It’s been 10 days since my HBA3C and I’m finally writing my birth story while my chunk breastfeeds greedily!
Where do I start? The two weeks of prodromal labour? The 80 hours of slow labour? First of all my first pregnancy in 2009 was induced at 41+3. I had a hypersensitive reaction to the prostaglandin gel and started contracting straight away, two minute long contractions with two minute intervals,
dilated to 4cm in 5 hours, baby couldn’t handle it and her precious heart slowed down and eventually stopped.
I’ll never forget the sound of the alarm in the labour ward as they ran me down to the operating room, I refused to be put to sleep.
I wanted to be awake to see if my baby girl was alive. They cut all the way through me rather than pull the muscles apart like they normally do, they tugged on me so hard I nearly fell off the bed three times. I didn’t care, I just wanted my baby to be ok. 10 life long minutes later and we heard the most amazing little scream from her when she was pulled from me. Our first baby girl was here. 7lb 6.5oz.
Second pregnancy in 2012, I started contracting at 28 weeks, stayed over night in hospital for monitoring and was given meds to stall labour, it worked. Induction date came at 41+3, this time though I was given half the normal dose due to my previous reaction and C-section. It didn’t work and I wasn’t given any chance to labour naturally. As I was naive I thought I had to do what they said. So for three days I was told each morning, “C-section today” and on the third day (42 weeks) our second girl was born via C-section. 8lb 8oz.
My third pregnancy in 2013. I was determined to have my VBAC. That is until the doctor told me I was going to kill myself and my baby. So a scheduled C-section was made for 38+4. Our baby boy was born at 8lb 2oz.
Ok so my fourth pregnancy. My due date was 19th February. I knew from the start my baby would be born in March though. I refused hospital care after my first scan and a lecture from the midwives because they were telling me I had to have a section whether I wanted one or not because my body wouldn’t even know how to labour. I had other ideas! I wanted a home birth. I had found the perfect midwife and was excited when we first met because we just clicked. We had the same sense of humour and got on like a house on fire! And to put the icing on the cake she told me I COULD have a natural birth no matter how many sections I’d had!
The pregnancy was perfect, every anti natal check was problem free and baby was always happy.
So fast forward to the week of my due date and I was having lower back ache and lots of contractions, but I knew it wasn’t the real deal. Cervix was very high and very posterior. Fast forward another week to 41 weeks and the contractions had changed to period type pains, cervix was still posterior and high. Bearing in mind all of this was new to me, my fourth baby and I had never laboured naturally.
Three days later after a week and a half of 30 second long contractions 15 minutes apart, they started getting closer together. At last!! Husband and I slept on the living room floor, as I didn’t want to wake the kids. Middle of the night and the contractions grew to five minutes apart and I started to struggle. Husband put the birth pool up and I got in. The next morning the kids got up and the contractions stopped. I was devastated!! A few hours later they picked up again and the previous night was repeated. And repeated again the night after that. I was exhausted.
Thursday night came round and Becky, the midwife, standing in for my appointed midwife came to the house (my midwife was in Paris!) she was lovely, I cried and cried because I thought I was getting nowhere. She could see how tired I was and sympathised, but after an examination she told me I was 4cm anterior and effacing!! I was so relieved I was getting somewhere but the thought of another four days of this made me want to give up completely. I sobbed and wailed and asked what I should do. Becky said I should take some Kalms, take co-codamol, drink some Horlicks and go to bed. To try my best to get some sleep, turn off my phone, and in the morning have something to eat and have a bath. So I did. For the first time in four days I slept! For three whole hours I slept like a log. I woke up in the night needing a wee and walked with no pelvic pain for the first time in months. That was a strange feeling and I still don’t know why it happened. I came back from the toilet with even more pressure than I’d had the past four days and contractions were coming every 15 minutes. I still managed to sleep in between them.
The next morning I felt so refreshed. My husband was getting our eldest ready for school, we were going to keep our nearly three year old home from nursery for reasons I can’t really remember now, but I just had this feeling of ‘I need to stay calm today’. So asked my husband to take her in. I could stay calmer with just one toddler (our boy is 22 months). So I had breakfast and got a bath, contractions were 10 minutes apart and lasting up to 40 seconds. I was practicing my hypnobreathing, relaxation and visualisation techniques. They helped a lot!! My husband said I was acting so differently. I was walking round slowly in a world of my own, floating almost and talking quietly. When our son went for his nap I even put my ear phones in and listened to classical music… Very strange for me!!
At 10.30am my Step-mum came to see how I was and brought a big box of cakes from our local supermarket and ordered me to eat them all to give me a good boost… And it really did!! I had a good chat with my Step-mum and five minutes after eating two jam and cream scones, two Bavarian slices and a cream bun I was contracting 3-4 minutes apart for 45-60 seconds. My Step-mum noted how the intensity was changing. She left after my husband got back from picking up our second girl from nursery and from then the contractions got tough. I was pacing up and down the hall, from the front door to the kitchen, up the stairs to the toilet… Oh the toilet… Needing to wee every other minute and the pressure when I sat down – ouch!!! I was groaning so loudly during the contractions!!
We called Becky (midwife) at around 2pm and she arrived at 3pm. She watched me during contractions and decided that she was definitely not leaving any time soon! I was on my knees on the kitchen floor, hanging on the counters, hanging on my husband, leaning over my birth ball, but nothing helped. 3.30pm Becky checked me and I was 6cm and completely effaced!!! I’d never even gone this far before!! I laughed through my next contraction over the back of the couch because I was just so happy I was actually in established labour for the first time!!
The second midwife, Michelle, arrived at 4.30pm and introduced herself but soon left as they thought it would be a while before baby was born… They thought! Husband set up the pool and I got in, it was so relaxing!! Helped a lot with the pressure. I felt like I needed a huge poo!! My Step-mum had picked up our eldest girl from school so she came home and was so excited to find out what was happening! All three kids were playing happily while I laboured in the pool in our living room. My Step-mum came and got our son soon after because I thought he would get upset with everything going on. So then it was just me, my husband, our two daughters and Becky.
I was labouring hard and at around 5.20 my body started to push. Becky told me to go with it. She called Michelle who raced back to our house with more Entonox (I’d used the first small canister up!) and soon I was hanging over the edge of the pool holding my husbands thumbs. I don’t know why, I just wanted to hold his thumbs haha!! I could feel my baby’s head pushing against something in my bum. It felt like it was stuck but Becky and Michelle assured me it was coming down nicely. They showed my husband the line above my bum crack that showed I was progressing well – that was random! Haha! Next my baby was crowning. I was burning down there and was being very vocal! I even said it was too hard and couldn’t do it – Becky laughed and said kindly, “Well it’s a bit late now because baby is nearly here!” Then his head was out, the strangest feeling, just a little (well it was actually quite big!) head sitting there. It wasn’t painful at all, there was no pain for about two or three minutes, I even had a conversation with my daughters and asked if they were ok, if they’d had enough to eat, if they were excited. They were stood behind the pool looking at the baby’s head telling me he had a cute nose and some hair. Then came the urge, my eyes opened wide and I looked at my husband, I closed my eyes and put my head down and made the most inhuman noise I’ve ever heard, I pushed a long loud push and suddenly my baby’s body shot out into the water. 6.09pm. I’D DONE IT!!!!
My husband ran around to catch our son but the water was so red with blood he couldn’t find him, so I sat back and reached down, I felt a gooey, slippery little thing at the bottom of the pool, grabbed it and up came the big beautiful opened eyes of our baby boy. He cried for a few seconds then looked around happily at our faces. My husband cried his eyes out but I just stared at our baby in awe. I couldn’t believe what had just happened! I couldn’t speak. I had given birth for the first time – to my fourth baby!!
He latched on to my breast all by himself and fed straight away, I loved it. Becky and Michelle both cried, they had never delivered a baby by a woman with my history. It was perfect. I held our baby who was still attached to the placenta for about ten minutes. I was stinging where I’d torn but I didn’t mind. Then my husband cut the cord and held our son. I got out of the pool and moved to the couch, my legs were so shaky! The placenta came out after about 15 minutes that felt weird! Becky and Michelle checked my tear, two stitches inside for a second-degree tear and a large graze to my right labia. Not bad for a 9lb 10oz baby!! My biggest yet!! I was in a bit of shock and was shaking like a leaf, apparently I was white as snow too so I was made a sugary cup of tea. Stitches done, baby weighed, I lay down on the couch with my brand new baby boy and stared at him. Then took our first selfie together and posted it on a HBAC/VBAC group on Facebook and got an amazing response!!
I’m still in a bit of shock now ten days later, but I am so happy beyond words. So many people told me I was crazy or stupid or mad for attempting a home birth after three caesareans and no previous vaginal births, but I took no notice and stuck to my guns. With the support of my amazing husband and gorgeous midwives, I am proud to say, I did it!