Birth Story Of The Week – Kharmel and Minnie

I have total OCD…I write lists of lists and had an excel spreadsheet of everything I thought I needed for the birth of baby G (I can’t really remember where this moniker came from) I also Google everything…Pregnancy and birthing has taught me that regardless of how many colour coordinated excel docs you make, how many google searches, books you read, classes you attend etc – you are never truly prepared for what happens next. And by next I mean labour.
Our pregnancy was planned… I had tried to time it so that I would get preggo at Burning man because I naively thought it was as easy as that.  Mother nature thwarted me and I spent the whole week on my period, fat and bloated constantly freaking out about how a tampon was going to look with my outfit du jour (basically no clothes – goggle it!) So  back to London and back to business. Anyway long story short, I realised I was pregnant one night four months later whilst eating half a Spanish omelette in bed at 3am with ketchup. (I was about two days pregnant and googled pregnancy symptoms that night!  )
I had a pretty ‘okay’ pregnancy if you can call it that. I had hypermesis (I googled this, but didn’t think I had it until I was rushed to A & E and placed on an Iv drip for two days) but other than that was pretty smooth sailing – no cravings, no stretch marks : ) and no piles!
I knew pretty much from the beginning that I had wanted a home birth. I hate hospitals. I don’t really know why as I had never had any kind of surgery or had to spend a night in hospital until my Hyperemis and the food wasn’t all that bad! I went to a home birth class run by my local midwives which was really informative and not so hippy dippy as I thought it was going to be. There were lots of ‘normal’ reasons for wanting a home birth from women who had chosen to do so because they hadn’t had a great experience in hospitals with their first births, wanting more control over their births etc. I  was thinking how wonderful it would be to have a baby and then shut the door, shut the blinds and crawl into bed with our baby. Just the three of us. No hospital noise. No hospital lights. It was here that I first heard about Hypnobirthing and made a note to google it some more!!!
A few weeks later we met with an absolutely wonderful woman called Karen Mander who ran a two hour session that my and my boyf went to. He fell asleep. I thought it would be a crazy ‘alternative’ woman who had probably never had children herself, getting you to listen to whale music. Instead, we had an honest open discussion about how labour actually happens and the physical aspect of what is happening at each stage and what you can do to have a birth that is more calm by taking control of your body. This was the best money spent during my whole pregnancy (apart from a preggo massage at Space NK)
So I get to my due date and fancy sushi… I Google to see if sushi can really be that bad for you this late in pregnancy. Jury was out but I didn’t care at this point and drove to get California crab rolls and a beer. No sign of baby. I spend the next two days googling ‘how do I know if I’m in labour.’ Retrospective word of advice – when you are, you know. If you have to google it chances are you ain’t!! I google image what a mucus plug looks like (gross) google whether raspberry leaf tea/ acupuncture/ reflexology work. Google how accurate due dates are. Google how many women go into labour on their due date. Goggle is now my enemy. I’m bored.
Cut to two days later and I am definitely having contractions. They start on Sunday and hurt. But they don’t hurt hurt so I lounge about and think now is probably a good time to put on my hypnobirthing CD (damn why hadn’t I done this 4 months ago!). The midwife comes and attempts a sweep but I’m not having any of it. I go to bed and manage to get some sleep and eat a lot of shit – Nik Naks, Minstrels and some weird new Lucozade. My Dad comes over and I try to pretend that I’m not having contractions whilst trying to log them on my contraction timer app. It’s shit.
The next morning I’m definitely in labour, I’ve definitely seen my mucus plug (still gross) I text my midwife and curl up in bed, occasionally moving on to my birthing ball and then back into bed. Boyf starts filling the pool up at around 4pm and I get in without a midwife as I’ve decided I’ve had enough. The pool is amaaaaaaaaaazing. The hot water makes me feel relaxed and seems to take the pressure off. Then the gas and air arrives (with two more midwives and a student midwife) I have my diptique burning and fleetwood Mac on what seems to be repeat but maybe not. Anyway the gas and air is a dream and everything for the next three hours becomes a magical blur. I just remember floating around and generally feeling very euphoric. Oh and trying to eat a digestive biscuit at some point only to spit it back into my boyfriend’s face. Nice. I ask a few times how much longer, but not because the pain is unbearable… at this point I just want to meet my baby and see what he or she looks like.
Then I get to 9cms dilated and things change. I want to push. I tell the midwife and I think I start to try to push. Then I hear them all talking but can’t really work out what they’re saying. I didn’t know this at the time, but baby’s heartbeat keeps dropping with every contraction. They say that they are going to take me to hospital just to make sure everything’s okay. I was still high on gas and air so don’t really remember much of this part other than not wanting to get dressed to get in an ambulance. And not having a proper hospital bag packed as I was adamant I wasn’t ever going to have to go to hospital.
We get to the hospital and they quickly work out that the cord is firmly wrapped around the baby’s neck. I was going to need an emergency c section. Now, I’ve not had any surgery not even a tooth out but at this point I’m still super high on gas and air and don’t really care what they’re doing to me. I remember the radio playing and everyone being really nice and talking to me… I sign some papers and kind of remember talking about this bit in the NCT class. I’m awake but definitely too high to have any kind of freak out which I MOST DEFINITELY would have had, had I not been on gas and air.
Then she was out. Very quickly. There was a moment of silence and my boyfriend was definitely worried but I knew that all was going to be okay. And then a teeny tiny cry. We didn’t know if we were having a boy or a girl and I remember Adam saying it was a girl and placing her on my chest. I was super spaced out of it but remember looking at her and thinking she was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen and fuck me she had a lot of hair!!
I would never have opted for a c section in a million years and it definitely wasn’t the greatest experience I’ve ever had but the hospital were amazing and I think that my home birth (while it lasted) was the most beautiful and magical thing I could wish for. As I write this 7 weeks later, and reflect, I now know that I would have always had to have a c section due to the cord tie,  but I would do it all again in exactly the same way. My midwives were the most wonderful women I could have asked for. It was their quick decision and knowledge that something wasn’t quite right,, that prevented things from going horribly wrong. Yes I now have a bumpy scar, and surgery and hospitals still scare me, but I’m happy that I attempted to give birth at home and got to enjoy 5 hours of labour at home.
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Minnie Rose Gravett was born at 10.21pm on Monday 29th September and weighed 6.6lbs. She’s a dream. And I still Google everything, although I have no time for Excel docs anymore!

Birth Story Of The Week – Heather and her Twins Felicity and Caitlin

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“Having read Holly Shawyer’s (an old school friend) blog about her home birth with Mabel, I had a strong desire to share my very different birth story, which was somewhat traumatic but with a happy ending.
 
I knew early on that mine would be a very different story, because I was expecting twins. No home birth for me, not even the midwife led birthing unit and birthing pool. I was marked as high risk and was expected to deliver in the hospital delivery suite, where I would be hooked up to plenty of monitors to ensure both babies stayed well throughout labour. I had been to all the NCT classes and was hopeful that even though it might not be a text book labour, I would at least have some opportunity to follow a birth plan.
But my little girls had other ideas… at 30+6 weeks pregnant, with my husband away on business in Malaysia, they decided to put in an appearance. We knew that with twins there was a likelihood of premature labour, but we hadn’t realised how premature. With perhaps some sort of subconscious foresight, I chose to stay with my parents that night. With no sign that anything was wrong I went to bed, but was woken at 12.30am when my waters went with a gush. With my Dad muttering that he thought he was done and dusted with midnight dashes to the hospital, both parents rushed me to the hospital, whilst I rang James to tell him he needed a plane home!
At the hospital they were incredibly reassuring and even managed to get me to relax a bit. It didn’t seem like I was having contractions so they were hopeful that they might be able to get me to hold on until James got back. However, when they had a look they found a foot already on it’s way out! At 3cm dilated there wasn’t enough room for them to come out safely even though they were tiny. So a c-section it was and because my blood pressure was so high, it had to be under general anaesthetic. They pushed the button and suddenly the room filled with 20 people. My mum was whisked out, someone undressed me and gowned me and I was wheeled down the corridor, yelling that I couldn’t lie on my back due to pelvic girdle pain. Before I knew it I was asleep and then awake again. Two and a half hours from my waters breaking to the arrival of my girls.
An anxious time followed whilst a kindly midwife reassured me I would soon see my baby. I had to keep checking there were definitely still two babies, panic increasing each time she referred to “your baby”. But after what felt like forever, they wheeled me on my bed into the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and pointed at two incubators, telling me they were mine. They reassured me that 1.3kg (3lb) was a good weight, that they were healthy and that they expected them to do well.
It was another 24 hours before I saw them again, as I lay recovering on the post-natal ward listening to everyone else’s babies scream. I had high blood pressure and low iron levels. But 24 hours after they arrived, my husband appeared by my bedside and we went to visit them together and were able to name them Felicity and Caitlin. Holding them for the first time, tucked against your skin inside your shirt, whilst they are connected to what feels like hundreds of tubes and monitors, is the most amazing experience. Panicking each time the monitors bleeped, whilst the nurses continued to reassure you all was well.
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They spent six weeks in special care and the nurses and doctors were amazing, never forgetting that although they were providing the twenty-four hour care, we were the parents.
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They came home at 6 weeks old, still 3 weeks before full-term and weighing 4lbs and we couldn’t be more grateful for the care they received there. Now 5 months old and weighing 11lbs our little miracles are thriving.”
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Birth Story of The Week – Charlotte and Lil

This is major, I’m on annual leave. The pager and work phone are both turned off and we’re going camping in a few days to Dorset. I’m not particularly into sleeping under canvas (excluding a good old festie) but there’s hot showers, electric sockets for hair dryers and iphone chargers and the weather forecast is looking good! I’ve just spent a great 4 days at my Mum’s who lives by the sea in Whitstable. The sun shone, Marnie loved the beach and I finally got to hang out with the amazing Charlotte and Lil. Charlotte writes the brilliant blog I’m Only Saying What You’re Thinking  and she is even better in real life. Especially after we devoured a bottle of red in the local tapas restaurant and almost wet ourselves laughing and forgetting that we are responsible Mamas over G&T’s. Ahem. Charlotte agreed (sober) that she would finally share her birth story and true to her word she did despite coming down with a cold. That girl is card core and she’s only 5ft 2. Respect!

Blog: onlysayingwhatyourethinking

Twitter: yesimcharlotte

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‘It’s been almost two and a half years now since I gave birth, although technically I’m probably not allowed to use that term, seeing as she didn’t actually come out of my vagina.

In my head, I thought she’d be early. Not dangerously early, just a week or two. My pregnancy wasn’t much fun so I wished the majority of it away. I was devastated to reach day seven past my due date. And then on day ten, they took my whinging arse in to induce me. But that kid would not shift.

After a few attempts at getting her out using drugs, my contractions finally started two days after I’d been admitted. The pain was bearable at first, like a wave of ouch every now and then. But soon after it all got a bit mental so I asked for the Pethidine. I waited patiently for it to kick in but nothing. So they whisked me round to the delivery suite to break my waters. I was all baby, which was a bit terrifying. I wondered how the hell I was supposed to push her out. The contractions were coming thick and fast and I was so tired that I just wanted the pain to go away. Not at all bothered about the thought of an epidural (I have a needle phobia), I asked the midwife to hit me up. Twenty minutes later, after keeping scarily still during a painful contraction while the anaesthetist inserted the needle in to my spine, I was swimming around the room (although not literally, you understand – I was paralysed from the waist down). I only knew I was having contractions by looking at the monitor. I cannot begin to explain how heavenly it felt, pushing that button to top up the pain relief. I was hooked.

After a while, the contractions started to get worryingly closer together and my baby’s heart rate was very fast so they gave me more drugs to slow them down. Seven hours after it all began, I was told that they were concerned as the baby’s heart rate showed no signs of slowing. I was six centimetres dilated and she’d got stuck. My hips might be wide but this kid wasn’t going anywhere. Time for a C-section, they said. From the moment they admitted me to hospital four days prior, I knew this was how the story was going to end. Call it Mother’s intuition. I was ready for sleep by the time they’d gowned up. I remember my husband telling me to stay awake and promising me a Mulberry bag (of course, I never got my ‘push’ present…). I just wanted to curl and snooze but before I knew it I heard a shrill scream.

At 4:12am on 7th April, they pulled her out of the cosy little nook she’d spent almost nine months in. She was not happy.  7lb 8oz of perfect, pink flesh. I don’t remember much after this, other than I was moved into a recovery room, given a shot of morphine (it tasted of vodka and blackcurrant), and nibbled on toast, which I violently threw back up. The midwife cleaned me up and passed me the little monster who had made my pregnancy hell. My first thought? ‘Oh fucking hell, now what?’.

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At the time, I was so high on drugs that I felt a bit like a robot. I didn’t feel or think much at all. My birth experience still feels so surreal but it’s only now I can see just how delicious it really was. As I write this, my two and a half year old naps beside me. And I wish, I wish so hard that I could be transported back to those mental few days, just so I could soak it all up again. Because although I didn’t think so then, those were the most amazing few days of my life.’

 

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.