Birth Story Of The Week – Emi and Silver

Apologies for the lack of posts this week. Once the Royal Baby George Alexander Louis had been born and Twitter had calmed down with ‘What Kate wore’ and ‘Didn’t William do well fitting the baby seat’ tweets, I too collapsed in a hormonal heap. What a week it had been for us all. And in case for those of you who entered the competition are freaking out that the winner hasn’t been announced…… fear not! I will be drawing the winner randomly as a few of you clever clogs guessed George!

Now I’m on my holidays in Somerset with the girls and Daddy Pig. The weather broke the day after we arrived and obviously I only packed summer dresses and zero waterproofs for the entire family (she says as torrential rain pours down the window). But never one to let you lot down, I have another birth story for you all to sink your Monday teeth into. Not the typical water birth/home birth/hypno birth but one to certainly get you thinking . If everything in your birth plan goes to pot and you’re faced with having to be put to sleep knowing when you wake up your baby will be already be born, how would you recover not just physically but emotionally? Emi shares her story.

Twitter: Emi Ozmen

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‘So after 9 months of a pretty disastrous pregnancy (2 bleeds, 1 hospitalisation for stomach bug, 1 hospitalisation for blood clot, 7 months of morning sickness, scans in case cervix was thinning too early, suspected diabetes, pregnancy induced hyperthyroidism ) I was DESPERATE to go into labour. I couldn’t get my head around what other pregnant women were scared of; that’s the day you get your baby and don’t have to be pregnant any more. I kept thinking I’ve run the London marathon, labour is going to be fiiiiine.

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Turns out it wasn’t that fine.

I was booked in for induction on Friday 13th. I was induced twice, the first time  it had to be stopped as my contractions came too fast. The second time the same thing happened and so was rushed into a room on the labour ward. Until my waters broke I remember enjoying my contractions. Someone once told me it feels like period pain. It doesn’t. To me it is a wave like feeling. Strangely like an orgasm but not enjoyable. But not painful. That’s the wrong word. Once my waters broke I lose track of what happened. I definitely got loud (after always cringing at the screamers on One Born Every Minute). I was that one. The really loud out of control one that was whaling and crying. The anaesthetist was called to give me an epidural. He couldn’t get it in my back. Another anaesthetist was called. He couldn’t either. Everyone gave up assuring me it wouldn’t be long until the baby would be born, so hang in there.

6 hours later I had the unstoppable urge to push. The baffled midwives couldn’t understand why I was only 2 cm dilated. I don’t remember much at all from this point on except Adam and one midwife out of the 4 or 5 people all looking at my notes and at me in total confusion. The three of us were a little team. She held lavender under my nose, got me in the bath, both had one of my hands each and the 3 of us somehow got through another 2 hours. The baby’s heart rate monitor started bleeping and the decision was made for an emergency c section. I remember more needles in my back which failed again and finally the relief of being told ‘Emi we’re going to put you to sleep when you wake up your baby will be here’….

It was the most surreal amazing dream that when I came round Adam passed me my baby. I can’t remember much about those first hours, she fed as I slept, we all slept on and off for hours. As the sun came up we realised we hadn’t even called our parents, we were already the 3 of us in our bubble.

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I still don’t feel like I’ve woken up some days. I’ve spent everyday for this last year by her side. we have always coslept with her and I still breastfeed on demand. I haven’t taken anyone’s advice on how to parent silver. We follow our instincts and follow her lead.

So Did Kate Do It Her Way?

kate and will

Unless you’ve been living under a large rock for the last 24 hours or have no access to the media, Twitter, Facebook or any human contact, then you will know that Kate delivered a baby boy yesterday afternoon. My (invisible) midwife hat has been firmly on my head since the news broke that she was in early labour. I could not help speculating what has going on inside The Lindo wing and neither could my colleagues either. Heading over to Twitter this evening proved I wasn’t the only one with my spies out and here’s why.

The wonderful Rebecca Schiller aka The Hackney Doula has written a fantastic piece on her thoughts (and mine) on what we hope and believe Kate achieved to birth her baby boy.

rebecca

‘I’ll admit this is entirely speculation. I have no idea what has been going on inside the Lindo Wing for the last 36 hours and it’s good that I don’t know. Very few people, with the exception of Romola Garai , want the world’s media to have knowledge of the state of their post-partum perineum.

However on careful viewing of the footage of Kate emerging 27 odd hours after birth, I’m putting myself on the record saying that I think she had a spontaneous vaginal birth without instruments and without an epidural. Why? Well, as @midwifeyhooper, @beverleyturner and I have been saying on twitter she is walking and carrying her baby with ease. There’s no hesitation or grimacing when going down steps or into the car; all of which would be pretty impossible so quickly after a caesarean.

The baby has no tell-tale lumps from a ventouse cup or forceps marks on his face. Kate herself has no bruises on the back of her hands or wrists suggesting no epidural or synthetic hormones.

head and hand

Of course, anything is possible, but her apparent lack of discomfort, her energy and her short stay in hospital and seemingly quite speedy timeline all point to a straightforward birth.

In many ways I feel guilty for speculating, for grubbily pouring over the photos searching for evidence. She’s just a woman adjusting to one of the most momentous changes in her life and I’m sure she doesn’t need us all wondering about ‘mode of delivery’ (hateful phrase). It’s her business and as long as she feels happy, well-supported and that it was a good and safe experience who cares if she had an elective caesarean or a water birth?

Yet, I can’t help feeling it does matter. If Kate was really keen to have a natural, vaginal birth and had really spent time practising antenatal yoga, Natal Hypnotherapy and the like I feel delighted for her that she had the birth she wanted and prepared for. In many ways the odds were stacked against her. Like over 90% of UK women she gave birth in a consultant-led unit (in her case with two dedicated consultants) when the evidence clearly shows that midwife-led care is the most appropriate, safest and cost-effective for low-risk women. She also gave birth at a private hospital with, reportedly, a 100% epidural rate, a high caesarean rate and no birth pool. (Though I wonder if an inflatable pool is being deflated as I type).

Sadly many UK women aren’t so lucky. Shunted in to consultant-led care through lack of available options they have a 45% chance of having an operative birth. Shocking when you think that the birth centre down the road would have dropped that chance by nearly 30%, while costing the NHS less and giving identical outcomes for the baby.

While medical intervention is life-saving, much-needed and also for some a positive choice there are too many women wanting to have Kate’s birth who end up feeling that the decisions have been snatched out of their hands.

So, perhaps I’m justifying my tabloid curiosity as I guiltily examine the backs of Kate’s hands, but the fact that the most high-profile birth of our time seems to have been a natural one, in a sea of rising interventions and rising dissatisfaction amongst women, seems important.

The headline “Woman has birth experience that she wanted and planned for” wouldn’t probably go down too well at The Sun’s news desk, but sadly it is becoming almost deserving of the front page.’

Follow Rebecca here @HackneyDoula

Birth Story Of The Week – Emma and Orla

This beautifully written birth story comes from Emma. Emma and I met when we were at Sixth Form studying for our A-Levels. Emma was always a dreamer, travelled, did amazing things in amazing parts of the world. She was one of those friends on Facebook who had the most incredible photos, you just ached to be doing what she was doing instead of being stuck in the cold British Winters. Then one Christmas eve I had a call from Emma asking if she could take Paracetamol for a cold…… because she was pregnant! I was so thrilled, my first friend in our school group to become a Mama! Emma shares her story with you all, it makes me cry every time I read it. Enjoy.

Emma and Orla

Emma and Orla

‘I’ve just been into your room to check on you sleeping before I go to bed myself. It’s 10:30pm and you’re sideways in your cot, tangled in your blankets. I still catch my breath every night when I do this; and then I hear your shallow breathing and I can feel your chest rising and falling. When you were first born I was in a state of perpetual anxiety, scared that at any point you would just decide to stop breathing.

I still feel like I’ve just had a baby, but I’m starting to think about your 1st birthday party and what to do. I try and remember your birth and some parts are still so present in my memory yet some have faded or were never there due to being exhausted or drugged up.

I remember tiptoeing into the spare bedroom, my Tens machine wired up to my lower back and onto my upper buttocks. The vibrations humming away, reassuringly helpful. My Mum was staying and I woke her up. The contractions were only every 7 minutes or so but I wanted her to know and I thought, I can do this. I went back to bed. This went on the next night too, each night starting around 2am and easing off around 7am. I had a midwife appointment pre-booked the next day and so we went. I had a membrane sweep, “to get things going”. Then there were the crescendo of contractions, one after the other, as if a marching band were on its way through my entire body.

I walked down my road to Sainsburys, I bent over in the customer toilets, outside against lamp posts and in the Indian takeaway restaurant where the man said, “Shouldn’t you be in a hospital?” My boyfriend Tom came home and I thought, “Ok, this is it”. The drive to hospital was uncomfortable, least of all because I was giving the directions. We arrived, and I was admitted. I was 4cm dilated but they needed to get my room ready so we walked around the hospital. I held Toms hand. My mum rang the family. My Tens machine buzzed away.

Inside the hospital again my birthing pool was ready and my pregnancy yoga music was playing. I got into the water and wallowed like a hippo. I relaxed. Too much. I started quoting lines from the Life Of Brian. Tom and mum exchanged concerned looks. My contractions stopped.

A new midwife started her shift, along with a trainee midwife who had an annoyingly deep voice. I lost my concentration. The midwife examined me and gave me another membrane sweep. This time it was agony. The gas and air I sucked on only made me tired. My knees were now knocking together. I could barely stand. I cried. Tom held my hand and my mother pressed and lifted my lower back during each and every contraction helping to relieve the weight, the pain.

Now my memory is hazy and I see parts of the process which aren’t necessarily in order and it spans hours, where every contraction, every few minutes was exhausting. I remember trying to go to the loo and being unable to sit and needing help from Tom. Bending over a ball and saying, “I’m too tired, I don’t have the energy any more . Tom then asking for some drugs and me telling the midwife “I want everything”. Then I remember waiting.

Then finally, being wheeled down the hall to the other ward and given Pethidine which allowed instant pain relief. Respite from the contractions was amazing. I was laid on my side and asked to tell the Anaesthetist when I was having a contraction for the epidural. Then, beautiful numbness. I saw my contractions on a screen. We waited. Tom laid out a place to nap and I slept. I must have slowly come round. I listened to my mum and Tom talk to the midwife, to the new playlist of “Relaxtion” music which I still listen to during sleep.

Then I said “I think I need to poo, or push”. And so I did. Even though I still wasn’t fully dilated. This went on for 20 minutes, with my legs nearly up by my ears. My body a contortion. I should have been in the water of course, squatting. This wasn’t my birth plan. I was lying on my back, trying to push, exactly the way I hadn’t wanted it. Yet I pushed, not knowing how hard or if it was good enough, just numbly pushing until my face went purple. Finally, a head could be seen, I was told to bear down, to push harder, to take another big breath, I was doing well, a snip by the midwife and out she finally came.

After 14 hours, my beautiful girl was born, at 03:37 on the 28th August 2012. She came straight into my arms and Tom cut the umbilical cord. I cried, never having known how such a feeling could be brought into your life in one second. She was perfect, healthy, weighing 7lbs 9.5oz.

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Suddenly I was a mummy, and I’m still getting used to it. She slept soundly the first night beside me in hospital in her glass box. I checked on her every 10 minutes despite the tiredness, to see if she was ok. I sat in my hospital bed, next to her, practising saying her name. Having only been decided when Tom had first held her and the midwife had asked “So, what’s she called?” And I looked at him, hoping he’d come round to the one I’d wanted. After what he’d seen me go through I must have convinced him as he then said “I think she looks like Orla”. Me too, I said. And that was that.’

 

What To Do If You’re Over Due

5 days over due

5 days over due

If the supposedly ‘official’ due date for the Royal baby was the 13th of July, then in medical terms Kate is late. Poor old ‘weighty Katie’ is now over due. The bun has well and truly cooked and the world will carry on waiting to hear the news that she is in labour. So in light of this here are my top 10 Tips of things to do if you go over due.

(I have this reoccurring thought that maybe she has in fact already given birth. That maybe she birthed calmly in her own home with 2 supportive pro normal birth midwives. In the pool using her hyponobirthing techniques and now she is blissfully enjoying her baby moon back at her parents house in Berkshire. Just a thought)

Your EDD.  The date which you have had etched in your mind since you first found out you were pregnant.  The date the sonographer changed at your 12 week scan and made you less pregnant than you originally thought, and then changed again at your 20 week scan. You gaze at your diary counting down the days until you finish work and maternity leave starts.  But as it is estimated that only as little as 5% of babies are born on their due date, and the majority of first time pregnancies going over due by a week, no wonder women get totally fed up when there is no sign of baby.

So I have decided to make a list of all the things you should do to keep you busy and stop your mind going crazy when you receive the 10th text of the day from yet another friend asking if you’ve had the baby yet??  (Um let me just check my vagina, nope still no baby yet).

  1. Don’t tell the whole world when your actual due date is. Or constantly update Facebook and Twitter with ’39+6 tomorrow we will get to meet our baby’.  Because as I’ve just said you probably won’t have your baby on it’s due date unless you fall in the 5%.  Just say ‘Oh some time next week’ and add a few days.
  2. Meet your work mates for lunch. And remind yourself how brilliant it is that you don’t have to worry about stressful deadlines and work related politics for at least 6 months, a year if you’re lucky.
  3. Read Birth Without Fear By Grantly Dick-Read. It’s peaceful and empowering especially if you’re feel a little freaked out as every person you meet in the street decides to tell you their horror birth story.  Yeah thanks, really helpful.
  4. Put all those ‘How to Put You’re Baby into a Military Routine’ and ‘How to Be the Perfect Mother’ books back on the shelf.  It’s not worth reading them yet, your baby certainly hasn’t read them.  Maternal instinct is an amazing thing and has guided women Motherhood since Eve had Cain and Able.
  5. Unpack your labour bag and get your partner to re pack it.  That way he will know where everything is and you won’t have to show him where your hair band is in the throws of labour.  See my post on Labour Bag Essentials.
  6. Go to the cinema with your partner/best mate/sister. You’ll probably won’t go again until your baby reaches it’s first birthday.  And anyway you’ll be so tired you’ll fall asleep half way through and miss the big reveal.  I’ve never seen the end of Atonement.
  7. The same goes for that book sitting on your bedside table, finish it now or you’ll never finish it.  I started reading again when my first was 18 months old, it was a big achievement not to be reading a 5 page ‘Lift the Flaps’ book.
  8. Have a pedicure. Mainly because it’s nice to look down at your toes after the baby has been born and not at your saggy tummy.  I went for OPI Big Apple Red, it was bold and daring and made me feel a bit glamorous when I really felt like I had been up for 3 days at a warehouse rave.
  9. Clean your kitchen floor, on all fours.  It will look shiny and clean but more importantly it will get your baby into the best position for birth.  See my post Star Gazing Babies.
  10. Have sex with your partner.  I know it’s the last thing either of you want to do but it’s nice to be intimate.  I think ‘Spoons’ is the only practical position to try when carrying a huge bump.  But more importantly oxytocin (the hormone that controls you contractions) is released during sex especially if you have an orgasm (bonus!) and semen contains prostaglandins which can help to ripen and soften the cervix.

What did you do to keep yourself busy when going over due?

The Midwives Royal Sweep!

Fancy a sweep?

Fancy a sweep?

Hello universe. Are you aware that the Royal baby is due to be evicted from the Royal womb any day now? Are you checking Sky News, Daily Mail and Twitter the moment you wake in desperation for the news that it has been born? Nope? Just me? I feel like I’m on call for lovely Kate and William, anxiously waiting for her to page me saying she’s had a ‘show’. Or possible regular contractions. Or water breaking. Or any news!!!!!

I can barely sleep at night. And I’m not the only one going Royal baby gaga for any news. The press are camped outside St Mary’s hospital in Paddington, like hysterical One Direction fans waiting to catch a glimpse of Harry Styles in his undies at the hotel window.

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Here at Gas and Air, I’ve decided to a do little competition to see if any of you clever readers can guess the Royal baby name and second name. And what’s even better, is that I’ve got some of my all time essential products for bumps and babies to give away as a prize! Trust me, you’re all going to want to get your paws on this little beauty!

All you have to do is think of yourself as a Prince or Princess, and name that baby! Something traditional? George? Alexander? Jemima? Or more trendy Mungo? India? Coco? You can guess up to 2 names. But don’t hang around she is due any day now…………

Click on the link below and follow the instructions. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Birth Story Of The Week – Stacey and Elijah

Has she popped yet? Twitter has been going crazy with rumours that Kate Middleton is in labour. Helicopters were seen near her parents house and the press continue to wait out the entrance of Paddington’s St Mary’s Hospital where she is due to deliver. But Prince William’s appearance at a polo match yesterday was a pretty good sign that things were all quiet in the Royal womb.

Well here is a lovely birth story written by a fellow midwife who I trained with and lived with back in the day. Actually it wasn’t that long ago but it feels it since we’ve both become mothers and done a lot of growing up since then! Stacey is a midwife on a postnatal ward in Bristol and here she tells her birth story of Elijah. Even very fast births may not always be the best, so be careful what you wish for.

Stacey and Elijah

Stacey and Elijah

So, my thoughts on the pregnancy…Easy, thoroughly enjoyable, amazing. My thoughts on the pending labour…petrifying, fearful, adamant I wasn’t going to go through with it. 

As a midwife, I have seen pretty much every type of labour- quick and easy, long and tough. I was sure I was going to have a tough one and had scared myself stupid.
Well, at 39 weeks I had my friend pop up for a couple of days. The husband decided to be rushed to hospital with a dodgy ticker (all is fine now!) and we jokingly said how this was enough to get me into labour- the next morning, some mild period pains kicked in. Nothing a little wheat pack and paracetamol couldn’t sort out! I found out at 11am I was 5cm but not contracting- hallelujah!! As great as this sounds, I had no idea what to do. It wasn’t what all the books say, surely I should be screaming for an epidural by this point?! So, as all women who are 5cm dilated…the husband was off work on a sick day (due to the dodgy ticker!) and I made sure he went and got his haircut. Then off we popped to a friend’s house for lunch. 

5cm dilated!

5cm dilated!

So, sat contracting every 5minutes but nothing particularly exciting, eating my tuna sandwich! Surreal. 

By 5pm we went home and things had settled. Husband suggested he had a nap, so I had a bath. The contractions had come back by 6pm and they were every 2-3minutes by 7pm! We got to the hospital by 7:30 and had a lovely waterbirth by 8:45. For me, I was most comfortable when in the pool. I didn’t want pain relief- if I’m honest, I wasn’t actually in pain. Does a pain free labour really exist? Being with my friends, my husband, using water and using pregnancy yoga techniques- I had what I would say was an hour and a half labour. Wow! Baby Elijah arrived weighing 8lb 0oz.

stacey

As many people would say I had the perfect labour, I wish it was slower, I wish I had time to register what was happening. I went home the next day and felt as though I’d stolen a baby from work- the whole process was too surreal and made bonding tough. He’s fantastic and we’re like best friends now…as for extending the family, that won’t be for a while, but I think it might have to include a waterbirth at home!!’

Jelly Project

It’s not often that the likes of Twitter and Instagram connect me with blasts from the pasts. And I’m not talking about previous ex boyfriends I’d rather forget, I’m taking about Mamas! Mama’s who was involved in the birth of their baby. This Mama is pretty special. Not only did she and her hubby make a Saturday night back in October 2011 on labour ward the most fun ever for a midwife, she also is relaunching my all time favourite childhood shoe for little people! And with a great charity behind it too! And now I have 2 little people in my life, I can recreate my childhood memories right down to their little tootsies!

Natalie and Jude

Natalie and Jude

Natalie! So lovely to link up again. Last time we hung out was in room 10 on labour ward eating amazing chorizo pizza and laughing about how much we couldn’t live without our dishwashers and baby name choices!  Life has been pretty busy for you since the birth of Jude, you are non- stop!  How on earth have you found time to start up Project Jelly? 

‘The last 10months have been amazing – I nearly bottled the whole idea in January as I thought with no retail experience behind me that perhaps it was just bravado and hormones powering me! But a long winter spent back and forth to the factory in Northampton (babies in tow!) and gazillions of hard work later meant that Project Jelly came to life. It’s been an awesome learning curve alongside motherhood for me – being invited to 10 Downing street in May was a highlight!! Its super cool to think that Florence Cameron could be sliding down the banister in her pink project jellies! I had a difficult pregnancy so treated myself to a long pre mat leave break. I had 7 weeks off last summer and a gorgeous last hurrah with my toddler Darcy. 10 notebooks later and a brilliantly placid chunky son Jude meant that breastfeeding hours powered by the Internet, hatched a simple little idea?! 

 A great British children’s shoe + a fat fundraising edge = projectjelly.com

What inspired you to re-introduce such a great retro product ‘the jelly shoe’ back on the market?

Watermelon Rocks!

Watermelon Rocks!

I’m in the Anti Crocs brigade and so thought surely there needs to be a British Shoe to challenge the toddler play shoe crown ! Whatever happened to Jelly shoes of old ?? Hmmmmm.  And the fact that my lovely sparkly sister-in-law Helen and daughter Darcy are both shoe fetish queens! Darcy kept clipping around in my high heels and my JuJu Jelly shoes and obsessed with shoes and hand bags . They both love a shop and I really wanted to challenge myself and fundraise in a different way ‘shoes+mencap’ seemed a curious blend I needed to investigate.

Mencap are one of those charities most people don’t know about until they or someone they know really needs their support. How is The Project Jelly helping to spread the love?

Indeed – Mencap, the voice of learning disabilities are an amazing charity helping people to lead independent lives. It’s really close to my heart, my sister-in-law Helen and my Collier family have had wonderful help and support since Helen was born in the 80’s. Please check out their website – they continue to be one of the most active and creative charities and we need to shout from the rooftops the amazing work they do! http://www.mencap.org.uk/

I had the opportunity to meet Jo Whiley who is a lifelong supporter and quite possibly the coolest mama and Mencap supporter around. Who else would rock into 10 Downing street in Laboutins and leggings. Loved it! By the way I wore my adult JuJu jelly shoes of course ..clear glitter babies available from TopShop, but looking a lot more stumpy for it!

Natalie you are a pretty cool Mama, how has having two gorgeous children helped you to keep focused on such a huge project? 

I guess this little chapter of ‘Project Jelly’ I hope will teach them about charity and the art of giving. I do feel we are in a commercial snowstorm and the more brands can do to spread good messages and the more we give back the better ….They are actually a huge help- they are hilarious good fun and my little best buddies ( it’s quite easy to be adored by your kids when there’s a room full of shoes and boxes to open every day ! ) It has been hard work and quite a journey but one that means I can work around them and continue to work from home and be their no.1 mama. Who knows what the future holds but it feels good to have this learning and creativity in my life and I hope to be around juggling jelly shoes for years to come.

** please do check us out at projectjelly.com **

Finish these sentences for me

‘Motherhood is a mixture of……………Chaos, tears and the best laughter/love potion around’ – Only in that order momentarily as were in terrible two’s.

‘I couldn’t live without these 3 things…..’ Wet kisses from my mini Colliers, obscene amount of sugar and my very understanding Dude/AKADaddyPiggy

‘My top tip when giving birth is……’a sense of humour hat, and whilst you’re at it whole wardrobe. DONT EAT PIZZA! And sod the straws – I must admit to an epidural or two! So be brave but shout loudly if you want those drugs x

Don’t just take my word for it though, my girls LOVE their Project Jelly shoes, thanks Natalie!

Watermelon Rocks and Raspberry Mivi Pink Glitter

Watermelon Rocks and Raspberry Mivi Pink Glitter

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Thumbs up from these two!

 

Birth Story Of The Week – Rachel and Ted

Summer is in full swing (I think I actually said yesterday to my husband in a teeny tiny voice that it was too hot). I’m doing my visits on my bike today and life is good!  Hope you all had a wonderful weekend and nobody got too burnt. Saw some hideous sun burn at our local Lido yesterday, ouch! Factor 30 people or you will look like a stripy lobster.

Today’s birth story comes from Rachel who writes a hilarious blog which I discovered when the Kirsty Allsop vs NCT row erupted on Twitter. Rachel writes with such honesty about Motherhood and says exactly what most of us are thinking, but don’t have the balls to say it. Here is her story

Blog: When The Baby Sleeps

Twitter: whenthebabysleeps

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There are many things people tell you about giving birth that are true. The rest of what people tell you is irrelevant. One of the truest things I’ve read about giving birth is this: 

“When you’ve done it (given birth) you look back and realised that everything that happened, somebody had … told you would happen, but nobody put the information in the right order and they failed to really stress the important bits. They will tell you curiosities with more energy than they tell you about the main bits, where an actual baby comes out.” Zoe Williams, Bring it on, Baby (2010)

‘Ms Williams is 100% correct. As it turned out my labour featured a lot of the trivial details people had suggested it might, but the delivery was something else altogether.

It started with a sweep. A really vigorous and painful sweep, given as a way of trying to avoid a 39 week induction due to a (mistaken, in my humble opinion) diagnosis of gestational diabetes. Four hours later I was cramping and shitting and texting my husband urgently to ‘BRING HOME LOO ROLL!’. Body clearing out for labour? Check. We had a quiet evening in the bath, trying to time what were very half arsed contractions. There was a lot of standing up, sitting down and wondering if this was it.

I had a doula sorted to try and support me through an experience I was expecting to find very difficult. My husband’s amazing but he was keen to have a doula too, to help with practical things and provide a different dynamic to the one we feared might kick in if we both got tired and scared. I had many fears about childbirth which I’m sure most women share, and I felt I’d spent literally years preparing for something that I knew I couldn’t really prepare for.

My doula came over about midnight and we sat up for the next few hours talking, listening to music and pausing silent for contractions when they came. I’d had lots of things lined up to support me through labour such as a TENS machine, birthing ball and the like but when it came to it I just didn’t fancy any of it. As the contractions got stronger my doula got out her homeopathy kit, read me a poem and rubbed my back; all of these things seemed preposterous at the time (because they were) and I was still very much thinking through my labour at this point. I knew I time would come when I’d stop thinking, go inside myself and probably turn a bit feral but it hadn’t come yet.

About 5am I got a bit restless so insisted we go to hospital. Looking back on it I was wildly perky at this point and if my doula had been firmer with me she could have persuaded me out of going and kept me at home to progress. We arrived, I puked on a few people, peed in a bucket and then was told I was only 1cm dilated. Obviously. So home we went in a taxi that I had to get out of half way home because I was convinced I’d peed myself. I hadn’t. This was the thing that shocked me about labour; the total loss of control I felt. I was doing all of the bodily functions all the way through and it was weird. My body was starting to become ‘not-my-own’. Eeek.

Back at home I rested in the bath while my husband got some sleep, and my lovely doula stroked my hair, kept me positive and helped me relax enough to sleep through what were some intense contractions. I’d done hypobirthing during my pregnancy and it was at this point that I think it really kicked in. I was definitely in unrest mentally and physically very uncomfortable but what I felt wasn’t pain. That is until my waters broke. Two hours after getting into the bath I bit into a biscuit, threw up immediately and with my sick came the most almightly gush of stuff. I was sitting in a bath of puke, wee, womb water and all manner of bits that I could not identify. As well as the gunk there was this hard, intense pain and all I could think was ‘Get! This! Baby! Out! Of! Me! Now!

This is where labour memories become hazy as I shut my eyes and didn’t open them until it was more or less all over. Getting to the hospital was the hardest bit by far. I have vivid memories of trying to sit in the back of the car thinking it would be much less hassle to get out of the car and have the baby on the goddamn road. I think it may have been transition, folks. My doula and I shuffled into the hospital and were found a room on labour ward, while my husband left the car somewhere hugely inappropriate for which we got a parking ticket around the time my boy was born.

I was hoping to get straight into a birthing pool but the midwives had other ideas. My diagnosis meant close monitoring so I was strapped up to monitors – pre-labour I was adamant I’d still try for an active labour and wouldn’t be getting onto any beds to push. As it turned out I was so far gone by this point both physically and mentally that it was all I could do to crawl onto that bed and stay there. I was good for nothing else, too weak to stand and plus I was already ready to push. I tried gas and air around this time but it made me feel too light headed and scared to persevere, and although I did politely request an epidural even I knew that was pointless by now. Gulp. “You can start pushing on the next contraction.” It all felt too sudden and I had no time to acclimatise to the hospital setting, although the pain was telling me this baby couldn’t come soon enough.

The pain stopped for the first time in what felt like hours and I had a real moment of clarity. I looked around the room and asked ‘Will this bit really hurt?’ The answer was an emphatic No, as apparently I’d done the hard bit. Well, pushing a baby out is really hard to get the hang of isn’t it? I got all the ‘like you’re having a poo’ instructions but just couldn’t cut it. After every contraction I got the strong sense that I was doing pretty poorly as the midwives all looked very disappointed. And then they looked concerned. They were gathered around the monitor which was printing out my baby’s heartbeat, telling me to ‘push whenever you want!’ and then all of a sudden everything changed. An emergency cord was pulled and about 6 new extra people appeared out of nowhere. Equipment was gathered, lots of instructions were barked, and it became clear we had to get this baby out PDQ.

First up the doctor tried a ventouse, which hurt like hell and was ineffective, so thanks for that guys. She tried a cut too, which didn’t really hurt at all much to my surprise. It was the big guns that brought out my baby in the end: the dreaded forceps. Which, turns out, aren’t as bad as you think. I mean, it’s no picnic and I did immediately report it as ‘like being ripped apart by wild animals’ but considering what a brilliant job they do of getting your baby out they’re not quite deserving of their terror inducing status. I had a local for the forceps so couldn’t feel anything except pressure, and when baby came out he was just fine. It was all done there and then so there was minimal hanging around and the whole awful saga was over within 20 minutes. My boy came out screaming but well and he shot out with such force that he sprayed birth blood and gunk all over everybody – a fact I am more than a little proud of. Well, it’s the least they deserved for the drama right?

 He was well. 6Lb 5 and the spit of my husband as a baby. We were relieved beyond measure, swallowing our terror and trying not to think about what we thought might go wrong. Shell shocked, I think.

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The next day I was visited by the doctor who delivered my baby. Now she’d definitely done an ‘oops’ face when she saw the state my genitals were in once my baby was born. She talked me through everything that had happened, reassured me that my baby was fine but that they’d been very worried, and explained that I’d take some time to heal. “Did I just not push hard enough?” I asked her. “No. You did a really good job.” I thanked her, and she left me to it.’

The Naughtiest Little Piglet

Once upon a time there was a little bean who lived in her Mummy’s tummy, she was called Piglet.

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Piglet liked to make her Mummy very very sick, so sick that her Mummy (who worked on a busy labour ward) had to dash into the bathroom in between coordinating the shift to be sick. Poor old Mummy. But then the Mummy started to feel better, her blue eyes sparkled again and she blossomed as her bump grew.

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Piglet was very wriggly and loved moving about in her new warm, dark, cosy bed. She wriggled and wriggled until she got into a comfortable position, her bottom firmly down and her little head bobbing up. But that position was not want her Mummy or her Mummy’s midwives really were hoping for. So one day a very clever doctor with his very clever hands turned Piglet the other way around, bottoms up! And there she stayed. But Piglet had still not finished being naughty. Oh no, she decided that growing wasn’t something she was too keen on and wanted to stay little.

Naughty little Piglet had everyone worried. Her Mummy and Daddy were very worried, the doctors with the big scanning machines were worried and even the midwives were worried. So D day came and the naughty little Piglet had to leave her warm, dark, cosy bed. Her Mummy went to the hospital and had some magic medicine to make little Piglet come out.

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Luckily for her Mummy and Daddy Piglet’s arrival was very quick, her midwives just only got there in time! And the naughty little Piglet was born on the 28th of May at 14:51 weighing a tiny 5lbs 4onz. They named her Charlotte Elizabeth and she was beautiful just her Mummy!

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And Charlotte and her Mummy and Daddy lived happily ever after.

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Birth Story Of The Week – Naomi and Lucas

This weeks birth story comes from Naomi who writes a fantastic blog all about parenting three young boys, dealing with aspergers, to allergies, baking, crafting and much much more! I don’t know how she does it! She has very kindly shared her birth story of her youngest son Luca with you lucky lot. Enjoy your Monday lets keep the sun shining!

Blog: Mrs Tutey

Twitter: SweetToothNim

‘This is my final birth story. S3 was born October 2012 at 38+6 after a gestational diabetic pregnancy. I found the pregnancy really tough going and by 37weeks I was physically and mentally exhausted. I was booked in for induction at 38+6 due to my physical state (basically starving on the diet I was on), a predicted big baby and high levels of fluid.

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8am on Saturday 20th October I rang the labour ward. I was told to ring back at 9am because they needed to find a bed for me. 9am I ring back and I was told to go in. So we pack the car up, kissed the big boys bye and left them with my mum. It was a surreal drive into the hospital. Only previously done it while in labour. I was admitted at 9.30am and we settled into our boring room.

10am I had a doctor check me. She was brutal with the internal and I had to ask her to stop! Second time she found my cervix and it was unfavourable and tightly closed. I had been having strong Braxton hicks for days, so the midwife thought they may just be able to break my waters. Especially with it being my third baby. The doctor managed to give me a sweep and I was hooked up to a monitor. While we were listening to baby’s heart beat I noticed the contraction % was going up to 90%! We started getting excited that something was happening.

11am the Midwife came back and commented on the 90%. I knew I was having tightenings, but they didn’t hurt! I was found to be 2cm dilated though. The midwife gave me another sweep and suggested we went for a walk. By the time we were sorted it was nearly 12noon and we went for some lunch. We walked through the hospital and baby was that low that I could barely walk. He must have been laid on a nerve as my leg kept giving way! All good signs. Plus I kept having contractions.

I was checked again between 1 and 2pm and I was 2cm still. Not good news, they hooked me back up to the monitor and all contractions had stopped. It was decided that the midwife would insert some gel into my cervix to get me into established labour. So at 3pm it was administered and I was to be checked again at 9pm. At this point we realised we were in it for the long haul, so hubby bought a TV card and we settled down to wait. I started getting rather emotional though and cried quite a bit. I was tired and fed up of the 4 walls we were in.

6.15pm I started having contractions again. I didn’t want to get hubby’s hopes up again, so I said nothing for a while. An hour later I knew this was it and told him. The contractions were every 2-3 minutes. We buzzed for a Midwife and a different one came in. Ours had gone to the labour ward to help out. This one would not check me as my notes said 9pm. I know my notes had fast labour written across it in big letters. She obviously missed this and told me it was early days yet. I started panicking a bit, but hubby remained calm.

7.30pm I moved to go for a wee and my waters went. We buzzed but no one came. My contractions got stronger and I was shaking. I started panicking and crying again! Hubby went to find someone. The ward was like a ghost town. All he found was a porter (and maybe some tumble weed lol). The Midwives were on handover. Finally a midwife appeared and could see I was in pain. She helped me to the toilet, confirmed my waters had gone and I was bleeding from my sweeps. I was hooked up to the gas and air (OMG I LOVE that stuff) and examined. I was 5cm and ready to go to the delivery ward.

8pm I was rushed through the corridors to delivery in between contractions. We just made it, so that I could have gas and air again! The midwife who greeted us was the same midwife who delivered S2. I felt safe in her hands. My contractions were coming thick and fast with no gap in between. I overdosed on gas and air! I remember an insulin drip being put on my arm and I was hooked up to the monitors. The Midwife decides to check me, but as she does the rest of my waters drowned her and flooded my notes on the table at the end of the bed.

After that my memory is a bit hazy. Mostly due to the amount of gas and air I was taking. I started getting the urge to push and the end of each contraction. The pressure down below made me want to be on my knees but I couldn’t move being hooked up to monitors and a drip, so hubby and the mw had to pin me down! I remember squeezing the mw wrist and grabbing the back of hubby’s head with the gas and air gripped in between my teeth. The Mw asked hubby to take the gas and air off me, but he had no chance. I managed to pull my drip out and blood spurted everywhere!

Baby’s head crowned slowly and my contraction stopped when his head was half out. He had a hand next to his head too. Then with the next contraction he flew out! He was handed to me and did a big wee all over me. He looked so tiny too.

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At 10.31pm Luca was born weighing 7lb13oz. Just in time for daddy to watch Match of the day! The placenta delivered less than 5 minutes later, it was such a relief as I had started panicking. Baby had his first BF within that time too. I needed no stitches and went for a nice hot bath. I was transferred to the ward at 3am (took ages as they were busy) and discharged by lunchtime. This birth as far as I was concerned was perfect. A great birth to finish off with.