So on Friday (2 weeks ago) after having a nice lunch with hubbie in Dublin, the little one and I returned to our apartment for our usual siesta (we may not have been in France but we were sticking with our French routine!). I awoke about 2pm with terrible pains that had me doubling over & barely able to speak. It felt like I had been launched into mid-labour!
I also had a couple of other side effects which I won't go into but which are also apparently a sign of premature labour...
I called my husband's mobile to try to get him to come back to the apartments & after I couldn't get through, I called reception at http://www.premierapartmentsdublin.com/ who were excellent & called an ambulance & the receptionist came up to look after the little one.
My husband arrived just after the ambulance, thankfully his office was only 15 mins walk away (3 minute run I gather) from the apartments and I was whisked off to Dublin Maternity Hospital (only 5 mins away). What the little one must have thought of what was happening I don't know, but she didn't seem phased by it at all.
On arrival at DMH I was taken into casualty & then transferred to the fetal assessment unit. The baby was apparently well down and at 32 weeks they were concerned for its lung maturity so I was given steriods to advance it's lung development and pain relief to try to stop the contractions & give my body a chance to recover. The ward I was put on had 14 beds and I asked for a private room (we had insurance to cover it) and as we had no-one to look after the little one she was accompanying us everywhere & we thought a nice quiet room would be better for us (and for the 13 other women being induced on the ward and having to listen to a little voice saying baby, baby whilst pointing to my tummy). This is when we discovered private rooms are not that easy to come by (contrast to Beziers maternity where most rooms were single & the rest were double).
The next contrast was the food - I felt pretty ropey when the trolley came round and that just made it worse - scrambled egg...mmm not a good odour for people feeling unwell. The following day I was offered a rubbery looking pork chop with chips or vegetarian option, I opted for the latter which was a leek & potato pie served with potatoes & a few oversteamed veg. Dessert......wait for it...Jelly & Cream. Now I'm not being a snob here but I don't think this was the ideal diet for someone about to have a baby or anyone actually. Again I was wishing I was in France with the lovely healthy 3 course meals, nicely presented on a tray with a green tea.
The pains had settled and after another dose of steroids I was allowed back to the apartments.
2 days later at the same time 14h the pains started again and I was re-admitted, once again I had pain relief, the pains stopped and I was offered some more dodgy food (sausages & bacon, chips & a ropey undercooked grilled tomato). My mum flew over from England to look after the little one so that hubbie could go back to work and I was handed a 'Not fit to Travel' letter which entering my 33rd week of pregnancy was not ideal for getting home any time soon. We had to change our flights to the following week & keep our fingers crossed.
Thursday which was our due date for travelling home came & went (but also happened to be a strike day in France so I'm glad we didn't have to travel that day after all!). I just had to wait until the following Tuesday to see the Dr to review my travel situation but it didn't look good for getting home before the birth.
Things which were going through my mind:
* what things will I need for the baby & where will I get them from? Ireland didn't appear to have much choice of baby goods online & the usual UK main highstreet stores I'm familiar with like Boots or Tesco Direct had a much more limited offering in Ireland. Mothercare & some of the department stores were options but very expensive in Euros which I would have resented paying. I took a look at the UK stores on my website www.UK4Me.co.uk and I was pleased that quite a few of them delivered to ROI for a reasonable fee so that looked like the way forwards. This led me to think that I should market the site to ROI...
* will I have to share a ward with 13 other people in labour...oh I so wished I could have an experience like the one in France in a private room....
* how will we submit the auto-entrepreneur Q3 return on net-entreprises.fr when we don't have our SIRET number to hand?
* will our carte vitales ever arrive? will there be another lot of paperwork asking for another copy of our birth certificates translated and our delay could mean we don't get our CVs until 2012?
* how on earth will I explain to the french authorities that our baby is British born in Ireland but needing to have follow up healthcare on the french system? Imagine the complications of birth certificates, passports....nightmare!
* how long after its born will we need to stay in Ireland before we can go home?
* will our cat still love us when we get back (answer - yes but he was in a mood for 2 days)
Some of these questions were fairly silly given the situation but that's what was going through my head at the time and finally I couldn't help losing sleep over what the Dr would say on Tuesday...