Birth Story Of The Week – Quin and Ari

Hello 2014! How exciting is the beginning of a new year? I’m embracing this month by banishing those January blues and looking forward all the amazing birth stories that I have to share with you every week. And kicking off this week is a fabulous story by Quin.

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‘It was 2.30pm on Monday 3 October 2011 and I was just walking from the kitchen into the hallway, wondering when my friends and their son would be arriving for tea and cake. Then it happened – and it was just like it is in the films. Water gushed and I thought for a split second that I’d wet myself, until I remembered I hadn’t needed the loo 2 seconds earlier. And then the doorbell rang.

My first thought? SHIIIIIIT. I grabbed my phone and rang my husband, breathlessly conveying that not only had my waters gone and it was ‘happening’ but I had three lovely people waiting on the doorstep. We agreed he’d leave work pronto and I waddled to the door. Being on the top floor and the owner of a broken entry system, I hobbled down 4 flights of stairs and greeted my friends with a ‘my waters have gone’ and they came rushing in. ‘Don’t panic’ came from the gent. My girl friend, in all her calm, experienced glory was a very welcome sight. After calm was restored and I realised I wasn’t going to give birth imminently, we sat down to tea and cake – but as you can imagine, conversation wasn’t relaxed. We called the hospital and they told me to come in for a check. They asked if the baby was moving normally but to be honest, I couldn’t tell – it was probably snoozing and I was hardly feeling normal about things.

A friend at work had told me to ignore all the books and to not pack my hospital bag until I was in labour. ‘You’ll need something to do’ is what she said. So, with no hospital bag to grab, my friend dutifully packed it whilst I paced around, and off I hopped into a taxi, wearing my slippers (which I’d forgotten to swap for shoes) and sitting on a towel. I’m sure the driver thought something was up – but I certainly wasn’t going to tell him.

I met my husband at the station and we drove to the hospital.

I waited at St Thomas’s for a while, experiencing extremely mild period-pain like twinges, and thinking ‘this is so easy. I can totally handle this labour thing’. I was assessed and told I was not in labour and was booked in for an induction 24 hours later. ‘Go home, relax and put your feet up’ was the advice given. So that it what we did.

Home at about 6pm, we settled into an evening of lists. Lists and times. Timing and listing every single twinge and pain. By about 11pm I was well into labour with contractions and throwing up galore. I couldn’t sit, stand or do anything except for throw up everything I’d eaten that day and wish to God that it would be over soon. I was determined to stay at home for as long as I could so at about 1am, we went back into St Thomas’s for another check. I was sure I was in proper labour. The contractions were like nothing I’d even dreamed off and the ‘surges’ of pain were more like deep waves that penetrated every fibre of my body. Even my finger nails ached.

I was greeted at Tommy’s by a really unsympathetic woman. She curtly told me (as I threw up again) that I was not in labour and this was ‘nothing like established labour would be’.

I honestly didn’t know what to think. How could I cope with any more pain? The advice she gave me ‘to go home, get some sleep, have a long lazy breakfast and come back in 12 hours for the induction’ stuck in my throat, along with the useless paracetamol. We went home. I felt lost, dark, lonely and a little despairing. As my husband tried to sleep, I lay on the bed unable to think straight, my body felt like it was being torn in two each time I contracted, and at one point I remember thinking throwing myself out of the window was a better option than this dark and lonely place I was inhabiting.

At about 5am, I really could take it no more and was beginning to lose my mind. My husband called the hospital again and told them we were coming back in as I was in need of serious drugs. We were then told that labour ward was closed as it was full and they’d call back in a few minutes with an alternative. I didn’t care at this point. In my mind my husband was about to deliver our child, and any alternative was a blessing. Ten minutes later we were told to go to Kings and we hobbled off one last time. I remember not being able to sit in the car as each contraction propelled me out of my seat. We got to Kings and I was assessed on camera first whilst I waited (they do this sometimes to see how often you’re contracting apparently!) and when assessed by the midwife was told I was now 3cm and not in established labour. I nearly lost it at this point but, finally being in a safe environment, I did calm down and managed to persuade them to let me stay. Hurrah for the midwife as she was within her rights to send me off again as I hadn’t reached 4cm. As a birthing room was free, they welcomed me in – and much to me delight, began to fill the birthing pool so I could hop in and relax.

I got in the pool at 7am and was only there for about half an hour when I felt the strangest sensation – I needed to push and had no control over it. I told the midwife who said I needed to try and chill as much as possible – if I pushed too early, I would certainly tear. I tried to relax as much as I could and got chatting to the really lovely trainee doctor who was sitting in on my labour – his first. But there it was again, that urge to push. Under instruction I got out of the pool and was assessed.

When she said ‘ok, the baby is in the birth canal, you need to get back in the water and push’ we couldn’t believe what we were hearing. I thought I’d be there for ages yet (and was told I would be) and was just waiting for 4cm so I could have some serious painkillers – I had been dreaming of an epidural since about 1am. I remember saying ‘is it too late for any drugs’ and she said ‘yes, you’re baby is almost here! Get back in and push.’

After what seemed like an eternity pushing (it was about 2 hours), my beautiful little frizzy-haired bundle of loveliness came swimming out and straight into my arms. She was clean, plump, had huge blue eyes and pouty red lips. We were so grateful to the amazing team at Kings for having faith in my assertion I needed to stay. We were told if they had told me to go home, they are sure my husband would have delivered her – and that we are all grateful for! 3cm-10 in an hour is scary – especially when your body, as only you know really know, is clearly doing a lot of the hard work in the pre-stage.

Roll on 3.5 weeks, a nightmare with feeding, a saint in the form of a Lambeth breastfeeding counsellor, and a now happy, plump-once-more baby, I’m sitting on the sofa one evening when I get the strangest feeling, as if my waters have broken. I think it strange, that surely my waters broke nearly a month ago… I run to the loo to find I’m having a major haemorrhage. Losing what seems like pints of blood, with hormones raging, a newborn in the next room and what seems like my entire body ebbing away, I fly into a major panic. My husband rings 999 and an ambulance team arrives and whisks me – blue lights and driving on the wrong side of the road – all the way to Kings. A Code Blue is what they called me, catastrophic haemorrhage.

They stem the bleed and get me back onto post-natal, and keep me in for a few days. I have an operation to remove any ‘retained goods’ leftover from the birth – and have so many drugs pumped into me – including a spinal for the operation – that I think how ironic it is that I manage birth on no drugs and this on every drug going.

I can’t help thinking that 100 years ago I may not have made it to see my daughter’s first month – and for that I am more than eternally grateful. I’ve since discovered many friends and acquaintances who’ve had similar experiences, whether they be pre- or post-birth complications – all of whom may not be here today if it wasn’t for advances in medicine, and the incredibly hardworking NHS teams across the country.’

Birth Story Of The Week – Judith and Clementine

photoA little vintage birth story for you hungry readers this morning. Following on from my Mother in-law sharing my husbands birth back in September, my Mother wanted to do the same. And what better time than to share her story than on my birthday (well 2 days late). So happy birthday to me and happy birth story to my wonderful Mama! She has climbed some enormous mountains in the last few years especially after my Father died but yet still remains amazing in every single way possible. Thank you Mama for being so ace and sorry I was 15 days late, ironic really as I hate being late now xx

Well how did that happen? My ” baby” Clemmie was 29 on Saturday, mother of two and of course a midwife.
So my mind goes hurtling backwards to her birth. A much wanted and planned third child for Rog and myself but 6 years since her sister had been born and 9 years since her brother. Due date was 25th October and after a perfect pregnancy – literally no problems, we all were excited awaiting the baby’s arrival. No idea what sex it would be. So the food shop was done, suppers in the freezer and ironing completed. But on went the days which turned into weeks and nothing. I became embarrassed on the school run with mothers saying “Oh you are still here” . In fact I began to be feel a bit of a freak of nature. Maybe it was a phantom pregnancy  After all I hadn’t had any morning sickness, no indigestion and still felt full of energy. Not bad for what was then in 1984, quite an old mum to be at the grand age of 34! 

Halloween and bonfire night all came and went. And so eventually at Queen Charlottes they offered me 2 options. Either drive daily for a heart trace or be induced on November 9th. As we lived a good hour away by car I regretfully opted for an induction. We didn’t tell Sam and Prue the plan who went off to school happily on the Friday morning and then Rog drove me to the hospital and went on to the office, all of ten minutes away from the hospital. 

I was put in an antenatal ward I was given a pessary. Nothing. Four hours later a second one. Again nothing! So at 4.00pm I walked upstairs to the labour ward, magazines under my arm feeling somewhat surreal and where they broke my waters. Contractions then began. I must add that my previous 2 deliveries particularly the first ,had been fairly tough and post deliveries I had had postpartum haemorrhaging. The first time at home when Sam was 10 weeks old. Scary stuff. Blue light emergency in the middle of the night. So a classic birth with no epidural was my aim but could I cope with the pain? Well the simple answer was – yes. I cannot really explain it even to myself, but it was something I so wanted to experience with no dulling of the senses. I went into bossy “This is my labour” mode. Me bossy? Mmm. Ask my family.

I walked around the delivery room and stopped to rest my upper body over the bed with each contraction. I gazed at the West London skyline through the windows as darkness fell and had no pain relief at all. My midwife was fantastic. She allowed me to be in control but as for the Dr who “popped” in from time to time, it was a different story. On his first visit he suggested that I might want my loose gown tied up tighter at the back to save my modesty. What!? I was about to give birth so a glimpse of my backside was the least of my worries. With a clip on the baby’s head to monitor the heart beat I did agree after 2 hours to get back on the bed and as the second stage of labour arrived, this Dr returned. “Don’t waste a contraction” I heard him say. The arrogance of the man! So I confess as the pain hit its peak I recall I bit his hand. Still rather proud of that I am not really ashamed to say. I think he backed off after that and I delivered this baby with my wonderful Irish midwife whose hand I squeezed ever tighter. Only after the birth did she tell that she had burnt that hand on an iron earlier and unbeknown to me I was really hurting her. 

And so Clementine Amelia arrived at 7.39 pm weighing in at 8lbs.10 1/2 oz.. Her father, a professional photographer, took amazing photos of her only seconds old and although resembling a prize boxer who had fought 8 bouts in the ring she very quickly became a beautiful baby, toddler, child and dare I say it adult. And did she scream – in fact she was so overdue she was born hungry and she continued to scream for 5 days until my milk came in . There goes baby Howard again the midwives continuously said.

And now of course 29 years on, Clemmie is herself a midwife delivering other women’s babies and I am one extremely proud Mother.

 

Birth Story of The Week- Gosia and Janek

So here it is, the first birth story on the blog. Every Monday I will be publishing your stories so keep them coming, I think this will become a lovely weekly feature. And what better way to cheer up those Monday blues. So where ever you are reading this enjoy.

This week’s story comes from Gosia, a letter to her son Janek who was born a month ago. Get the tissues ready, it’s a beautiful story.

Blog: My name is Gosia

Twitter: thegonow

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Dear Janek,

You will be one month old tomorrow. One month. When did that happen? You’re asleep on my chest now. When I breathe, the air from my mouth moves your hair. Very fine, very blonde and very smooth hair. We were supposed to go for the opening of your uncle’s exhibition but you decided you want to eat and eat and cry and eat some more. You’ve waited until I took off my shoes and my skirt and my tights and then you stopped crying. I guess you just wanted to stay in.

I made myself a cup of tea and I lay down next to you and we took a couple of pictures and you were posing and copying my expressions and you were the sweetest. Then you pooped and farted. I changed your nappy, your clothes and I washed your face (you complained).
And here you are. Sleeping and smelling of this instant happiness. One month old tomorrow.

I’ve wanted to write your birth story since it happened. It got deleted three times now and three times I cried because I’ve put all the details there, for you maybe and for me to remember. I felt like the greatest person in the world, and maybe I was for a moment- when Zoe put you on my chest and your daddy cried out of the biggest and purest happiness. This is what I remember today, a month later:

  • how when it started I made myself think it’s not the real thing yet and continued to make Tiramisu;
  • when I called your father to come home quickly because I just didn’t wanted to be alone;
  • how I was taking a bath when he arrived; how we laughed; how I burned all the candles, how he kept on boiling more water in a kettle to pour in the tub;
  • how all of the sudden I needed to get out and was bouncing on the ball and your father was cleaning the tub of the wax; he needed his hands full, he needed a task;
  • how we went to the hospital for the first time and they checked your heartbeat and my contractions and how they send us back home; the corridors were empty and I vomited; I remember the taxi back home;
  • how I spent big part of the night in legs of the bed, on the floor, leaning and going through it all;
  • when I took another bath and was falling asleep there for thirty seconds at a time and I burned the rest of the candles; how multi-coloured wax was covering the whole bathroom;
  • how the only thing I ate back then was two dried apricots and how I kept on drinking water from big plastic jug with a red straw;
  • how on a way back to hospital they told me to scream and I didn’t want to scream because I knew I need strength not noise;
  • how they checked us again and told us to go for a walk and come back;
  • how we came back and it rained, we had to stop every couple of steps;
  • how they checked us again and told us we can stay; how happy we were, how relieved, how weak was I but kept on smiling, how they told me I’m dehydrated and I need to eat and drink, how they moved us to room 7
  • how I ate and drank and out of sudden I felt great, I had power and we met our midwife, her name was Zoe and how she was the most amazing person we could wish for, how great we understood each other straight away and how we laughed at the same jokes at the same time;
  • how I took a shower and shaved my legs and put conditioner on. I was in active labour, after 38 hours of contractions;
  • how I kept on sitting, how I wanted to dance and put the make up on, how I really felt the greatest power;
  • how all of a sudden I got fever and had to be transferred to the delivery floor, how I was upset about it but knew  I just have to get in with it, with whatever my birth brings to me, just accept it and move on;
  • how Zoe told me nothing will change, how I trusted her, how she said that her women have things the way they want to have them, how I trusted her, how we smuggled a tub of fruit Mentos inside;
  • how we got upstairs – and I was on the wheelchair and refused to think bad about it- and nothing changed like Zoe promised- there was number 7 on the door;
  • how your father was there and he was getting more tired but was  still giving me water and illegally he was feeding me with fruit Mentos, how he found my lip balm, how he tried a bit of gas and air, how brave was he even if on the second plan, as a supporting act;
  • how they kept giving me things and how I kept on declining others;
  • how I still tried to joke, how many times Zoe told me she loved me and how I trusted her about it;
  • how when things got very strong your father held my hand and I looked on Zoe, on her ear, on her purple guitar earring, how it kept me going;
  • how suddenly they both got excited cause you were coming any time and I was thinking that great at least someone has fun;
  • how your heartbeat was so strong and happy and healthy all the time and how thankful I am because god knows what they would do to us if it wasn’t;
  • how I was pushing for hour and a half and I asked your daddy to take a photo and I felt your head going out of my body and how surreal it all felt;
  • how I had no power and I kept saying “I can’t do this” and they’ve been saying “you’re doing this” and how I thought “what can I do if I tell myself I can?”
  • how I pushed without contractions because I was tired and scared and I wanted you to be here already;
  • how you arrived; how surreal; how slippery; how heavy; how beautiful; how;  how smelling of a lake; how you knew me; how you didn’t cry; how your father cried; how did that happen;
  • how the rest was a blur: someone sewing my ladies bits, me laughing, you pooping on your daddy’s hand, Zoe bringing us toast with butter and jam and tea and leaving( can you imagine being such an important part of somebody’s life and then just walking away quietly?);
  • how they wheeled me downstairs to the ward and how proud I was with you in my hands;
  • how I spent first evening with you crying because “you will never be one day old again”;
  • how the first night with you was the happiest night of my life when I slept, holding you close, against the regulations but according to my heart.

Just like now. So you’re one month old. We survived. You are healthy and happy. I didn’t hurt you. I didn’t break your arm or your leg. You cried maybe 6 hours in total. I learned so much about you and I still do every day. I learned so much about myself and I need to grow myself for you every day. I need to take care of your father. We are family now. He works so hard for us. There’s so much words, so many feelings, it’s so hard and so beautiful and crazy. You’re one month old and you are greater than the universe.

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Wow. It never ceases to amaze me how the tiny things us midwives do are so improtant to women. I have a clear image of Gosia’s midwife Zoe with her guitar ear ring now. What an inspirational story. Thank you Gosia for sharing. If you too would like to feature on the blog please email me gasandairblog@gmail.com