Baby Oscar Daniel was born on Tues 26th at 5:40am weighing 7lb15 having been cooked to a whole 41weeks 5 days!
Having had a pretty traumatic experience with our 1st born where we both came out feeling like we had been hit by a bus and took months to recover I was keen to do everything in my power to avoid a repeat. Especially after eventually getting pregnant following multiple miscarriages and needing to be on Progesterone for 20weeks to keep him safe. A Complete Placenta Previa from early on required early admissions and me having to give up most of my physical work to keep him safe. The fear set in of what was to be for the rest of the pregnancy.
However, at 28 weeks we were told much to our delight that all was normal and yes we could even be under the home birth team!
I had already started the Daisy Birthing classes with Steph as I had remembered from our 1st birth how helpful they had been, and with a 4 year old in tow the only night of the week to focus on this little one. It was so nice to hear the same calm music from your classes all those years ago with Nicky. We hit another stumbling block in the 3rd trimester where he would regularly flip from Breech to Transverse but not stay head down requiring more hope and scans. His unstable position set off lots of Braxton-Hicks and other early labour signs between 33 and 36 weeks and I decided I would have to stop work completely to try and keep him cooking as our 1st had been born at 37 weeks. Between the 2 hours of seeing a midwife at 36 weeks and going for a scan to decide a plan he turned head down and stayed! Yippee we are back on!
So 37 weeks came, and went, and in my mind I was overdue, 38weeks, 39weeks, 40weeks, 41weeks….I actually completed my 3rd cycle of Daisy Birthing with Steph! And hormonally I felt further away from labour than at 36 weeks. Doubts crept in of ‘is this normal?’, it’s not normal for me, and oh know what if I have to face an Induction again! His position became pretty consistent with his head wedged in the right side of my pelvis and less engaged than before; causing lots of pain. I ended up needing crutches to walk and became obsessed with all the Daisy manoeuvres to get him into position. Middle of the night Camel walks, cobras in the bath, stretch and sway playing with the boy…..The midwives reassured he would sort it and I needed to focus on doing nice things to raise my Oxytocin levels instead. I also contacted an old school friend who is a specialist post-dates midwife researching alternative therapies for preventing induction and started looking at local options. I started a non-medical Induction with Aine from Cranleigh Acupunture for 3 sessions where she also treated my pelvic pain and showed me some acupressure points to use to bring on labour and for in the birth itself. She reckoned if it was going to work it would happen soon.
The next day (Sunday) I woke to a bloody show and cramps that were coming in waves by the evening. I went to bed early just in case, in a mood that I was missing Daisy Birthing that night. At 9:15 I woke with the 1st proper contraction, and a message from Steph to say they had missed me in class. Was this it? I went back to sleep remembering Steph’s advice to rest. 11:30 I couldn’t ignore them anymore and got up to listen to some music and find some comfort on the gym ball or on my knees. At 1am I asked Phil to start setting up the pool. I knew we could be a long way off but I also knew that the pool would take 3 hours to fill and a lot had changed in the last 3 hours. The contractions didn’t ramp up beyond every 10-15mins so once it was blown up (the noisy bit we were worried about our son waking to) we went back to bed to rest. I couldn’t really sleep between them but tried my best. In the morning we tried to carry on as normal and send our son off to preschool and I let the HomeBirth team know what had been happening. They said to let them know when contractions come every 2-3mins but get some more sleep. After another nap, some chick flicks, lunch and a small walk, the contractions started coming every 4-5mins and I needed Phil to go back and get the car to rescue me as the pelvic pain was pretty intense down one side. Our son came home and I pretended to him as much as I could that everything was perfectly normal as we did his normal bedtime. I tried to read a whole Mr Man book between contractions, on my hands and knees but couldn’t talk through them and Phil had to take over! Once he was in bed I tried another nap and listening to the Daisy music and relaxation session but I wanted to be in the pool and it seemed like a last minute panic to get it at the right depth and temperature (apparently a total 172 trips to the kitchen for pans and kettles because of our silly hot water system). Such relief once I got in though and I could relax enough to try some more rotate to dilate manoeuvres.
But the contractions wouldn’t ramp up any more regular than every 4-6mins and only lasting 1min, as intense as they were with me needing me to use the escalator breath and the wonderful acupressure points they wouldn’t progress and I just knew he was still stuck. We phoned the HomeBirth midwife a couple of times who reassured us that she wasn’t far away and would join us once contractions were more regular…..I knew she was the type of midwife who really believed in empowering the couple to labour as much as possible themselves to build Oxytocin levels but by 9pm, having in my mind been in ‘labour’ for over 24hours I requested she come anyway as I needed her help. I was immediately reassured by her presence but became tearful from exhaustion. She quietly did her checks and set up reassurance camp on the sofa whilst we all listened to my various hypnobirthing and daisy tracks. She offered the suggestion of try getting out the pool and see if a move around would help. Having experienced this trying to get to the toilet earlier I wasn’t keen as I knew the pain would become more intense and longer…exactly what was needed….but I couldn’t get my head around it. At 11pm, soon after a move around and a rest on the sofa my waters went and I vomited, a good sign I was reassured as I tried not to wake my son above us. She suggested we go upstairs for a proper rest on the bed in the dark and she would have a snooze too. Once upstairs I could not lye down and it got so intense. I was beginning to panic about coping, how much longer would this go on and more vomiting. I knew I needed a sleep and some food but I couldn’t do either. I begged to go back in the pool to calm it down and decide what to do. My son was restless upstairs with all the noise and I was becoming more aware that once he woke we would need help so at 1am I asked Phil to call my parents who would be able to look after him in their camper on our drive if he woke.
I asked the midwife what other options I had for pain relief, knowing that if I could cope better and be more mobile it would help his position because contractions, as intense as they were, were still not regular or long enough and I had stalled at only 4cm for hours now. The midwife offered the suggestion of Pethidine to help me get some rest, which I knew would mean a transfer to hospital as it hadn’t been something I was keen or planned on, assuming that this birth would be quicker than the last one. I didn’t want Pethidine if baby was imminent so I asked for some gas and air in the pool while we thought about it. I remember asking the midwife what difference it would really make, with my thoughts at this point turning to the birth of last time, almost putting my case forward for the obstetricians to get involved. I felt like I had hit a wall and if a surgeon happen to walk into our lounge I would have agreed to anything there and then. She reassured me that we could still have a positive experience on the midwife led unit and be home within hours. I was sceptical! The gas and air was taking the edge off, (although complicated holding it whilst also busy pinching my acupressure points) and knowing my parents were on their way we decided to transfer to hospital. I pleaded with her that I take the gas and air with me and in the corner of my eye I spotted the Tens machine I had borrowed but not used – I had hope that I could manage this transfer between them both. I asked for a final check to see if there had been any progress to make the final decision about Pethidine but was only 5cm with his head still tilted to the side and not engaged. So at 3am my parents arrived and I got in the car, on my knees, arms wrapped around the seat, holding on tight. The Tens and gas and air distracted me just enough to have some sort of a sensible conversation with Phil who was driving, about it not mattering where we give birth or what we need to help it happen safely. With every pothole, lump and bump I shouted at him to slow down until he actually had to pull over every contraction which were now coming every 2-3mins for me to focus on my breathing enough. When we finally arrived it dawned on me that I had actually began coping better despite them being longer and more regular and ‘something’ had changed. The midwife who had followed us pushed me up to the MLU in a wheelchair on my knees with my eyes closed, distracted by trying to keep my flipflops from falling off.
When I arrived in the room the HomeBirth midwife introduced me to the MLU midwife who apparently she would want as hers if she had the choice and this immediately sorted my head that I could trust her. A bean bag and mats were ready for me and I asked Phil to get the Daisy music on as I got on my knees, the now position of choice. The midwife asked if I would still like Pethidine. I said I wasn’t sure and she agreed and said to see how the next 20mins went….20mins, I can survive 20mins I thought. Then I really needed the toilet, but the gas and air couldn’t reach, so back to just Daisy breathing and acupressure it was whilst leaning over Phil on the toilet. The pool was nearly ready and I was begging the midwife to get in. Once in, I relaxed but this time the contractions didn’t stall. Phil and I had micro sleeps in between contractions. I then realised I was in transition whilst shouting ‘get him out’ and ‘help me’ and I needed the biggest poo of my life as Steph had put it. Phil was having to hold my chin out of the water as I was panicking trying to find a position of comfort. I told the midwife I wanted to push and she told me to follow my body, even though at the last check only an hour earlier I had only been 5cm. I took myself back to one of the Ina May birth stories for another petite lady as at 4ft11 and having previously had a stuck baby and this one having an extra 5 weeks cooking, I had been worried about whether my pelvis size could do this. ‘You are going to get huge’ is the quote from Ina May and that is what I repeated to myself. I tried my best to breath through it using the Daisy ‘out’ breath and the midwife got me to focus blowing on a candle in front of me but ultimately an animal took over my body and I shouted the poor baby’s head out. It seemed to take an eternity for the next contraction, and a mix of weirdness to know he was part way out but a relief that this was nearly finally over, and then at 5:40am his body came out. The midwife passed him under me through my legs but I was in disbelief I had actually done it and picked him up apparently like an amusement grabber machine! With him on my chest I was helped out of the pool and then he snuggled in getting the last of the blood from the cord. Whilst waiting for the placenta to come away he was pretty cross for a couple of mins until he got skin to skin with dad and they enjoyed some time together before the 1st (2hour!) feed. Perfect!
It turned out the little wriggler had managed to completely get himself in a wedged position in my pelvis with a true knot in his cord from all that moving around in the 3rd trimester!