Birth Story of The Week – Ruth and Amalia

It’s been a bit of a rubbish couple of days for me as I had to have 2 impacted wisdom teeth removed under a general anaesthetic on Friday. Ouch is all I can say! Seriously underestimated how horrible I would be feeling still after 3 days plus look like a hamster who has been punched in the face. For those of you who follow me on Instagram, you would have seen how I tried to rock my neon orange painted nails with the stunning NHS hospital gown prior to surgery (seriously when is someone going to re-design those?).  But don’t worry any after shots of my face have been censored out for your benefit. Lets just say dark glasses, plenty of concealer and codeine are my friends this week. On a more positive note, having the surgery in the hospital I work under confirmed my total faith of the wonderful NHS staff. The nurses, anaesthetists and doctors were all fantastic and the ward was spotless. We really don’t know how lucky we are to have the NHS in this country.

This weeks birth story is pretty amazing. It’s a real gem as Ruth planned to have her second baby at home knowing her baby was in the breech position (bum first). Here is her story.

Twitter: RuthSabrosa

Website: ruthsabrosa.com

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‘At 38 weeks pregnant I hired independent midwives to help me have a physiological breech birth at home because my local hospital was not supportive of my choices and wanted me to opt for a caesarean. Four weeks and 3 days later my beautiful baby daughter was born at home in record fast timing and it was the most natural and rewarding experience of my life. I have Natal Hypnotherapy and Maya midwives to thank for that. Natal Hypnotherapy gave me the confidence to trust my body and believe in my ability to give birth naturally and Maya midwives supported me, allowing me to trust my instincts and listen to my body before and during the birth. Here is a brief summary of my story:

I had always planned a home birth for my second baby but when I found out she was breech, I was told by the hospital this would be impossible and after an unsuccessful attempt at turning her (ECV) I was given no other option but to have a caesarean. I was distraught, I knew I could deliver this baby normally but was shocked that the hospital were so keen on c-section. They wouldn’t let me leave without consenting to this even though I told them I wanted to explore my options. I was 38 weeks pregnant at this stage and if they had their way I would have had a c-section one week later but I knew baby wasn’t ready and after careful thought and research I told them I wanted to wait and to cancel the caesarean. The majority of staff were not supportive of my choice so I began a quest to find an independent midwife.

Several phone calls later I came across the wonderful Maya midwives, who happened to be experienced in vaginal breech birth and very keen to support me. I was overjoyed and it meant there was a greater chance I could have the home birth I so desperately wanted for my baby.  I withdrew from NHS care and had regular visits from the midwives to check baby’s heart rate etc. and then it was just a waiting game.  I began listening to my Natal Hypnotherapy prepare for home birth CD again every day, sometimes two or three times a day and I made a poster for my bedroom wall with affirmations and other positive thoughts about the birth.

My due date (20th September) came and went and then a week later there were still no labour signs. The midwives advised that I didn’t do anything to augment the labour, such as acupuncture or reflexology because breech babies must come when they are ready if they are going to come at all. So I waited and waited.  Natal Hypnotherapy helped me to remain calm, relaxed and focused at this stressful time when friends and family were growing increasingly concerned. When I reached 42 weeks I decided to go to hospital for a scan and CTG monitoring to make sure everything was ok. The doctors said baby was doing really well and couldn’t find anything at all wrong but would be happier if I’d have a c-section the next day. My instincts told me to wait a little longer and so I agreed to come back two days later for more CTG monitoring. In the meantime I began to prepare myself for the caesarean (by listening to the Natal Hypnotherapy CD) as it was becoming increasingly likely that I might have to give in at some point. Again the CTG monitoring showed that everything was fine but I agreed to go in the next day for my bloods to be taken in case the caesarean was necessary. Although I was more prepared for it, I couldn’t understand how my body could grow this baby, keep her nourished for 9 months and then just abandon her and me when it was time to be born.

That very night I woke at 4am with contractions that felt ‘different’ to the Braxton hicks I’d been having for weeks so I called the midwife, Andy, and she arrived an hour later. I wasn’t in any pain at all but had been preparing for this for months using Natal Hypnotherapy so didn’t really expect to be. There was about an hour where the contractions were really intense but at no time painful and our daughter was born two and a half hours later (bum first) at 7:30. Andy said it was the quickest birth she’d ever seen, so quick that Viv, the second midwife missed it! I was glad I called Andy when I did.  I used only a TENS machine and Natal Hypnotherapy techniques and our beautiful breech baby daughter, Amália Rose, was born calmly and peacefully in our bedroom. Her birthday is 7th October 2012, 17 days past the due date. I couldn’t have hoped for a better outcome, I am so glad that I trusted my instincts and my baby and that I had the support of such wonderful midwives. I will treasure that moment forever.’IMG_3066DSCF9555IMG_3484

So Did Kate Do It Her Way?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Follow Rebecca here @HackneyDoula

Birth Story of The Week – Katie and Chubs

How is it Monday already? And where has the sun gone? Well here is another lovely birth story from a very special friend to brighten up your day. Katie and I met on the first day at uni when we were training to be midwives 10 years ago. Wow that seems really weird. Little old me from London venturing out on this new life in Bristol to become a midwife. I remember seeing Katie and admiring her tan (she had just been travelling in Australia) and we became friends from that day on, living together in our final year. Katie has recently become a Mummy to little Chubs and here is her story.

Blog: Chubs and Love

Twitter: midwifebrown

I think it’s been long enough now that my memory has faded enough to give me the rose-tinted glasses when I look back on it all. In fact, I’m thinking about the next one – it wasn’t that bad, I’ll have a home birth next time!!I was convinced I was going to be early with Chubs, all my friends who had had babies recently had delivered at 38/39 weeks so I definitely would too, of course! But, 38 weeks then 39 weeks passed me by and I reached my due date with no signs. Nothing at all.

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Due date bump

I spent the day making curtains for the nursery with my mum to occupy myself and prepared myself for my ‘new’ due date of T+12 when I’d be induced.Nine days later, on a Sunday evening, the day before my boyfriend was supposed to start his new job, I started feeling a bit uncomfortable. I warned him he might not be going and concentrated on cooking a roast dinner. (I had already polyfiller’d holes in the dining room and done a big supermarket shop that day!) About 9pm I took some paracetamol and sent Boyfriend to bed to get some rest as I had a feeling it was going to be a long night. I had a bath and started using my Natal Hypnotherapy breathing techniques but it was too much.

At 1am we went on in to the hospital. I was slightly disappointed to find I was 3cm, I should be more, surely?! Although bearing in mind I had been unable to have a sweep 3 days before, it wasn’t so bad.I was left in the quiet, dark room for a couple of hours before getting in the pool. Ohhh the lovely, lovely pool. It was so warm and quiet and just wonderful. I relaxed a little too much though and my contractions died off. By this time it was 6am and I was so tired. My hypnotherapy breathing just wasn’t cutting it any more and the gas and air just made me feel weird. I decided to have an epidural to allow me to get some sleep.

As the contractions had sodded off and I’d only managed to get myself to 5cm I was also put on the hormone drip syntocinon to give my body a bit of a kick up the arse. I spent the day dozing, eating toast and chatting with Boyfriend and various colleagues who popped in to say hello. My epidural was awesome, I couldn’t feel any of the pain, but could move my legs about easily.

By the afternoon I was feeling really strong pressure and felt I needed to push. I might have been a bit crap at labour, but pushing I loved! I was determined to give it some welly. I remember saying to my midwife ‘they lie to you at uni, babies come out of your bum, I know they do, I can feel it!’ It was hard work, but felt good to be productive and doing something finally.38 minutes later, at 16.08 my beautiful, perfect, squashed little Chubs arrived and my life began.

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