Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Thomas's birth story

When my labour began I was ten days overdue and fed up of aching and waiting for my baby to come out. I had planned to have a homebirth and my mum and husband, David, were ready and waiting with me. In the early hours of Friday morning I remember standing in the kitchen doing squats while hanging on to the cupboards, as well as rolling my hips around whilst on all fours in the bedroom. Having undergone a 24 hour false labour (when I am sure baby Thomas twisted himself into an occiput posterior (OP) position), I didn't want to think this could actually be it. I got up and ignored the twinges and went shopping with my mum for food to feed us all over the weekend. Every other aisle we walked down I had to lean over the trolley and take a few breaths. Mum asked if I was having contractions and I denied anything was wrong up until the last couple of times when I admitted it was possible it was early labour but we weren't to get excited!

I count labour as properly starting when my waters (gently) broke whilst standing in the restaurant queue in the supermarket at midday having convinced myself my baby was never coming out! They didn't gush everywhere, there was just a definite "OH!" and then home we sped! From leaving the supermarket to getting home (10 mins away) my contractions went from 10 minutes apart to 4 minutes apart. By 1.15pm the contractions were suddenly 2 minutes apart. The midwife came at 1.45pm and I was 4cm dilated.

Up to this point it was all going well and the ball and Hypnobirthing techniques were working well. The midwife said the baby was high up so it 'would be ages yet' and to bounce on the ball, although my mum pointed out that her labours had all progressed rapidly and her babies had dropped and been born in four pushes... up to this point the midwife was talking about leaving and coming back later. Anyway, she stayed and I bounced as the contractions got worse. They were every minute and were just so intense. I did some Hypnobirthing relaxation which really helped for a while and ended up in the birthing pool about 4pm. The pain was all in my back so I ended up having gas & air about ten minutes later. I couldn't have done it without it! Lots of positions later and I was trying to push so at 5pm I agreed to another examination only to find I was only 6cm dilated. Having experienced unrelenting non-stop contractions since 1.30pm, I only went 2cm in 3.5 hours! So then I started to panic...

I went to the toilet and took my mum and David with me and remember sitting there and saying "I can't do this, it's too painful, it's too painful, I'm only 6cm, I can't do this" and then was told by the midwives (the two who were meant to be with me turned up just before I was examined) that they had discovered meconium in the waters so it was their policy to transfer to hospital AND that the baby was in the wrong position and I was in so much pain because I was having a back-to-back labour! David knew how much a natural birth meant to me and so stood firm and told them all to just wait while he talked to me himself. I had already decided at this point that I needed something else for the pain and the panic of only going two more centimetres had made me tense up and Hypnobirthing wasn't working and it was all going wrong so off to hospital we went... Nurrrr nuhhhh, nur nuhhhhhh, nur nuhhhh, 5.30pm through rush hour traffic with a lovely lovely ambulance man taking my mind off the pain and holding me over the bumps.

We got to the hospital and I was still wound up and panicked and I agreed to having an epidural. I still find this unbelievable, a year on! Lucky for me, I hadn't had bloods taken since I was 37 weeks pregnant so they had to take bloods and everything took so long and so I ended up pleading for morphine in the interim. As it turned out morphine completely calmed me down and I got back into the swing of things, refused the epidural when they finally said I could have it and everything else is a bit of a blur! I managed to cope with the contraction pains mainly by lying on my back, which I thought was weird for a back labour but being on all fours to take the pressure off my back just hurt my knees and I was better with the gas & air on my back as I could take proper deep breaths which relaxed my body without me having to worry about falling off the bed!

Lots of positions later and at 8.45pm the midwife asked if I wanted to try and empty my bladder - which would mean getting up and leaving the room! Apparently I had around four contractions before making it to the toilet and then two on the toilet! When I stood up I did this squatting motion and was rolling my hips around and the midwife said I was just going with my body and listening to what it wanted to do. When we got back to the room and the midwife went to do an examination she discovered a head in my birth canal! This was much to her astonishment as she had earlier said that she was only on until 10pm and the baby wouldn't be born during her shift.

Push push push, lots of breathing down, breathing down, David said I was doing my Hynobirthing techniques brilliantly, lots of people in the room (three doctors, three midwives, David and mum, oh and me!) and gas & air. Really hard work but it felt so good to be doing something constructive and I could feel the head every time I had a contraction! And mum & David were telling me they could see the head and he had loads of hair! Push push push... and finally out his head popped! God the relief! Then on the next contraction out he popped! And everyone shouted "Look at the size of him!!!!!", he screamed immediately (which kind of defeated the purpose of the paediatricians being there to suck mucus out of him before he could inhale meconium), the cord was cut (which I’m still a bit sad about) and off he went to the resus table to be sucked and wiped clean and Apgar scored before being given back to me. The placenta easily popped out after twenty minutes.

OK, I'm going to stop here! All I can say is I seriously believe Hypnobirthing saved me from having an epidural and C-section and I was very proud to be told that most first time mothers don't end up having a natural birth with an OP (back-to-back) labour and I was a hero at the hospital with staff and other women alike for doing this without an epidural AND having a 10lb 8oz baby! So I am not sad I wasn't at home. I did start to panic as it all happened so quickly and things all went pear-shaped and I felt I needed the support of more people. Once at the hospital I calmed down a lot and I am really proud of what I managed to do. Hearing the story back from my mum and from David was just amazing, so much I had forgotten and yet remembered when told!


  1. I know you wrote this a whle ago, but I just wanted you to know that I really enjoyed your birth story. It's a bit like my own, as I had meconium in my waters and was threatened with a transfer to hospital. But the midwife was very experienced and decided we'd try and get that baby out before the ambulance arrived. And I am eternally thankful that it all worked out and she was born safely, just 5 hours after the midwife had arrived. Next time I'll try to do it without the gas & air :-)

  2. I came over from Cave Mother and really enjoyed your story. It sounds a lot like mine, with the back labor and the transfer as I started to get panicky. I did Hypnobabies, and I also think that's what kept me calm enough to have a natural birth in the end. So glad you ended up with a big healthy baby! Yea for you! My baby was big, too, and I feel like we're part of a club. :)

  3. Thanks folks! I do wonder what would have happened if I had refused to get out of the water for that second exam - I'd always said I didn't want examining but they convinced me I should check and then announced the meconium thing, plus a lack of progression! The hospital was great though and the MW there so much better so I do believe that things turned out the way they should in the end. Next time - home birth and *maybe* no gas & air :-) x

  4. Cor he was a whopper wasn't he? Well done you though you did so well. Its a facinating read :)
    I keep meaning to blog about Burton's birth story before the new baby is born s.o i Have something to compare on the blog later on. I will try to do it very soon.

  5. Hi Jenny! You should write it down! I wrote this a couple of days after T was born and I can still feel the adrenalin when i read it back! I'd love to read yours AND your SECOND one!! :D xx

  6. Hi! I'm visiting from blog gems, and I just wanted to give you a virtual bow for such an awesome story. I went epidural for all of mine, and I so admire those who are strong enough to avoid it!

  7. Wow, what a story! I have never had kids and have never really asked my mom about "how" my sister and I were born. This was a fascinating read.

  8. Popped over via blg gems too - just wanted to say well done :) I used hypnobirthing with my third, though not as effectively as you - and I agree it really works! And what a beautiful baby you had.

  9. My waters always broke well ahead of time but I only managed to have an epidural on my last baby. WTG on the hypnobirthing, it is fascinating :) Jen

  10. Just reading this now! Great to know you have your three lovely guys. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays! X


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