The potential for a bleed or haemorrhage is something we are asked about a lot in our Home Birth Support Group UK.
When this birth story, which took place at home and was followed by a significant bleed and transfer in hospital, was posted I asked if I could share as although it was clearly a terrifying situation, it was also calm and controlled and gives a good clear picture of the steps taken.
It’s written here in our members own words.
“Home birth with hospital transfer- sorry it’s long, I’ve written an essay ?
Baby number 4, my first was an emcs (emergency caesarean), second vbac (vaginal birth after caesarean) with managed 3rd stage (600ml blood loss), third water birth physiological third stage (900ml blood loss- stopped with drip of syntometrine?).
I’d had lots of conversations with the head of midwifery as they were concerned about bleeding but would support me in what I wanted to do they just wanted to have a clear plan in place.
My community midwife was wonderful and supported me every step of the way. All previous babies have been “late” so I’d asked her not to mention dates/ induction etc.
I got twitchy at 40+4 weeks and asked her to check babies position and if she was in a good one to do a sweep. Previous babies had all had two sweeps and I know other people’s views on them but I felt for me mentally I had to do it.
I asked her not to tell me if I was dilated etc. She did another one at 40+9 and again I asked not to be told anything but she had a massive grin on her face so knew there’d been a change, my plug had also started to come away the day before.
I had twinges on and off the next few days. 40+11 I couldn’t sleep- posted in here as I was grumpy! As it got to morning hubby mentioned he thought I must be having tightenings as he’d noticed a change in breathing. Went and lent over birthing ball and released I was having regular tightenings every 10 min.
Kids were now up and driving me potty so asked hubby to take them to my folks and I rang my best friend who was coming as another birth partner.
It carried on most of the morning and I rang to let hospital know, they said midwives were at another birth but as I’d said I didn’t need anyone yet they’d come to me after but to call back if needed.
Tightenings started going to every 5 min around 3pm and friend asked if we should call back but insisted I was still fine then I had a tightening which just wouldn’t stop!
I told hubby he could start getting the pool ready and then he rang hospital. They said someone would be out within an hour. Around 4 the first midwife arrived who my community midwife had told me was on call and was lovely, then the second who was the community midwife my friend had had and then a third midwife who is a school mum and we’d been talking lots so I felt very supported!
5.30 I got into the pool which was heaven. My friend had passed all birth plan details to them and they never asked to do any VE just asking to listen to baby- they realised they didn’t have a waterproof one so asked if we had a condom to put over it and try which had us all in hysterics! It didn’t work but they left me to cope in the pool and someone went to the hospital to get one. They didn’t ask me to get out the pool to check or anything.
When they arrived back around 6pm they tried to listen in but i heard someone mention she was too low and again they didn’t force it.
I felt her moving lower and lower and then starting to come out, her head was out then it felt very strange and someone said they could see fingers, a hand, an arm, oh look she’s flying out. Again I don’t remember pushing, just someone saying to reach down and get her and she was here. I’d been sent for a growth scan previously as fears over small baby which ended up predicted big baby then risk of should dystocia so I was so relieved she came out easily!!
I really wanted to get straight out the pool and wrapped up to minimise oxytocin lowering etc but they told me to take my time as everything was fine there was no blood in the pool etc.
Eventually I got out but as I stood up there was a large gush of blood, they all kept very calm and one of the midwives gave me the injection for the placenta (which I said I wanted) and they helped me out of the pool to the sofa. The blood kept coming but they wrapped me up while keeping me calm and shielding me from it so I wasn’t aware.
They tried another injection then asked if I could try giving the placenta a push but it wasn’t budging. They asked if they could call an ambulance to go in if it was needed, insisting baby could stay with me and they’d be there and I consented.
Looking back and talking to hubby they were very concerned but I wasn’t aware at the time at all. Lovely paramedics arrived and hubby wrapped baby up then waited until I was in the ambulance and brought her to me. He said he’d follow with my friend so we had the car and one midwife came in the ambulance.
The journey was awful- I get bad sickness anyway but with the different things they’d given me it made it worse. They never once suggested to take baby instead helped support her whilst holding vomit bowls.
When we arrived at the hospital the midwife I knew was very good at telling everyone to keep me calm, lights low, soft voices, etc. The doctor came in and tried to pull the placenta out, part of it came out just from pushing but there were lots left inside.
They insisted I needed to go to theate and I got really annoyed, I insisted she tried again, I didn’t want gas and air and just remember clining onto my poor midwife while the doctor reached in and tried to take it. Eventually she told her to stop – she wanted husband in and everyone else out to give me 5 minutes.
She then spole calmly to me and said she really thought it was best to to theatre. I was quite upset but I knew she was 100% on my side and wouldn’t have suggested it unless whe was worried.
Shift changed so new midwife arrived and was lovely, they were all so calm and she got me ready for theatre, again insisting baby wouldn’t be separated and hubby could bring her in and stay with me the whole time – I had a spinal and felt horrofoc, at this point I think it was dawning on me how much blood I had lost and was still losing.
Theatre was a success and she checked and I had no tears too. Went down to recovery and had lots of monitoring through the night. They said I had a 2.7 litre loss in total. Haemoglobin went to 84 and they like to do a transfusion at 80 so it was close but I felt remarkably OK.
The lovely midwife stayed and kept doing observations all night, we finally had the baby weighed – 9lb 13 ounces. Lots of people kept checking I was ok, the head of midwifery came to see me – she was overjoyed I had my daughter on her birthday. Everyone was so supportive and I was so happy.
I always said I knew there could be a transfer, I just wanted to birth at home and I got my wish. At the time the transfer and hospital stay wasn’t nice but I’m just so overjoyed to have got my home birth I think I’ve separated the two.
We were finally released at 6 pm and got home pretty much 24 hours after she was born. I’m knackered, feeling delicate but on Cloud 9. I honestly do not think I would have go the birth I wanted without this group, the choices in hospital were all done on my terms so I really do thank everyone for sharing their stories.
Born 41 plus 5 weighing 9 pounds 13 ounces – completely and utterly besotted.”
Although this story has is fear factors, its so important, the lack of separation of the mother baby dyad, the transfer in with a known midwife who stayed and was trusted, the calm, gentle treatment in a very medicalised and serious situation all contributed to this expereince remaining positive. This situation could have arisen at home or in hospital but it is clear that having her home birth meant a lot to our member.
My “Home Birth Transfer Is Not A Failure” blog covers other positive home birth transfers.