Monday, 11 October 2010

Jo's last minute home birth to 3rd baby Theo

As you know we ended up changing our planned place for birth from Bracken to a water birth at home and with yours and Davina's help, we managed to arrange this! Within 24 hours of deciding on a home water birth we had managed to transform our conservatory into the birthing room with the hired birth pool from Davina set up in place! By the time I had finished the room, I felt very tired and had a bloody show. I had been losing bits and pieces of my mucus plug for about a week with lots of Braxton Hicks! By now I was a week over due! My community midwife has never been the kind of midwife I would recommend or want to deliver my baby and even now she was the only negative factor in the whole shift of birth plans. She was not encouraging of our plans and although she did organise the home birth paperwork, she kept reminding us that it still might not go ahead. I had to repeatedly chase up the home birth box to be delivered. My CM also told me that there would be no available pain relief and that there was no Entonox, but this was not what I was told by the lovely CM we had come round to assess me when I was in the latent stages of labour! However, I was woken up at 3am by vague period type pains on Thurs 23rd Sept. I went to the loo and realised I had had much more of a show and with that, contractions started to come about every 15/20 mins but they weren't really very painful. So I put on my TENS machine and tried to rest until morning. I got up and showered and phoned my CM to inform her that things had started. She sent a lovely CM round as she was busy in clinic and I was told I was 2/3cm dilated but that baby needed to move to a slightly more favourable position before labour would really start so I spent some time on my birth ball and on all fours. By just after lunchtime the contractions intensified and my CM turned up and examined me. She is not very gentle and I knew I must be around 4-5cm and was feeling ready to get in the pool as my TENS machine was beginning to not provide enough relief from the pain. I was trying my best to relax and breathe through each contraction and had some relaxing birth music on but I knew it was time for the warm water to relieve the tension I was feeling. However, on rough examination my CM told me I was still only 2-3cm and 50% effaced which I knew was inaccurate as I had already examined myself just before she got there! Maybe it was the anxiety she created that made me clam up! Tony also didn't like her attitude. We knew she was on duty until 5pm and desperately did not want her to be here to deliver our baby, so we were both relieved when she said she would leave us to it for a bit but that I should not get in the pool yet as I needed to be at least 4-5cm before I could do so or I would risk stopping or stalling labour. After she went, my contractions ramped up another gear and I began to get tearful as I was not coping well with the pain. So after about an hour I examined myself and could feel no thickness to my cervix so knew I was totally effaced and guestimated that I was about 5-6cm dilated. So I got in the pool which instantly relaxed me and I found I could cope better with the contractions and could zone out in between each one to get some much needed rest. By now I was vocalising through my contractions to enable me to cope. It was just Tony and I and Tony was very supportive but had to spend much time regulating the pool temperature to keep it constant.

We realised I was at transition stage when I started talking rubbish and crying! We waited until after my CM's shift finished before phoning labour ward to ask for a midwife. They called one out to us but we had to wait for her to get here. I was wanting Entonox by now but was just about coping. I was starting to feel the urge to push and so in between contractions, examined myself and knew I was fully dilated and could feel baby's head at the top of the birth canal. My waters were intact and I could feel the membranes around baby's head. I remained as calm as I could and Tony told Labour Ward I was starting to want to push. They said they would send a second closer midwife but if he thought delivery was imminent, he should phone an ambulance so the Paramedic could deliver the baby. I continued with the urge to push getting stronger with the next few contractions. Finally the door went just as I had a really powerful contraction and I told Tony I needed the Entonox quickly! Just then I pushed hard and baby's head crowned and I told the midwife..... "his head's crowning!" The midwife rushed in and told Tony to prepare to catch the baby whilst she scrambled around her bag to fetch out some gloves. Baby's body shot out with the next push (all in same contraction) and the midwife just managed to get her gloves on and grab him, brought him to the surface of the water and removed him from inside the intact membranes. He immediately cried heartily! The time was 6:24pm. Meanwhile I was in complete shock and crying and shaking all over. The midwife hadn't even had a chance to introduce herself and said to me, "you were hanging on to him until I got here, weren't you?". To which I replied "yes, I think so". Relief flooded my body as I realised he was fine and we had done it without any drugs or medical intervention.

The midwife said how lucky it was for baby to be delivered in his water sac. I felt sick and shaky due to the speed of delivery and how touch and go it was that the midwife was going to make it in time! But within a couple of hours I started to feel better. Baby latched on straight away and fed for an hour in total. He weighed in at 8lb 10oz with a head circumference of 35cm and a length of 51cm. He was perfect but we couldn't decide on a name and at almost 48 hours old, we finally decided on Theo Jamie. I escaped with a very minor tear so no need for stitches despite the speed of his delivery!

So there we go!!!!! We are recovering well and Tony was and is great - really stepped up to the mark and I can recall him standing there expecting to have to catch his new baby son, like a goal keeper with hands outstretched and a look of concentration and fear right across his face! He said it did not bother him in the slightest to watch Theo coming out into the world, whereas, he's never wanted to be down "business end" before with our other sons! lol

I wanted to say thank you for all the advice and support you have shown both Tony and myself through the classes, couples workshop and texts/phone calls. The homeopathic remedies came in handy too, as did the lavender facial spritz, Rescue Remedy and I found Tony blowing cold air on my face helpful!! I truely think we made the right choice in the end for our birth experience and much of that was due to your advice and guidance. The recommended books were also an excellent reference. As it happened, when I was in labour, I would have been turned away from Musgrove due to how busy they were and transferred to another hospital had we not opted for a home birth!! Little Theo had it all planned out for us and waited until we had all our plans in place before making his special and extremely memorable appearance in this world!!

I have attached a photo of our new baby son and look forward to coming along soon to tell his birth story to the Taunton yoga class and for you all to meet him.

All the best.

Jo x

Friday, 8 October 2010

A Birth - baby Aidan Daniel Sothcott

Receiving the call on tuesday 21/09 from Bristol was the most crazy thing. The day we had been waiting for, the day that we were prepared to meet our baby boy for the first time. They told us to make our way there for 12.30 that afternoon and so we hurried around the house packing the last few bits and jumped in the car. A journey has never taken so long (or so it felt) and the whole way I put myself into my bubble and tried to regulate my breathing - no singing along to Robbie for me!

We arrived a little late and to our dismay, told by a midwife that they were really too busy and it may be a while before the induction could be started. However, 5 minutes later another midwife appeared with some rubber gloves and a pessary and told me to lay on my back! Baby was monitored for about 20 minutes and we were then left for the day. I began to feel definate cramps but was told that it was just pain from the drugs and so she inserted another at 8pm. After an hour, I was curled up in pain, breathing forgotten and crying my eyes out. I managed to forget everything I had been taught.

At 2am it all stopped and I was thrilled to get a little rest.. then I realised that it had stopped completely and our boy wasn't going to arrive anytime soon.

Wednesday, a stronger gel was inserted but still no luck other than small twinges.

The doctors decided to break my waters at 2.45am meaning minimal sleep for all of us (mum stayed with Dan and I until I had shown signs on progression).

I was settled with a little gas and air for the VE and breaking of waters as it was so painful due to my cervix not playing ball. The waters, however, should definately have been called rivers as there was the biggest explosion!

After 2 hours of walking around the delivery suite, there was still no progress so the Syntocin was inserted at 6am. This got things moving very quickly and the TENS was soon on. With the midwife trying to push the epidural saying that the two things "go together" I was determined to do it my way and declined, using a LOT of sounding and the TENS going up and up. I was having contractions hard and very close together, usually coming in pairs but still only 2cm dilated yet fully effaced.

At 1pm it all got a bit too much using only the sounding so I had the epidural. Gas and air helped me again to stay still and breathe through the contractions. I was immediately calm and sat in the upright position from the relaxation exercise practiced in class for the rest of the labour.

An hour later, things began to go downhill.. Baby's heartbeat had slown down to about 50 and into the room came an abundance of midwives, doctors plus the senior. She then decided to perform a FBS and did so, while finding out I had become fully dilated in the last hour and easily feel my boy's full head of hair. They then took no time in urging me to push. Dan came back in the room having grabbed a cup of tea while the on call team for my baby were made aware that he was going to be arriving soon.

Dan and a student doctor held each of my hands as I spent the next hour and 15 minutes pushing (the senior using the ventouse). The "newborn emergency stabalisation team" were in the room as he was delivered and immediately handed to them.

I can truly say that hearing the words "I'm so sorry, we can't start your baby's heart" was the worst moment of my entire life. I dived under the bed sheets while Dan continued to watch them work at him. After 20 minutes the machines kicked into action and there were huge sighs of relief filling the room. From the worst moment, came the best moment and after another hour, we were allowed to see our beautiful baby boy in NICU.


Thursday, 7 October 2010

A Birth - baby Effie Welch

Lyn’s Birthing Story
According to the sonographer my baby was due on the 16th September 2010. The date duly arrived and departed with no sign of bump putting in an appearance and having seen my midwife who desperately wanted to do a cervical sweep I was determined that this baby was coming out with as little medical interference as possible. I spent the weekend eating copious amounts of fresh pineapple, drinking raspberry leaf tea, having sex and smiling nicely at everyone who suggested that castor oil was the way to go!

I was delighted when on Monday morning I had a definite 'show' and spent the day gazing aimless at the fish tank whilst bouncing on my ball, all plans of going shopping forgotten whilst fielding phone calls and text messages from everyone asking if anything was happening (sixth sense seemed to have kicked in among female friends and relations!) Lack of food in the house resulted in us having to make a trip to Tesco, where I wandered aimlessly until at the checkout I had my first proper, unmistakeable contraction. I spent the rest of the evening leaning over my birth ball and slowly the contractions built during the night until they were coming regularly every 30 minutes. As dawn approached I began to get slightly longer gaps of about 45 minutes followed by 3 contractions which were closer together. Dan and I decided that he would go to work on the proviso that he wasn’t too far away and could drop everything if needed. The contractions continued with this pattern through the morning, and after a phone call from Josie advising that I went back to bed to help my hormone levels increase. That is exactly what I did. I spent the day watching chick flicks, and attempting to sleep but in reality doing little more than shutting my eyes.

By the time Dan returned from work the contractions were much more consistent and powerful at about 15 minute intervals. Dan cooked me tea and massaged my lower back while I continued lying over the birthing ball. By 10pm the contractions were 10 minutes apart and I decided I wanted to put on the Tens machine. I had it on level 2 as anything higher was highly irritating, but in all honesty didn’t do too much to help ease the pain.

At 11.30pm the contractions were approximately 7 minutes apart and taking my full attention, looking through the notes from the couples workshop we had attended

Dan thought I was probably in the deciding phase. By this point I was trying really hard to control my breathing and Dan was being a rock and trying to calm me down and encouraging me to remember what we had been taught in class and at the workshop.

At 12.30am on Wednesday with regular contractions at 5 min intervals Dan phoned the hospital. After talking to the midwife through a contraction she announced that I was probably only in the early stages of labour, at most 2 to 3 cms dilated, and that this could continue for another 24 hours! Her advice was to take 2 paracetamol and go to bed! At this point I do remember uttering the words "If this is only early labour I want a c-section" I was convinced I was actually further along.

Within the hour my contractions were 2 -3 minutes apart and we phoned the hospital again, we were told to come in before they phoned back to say they would send the on- call midwife to see me. As I wanted to stay at home for as long as possible this seemed like a good idea, although whilst waiting for her to arrive Dan started to believe we would be having a home birth! Pat arrived at 2.15am mid contraction (by now I was sounding through each one) and did an examination only to discover that I was actually 7-8cm dilated and maybe we should head to hospital fairly sharpish! She phoned ahead and arranged for us to have a room with a birthing pool and then we all headed up the bumpy lane to the hospital, having warned Dan that I wouldn’t sit in the van quietly and she would follow us just in case we needed to stop on the way!

Knowing that I had got to this stage with very little pain relief gave me a real boost and boded well for the natural birth I wanted. I was really excited and positive on my arrival at hospital that felt I could do this and that meeting bump was going to be happening sometime soon! With everything going to plan, and monitor showing that we had a very chilled out baby I quickly progressed to 9cm dilated and got into the pool. The warm water and the gas and air was working wonders and I was feeling really positive and empowered at 4am I had urges to push, and at 4.40am I was told that my waters had broken and baby would be with us shortly.

5 then 6 o’clock passed but still no sign of the baby. Monitoring via the Doppler showed she was still very relaxed and her heartbeat absolutely fine. At 7am I reluctantly got out of the pool, as contractions had slowed down again and I knew that gravity was going to help me deliver my baby so got myself into a kneeling position using the back of the bed for support. It was at this point I decided to tell the world that gas and air was fab and memorise the sign on the bottom of the bed during every contraction. I can’t remember the exact words now although I assured everyone at the time I definitely would but it was something about removing bits of the bed before moving it!

8am brought a midwife change and at 9am after another examination I was told I was still only 9cm dilated and that my waters hadn’t broken and that this was stopping me from dilating fully.

She also began to question whether bump was actually back out as she had a feeling that it was back to back. Waters broken I continued in the forward kneeling posture in the hope that making a hammock would encourage bump to move around. 10,11, 12.00 o’clock passed and contractions had died off slightly but baby was still very chilled. Jane the midwife did another examination only to find I was still only 9cm dilated. With very little sleep for 36 hrs I was exhausted and running low on energy despite Lucozade glucose tablets and snacks.

Jane my midwife was aware of my birth plan and respected it but advised it maybe time to try something else in order to help me get bump out sooner. After consulting with another midwife they advised Syntocine and an epidural (my biggest fear) I knew that this would mean that baby needed to be monitored continuously. I really didn’t want to give in but had nothing left to give. I was petrified of the epidural but Dan talked me into it and supported me whilst the epidural was administered. Fortunately he had been investigating different forms of induction and knew that I would really struggle without the relief from the epidural.

I was really surprised by my epidural as I had expected not to be able to feel anything, but I was aware of the consistency of my contractions and could still move my legs which meant that when I was told at 2.30pm I was fully dilated and could begin pushing I was able to get myself into several different positions on the bed where I was able to bear down etc despite the wires and tubes attached to various bits of me. Jane was really supportive of this and chased bump around with the monitoring equipment as best she could.

4pm saw another midwife change and I was really pleased that it was Josie one of the Ilfracombe midwives that I had seen during the course of my pregnancy. She came in with a fresh boost of energy and enthusiasm which really helped lift my spirits. After an hour and a half of pushing there was still no baby. Baby’s head was visible but not shifting and I was exhausted. After consulting the doctor it was decided that a ventouse delivery was required as baby was most definitely back to back. By this point I was in my own little bubble and was only vaguely aware of what was going on around me all I knew was that I was going to meet my baby soon and that this time it would actually happen! The world and his neighbour seemed to enter the delivery room at this point and I remember being told that it all depended on me to listen to instructions. Apparently I was told the ventouse delivery was a 50/50 chance and I had to put everything I had into getting this baby out next contraction I pushed with all I had left.

At 5.32pm, 48 hours after the contractions started, I had my beautiful daughter Effie weighing 9lb2oz with a 38.5cm circumference head in my hands plus an episiotomy cut and third degree tear and it didn’t matter a bit!

It wasn’t the delivery I had hoped for by any means but I wouldn't change the experience I had for the world. I learnt so much about myself and Dan and I'm really proud of the fact that I managed to get to 8cm dilated at home with no pain relief. I stayed calm and relaxed and knew what was coming so was prepared for the next stage of labour and knew how to help myself by using different positions thanks to classes and the couples’s workshop.

I am so thankful that Dan and I attended the couple’s workshop as Dan took everything on board and researched everything. As a result he was the best birth partner I could have wished for, and his support was what got me through.

I also like to say a huge thank you to Josie and everyone in class for all their words of wisdom. I learnt so much from you all and I know that if I hadn’t attended active birth classes, I would have given in and ended up demanding a caesarean probably on Monday