The Birth Story of Ottilie and Delilah

It’s difficult to know how to start this birth story. I still can’t believe I only gave birth to the twins just over 2 weeks ago. If you’ve followed this blog you’ll know this was no easy pregnancy, there were so many uncertainties; the horrendous morning sickness, the scary bleeds in the first trimester,nthe reality of going from 2 children to 4, both babies being breech for what seemed like ages and the fear of Obstetric Cholestatis returning.  Well it did with a vengeance. In brief I had bloods taken at around 28 weeks into the pregnancy to have a look at what my bile acids and liver function tests were doing (I hadn’t started itching at this point) and they were already abnormal. After an initial wobble my amazing midwives and Consultant calmed me down and a plan was made to repeat the bloods in 2 weeks. By the time those 2 weeks came I was already itching on my hands and feet so I was started on lots of medication, creams to sooth my skin and Piriton to help the irritation. When people ask what it’s like to have OC, the only way I can describe it, is like ants biting under your hands and feet and no scratching will ever ease the itch. And the itching isn’t just on your hands and feet it’s everywhere. Legs, arms, bump, boobs. My skin was so damaged I was covered in bruises and scratch marks I looked like I’d been in a fight. It’s worse at night and some nights I wrapped cold wet flannels around my hands and feet to relive the burning sensation. The one thing that kept me sane was the amazing online support charity ICP which had a Facebook page where sufferers can post questions and receive help and advice. At 5am when I hadn’t slept this was a life saver.

By 34 weeks I was at breaking point, I was hardly sleeping and nothing was helping with the itching. I took myself off to see my Consultant full of tears and worry and begged her for an elective section. I could see no way of carrying on until 37 weeks feeling so tired, so I figured it was best to deliver the babies early to put me out of my misery, plus they were still breech and transverse so a vaginal birth was not recommended. Again my amazing Consultant calmed me down, talked me through the options but did a quick scan just to check their presentation. And guess what, they were both head down and twin 1 was engaged! I was shocked, I hadn’t even felt them turn. So it was decided to induce me at 36 weeks, have some steroid injections to help mature the babies lungs and she prescribed me some amazing sleeping tablets (which are safe in pregnancy) to ease the nights. I went away feeling calm, confident and for the first time excited to birth my babies.

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We had a date for the induction so over the next 2 weeks I listened to my Hypnobirth relaxation MP3  every night, stuck my YESMUM to be cards all over the house and had weekly massages from my wonderful doula. I could do this and everything was going to be fine. A few days before my induction date I had lots of early labour symptoms, a bloody show, loads of period pains, cramps and back ache but no babies. I felt confident that my body was getting ready for Friday and carried on practising my breathing techniques with my husband.

The day came to meet our little squirrels and we headed to the hospital at 7:30 am to meet my midwife and consultant. I was sneaked into a birthing room (I didn’t want all my colleagues to know or see I was on labour ward) and the plan was to have my waters broken and hopefully get things going. By 8:30 my waters were broken (I was already 4cm dilated) and I went off with my husband and doula to walk up and down 4 flights of stairs. My doula had my squatting, walking sideways you name it we did it. I felt like I’d done a Zumba class. My doula brought a wet flannel with her which had lavender and clary sage oil on it and I sniffed it like mad woman, I actually felt quite high. After 2 hours nothing was happening and we went back to the birthing room to talk through my options. My midwife head came into play and I knew the next stage was having the hormone drip. I wasn’t scared or worried about what this would mean but I knew time was ticking on and I wanted to get on with the labour, I even said ‘I want to feel these contractions now’. I was aware I was clock watching so my husband suggested taking the clock down from the wall.

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So we started the drip on a low dose which meant I had to be continuously monitored on the CTG machine. This wasn’t a problem as I sat on the ball leaning over the bed (still with my Hypnobirthing MP3 in my headphones) so I didn’t feel restricted or confined to the bed and could still be upright. I managed to totally switch off from everything around me, it felt like it was just me and my husband in the room and the calm voice in my ears from Hollie de Cruz.  After about half an hour the contractions were very mild and didn’t seem to be building into much so my midwife slowly increased the dose and I carried on rocking on the ball. I breathed through every contraction imagining a wave breaking gently on the shore ‘inhale peace, exhale tension’. *Just to say at this point, this was the first time I’d practised hypnobirthing techniques during my own labour so by no means was I an expert but I just kept the breathing techniques as simple as possible.*

After another half an hour the contractions had picked up and felt I needed to work harder to focus on my breath and not tense my shoulders or jaw, this is when the breathing really helped to keep everything soft. I took my husbands hand during every one of these contractions and held the wet flannel to my nose to inhale the lavender and clary sage, still keeping my eyes closed throughout. After a pretty intense contraction I walked to the bathroom to try and have a wee (my doula had been giving me sips of coconut water after every contraction which was just brilliant). I couldn’t manage a wee and stood up and had a really strong contraction which was horribly fierce and took me by surprise, I leaned onto my husband  trying to get back into my breathing and said ‘I can’t do another contraction standing up ‘. We walked back to the ball and it was clear the drip was definitely working as the contractions were really regular at this point, maybe every 2 minutes. I picked up the gas and air and rested the mouth piece in my mouth, not inhaling it just having it there as a comfort. The next contraction came and I instinctively knew I wanted to get on the bed (I’ve never birthed on the bed in my other labours) I turned onto my right side and felt a change in my body, a sensation I knew yet still couldn’t believe I was at that stage. Pressure. It was in my lower back right on my sacrum and there was no ignoring the different sounds I began to make.

My midwife head popped back on as I heard the paper of delivery packs being unwrapped and opened my eyes to see my midwife had changed out of her own clothes into scrubs and my consultant standing there smiling and looking pleased. ‘I’m not at that stage yet it’s way too soon’ I declared and they all reassured me that twin 1 was on her way. I suddenly felt scared and told my husband who calmed me down and told me l was going to be fine and brought me back in the zone ‘inhale peace exhale tension’. I still insisted on keeping one of the ear pieces from my headphones in one ear as I couldn’t bear not to have those sounds keeping me calm.

My body then took over and I began to feel twin 1 moving down in my pelvis at quite some speed because before I could even think ‘I can’t do this’ her head was crowning and my midwife asked me to slowly breathe. I don’t recall waiting for another contraction because a few seconds later she was on my chest skin to skin and screaming. I couldn’t really believe how quick it had been but was well aware there was another baby to birth.

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My midwives kept the hormone drip running so that my uterus continued to contract and within 5 minutes I felt the next wave of contractions building and asked for her cord to be cut and clamped and my doula took her for a cuddle so I could concentrate on the next bit. Another moment of me being a midwife crept in as I recall looking at my midwife as my consultant quickly scanned the second twin to make sure she was still head down. ‘I’m not having a forceps!’ I declared as I heard the sound of the metal instruments being tided away from a delivery pack. ‘No you’re not having a forceps you’re having a baby’ my consultant said to me. The contractions were strong very quickly again and my midwife broke the sac of water of twin 2 and I felt her begin to follow the same journey her sister had only made a few moments before. I was still on the bed but had rolled onto my back, one midwife encouraged me to rest my leg onto her to ‘make more room for baby’ a phrase us midwives say a lot! ‘God I hate it when midwives say that’ I announced to my midwives, they all laughed. And before I even had time to think about the ‘what ifs’ I felt that same sensation of her head emerging, followed by her body. I had done it.

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The placentas came out fused together one significantly bigger than the other but both looked healthy. My blood loss was minimal and I didn’t have any tears or grazes! (good old perineal massage). We spent the next hour munching on delicious goodies from the snack bag (thanks Jo) drinking tea and trying to master the skill of tandem feeding. After a quick shower (best feeling ever) and freshen up we were transferred to the postnatal ward where I was lucky enough to have a private room. My husband and I stared at our new baby daughters, both completely elated and exhausted at the same time.

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We named them Ottilie Pearl and Delilah Iris just in time for their big sisters to meet them the following day.

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Birth Story Of The Week – Claire and Anna

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BabyMouse was scheduled to be born by caesarean section on 17th March, due to the fact that she was breech and because of her needing to be born a bit early because of the potential dangers of me having obstetric cholestasis. [That was a long sentence, sorry. This is a long post, and is a bit of a ‘mind splurge’ so may not be entirely coherent.] However, things did not go entirely to plan…

On 25th February, we went to our usual Tuesday appointment at the hospital in London, saw the midwives and the obstetricians, showed my parents around the hospital so they knew where to go when the time came for the birth, and went home, all without incident. When we got home, we had dinner and watched Joss Whedon’s Much Ado About Nothing (an excellent film) on DVD. At about 9.30 pm, I decided to go to bed early because I was (as usual) feeling rather tired. I got into bed. At about 10.00 pm, I turned over in bed and [apologies for too much information] thought I’d wet myself, although it didn’t really feel like that. I went to the toilet and realised that this was not the case – it was actually that my waters were breaking! I sat on the toilet for a while – every time I went to get up more ‘water’ came out and I didn’t want to make the floors wet – and called for Mr C to let him know what was happening. He rang the hospital who, in true traditional fashion,told us to stay at home, wait another hour and take a paracetamol! To be fair to the midwife who answered the phone, Mr C didn’t tell her my medical history, and I wasn’t in pain at that time, so she had no reason to tell us to come in, although at the time I was rather cross and decided this wasn’t on and rang the hospital again. I spoke to someone else and told them about all the complications, and that we were going to come in straightaway, to which she agreed.

We called a taxi, which, thankfully. arrived within about five minutes. Mr C packed up all the things we might need – he already had a bag ready and just had to add a few last minute things. I took a towel with me because I didn’t want to make the taxi seat wet! I explained to the taxi driver that I thought I was in labour, and he was totally nonplussed!

When we got to the maternity triage they monitored the baby to make sure she was OK. This took about 20 minutes, by which time the pain had got much worse and it was confirmed that I was definitely in labour. By the time the obstetrician examined me I was already 7-8 centimetres dilated. We rang the London hospital to let them know what was happening and they talked about possibly arranging a transfer to them from the local hospital, but in the event there was no time for that! We were going to have to deliver the baby at the local hospital – at this point it was still the plan to do a caesarean and I was taken to the delivery suite to be prepared for this. Needless to say, I was in a bit of a state by this point; mainly because of the pain of the contractions, but also because I was worried that the people in the local hospital wouldn’t be able to deal with all my complications – the plans we’d set in place had gone out of the window and we were entering (even more) unknown territory…

The anaesthetist came to talk to me about pain relief, and asked me lots of questions which I found difficult to answer because I couldn’t think or talk very well due to the increasing pain and frequency of contractions. The anaesthetist was lovely, and waited for me to answer her questions in the bits of time where I wasn’t in pain, and was very clear in what she said, as well as taking the time to listen to my concerns about things, Luckily we had the delivery plan from the London hospital in my notes, and I let someone know about this so they could see what drugs I was allowed (or not), and the different methods of monitoring that were required. (I have to be monitored more closely because of my heart condition).

We went to one of the maternity theatres, and I could see all the surgical instruments being laid out for (I still assumed) the caesarean. There were about eight medical people in the theatre, as well as Mr C, who was now decked out in green scrubs and a surgical mask. He tried to help me breathe through the contractions. I had got to the point where I didn’t think I could carry on because the pain was so bad, and was gulping in lots of gas and air. I’m not sure that this helped with the pain, but it was a distraction, and helped my regulate my breathing,

Because it was in the original plan drawn up with the people in London, the anaesthetists tried to put in an arterial line – this gives more accurate blood pressure readings and can also be used to measure oxygen levels in the blood. Having an arterial line inserted hurts – fortunately I was given local anaesthetic (which also hurt, but I assume not as much as if I’d been able to feel the line going in) every time they tried to put it in, because they tried to insert the line lots of times before finally giving up due to my arteries refusing to cooperate and at the request of Mr C who told them there was no point trying to continue.

Another factor in stopping the attempts at insert the arterial line was the fact that BabyMouse was now well and truly on her way out! A c-section was no longer an option, so we were going for a natural delivery for a breech baby, something that is rarely attempted nowadays. I was given a spinal block to numb everything that needed to be numbed – it was such a relief not to be able to feel anything! It was now about 2.00 am and I was put into position on my back, leaning on a wedge-shaped cushion with my legs in stirrups. Not very dignified. It was now about 2.00 am and time to bear down and help BabyMouse out! It was very odd trying to bear down when I couldn’t feel anything, and it was hard to take deep enough breaths and let them out slowly enough when I was pushing.

The doctor actually delivering BabyMouse was lovely (in fact all the staff were lovely) and calm and he talked me though each push, and everyone else in the room helped me to know how long to push for. One of the midwives had her hand on my tummy, feeling for each contraction and telling me when to be ready and breathe. At about 2.25 am, BabyMouse was born! She weighed about 5lb. I had a quick glimpse of her just after she arrived and then she went over to the nurses, as she needed a bit of help with her breathing. Mr C went over with her. A few seconds later we heard her cry, which was a big relief. Someone showed her to me again for a second or two, and then she went to the special care baby unit. I delivered the placenta and the obstetrician dealt with my bleeding – unfortunately this was quite heavy as my heart condition meant that couldn’t have the usual amount of the drug used to contract the womb.

Once the bleeding was under control, I was taken to a recovery room. As is my wont after anaesthetics and/or traumatic medical procedures I spent the next hour or so shaking quite violently. (I’m not actually sure what causes the shaking – maybe just adrenalin.) My oxygen was quite low so they gave me some more, and I also had some tea and toast. Mr C went to see BabyMouse in the special care unit. The nurses took a photo of her which he brought to show me. It was lovely to see her, if only in a picture.

After a while I was taken to  the high dependency unit overnight so I could be monitored closely. The next day I was moved to the maternity ward. BabyMouse stayed in an incubator in the special care unit for three days, as she had trouble maintaining her temperature. She was fed through a tube for the first week or so of her life, because she was so early she didn’t have enough energy to take milk herself. Once she was able to maintain her temperature at the right level she was moved to the special care nursery and taken out of the incubator and put into a cot, although she sometimes had to have an overhead heater on her when she got too cold. The nursery was nice – it had murals of trees and animals all over the walls. A few days after this she moved with me to the transitional care unit, where mums and babies stay together until they’re both well enough to go home. Dads can stay as well, but they have to sleep on chairs (or on the floor if there are no spare chairs). If you’re lucky enough to get a reclining chair they’re quite comfortable, otherwise not so much. Mr C spent a few days on various floors as we moved round the hospital, but also got his fair share of reclining chairs, for which he was most grateful.

BabyMouse and I stayed in hospital for two weeks, until the staff at the hospital were satisfied that she was able to feed properly and didn’t have to have her tube in anymore, and we eventually went home on 12th March.

Before I finish this post, I would like to say that the care we received in Medway Maritime Hospital was exemplary. We could not fault it. The staff were unfailingly competent, kind and thoughtful. Most importantly, the medical staff listened to me when I had concerns, and went out of their way to find answers, reassure me, and help BabyMouse and I as much as possible. I think my experiences at Medway over the last couple of weeks were probably the best experiences of hospital I’ve ever had, and I’ve had my fair share of hospital experiences! I can’t thank the staff enough for everything they did for us. All the people we spoke to said that they also experienced a high standard of care during their stay at Medway. It’s a shame people’s good experiences don’t get reported in the press, but then I suppose that wouldn’t sell papers.

Read more about Claire and Anna over at Bookmouse

Birth Story of The Week – Sarah and Her Tigers

It’s been a pretty full on weekend here as my little girl turned 6! I can barely believe that 6 years ago I was giving birth to my tiny little dark haired baby girl. Not that she felt that small coming out, OUCH! Watching her with her friends yesterday, her long skinny bruised legs dancing to One Direction (cringe) made me realised how fast she is growing up. Those babies years seem a life time ago and I kind of wished I treasured them more, rather than wished them away through the sleepless nights, teething and juggling the working Mum malarkey.

This weeks birth story comes from Sarah a fellow midwife and Mama to little twin girls Emily and Edith.

Blog: Running Mama 2013

Twitter: newmidwife0904

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I spent what felt like an eternity to get pregnant, two years of trying, fights for fertility referrals, a year on the IVF waiting list…… But boy, when I finally got pregnant, I did it in style, not with one, but two babies. Seeing those two little lines had never made me happier, but in the throws of hyperemesis I wondered how I was actually going to cope with a twin pregnancy, and two babies.

Twin pregnancies, while a complete blessing, come with a list of risks as long as your arm. In a nutshell you are pretty much at high risks of all those pregnancy complications that worry you when you are pregnant with one baby, but the risk that bothered me most was miscarriage and premature birth.

My worries were not dampened when I bled at 25 weeks pregnant. I had what is called a post coital bleed (basically a bleed after having sex). And the stupid thing was that we had actually avoided sex for the entire pregnancy leading up to that point, and needless to say, for the rest of the pregnancy after. I was admitted for three days and subsequently signed off sick for the rest of my pregnancy, ending my role as a case loading midwife (very sad!).

Not sure what to actually do with all this spare time I took up knitting and sewing, and did more of my favourite hobby, baking (and eating) cake.

At 30 weeks I developed a urine infection which made me contract strongly and yet again I ended up in hospital, this time for four days. Successful treatment and rest allowed me to continue my pregnancy until term.

The second twin was in an awkward position under my ribcage, and so I started making plans for birth with my midwives and consultants. We agreed that as there was a 50% risk of needing a caesarean for the second twin, even with successful vaginal delivery of the first, I would have an elective Caesarean section at 38 weeks unless I went into spontaneous labour and things looked good. But at 36 weeks my midwife visited me at home, and when asked how things were going I explained that I was tired as I had been up all night with my feet in ice buckets because they were so itchy. Obstetric cholestasis (yes both myself and Clemmie got it, high incidence for such a rare condition!) didn’t even cross my mind. I felt so stupid! Any way, it was diagnosed and that weekend (after an emergancy wax!) I was stuck In hospital again for the weekend. But at least this time I would be meeting my babies.

After a weekend of intensive monitoring  just to get me to 37 weeks for a caesarean, I went to the pub at the end of the road from the hospital and had an enormous dinner of steak and chips. I guessed the iron content would compensate for any blood loss, and carbohydrate would get me through until morning as I would be nil by mouth from midnight. Hubby and I toasted our last night as a couple all on our own and headed back to the ward to contemplate what lay ahead for the rest of our lives. Things would certainly be different, that’s for sure.

I laid in bed, getting up and down to the loo, and not really sleeping a wink. I enjoyed every kick, every squirm, every hiccup, felt from within. I felt sad that I would never feel my babies move in that way again, and mourned that I would probably never be pregnant again. I wondered who was inside, boys or girls? One of each? Did they have hair? How big would they be (I felt enormous!)? Despite all the complications, I fell in love with being pregnant, I relished every day, and thanked the heavens each day for the blessing that had been bestowed upon me.

I must have fallen asleep as my alarm went off and woke me at half six. The summer solstice, 21st June 2010 had arrived and would be my babies birthday. I got up, had a shower, moisturised, plucked my eyebrows, brushed my teeth and waited. And waited and waited.

We eventually got taken to labour ward and into theatre at around 11am. A straightforward spinal later and I was lying comfortably in the table, worried I was going to fall off, and ready to go.

I could see my consultant pacing the corridor, I had luckily had the privilege of choosing my consultant, a colleague I trusted and respected, and one that had looked after me so well. He scrubbed up, along with my two (yes two!) hand picked midwives. Matt and I were chatting away to our anaesthetist and all of a sudden I heard the familiar sound of amniotic fluid being cleaned up. I hadn’t even realise they had begun! I hadn’t prepared myself and suddenly I was presented with the most perfect little being I had ever seen. Twin 1 – now known as Edith – had been born at 1129 , and flung straight onto my chest. Warm, wet, tiny, and mine. My chest felt heavy with emotion, we had done it, my eyes blurred with tears, I couldn’t quite believe I had a baby in my arms, a beautiful baby girl. But hang on. There was another baby to come! 1 minute later, at 1130, her sister Emily (who we were convinced was a boy!) was also born. Not being able to see through the tears I had to ask whether we had a boy or girl. Another girl and my dreams had come true (I never admitted in pregnancy that this is the outcome I really wanted). Emily went skin to skin with daddy and our family was complete. From two to four, in the blink of an eye.

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The rest of the day was a blur of breastfeeding, phone calls, congratulations from colleagues, and sleeping. I have never been so tired in all of my life as I have been these last three years, but I would never change it for all the money in the world (and I could use it!). Three years and many bad hair days on, even on those hideously tough days, I think back to the times of fearing I would never be a mother and remember just how lucky I am. My world, however messy and exhausting, is perfect.

The Power of Intervention

 

My Induction

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As I have previously written about in this blog, my second daughter’s birth ended up being an induction due to Obstetric Choleostasis.  I had planned a water birth at home but ended up at 38/40 being induced.  I was fully informed of the risks OC carries (mainly the small increased risk of stillbirth) and consented to having a medical induction of labour.  It was not an easy decision to make, I knew induction also carried many risks and I was concerned about the ‘intervention’ factor.  I did achieve however a water birth, which was against medical advice as the hospital guidelines recommend that labour is continuously monitored using a CTG machine.  This decision again was made entirely with informed consent, discussed with my midwife and Consultant and documented in my notes.

So it came with such shock when I read this article in the Observer on Sunday about a woman who successfully proved that the hospital which she gave birth ‘finally admitted to bullying her into taking precautionary antibiotics she didn’t want or need. They had threatened that social services would be called to take away her child after the birth’.

Horrific.  Can you imagine being in that situation, when you’re in pain, feeling vulnerable, emotions are high and a Consultant throws the social services card at you.  I have to say they have been times as a midwife supporting a women in labour, when a doctor has unnecessarily ‘convinced’ the women to do something she doesn’t want.  It’s not always a power trip in my opinion,  but more of a way they cover their own backs.  I have been in quite heated situations with doctors and always act as an advocate for women if I feel they are not being listened to.

I hope as I continue in my new role as a caseloading midwife, situations like this will be rare but if they do arise I will support my women’s choices, what ever they chose for their birth.

Did you ever experience a similar situation?  Did you ever feel bullied or not listened to by any health professionals?

The Unscratchable itch (part 2)

Pre induction CTG

We arrived on labour ward at around 9:30 to find a very busy labour ward; it was one of those shifts, the board was full and red.  No room at the inn for me!  I had pre-arranged for Lesley (a fellow midwife) to perform my sweep and give me the Propess (well if you’re going to have a sweep you might as well have one of Lesley’s sweeps!) so I called her and said we were waiting for a bed.

Luckily a bed was found for me in the induction bay and Lesley arrived grinning at me with an entonox mouth piece ‘You’ll need some of this’.  I don’t know who was more horrified me or my husband.  And she was right I did need some entonox!  After a lot of giggles the Propess was firmly inserted and the pain kicked in pretty much straight away.  So much so I didn’t even make it passed the doors to the reception area (we had planned to go for a walk and get some lunch).  My husband put my TENS machine on and I spent the next few hours bouncing on a birthing ball, texting family to keep them up to date and a lot of ‘I can’t do this’.  The thing with Propess is the pain never goes away, there is a horrible constant aching pain in your groin that no amount of walking, squatting, hot compresses can help.  I was getting pretty desperate, and it was only the beginning.

By 2pm it had all got too much and I begged the midwife in charge to find me a free room, it’s really hard being in early labour in the induction bay, no space to move around or privacy.  Room 10 was free and I did the walk I’d seen so many other women doing in labour from the induction bay, TENS machine in one hand and my pillow in the other (I’m pretty sure I was bare foot I didn’t care about anything at that point).  I really wanted to use the birthing pool but as I was being induced for OC I knew that once I was in established labour, I should have continuous monitoring.  I started the entonox again, but I wasn’t laughing anymore and my husband called my original home birth midwife Kate, to see if she could come in and look after me.  Thankfully she was free and arrived to find me in tears, taking off my make-up and begging for an epidural.  After a lot of reassurance she decided to examine me so I knew how I was progressing.  But unfortunately I was only 2cm dilated.

Propess is kicking in

Gas and Air is my best friend

So I continued to mobilise for a few more hours desperate for some form of change and progress.  At 6pm I was re examined and was found to be 5cm dilated and my Propess was finally taken out and my waters were broken (an ARM), which were clear!  Within 2 minutes the contractions felt completely different, like really strong but manageable waves.  We agreed that if I have a 20 minute trace on the CTG and it was reassuring I could use the pool.  Horary!  At last the one thing I had been focussing on was ready and I got into the warm water feeling completely relaxed.  It felt amaaazing.  Like the best bath you have ever go into post Glastonbury festival (but less mud) or after the longest day at work.

After an hour of really strong contractions and A LOT of gas and air I began to really lose control and begged for an epidural again!  In hind sight I was probably in transition but my midwife left the room to talk to Zoe (a good friend and fellow midwife) who was on shift to see if she could put me off and encourage me to keep going a bit longer.  But for some reason (and only my body knows why) at that moment when my midwife left the room, I suddenly had a huge contraction and felt the baby’s head beginning to crown and screamed at my poor husband ‘it’s coming!’ so he did what he thought was best, he pulled the emergency bell.  My calm, quiet birth suddenly turned into a bit of a drama and lots of people came running in only to see my beautiful baby girl being born in the pool at 20:35.  I decided to have a physiological 3rd stage, and delivered the placenta myself in the poll, 15 minutes later.  Total blood loss 150 mls, and a tiny graze.

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  And we were all home 3 hours later having tea and peanut butter on toast in bed.

The sisters meet at last

The Unscratchable itch (part 1)

I’m always sharing other peoples birth stories and a few of my followers have asked about mine.  I have briefly mentioned my induction on here before, but now for the full story.   So here goes……

36 weeks & the itching starts

38+5 day before induction

In February of 2010 those two little pink lines appeared on the pregnancy test and hooray, I was indeed pregnant.  I had done this once already before, had a straight forward pregnancy and birth so I decided that I wanted to have a home birth this time.  But at 8 weeks pregnant as I was in the throes of all day nausea whilst at work, I started to have some bleeding.  Luckily I was in the right place and a lovely consultant quickly scanned me in EPU and there on the screen was a tiny bean shape with a heartbeat.  The benefits of being a member of staff!  I felt so relived and continued to battle through the days at work wanting to vomit every time a woman did; I got pretty nifty at nipping into the toilet just at the right time!

The rest of the pregnancy went smoothly and as my bump started to show I was interested to see how the women and their partners reacted when a pregnant midwife was caring for them.  I was offered the birthing ball by one man who insisted his wife and I should both be bouncing on them throughout her labour.  Bed pushing and equipment moving became a no no and as the pregnancy progressed night shifts became a struggle.  I enjoyed women asking me questions like ‘What is it like being pregnant and a midwife?’  And more bizarrely ‘Are you going to deliver your own baby?’ errr I hope not!

I was just beginning to count down the last few shifts at work before I was due to go on maternity leave when the next lot of my problems began.  I was working a long day and my hands were really itchy, so itchy in fact I was rubbing them on the corner of the desk to get some relief!  But being a typical pregnant woman my brain had sort of become a bit mushy ‘placenta brain’ a term I often hear and I put it down to the heat; it was the end of August after all.  Luckily I was surrounded by more sensible people and a colleague mentioned that maybe it was a good idea to do some bloods just in case I had Obstetric Cholestasis.  I reluctantly agreed but thought there is no chance I’ve got OC it’s just the heat.

Sadly the blood results came back with the diagnosis that yes in fact I had OC, off I trundled to the Consultants office clutching my results (still itching my hands and now feet) with the reality that my beloved home birth would probably not be happening.  It was at this point that I realised that being a midwife bore no resemblance to the kind of pregnancy and birth I was hoping for.  Any control I felt I had, had gone and I had now become ‘high risk’ with twice weekly visits to MAU and lots of extra scans.  This was quite difficult for to me grasp despite my daughter enjoying all the attention she received at my hospital appointments.  All my knowledge and thinking like a midwife went out of the window and suddenly all I wanted was to be treated like any other pregnant woman.  Finally at 38 weeks pregnant and with an increasing bile acid result my induction of labour was booked for 38+6/40.  To be honest at that point the itching was so unbearable I was glad that I had a date for this all to be over.  Night time buckets of my feet submerged in ice cold water and my poor husband having to rub Aloe Vera gel over my hands was beginning to take its toll on us all.

So my induction was booked in the labour ward diary, it was strange seeing my name there but the decision was made and I spent the next few days organising childcare for my daughter, washing white baby grows and deflating my pool (sob sob).  Finally September the 27th arrived and off my husband and I went on the 468 bus to the hospital, my notes under one arm and my pillow under the other (I wasn’t going to take any chances!)

Push Music

This is me in early labour with my second baby. I’m really pissed off as I’m being induced which was not how the start of my perfect birth story was supposed to begin. ‘It wasn’t meant to be like this’ I kept saying to my husband over and over as the waves of early labour kicked in. I had ‘planned’ a home birth, a straight forward water birth in my lovely little cosy house with my favourite Diptyque candles flickering in the background and my own bed and bathroom. But due to a nasty condition called Obstetric Choleostasis which I developed just as I was leaving to go on maternity leave (I ignored the classic tell-tale sings for a few days tut tut- excessive itching on the hands and feet), I was strongly advised that it was safer to induce me at 38/40.  It just goes to show being a midwife has no relevence to how your pregnancy or birth goes. Anyway in this photo you can see I’ve got my ipod on (and TENS machine), it was the only way I could drown out the sounds and pain and focus on getting through those hours.  No whale music or panpipes for me, this was my moment to hear what I wanted, so here’s my playlist and please please PLEASE share yours in the comments box below. Why? My plan to create the ultimate labour playlist for anyone who wants to listen, enjoy.

  1. Isobel Campbell and Mark Lanegan – Come Undone
  2. Nick Drake – Pink Moon
  3. Prince – Rasberry Beret
  4. Jay-Z Feat. Alicia Keys – Empire State of Mind
  5. The Beata Band – Dry The Rain
  6. Arthur Lee – Love
  7. Arcade Fire – Wake Up
  8. Florence and the Machine – Cosmic Love
  9. Elbow – One Day Like This
  10. Chemical Brothers – The Boxer
  11. The Stone Roses – Made of Stone
  12. I am Kloot – Over My Shoulder
  13. Radiohead – Creep
  14. Belle and Sebastian – Boy with The Arab Strap
  15. Etta James – At Last
  16. Portishead – Glory Box