Birth Story Of The Week – Chloe and Rory

I’m back! It’s a funny old thing having no internet. On one hand being totally cut off from Instagram, Twitter and checking the Showbiz section of the Daily Mail online (oh come on I know you all do too!) is quite liberating. But on the other hand you don’t realise how much you use the internet for searching pretty much everything. We’ve just moved into our new house. Yup we are home owners for the first time, totally broke, totally clueless and too nervous to hang a single picture just in case it cracks the wall. But feeling a little uninspired creatively I felt lost without Pinterest and it was almost impossible ordering a new washing machine without going online. Even when Sky failed to turn up to install the rooter and phone line they suggested tracking our progress……….online! See impossible. And of course there was no Birth Story Of The Week last Monday. But alas! Here is today’s wonderful story from Chloe who’s blog is so beautiful I have serious photo envy, but then she is a photographer. I feel a bit connected to Chloe’s birth as I gave her my old birthing pool to use in labour.

Blog: Sorry About The Mess

Twitter: khloeee

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7AM

I wake up on a gloomy May morning, three days past my due date, and for some reason I am in denial that I am in labour. I have been having irregular contractions since this time yesterday, and as I wave Sam off to work, I remain oblivious to the fact that they are becoming a lot more regular.
 
The sweep I had 48 hours ago couldn’t possibly be responsible for this. I have been warned so many times that second labours can often be slow to get going, that it’s often very stop/start, that the latent phase can last longer. So, the birth pool remains deflated in its bag, toddler overnight bags remain unpacked, and plans for the day are made.
 
8.30AM
All of a sudden, everything is hazy. The contractions are coming on top of each other, and I know that this is definitely happening. Sam has been at work for just half an hour, and I need to call him to come home. It takes him probably 45 minutes, during which time I call him every five minutes because I can’t remember how long he said he’d be. I call my midwife. No one is here (the toddler doesn’t count!) and I can’t focus on managing the contractions. I feel panicky, dizzy, and sick.
 
10AM
Our midwife arrives. Sam is busy dismantling our dining table to make room for the pool, inflating the pool, putting sheets on the floor, etc. I am 4cm and disappointed. The contractions had been so intense and everyone tells me that second labours are quicker, I was hoping to be told I didn’t have long to go.
 
2.30PM
The hours pass in cycles of pacing, squatting, and moaning about how long it’s going to take. I am 7cm dilated. The midwives inform me that this is not as much progress as they would typically expect for a second labour. There is talk of breaking my waters if I’ve not progressed much further in the next two hours.
 
4PM
I am definitely reaching my “I’m too tired to keep doing this” point. I am reluctant to start on the gas and air (it became somewhat of a crutch during my first labour), but I still have the pool to try.
With Arlo, the pool had made me feel hot and faint, and due to having hard sides and base, it wasn’t all that comfortable. This time is a completely different experience. I’m not too hot, and an inflatable pool is so much more comfortable. Contractions seem to slow a bit in the pool and not last as long, but I am so much more comfortable that I really don’t care. In fact, I become a bit scared to leave the pool and face strong contractions again. But it is time for another examination.
4.30PM
I am 9cm and everyone is happy. We decide there is no need to break my waters at this stage.
Knowing I am almost there, I have a new-found sense of optimism and enthusiasm to keep going. This is probably the most relaxing part of the whole labour. I am happy, chatting and joking with Sam and the midwives (our second midwife had arrived by that point), thinking “it is amazing that I am so lucid and ‘with it’ at this stage during labour”. Not having gas and air really made a difference for me and I remember everything so much more clearly than with Arlo’s labour.
I seem to cope so much better with this transition phase of labour than with the earlier stages. 4-8cm has definitely felt like the hardest point during both of my labours. I don’t know whether it’s the boost from knowing it won’t be long, or the fact that during 8cm-10cm my contractions slow a bit, giving me more of a break between each one. But with both labours I’ve found that stage to be a quieter, almost relaxed time.
6.30PM
Why am I still here?? Why am I not feeling at all ‘pushy’ yet?? Despite being ‘almost there’ two hours ago, the baby is posterior, and needs a little longer to get his head in the right position to get past that last lip of cervix in order to be born.
Contrary to what I was told during Arlo’s labour, this time the midwives don’t think there is a problem with me seeing what happens if I push despite not yet feeling those uncontrollable urges. They say that some women find they need to push to help the cervix open up that last bit. Just as with my first labour, it seems that we are just waiting for my waters to break and then we’ll be straight into the second stage.
6.45PM
I decide to see what will happen if I really push with the next contraction. I feel a pop. My waters. From then it is very quick. The midwives are not able to see a head at all, then suddenly the head is being born.
The head is out, but nothing is budging with the next contraction. I move from my crouching position onto all fours for the next contraction, but still nothing. Everyone springs into action very quickly and I know I need to listen to the midwives and do everything they say at this point. I get out of the pool (with a head between my legs!) and am told to lie flat on my back. Sam is at my head and the midwives are holding my legs up to my chest. I push with all I have for the next contraction. I think there is one more contraction before things start moving and the midwives can help pull his body out.
6.55PM
Born in the doorway between our kitchen and dining room, I catch that first glimpse of my baby as the midwife lifts him up and onto my chest. He is a boy, and he is much bigger than we were expecting (9lbs 4oz). Now it makes sense that it was a bit tricky to push out his chunky shoulders!
I would have loved to have had the whole waterbirth experience and ‘caught’ my baby myself. Or at least to have been able to see him being born. I also didn’t get to to the nice bit and have our first night together at home in our own bed, as we had to transfer to hospital shortly after his birth due to meconium in the waters – they wanted him to have 4 hourly obs in case of infection (he was fine in the end).
But labouring at home was completely the right thing for me, and it made such a difference. I’m really happy with the way Rory’s birth went, and how I managed the pain. Half way through my labour I do remember having a little chuckle at myself for being so silly to think that perhaps the pain would be different or easier because I was at home – the pain is exactly the same, hospital or no hospital. But being in my own surroundings definitely helped me feel more grounded and in control of my labour.
There is a definite sense of achievement that comes with giving birth in your own house… that ‘I can do anything’ feeling. But most of all, it’s lovely to have the daily reminders of welcoming Rory into the world under our own roof. Every day, I walk through the doorway where we became a family of four.
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Birth Story Of The Week – Emma and Orla

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

Emma and Orla

Emma and Orla

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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