Birth Story Of The Week – Alexis and Coco

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At 35 weeks pregnant I was starting to get excited about my first baby, I was convinced the baby would be late. My due date was 16th December and the pessimist in me was fully expecting to be in hospital on Christmas day. But at 35 weeks I got sick – I thought it was the Noro virus that was going around so I didn’t think too much of it, but when I was still having cramping pains a few days later I took myself off to visit the GP. He assured me that I was ok – nothing to worry about… so I carried on having hot baths in the middle of the night when I couldn’t sleep due to the pain on top of my bump. During the next week I went to my first NCT class, had my ‘baby shower’ afternoon in the pub with my friends and started training up my maternity leave replacement at work. So after what felt like a very long week we went to the hospital for our 36 week check. Hugh was hungover* and I was trying to feel positive after my exhausting week, I remember leaving work and meeting Hugh to get the tube – he suggested we walk to the hospital as it would ‘good for me’… little did he know how ill I was!
The midwife checked my urine and my blood pressure, not giving too much away she said she’d get the doctor to check me over – suddenly I was being found a bed “better stay in for monitoring” was the gist. I remember feeling surprisingly calm about it all, I think as I had been feeling so ill there was a little relief that the pain wasn’t ‘normal’, I had been dreading another 4-5 weeks of it.
The next morning my consultant came to see me. I remembered being told who my consultant was at my very first appointment: “If things go well, you’ll probably never meet your consultant” I was told. Well, here she was at 8am on a Tuesday morning telling me “if you’ve got any plans for the rest of this week I suggest you cancel them…you’ve got to have this baby soon”
Now in my mind, it’s Tuesday, this week – so Saturday… I might have the baby on Saturday… or even next Monday? does that count as this week as it’s Tuesday now? Well that wasn’t quite how things panned out. Hugh left to go home and get some stuff but 5 minutes later the consultant was back at my bedside asking where my husband was and telling me to get him back here. By the time Hugh had got back to the hospital, I was already being wheeled up to the labour ward. At 11am I was in a high dependency suite with a doctor about to break my waters with what looked suspiciously like a crochet hook.
I don’t know at what point the words ‘pre-eclampsia’ or more specifically HELLP syndrome were used, but throughout the whole process I was kept well informed, my questions were answered, I had truly amazing care and I felt very calm and surprisingly in control. We hadn’t written a birth plan – I didn’t have too many expectations of labour, to be honest I’d probably tried not to think about it – I’m the very opposite of my friend who was also pregnant at the time and was arming herself with every bit of information she could: ‘you wouldn’t run a marathon without doing training’ was her stance… well not for me.
Once my waters had been broken I was hooked up to the drugs to start my contractions – a hefty dose of syntocinon and I was in having regular contractions by 1pm. My body was ready to be rid of this baby!
As things started well the consultant was happy to give me a chance to have a vaginal delivery. Because the levels of platelets in my blood had dropped to a dangerously low level if a c-section was necessary I would be having it under general anaesthetic. I really really didn’t want a c-section, however bad the pain was I wanted to be conscious when my baby was born and I wanted Hugh to be able to be there too. However because the chances of having to have a Caesarian were high I had to stay nil-by-mouth. Also my body was basically leaking fluid into my organs so I wasn’t allowed to drink anything either. I had a catheter attached and all fluid going into my body (in drug form) and coming out was being closely monitored, as was my blood pressure which was seriously high…
Between 1pm and 6pm things progressed quite well, I knew being hooked up to so many machines wasn’t ideal but I just concentrated on the contractions which were regular as clockwork. Hugh worked with me and we really felt like a team – we had this strange little routine going where he would put his arm above my head as a contraction started so I could reach up and hold it while I breathed through it… but at some point in the afternoon I also started on the Pethidine. Ah, I know it’s not right… but it was soooo good! I was quite enjoying the drowsy effect.
We also had a visitor in the form of my brother in law who came by having been dispatched off to buy some essentials – we had nothing, no hospital bag, no baby clothes. Nada. Poor single twenty something having to locate maternity pads in Tesco. Meanwhile my Mum went late-night shopping in Mothercare instructing some poor assistant to pick out everything required to clothe and care for an early baby, sex unknown.
Sometime around 6pm after 5hrs of contractions it was decided that the fluid monitoring wasn’t really working, so it was I had to go to theatre to have a central line put in. This is basically a pipe inserted into your neck so that drugs can go straight into your main artery and blood can more easily be taken out. Hugh got to have a little break (and eat some food without making me super-jealous) while I was taken off to theatre. The midwife stayed with me and helped me to stay as still as possible through the contractions while I had a local anaesthetic and the tube inserted into my neck. I just remember looking at the clock and thinking “I should be at my NCT class now… not here in labour”.
Out of theatre things continued to progress well and I was finally allowed a few shards of ice… I was begging Hugh to give me more but the midwife who was with us was pretty strict with him! By midnight I was 5cm dilated and thinking that I only had a couple of hours to go, but at 2am I was only 6cm dilated. I was getting tired and the c-section threat was hanging over me. I felt like I’d come such a long way and I really didn’t want to have a general anaesthetic.
We were having constant monitoring and there was a midwife permanently at the end of the bed – often writing notes; I kept wondering what an earth she could be writing – eventually at about 5am in the morning after 14 hrs of regular contractions I’d got to 10cm dilated. It was time to push. I really cannot remember much – I was quite spaced out and so thirsty… I’d stared fantasising about a cold coke. Suddenly Marcia the midwife wasn’t writing any more and the room that had up to then been dimly lit and quiet was bright and buzzing with people. As my blood pressure rose they weren’t taking any risks so the stirrups came out and were fitted on to the bed.
Coco was born on the dot of 6am by forceps. I didn’t hold her straight away – I remember thinking she looked like a big blue slug! (I blame the drugs.) Hugh suddenly had to jump to it and find clothes, he got a telling off for not having a long-sleeved vest. Meanwhile of course I still wasn’t entirely finished… but the placenta was delivered pretty swiftly and suddenly I was holding this tiny tiny creature in my arms.
I remember feeling quite giggly, in that way you sometimes do in a crisis (or is that just me)? I couldn’t believe I was a Mummy, that this perfectly formed little baby was ours. Over the next few days I realised more and more how ill I’d been, I had more tests and a blood transfusion, I felt ridiculously weak but despite it all I think Coco’s early arrival was the best thing to happen to us. We took it in our stride, because we had no choice and that kind of set the tone, parenthood began.
* He’d had a Dad baby shower thing… is that normal!?… the morning afterwards my urine was looking a bit dark and I asked him to take a look – hungover Hugh couldn’t take it; I think it nearly made him throw up!

Birth Story Of The Week – Alice and Jonty

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I had an induced labour: I have an autoimmune disease and had had a previous operation on my diaphragm so late pregnancy was very painful for me. This, coupled with an apparently giant baby (off the charts at 35 weeks) meant that my consultant was keen to induce if I went overdue. Which I did. The pain actually lessened a lot in the last few days before the induction, as the baby dropped down, and I toyed with the idea of cancelling the induction but I was too impatient to meet our baby, and fed up of being pregnant!

I went in for the induction at 6am on the Monday morning. I had a pessary inserted at 8 and was encouraged to walk about. A few flights of stairs later and by 2pm I was experiencing bad period pains. By 4 they had turned into contractions. I carried on walking about and strapped on my tens machine. By 9 I was getting three in ten and I finally got the midwife to agree to examine me (after she’d hooked me up to the monitor to check I actually was contracting – I was!). I was only 2cm dilated so my husband Tom was sent home and told to expect a call in the night.

The contractions got worse and worse so I was examined again in the early hours of the morning but hadn’t progressed. They took the pessary out and I had some pethidine so I could sleep. A couple of hours later I was pacing the corridors again. I really hated labouring on my own, I wished I could have been at home, especially as I was on the main ward, with women whose inductions hadn’t worked or ones who needed their babies monitoring. I felt bad that my labour was progressing well and din’t want to cry out. The hours seems to drag by, I bounced on my ball, used my tens and tried to listen to music – Bonobo worked best for me.

By the morning, I was 4cm but there was no room on labour ward. By this point I was getting worked up. I had a bath, but that meant I had to take the tens off, and I couldn’t get it back up to the level I’d had, so went without. We finally went to labour ward about midday, where I leapt on the gas and air. I had the drip put up and my waters broke. I had an epidural, which was lovely. Until I began to be able to feel one leg. At first I thought this was hilarious but it quickly became that I could feel pain in one leg, then half of contractions, then all my contractions. When they checked my cervix the epidural fell out. I was fully dilated and ready to push. The pain was so intense, I’d gone from contractions at 5cm to fully dilated contractions with no pain in between, and the jump felt massive.

They got another epidural in but I was already pushing by then. The midwife kept putting her finger in up to one knuckle and saying that’s where the head was – but the distance didn’t change and I couldn’t push any more. I felt suddenly very calm as I told them I couldn’t push this baby out. They said he was too far down for a c-section but the doctor would come. I knew I needed help, he’d turned at the last minute and so was back to back and stuck.

The doctor arrived and got out the forceps. By this point the epidural had sunk in again (phew!) so I had one episiotomy, and then another. But Jonty was born in a big tumble, like a lamb on Countryfile and I tore badly. It was ten to 1 on the Wednesday morning. I don’t remember seeing him, although apparently they did put him on me. I can just remember the doctors assessing how much of my anal sphincter was damaged and thinking ‘this really has gone wrong now’. I was losing a lot of blood so they rushed me off the theatre, leaving Tom to have skin to skin with Jonty.

I went into shock apparently so don’t remember much of what happened next but I had a bad third degree tear which they stitched up. After about an hour I was wheeled out, Tom and little Jonty met us in the corridor and I had my first cuddle. He was visibly starving and I felt so dreadful that I hadn’t been able to feed him.

That remains the worst part of it all.

But anyway, he fed well that night and has continued to do so. My recovery was slow and I spent another couple of days in hospital as i kept fainting and had a crazy high pulse rate. The first few months were very painful, and I’ve been left without much pelvic floor strength but I’m having physio. I’ll have a C section next time and it feels a bit sad that I’ll never get the birth I’d hoped for, but having a lovely baby is so worth it. I wish it had gone differently and massively regret being induced but I wasn’t to know. I’m just so lucky that it didn’t affect how I bonded with Jonty, he fed well from the beginning and is now a massive 22lb at 6 months. He’s a superstar and I love being his mama.

Birth Story Of The Week – Lisa and Oscar

‘I’m not a closed book kind of person. Most of my friends would agree (I hope)  that I’m fairly open with them. I think I’m happy to share most things (although I sometimes find it hard, we know that!) However I have been overwhelmed with the ease at which I have been able to share my birth story. Oscars birth was a deeply personal and intimate experience in my life and yet I have been completely open about it, offering up information I would never have dreamt of sharing before I had him. And do you know why? It’s because everyone does it! We seem to wear our birth stories like badges of honour. And whats wrong with that?

So if you’ve heard this already I’m sorry – but here it comes again!

My pregnancy was pretty text book really. I didn’t have morning sickness, although I did spend a few weeks feels nauseous ALL BLOODY DAY! Morning my arse! Anyway that cleared up at 10 weeks, and everything else was pretty standard.

I was under a consultant from day one, partly due to my high BMI, partly due to my epilepsy, so was monitored fairly closely. I never had any problems and the gestational diabetes and larger than average baby everyone kept predicting, never materialised. Take that obstetric generalisations!

It was at a routine midwife appointment at 35 weeks, they noticed that my blood pressure, which had been falling throughout my pregnancy had suddenly shot up. This lead to a week in hospital and much worry about suspected pre-eclampsia and whether this baby would make full term. An NCT friend had been diagnosed with severe pre-eclampsia the week before and had to deliver her baby by C Section at 35 weeks, so I knew all too well how serious this situation could be.

I could write a whole post about this experience, but as this a birth story, I’ll leave that for another day. Suffice to say that after a week of trying, the hospital managed to stabilise my BP with drugs. I practically cheered as we left, with my tiny baby still safely tucked away.

I went home, I tided, I hoovered the ceilings, I slept on the sofa. I had a week of maternity leave and I loved it.

After another week or so I had a routine appointment with my consultant, the wonderful and no nonsense Lesley Roberts. She took one look at my BP and said, “I’m sorry Lisa you can’t go home today”. I burst into tears. I was taken back up to the same ward I’d just escaped, given more meds and resolved to try and get this sorted. When they checked me they said I was no where near ready to give birth, so wouldn’t attempt an induction. However, my BP would just not play ball and kept rising, spiking in the middle of the night, when I was asleep of all things!

I felt so frustrated. This baby was 38 weeks gestation, plenty cooked enough and here I was taking more and more drugs that seemed to do nothing. Eventually, a canny midwife saw just how frustrated I was and took me aside. Quietly, she told me that if an induction was really what I wanted, then the next time I saw the doctor I was to cry. Simple as that. So, I did as she said and do you know, it only bloody worked! It seemed getting emotional worked where being rational had failed. I was given a pessary to start things off.

I wont bore you with the next two days, as very little happened. I got some twinges, like very mild contractions, that then stopped. On day three they decided that if they could break my water I’d be able to start a proper Scyntocinon induction. Only, they didn’t tell me this is what they were doing. I thought it was odd that they gave me a gas and air pipe. Ahh then I knew why! It was the most painful thing I have ever experienced. They were right, he was still really high up and to reach him felt like I was being set on fire. I went into a zone, where I felt like I put myself on a shelf and could only hear every third word being said. It was awful and amazing all at the same time. Then I heard her say no she couldn’t do it, so I took myself of the shelf. Then she said oh hang on and finally I felt a whoosh as my waters broke. Finally we were getting this party started.

I was hooked up to the drip and given an epidural, as induced labour can come on very hard and very fast. Although not in my case. I was there for 24 hours and he moved a centimetere. Seriously! I knew it was looking dodgy when the midwife suggested at 3 in the morning that it was best not to eat anymore. I think we could all see the writing on the wall. The induction I’d cried for had failed. It would be a C section now. I was a tiny bit gutted as I really wanted to go through the whole process we’d talked about at such length in my NCT group, but actually I just wanted this baby with me and my BP to settle down.

At 9am on 2nd April ( yeah I know – I think Oscar hung on for fear of being born on April Fools Day!) it was declared that an emergency section was needed and I was in theatre within 20 minutes. I remember the table I was lying on was at an angle so I felt like I was going to fall off. I remember the anesthetist running ice down my shoulder to see if the spinal block had kicked in yet. I remember Adele and Otis Reading coming on the radio. I remember feeling like I was being jumped up and down on but feeling no pain (weird in the extreme). I remember hearing him cry before I felt them lift him fully clear of me. I remember crying and crying and crying with relief. That he was here, that he was strong and that I’d done it.

They weighed him and gave him to me, but I couldn’t see his face so had to give him to Ben, so I could take a proper look. He was just so beautiful.

Then they took him away for tests and I started to feel sick. I managed to shout out in time and the quick thinking anesthetist whacked some anti emetic in my line. I felt better, but my mouth was unbelievably dry. I was given ice to suck. And then I started to pass in and out of consciousness for about an hour (I think). I was told after I was in there for two hours. I thought I’d been in there less than half that.

Next thing I knew we were back in the delivery suit and beyond happy. All the worry was gone, he was here and he was really strong. Much smaller than I’d expected at 6lb 6oz, but perfect. Although I do recall thinking – blimey hasn’t he got enormous thumbs! He still has today, along with his huge feet!

And that’s my birth story. Obviously I could go on and on. About my time in hospital after the birth, about how my BP practically dropped over night, about the trouble we had with feeding. But I think I’ll leave it there. For now.’ 

mrssavageangel.wordpress.com 

Birth Story Of The Week – Nikki and Emmy

Todays birth story comes from Nikki who blogs all about life with her daughter over at quietcontentment.wordpress.com. Here she shares how her induction and medical intervention led to her dream water birth going out of the window.

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”So where should I start? Perhaps at my 34 week appointment, where the Birth Centre agreed to take me as long as I kept trying to increase my iron levels. Iron levels had been a problem since the start of my pregnancy. I’d already resumed eating meat after a few years as a vegetarian, and at this point I started taking liquid supplements too. I hadn’t really enjoyed being pregnant, and arranging to give birth at a Midwife-Led Unit seemed like it would be a lovely end to it. We had a tour and we fell in love with it – especially the fact my husband could stay overnight with us in a comfy double bed. I hoped to have a water birth with as little intervention as possible – gas and air, with lots of moving around. This was encouraged by the midwives who ran the centre. Assuming the pregnancy was straightforward, the only definite thing that see you transferred from the MLU to the labour ward was induction. 

By the time I got to 41 weeks, I realised I wasn’t sure how much longer I could go for. My hips were causing me a lot of pain, I was barely sleeping and couldn’t move far. At my appointment on the Tuesday at 41+1, they attempted a stretch and sweep, but swiftly abandoned it because it to was too painful and my cervix was still completely closed. With a sinking feeling we discussed induction before the weekend. We asked for Friday, but they only had Thursday or Monday available, so rather than face several more days of discomfort and uncertainty, we chose the former. I left the hospital determined to bounce on my ball and move around as much as possible to get the baby moving. On Wednesday night I finally nested, cleaning the house and tackling the huge pile go ironing that needed doing. I kept hoping to feel something but nothing was happening. We went to bed early, apprehensive and excited about the next day.

The beginning of the induction was pretty straight forward. We went in for 8am, dragging all our bags with us. We’d been told to come in as if I was in labour, and led to believe we wouldn’t be leaving until we had a baby to go home with. I was put on the monitor for half an hour to get a base line, then after a quick internal, I had the pessary inserted (why do those things have so many sharp edges?!) and was left on the monitor for another half hour. The midwife came over and admonished me for not eating enough for breakfast and came back with biscuits for me to eat, before running over potential side effects with us. Then, to our surprise, they told us to go home and wait things out, returning when I got to the mythical 3 in 10 or at 6pm that evening, whichever came first. I was told we could hang about the hospital if we wanted, but that going home to bed would probably make more sense, so that’s what we did. We left with more biscuits and the elastic straps used for monitoring (they told us to hang on to them!).

I was knackered and decided to have a nap when we got home. I could already feel things twinging a bit, but there didn’t seem to be any real beginning or end to the contractions and they weren’t even hurting enough for me to class as contractions. I had something to eat, and then tried to nap some more, before realising that these were starting to feel more like the waves of contractions I was expecting, but that there was very little let down. I could still speak through them and they were painful, but nothing as bad as I had expected. At about 4pm I rang the hospital for advice and was told to come straight back in as it sounded like I had reacted badly to the Propess and was hyper-stimulating. They had warned us this might happen – it’s when you experience continual contractions that aren’t anywhere near the intensity needed to push the baby out.

When we got there, I was whisked off to an exam room, where I produced the elastic straps for the monitor, and was hooked up again. I was then given an internal which led to furrowed brows and a more senior midwife repeating it. I didn’t hear what was said, but my husband did – my cervix was now opening, but they thought they could feel the baby’s nose through it. I was sent up to the labour ward, where I was put back on the monitor. After a while the door opened and the consultant obstetrician and several other doctors came in with a portable monitor. I was told they suspected face presentation, in which case I would need an immediate c-section, but not to worry as face presentations were ‘as rare as hen’s teeth’. The scan showed it was not a nose, and indeed they couldn’t see anything. They guessed it might have been an ear, and all bustled out again leaving me on the monitor. I spent the rest of the evening hooked up, with the contractions getting more and more defined, and more painful. At about 11pm I was transferred down to the ward and my husband was sent home.

I managed fitful sleep for a few hours until about 4am when I woke needing the loo. I sat up and suddenly realised I didn’t need the loo – my waters went in a fairly big rush. I called the midwife who got me a clean gown and changed the bed then removed the Propess. Those sharp edges hurt more coming out then going in. Much more. My waters breaking led to a real ramping up of the contractions, and they became pretty unbearable, pretty fast. I asked for pain relief and was given some gas and air about half seven, but before that I was contracting alone, with no pain relief in a darkened ward, trying not to wake the other women up. This was probably the worst bit of my labour – I was scared, and alone, and desperately wanted some support.

Once I was allowed some gas and air it got a bit easier. I didn’t find it helped the pain, but the wooziness allowed me to concentrate on something else. About 9am I was moved up to the labour ward, and I started asking for an epidural. I was so tired and in so much pain, and I didn’t think I would be able to carry on for much longer. I was told that before I could have one, I needed to lie on the bed, on my back for 15 minutes for monitoring. I refused point blank to do this, knowing that that was the position my contractions were the worst in. They finally agreed to let me stand, leaning over the bed for monitoring, and called the anaesthetist. James was allowed in just as they were prepping me for the epidural, and him and the assistant anaesthetist held me still whilst it was sited. I felt awful for being so stroppy over it, but the idea of lying down for 15 minutes was utterly terrifying.

The relief was almost instantaneous. I was able to nap a bit and get some rest, which was sorely needed. Unfortunately, the epidural also slowed my contractions right down, so at midday I went on to the Syntocin drip. The afternoon passed in a haze of napping, eating Percy Pigs, topping up the epidural and a gradual ramping up of the drip. The contractions were coming regularly but weren’t increasing in intensity. A couple of internals were done, and I didn’t seem to be dilating much. Baby was doing fine but I was getting tired, and it was decided that we’d give it until 6pm, then a decision would be made as to next steps. 

The whole time this was going on we were listening to the heart monitor, which was reassuring, but if I moved around too much it slipped and we had to get someone to come back and re-site it, which was stressful – especially because the monitoring bands itched an unholy amount! Every 90 minutes to 2 hours the epidural was topped up just to keep the pain managed, but other than that there was nothing much anyone did.

At 4pm we got a new midwife. She did a quick internal showing I had dilated a bit more, but still not enough. She checked the Syntocin drip and suggested that the valve on it might have been set incorrectly, which would explain why the increasing doses weren’t causing more contractions, but no-one ever confirmed whether this had been the case. We chatted and she did some paperwork, and before long, the deadline of 6pm had arrived. The epidural was topped up in preparation for the internal, and I don’t think anyone was more surprised than her to find out I had finally got to full dilation! For reasons I don’t fully understand, she said we would give it an hour then start pushing. The epidural was tapered slightly to allow me a bit more feeling, and then we started. We kind of thought that the pushing bit would be fairly quick, so I was surprised when she said they’d review the situation after I’d been pushing for two hours. I was thinking I’d be holding my baby by 8pm at the latest!

We tried many different positions, using a stool, using the bed, squatting, lying down, on all fours…but nothing was happening. At 8pm we got another new midwife. She was pretty brusque, and seem determined to get the baby out, but it wasn’t happening. At 9pm a doctor was called in, and it was decided that I was going to need some help, but the monitoring was showing that despite her being pretty much wedged in the birth canal, she was doing fine, with the steadiest heart rate we could ask for. Because of this, they prioritised another mum whose baby was in a little distress, and promised to be back as soon as they could. The midwife decided that we were going to get this baby out in the meantime, and I tried my hardest, but by this point I was getting exhausted and was tearful, convinced I couldn’t do it. During this time, an incubator was brought in, and at half nine, the doors opened and quickly the room filled with people. It all started to get very hectic and I was put in to position on the bed, legs up in stirrups, and they explained they were going to use ventouse to get the baby out, along with an epistiostomy. The epidural was topped up, and there was a lot of pulling and prodding. I could feel the cup being attached, and then the monitors were watched, waiting for my next contraction.

I don’t remember how many pushes it took. I do remember being shocked at the violence of it. NCT classes had led me to believe it was a gentle procedure, using the suction to help the baby out. My husband described it as basically a tug of war. Suddenly I felt her come out and saw her briefly as the cord was cut. I didn’t hear her cry, and couldn’t see her, and I was so worried something was wrong. James could see her moving and knew she was okay, but in the commotion neither of us could communicate to each other, and it seemed like an age before she made a noise. Then she was brought over to me, this squinty little baby, frowning at everyone and all I could think was how perfect she looked.

The next few hours are blurry. Emmy was born at 9.45pm and I know I was stitched up, that we spoke to our parents, that I got the fabled tea and toast, that I cuddled her. Apparently I fed her, but I don’t remember this. The next thing I remember is about 2am, the midwife asking if I wanted a shower. She gave James the baby, then left so that I could go shower. I got up and went in to the bathroom, and promptly fell over. James called a midwife, who came in, hit the alarm, and once again the room filled up. I was helped in to a wheelchair, whilst my bed was remade, and I was put in a fresh gown, and out back to bed with more tea and toast, and told to get some sleep. Me passing out was out down to a combination of exhaustion, blood loss, and little food and sleep for 48 hours. James spent a couple of hours cuddling our baby girl whilst I slept. When I woke up, they said I’d soon be moved down to the ward so he was sent home. I changed her for the first time on the ward and, in the morning she was given a BCG injection (which is normal for West London). James came back in around midday and we left the hospital about 18 hours after her birth. She didn’t have much swelling from the ventouse cup, but there was a huge open sore and a big bruise from it, which looked so painful for her.

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Without being a C-section, Emmy’s birth was about as far from what I wanted as possible. I know people say that all that matters is that we are both here and both healthy, and to a point I agree, but I think it’s affected me a lot more than I realised at the time. We didn’t get to delay the cord clamping, I didn’t get to have immediate skin to skin, I didn’t get a water birth. I do have a wonderful, amazing daughter, and I am healthy, but if I think too much about her actual birth and the immediate moments after, I just remember how scared I was, which isn’t exactly the memory I wanted from my birth. Hopefully in time this will fade, and I’ll just remember how perfect she looked when she was handed to me.”

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 – Gillian and Eliza

Hope you all had a great Bank Holiday weekend, the sunshine kept on shining and today is my first day back at work after having a delightful 10 days off. I haven’t missed my pager but I have missed seeing my women and lovely colleagues. Being at home with both the girls has made me realise how bloody hard it is. Kudos to all you stay at home Mamas, there were some days where I thought ‘I’d rather be at work’ but as we all got use to lazy mornings in our pj’s I started to see what great little girls they are turning out to be. And as their age gap of 3 and a half years seems to be getting smaller, they really now played with each other. Something I haven’t noticed properly before; wonderful imaginary camping games, babies, hospitals, ballet lessons, schools, Sylvanians. You name it they played it. It was gorgeous to watch and made me realise how much they love each other.

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Proud as punch of these two

This weeks birth story come from Gillian who writes the great parenting website A baby on board . Funnily enough Gillian gave birth in the same hospital where I work. Here she shares her story.

Blog: A Baby on Board

Twiiter: gill_crawshaw

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“I received such amazing care from midwives, both in the hospital (despite it being incredibly busy) and from the community midwife team at my doctors surgery (who came out to our house for three weeks after we’d taken Eliza home from the hospital). I’m lucky that I had access to such great care, as I know that so many people aren’t so fortunate.

I have to tell you; you’re already 10 cm dilated, and your baby will be here before your epidural. You are going to have to deliver her without it,” the midwife said to me to my horror, mere minutes after we finally made it to a delivery room. “Now, do you feel ready to push?’

But before we move on to Eliza’s imminent – and unexpectedly speedy – arrival, let’s rewind back to the start. It actually began with a false start, on my due date, with an induction that progressed as far as the King’s College Hospital labour ward waiting room. At this point I’d had two sweeps and everyone was convinced I’d spontaneously go into labour. But she stayed stubbornly put, so we went in for an induction as planned – but were then sent straight home due to an unprecedented south London baby boom meaning there were no free beds. “You didn’t expect to actually have a baby on your due date did you?” a midwife said wryly.

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The next day we were back, although I was convinced we’d be turned away again, right up until Alex and I were ushered into one of the beds in the induction bay. After monitoring, they gave me the induction drugs via propess and told us to expect a long wait as nothing was likely to happen for at least 24 hours.

Yet the early evening dinner brought with it back-ache and stomach cramps. “Sounds promising!” said a midwife when I mentioned it, although she was soon contradicted by the doctor, who said it was too soon to be anything more than pre-labour pains and Braxton Hicks.

The pain quickly got so bad that I couldn’t get comfortable at all, and nothing – lying down, walking, my long-practised labour breathing – seemed to help. Alex tried using the contraction timing app we’d downloaded, but as there was no start or end point to the pain, we figured I couldn’t possibly be in labour. Wrong, wrong, wrong, as it turned out.

The midwife gave me some paracetamol and hooked me up to the monitor; the delivery ward was still so busy that she was needed elsewhere and left us alone until midnight. After one look at the monitor printout she called the doctor back, as it turned out that the pain was actually off-the-scale back-to-back contractions with no gap in between, and I was now 3cm dilated.

We all had a laugh about how I was a ‘difficult’ patient, as the doctor said that due to the method of induction they wouldn’t have expected anything to happen until morning. It stopped being quite so funny when she told me even though I was in so much pain I couldn’t have an epidural until I was 4cm and a delivery room was free; however, they said they’d check me again in four hours and let me have gas and air. This really helped, and encouraged by the tantalising promise of imminent proper pain relief, I lay on the bed feeling blissfully relaxed. Alex even had a brief amount of sleep on a special ‘dad mat’ on the floor.

This didn’t last long. At about 2am I realised that I was no longer feeling any relief from the gas and air and the constant pain was getting worse. There were still two hours to wait until my next examination, but the midwife reluctantly checked me, and was as surprised as we were to find that I’d actually dilated to 6cm.

Epidural time, at last! However, at that point there were still no available labour rooms as the hospital was so busy, so we had to wait. By the time they moved someone out of a room – one of the longest hours of my life later – I was pretty convinced I was going to give birth then and there, on the induction ward, with three other women in the beds around me (sorry! to these women, I was you a few months earlier).

As they finally pushed my bed down the corridor I started feeling the most intense physical pressure, and my body started automatically pushing. My waters broke in dramatic fashion as we got to the room, and I was pretty sure this didn’t bode well for any more pain relief. I was right; the doctor swiftly checked me again and it turned out I’d gone from 6cm to 10cm in an hour and would just have to get on with it.

So push I did. I was so focused on getting the baby out that I don’t remember this part being anywhere near as painful as the lead-up (even though they took the gas and air off me, to my absolute horror). Pushing took either five minutes or five hours in my head; Alex says it was more like half an hour. Towards the end the midwife was concerned as the baby’s heartbeat kept dropping off the monitor and she calmly instructed me to “get this baby out NOW.” So just before 4am I gave the final push, and, with both hands by her face, out flew Eliza.

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It’s funny, I had planned and prepared so much in the weeks leading up to the birth; all the usual first time mum worry about random things like what to wear and what songs would go on my pushing playlist. However, when it came down to it I didn’t even get the chance to change out of the stripy top that I went into the hospital in, and she was born to the sound of Magic FM on the radio.

My first thoughts on seeing Eliza were surprise at the amount of hair she had, and how beautiful her tiny face was. I cried when I first held her, and one thing I clearly remember is that Elton John’s ‘Your Song’ was playing at the time, the words of which seemed fittingly perfect for such a life-changing moment.

There was a medium amount of post-birth drama; I’d lost a worrying amount of blood, there were some placenta issues, and then there was all the fun of stitches. However this was all sorted eventually and the hospital midwife left us while we waited for my community midwife to take over (she was actually supposed to deliver the baby, but as it had all happened so quickly there was no time).

So for a brief period it was just the three of us, alone in the moment. And while we held Eliza, Alex and I sat looking in complete awe and amazement at the baby we’d created.”

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.

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.