Known baby boy
?weighing 7lb 11oz
?water birth, used gas n air
⌛arrived at 12:07am (40+1)
???? 2nd time mum but first home birth
? physiological 3rd stage.
✂️delayed cord clamping and cord tie used
Some of you will probably remember my posts about being pressured to birth in hospital. I hadn’t really given home birth too much thought before covid hit but the more I thought about it and the trauma I felt from my first birth, the more I knew it was the right decision for our family.
My previous labour started on the mlu in the pool and was going wonderfully until they announced I had been pushing against an anterior cervical lip. Cue being moved to labour ward, told to fight against my urges to push for two hours, babies heart rate dropping as he had dropped so low, threatened with forceps if I didn’t push him out within next ten mins which resulted in an episiotomy to get him out quick. All this on my back with legs in stirrups sobbing that I felt out of control and couldn’t feel the urges to push I’d felt before. I did manage to birth my 8lb 12oz beautiful boy and it wasn’t until I really reflected that I realised how unhappy I was and how wrong so much of it had felt. There were some messy stitches to follow which left me very uncomfortable after for quite some time.
Anyway fast forward to this pregnancy….. We had decided to opt for homebirth once I’d got my partner on side and we were excited and feeling ready.
A friend had offered to lend her pool to us which was great. I had a midwife appointment at 34 weeks which showed a slight decline in growth. I agreed to a growth scan which showed that the baby was actually measuring larger than the fundal height measurement suggested but was still below 90th centile so no problems!….. 2 weeks later I went for another growth scan (I’m not even sure why I was offered this one) stupidly and naively I went, to be told by a doctor that my baby was 7lb 9oz at this stage and would be at high risk of shoulder dystocia by my due date. She said that babies put on at least a pound a week in the last few weeks so seemed to be suggesting my baby would around 11lb 9oz by 40 weeks……
She wrote ‘please birth in hospital’ in my notes and told me to consider sweeps from 38 weeks. I told her that this was out of the question.
I was devastated and kicking myself for going. I was further kicked down when my midwife seemed to side with said doctor and suggested I seriously consider the mlu (midwife led unit).
They rewrote my birth plan as we were now acting against medical advice.
I just felt in my heart though that this baby was NOT as big as they were saying and had said right the way through my pregnancy that he was smaller than my first. We were sticking to the plan!
I did lots of research and made lots of notes which I kept in the front of my folder to remind every midwife I saw as well as myself when confronted that I was informed and prepared!
I had been feeling a lot of cramping on and off for a couple of weeks and genuinely thought he was going to arrive earlier than my ‘due date’. My due date came and we had a day out in Beddgelert and Betws Y Coed with some friends.
I mentioned to my friend at about 4 o clock that I thought I could feel a trickling and wondered if it was my waters. I was actually hesitant to say anything thinking was it just discharge and felt a little embarrassed that I was being dramatic!
My waters didn’t go with my first until I had been having regular contractions for quite some time so was doubtful. We decided to grab an ice cream. I felt more trickles and we got home around 6. I was feeling contractions but not very painful and around 20 mins apart. I played with my son for a while before bed and started to feel gushes rather than trickles.
At this point i knew it was my waters. I was starting to feel more contractions too and got my son to bed. I went downstairs and started cleaning like a mad woman with my partner.
As I was mopping I mentioned to him that I felt like they were getting pretty close and I should maybe start properly timing them.
On doing so I found that they were down to 4 mins apart then 3 and we decided to call for the midwife around 10pm She said she didn’t live far and would be there soon. She took quite a while and arrived about 10:50. By this time I had had a couple of back to back contractions and thought wow things seem to be moving quite fast but I must be being dramatic ?.
When she arrived she said oh you look like you’re doing well. I was swaying on my ball or on my knees on the floor using the Freya app to help control my breathing and the tens machine.
The second midwife arrived about 15 mins after and I remember being surprised that a second had come so quickly. In my head we had a lot of hours ahead of us. The midwives asked if I’d like a VE and I said no as I didn’t want to feel deflated.
They commented that they really didn’t think I would be and suggested we fill the pool.
It wasn’t long though until I started to lose control a bit and apologised for swearing.
One midwife asked if I was feeling pressure and I said no. I was scared of pushing too early as with my first. She started to spread out a shower curtain on the floor though and said it was in case we had a land baby rather than water baby which I remember thinking she was being a bit premature about. I said I needed a poo and got up to go to the loo where I had some really big contractions.
They were very anxious that baby was going to be born in the toilet and kept asking if I was ok. Things were really ramping up then and there was no break between my contractions. I was struggling to keep calm and in control of my breathing and was getting very very vocal in my panic. I then finally accepted we were getting close and recognised it as transition. I begged for the gas and air to find they didn’t have a mouthpiece and spent what felt like aaaages looking for one. In the end I used it without.
FINALLY the pool was ready at about 11:50 and they said they’ve never seem anyone get in so fast. I do recall running to it in a very short break between contractions ?. The relief was unreal and my whole body relaxed and I could cope much better. Immediately I felt my body pushing and was struggling at times to stop pushing between contractions.
I started to feel baby moving down and asked if that was what I was feeling as I couldn’t believe the relief. I soon felt him crowning and little by little eased him out slowly. It was so calm and controlled and I could feel everything that was happening. Sooooo different to my first.
When his body slipped out at 12:07 my partner scooped him up and passed him to me and we had some time in the pool. I had agreed to have the cord cut before it went completely white so that they could take a blood sample (I am rhesus negative) and it was cut after 17 minutes. I was feeling little urges to push and passed him to my partner so I could get on my knees and push out the placenta. It came out 37 mins after baby. We then had some time on the sofa and he had a good 45 minute feed whist the midwives wrote their notes. I was examined and have just two little grazes. Baby was weighed at 7lb 11oz. Miles away from the huge huge baby who was going to cause all these complications.
Unfortunately there was a mess up with the bloods and it was incorrectly labelled so I had to go into hospital at 11:30 this morning to have them retaken from baby ? soooooo disappointing after avoiding the hospital but I did want my anti d if required.
Breastfeeding is going really well and his big brother’s face when he came into our bedroom this morning is something I will always remember.
I am beyond happy I trusted my instincts but truly feel I wouldn’t have had quite the same levels of confidence without the reassurance from the members and the stories in the Home Birth Support Group UK. It makes me so angry to think about how I would have felt if I had gone along with the doctor and gone to hospital and had such an easy birth which I could have done at home.
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What a story – Tor’s first birth is a catalogue of mismanagement and subsequent trauma. Her home birth with Iori is a story of coercion and misinformation through pregnancy and Tor listening to her own instincts and making her own informed decisions.
There is nothing wrong with birthing a big baby, but a prediction of 11 pound 9 ounces over a 7 pound 11 ounce birth weight is absolutely appalling.
Dr Rachel Reed’s article The Anterior Cervical Lip: how to ruin a perfectly good birth explores whether a cervical lip is myth or fact and comes down on the side of myth.
The time investiment Tor put into her birth and the support of our group members gave her the incredibly healing birth she had.
Hugest congratulations Tor and welcome to the world Iori.
Samantha Gadsden walks with women on their life’s journeys. She is an experienced Doula, based close to Cardiff in South Wales, mother to 4 children and wife to Eddie, more information can be found on her facebook page, Samantha Gadsden Doula and her website, Caerphilly Doula. SOS Doula, Telephone and online support is always available.
If you are interested in writing a guest blog or sharing a life or birth story please feel free to contact her HERE.
“Your Journey, Your Body, Your Baby, Your Birth“