My Birth Story

Being 24 weeks pregnant with number 2, I have started thinking more about the birth of the Boy. I will be trying for a home birth for the second time in November and I thought I would recap on the Boys birth so I can use the experience of last time to draw out the positives and try to overcome the negatives so this time I can have a successful home birth – but then we all know how these things never quite go according to plan! 

I was going to write this post in hindsight but I am not sure it will be so accurate (although definitely shorter) as you really do forget what it was like, suitably proven by the ongoing existence of mankind. However, when I went into labour with the Boy I started a thread on Mumsnet called Diary of a Planned Homebirth – although it was almost 3 years ago you can read the whole thing if you want but here are my (more interesting) posts from it.

Sunday 9 November
8.15am: In bed I felt a gush of water come out over which I had no control. I put another pad in and waited for an hour to check it was my waters and for the next hour everytime I stood up a trickle came out.

11.54am: Getting frequent period type pains at the moment, every 5 or so mins lasting for 10-20 seconds but not sure if they are contractions. If I had to put money on it I would say no as everyone has told me that you “know” when its a contraction.

1.54pm: CMW has been – she took my BP 98/54, checked baby’s heartbeat which was fine and my temperature which was also fine. She said they wouldn’t do an internal examination until I was having consistent contractions. She said my period pains sound like the latent stage of labour but they are a good sign as means my body is preparing itself. She said I should call when contractions are every 3-5 mins lasting for at least a minute and have been like that for 3/4 hours.

3.39pm: I think I am having “proper” contractions now as they hurt! They started in Sainsburys and I keep going really hot and cold and a bit shivery too.

5.49pm: So far contractions have been between 2 mins and 29 mins apart and lasting for 0.38 – 1.17 mins. They seem to be more frequent when I stand up and move about so trying to keep active. They aren’t taking my breath away at the moment but they are painful so I need to concentrate on breathing and moving (rocking on the birthing ball) to get through them. If this is the worst it gets I will be fine, which suggests its not the worst its going to get!!

7.10pm:  just about to sit down and watch Brokeback Mountain when some more waters started coming out, but as it has been doing so all day I just let it, until I moved again and got a huge gush of water coming out – luckily I was sitting on the waterproof birthing ball. So I tried to get upstairs to the bathroom with a towel between my legs gushing all the way and I had no idea what to do so just stood in the bath and stripped.

10pm: Ctx have started again 5-10 mins apart lasting 50 seconds+. Have sent DH to fill the pool as I want it to be ready to go when I am!! The MW brings the gas and air but at the moment I don’t feel like I need anything – apart from the nice back massage from DH. I feel very relaxed but I don’t think this is the peak yet so am expecting some more pain later!

10.30pm: Ctx coming fairly regularly now – every 5/6 mins. I am getting through them on my own while DH fills the pool. I keep trying to take long deep breathes and make my whole body relax and keep visualising waves on the beach in Hawaii (where we went for our honeymoon).

11.07pm: Ctx are getting more painful now and rather than sitting on a rocking footstool which I was doing before I am having to stand up and lean over our mantlepiece instead.

Monday 10 November

12.18am: ctx every 5 mins and painful. Going to call the CMW

I went offline at this point so updated the rest of this after he was born

1.30am: CMW arrives to find me in a lot of pain and having ctx lasting 1-2 mins every 2-4 mins. She performs in internal examination and finds I am only 1cm dilated – cue HUGE groan from me.The news goes from bad to worse when she said he has started to turn into the pelvis but is going the wrong way – back to back – which means the first stage of labour is likely to be long – lasting 18-24 hours. Considering I had contracting very painfully for the last 2 hours and was finding it difficult to cope I could not even imagine the prospect of another 24 hours (worst case scenario). Decided to get into the birthing pool to see if that helped.

2am: CMW calls the hospital to update them and they say that as my waters broke at 8.15am I had to go in to have IV antibiotics, the CMW tried to explain that my (fore/hind??) waters had actually broken at 7pm so it should be 18 hours from then. The hospital said they would consider it and call back. At this point I was faced with having to go to the hospital involuntarily (in either case if the labour was 24hrs) but as that wasn’t the case yet the CMW and I agreed to wait till 4am to see how much further I had progressed.

2.15am: The pool wasn’t helping ease the pain of the ctx so I asked (read: screamed!) for some G&A.

2.30am: As I was going from very hot to very cold the pool temperature could not be managed to help me so I decided to get out. I went into our study where we have a sofa bed and lay on the floor over the sofa although I was getting tired so I ended up lying on my side on the sofa bed using the G&A. I didn’t like the G&A (same effect as being drunk and everything swaying, which I don’t like when I’m drunk) and it didn’t take the pain away from the ctx but it did help me doze in a kind of drunken stupor in between ctx.

I have to admit that during this hour I said:

“Does an epidural take away ALL the pain?”
“Can’t you please just cut it out of me”?

3.35am: I was in a lot of pain and completely demotivated as I had no idea if all the ctx had helped or if I had dilated further so DH asked the MW if we could do the internal exam now. She did and I was 4cm. The hospital phoned the CMW and said the consultant insisted I go in now for IV antibiotics. I could probably have insisted I stay at home for a bit longer to see how it went but at the prospect of that long labour, which would mean I was awake for almost 48 hours, I thought an epidural would give me the best chance of a rest for a successful 2nd stage – and in all honesty I was in so much pain I went from the “all natural, best intentions” camp to the “give me the f@&*ing drugs” camp.

CMW called the hospital and told them to get the epidural ready and then she called an ambulance (standard transfer procedure for a HB)

4am: arrived at hospital and given IV drugs – antibiotics for infection and something to keep my BP down from the epidural. During painful ctx every 2 mins the anaesthetist administered the epidural.

4.15am: the MWs started putting monitors on me for my BP and the baby’s heartbeat and explained that the baby’s heartbeat had started to drop – apparently not uncommon with an epidural. They decided to check my dilation and I was now 10cm!!! So rather than taking 18-24 hours it had taken just under 3!! Lots of discussion between the MWs and an obstetrician and the decision was made that the baby needed to come out now but as he was still back to back I would need to have an assisted delivery and if this was unsuccessful I would need an emergency CS. I signed the consent for both.

4.30am: transferred to theatre and they hooked me up. In the room were 3 MWs, 2 obstetricians, 2 anaesthetists and a paediatrician.  The obstetrician explained I would probably tear so could they do an episiotomy, I said yes. I was told each time I contracted (as you can’t tell with the epidural) and I had to breathe in fully then not breathe out but push hard, at the same time the obstetrician had put a vontouse cap on the baby’s head to help turn him. About 5 ctx later I could feel the baby’s head coming out and after 1 more the whole head came out and then the body. They lifted him up and DH told me it was a boy. Unfortunately as he needed to go straight to the paediatrician DH was unable to cut the cord but we didn’t care!

He was born at 5.34am weighing 8lb 2oz and looks exactly like his daddy! Because I was being stitched up (a small cut apparently) DH did the skin to skin with him. We were in recovery until 11.30am – the epidural took 2 hours to wear off and made me shake uncontrollably. We transferred to the postnatal ward and thanks to my constant bugging at the MWs and paediatrician they checked the feeding and us both over and we left hospital at 7pm.

So that was it – reading back on it I think I remember it all reasonably well but there are a few things that I learnt which will help me this time:

  • Don’t be scared of an episiotomy, if you need one you need one and when you do you won’t give two monkeys about being cut down there as it will be a walk in the park compared to the rest of labour.
  • A birth plan is just a plan, be prepared to go with the flow – mine said that I did not want to lie down on my back but be active to let labour progress (ha) but when the midwife reminded me of this she was told, not very politely, where to stick it.
  • Going into hospital is not scary, you don’t care about that when you realise you need to go.
  • Get a tens machine, I didn’t have one but I think it would have been useful for the early stages.
  • An epidural takes away ALL the pain!
  • Even if I don’t give birth at home, labouring at home for as much time as possible is better than being in hospital.
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9 Responses

  1. Hiya, I think we talked about the fact that I had a home birth with baby H. It was an amazing experience, I will be keeping my fingers crossed that you get the same!

    I found Baby H’s birth the best of all three, and i think this was partly because I knew there was no chance of any more pain relief than gas and air, so all the shouting and crying at everyone in the world wouldn’t get me an epidural. I knew I just had to get on with it, so I stayed on the gas and air right through the pushing out bit ( the other times I’d given up on it by then ) and it definitely made a difference!

    So excited for you. xx

  2. I really hope so too, I *think* that it was very painful with the Boy because he was back to back so hoping for a slightly easier one this time, but that might just be wishful thinking!

  3. I love reading a birth story!
    It’s true, people tell you that you would know if you had a contraction & you were in labour….I didn’t & it was my 3rd! I had the period type pains for a couple of hours & was actually 7cm dilated.
    Good luck with the home birth this time around
    x

    • Oh I want one of those!!

  4. You (literally!!) walk on water! I am in awe of all you mummies who go through the pain and trauma of childbirth! XXX

  5. Good luck with the home birth. One of my best friends just had her second HB – all went well and her three-year-old is almost as thrilled with her baby brother as she is her new, ahem, “paddling pool”.

  6. Fingers crossed you get the home birth you want. The people I know who’ve had homebirths have been really positive about them – but you’re right that a “plan is just a plan”. Sounds like you’re going to be well prepared to “go with the flow”. x

  7. What a well documented post! Such a great read. I hope younget the home birth you want this time xx
    Ps. He is gorgeous x

  8. […] got around to it however this week was one I couldn’t pass up. I recently wrote my Birth Story on my blog and that, along with being pregnant, has meant that birth is at the forefront of my mind […]

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