisis in Sweden, read more here.