After the shock of my waters breaking very suddenly, the frightening amount of amniotic fluid gushing out and it containing meconium I created a different type of bubble for myself than the serene homebirth bubble I had envisaged… and here is the story, including the tweets:
Came into hospital for check up & my waters just broke. They are not v clear. 🙁 12:12
I called Dadonthebrink, let him know what was happening and asked him to come with bags packed.
Lost loads of water, feeling so much lighter, but contractions have stopped. Staff pressuring me to go to delivery suite 12:39
The pressure to transfer to the Delivery Suite from the Midwifery Led Unit was not unexpected- I already had a number of high risk factors (post partum haemorrhage, high BMI, large baby, excess amniotic fluid) and the meconium stained amniotic fluid just added to those. I listened to the arguments and explanations then declined the offer to use the pool room a couple of storeys down.
Having understood the risks with each of the factors made the judgement that being 4 floors up from the Delivery suite was close enough to the windowless claustrophobic rooms that were available there. I wasn’t comfortable even here, where it was light and airy and had a lot less people running around.
I asked my midwife to do an internal examination- she wasn’t very keen as I “wasn’t in established labour”, especially as my contractions had completely stopped.
6 cm dilated, cervix still long. Bump has struck a LOT. Need to go for a stroll for contractions to start again. 13:29
My contractions didn’t really want to restart. In the meantime Dadonthebrink and My-Lovely-Advocate, a close friend arrived. Almost immediately I realised that I had not thought of a number of things that I probably needed and therefore sent them back home for these and also to get one car home. Luckily my Dad could pick up the kids.
Waters still leaking. How much water does this baby have around him? 13:39
Having declined the offer of the room available in Delivery Suite, the pool room at the Midwifery Led Unit became available and was cleaned promptly. I was grateful for this!
I’m in prison, walking the corridors round & round … not recommended to go out in case I deliver on the lawn 13:45
I went for a wonder- round and round the circular corridor of the unit at each 2-3 rounds I returned to “base”. Here the foetal heart rate monitor was used to check Sticky Bean’s heart rate.
Baby heartrate monitoring every 15 mins coz of the meconium in the waters. He’s happy tho 13:57
Have walked the stairs & am sniffing clary sage oil in attempt to get contractions more regular. 15:55
…except I was walking the wrong set of stairs, the ones all the way downstairs, instead of the ones leading down from the midwifery led unit. My midwife thought I had done a runner and the student midwife and a maternity care assistant were sent to find me within 10 minutes. By this time I had soaked through a couple of those bricks (aka maternity pads) and my trousers and had had enough of the exercise. Getting back to the room I changed and sat on the bed, while Dadonthebrink and My-Lovely-Advocate watched a film on the laptop (on my suggestion)… I found the white noise the film created very relaxing. At this point, we were also left in the room with only the student midwife there… this bit of peace did the trick:
Hooked onto baby monitor. Fetal heartrate 140. Contractions now 1min every 4-5 mins 16:30
The monitor pads kept coming off, which was annoying, but I was keen to make sure everyone was happy, including the Bean inside, so kept repositioning them
My butt hurts from being on bed so we r filling pool, so I can try diff positions there to get contractions to intensify 16:38
My request for the pool was met with scepticism and it was explained that since I’m not in “established labour” it might stop these gentle contractions all together.
I’ve told midwives to stop comings & goings … if they must come in then not to bloody knock. 16:39
Apologies I’m just broadcasting & not being my chatty self. It’s easier to cope with intensifying pains 16:44
Just got into the pool. Been rewarded by intensifying contractions. Hurray! 17:22
… I knew I needed to change positions and as I was pretty tired from all the walking I also knew the support of the water would help me. I was right- as soon as I got into a more favourable position the contractions came every 2-3 minutes, lasting for upto a minute. As the contractions intensified I asked for gas and air. Again I was advised that as I was not in “established labour” the gas and air may stop the contractions I am having. I was grateful for the contraction timer on the phone that helped me keep track of the contractions that reassured me otherwise about being in established labour.
We strapped the foetal heartrate monitors on in the pool. I had to keep readjusting them frequently as it kept loosing baby.
As the contractions were getting stronger I realised I needed a bit of music to distract me, but I could only find things on my phone and nothing was on the laptop (another rookie mistake… totally unprepared for being away from home!). I sent Dadonthebrink home quickly for a set of headphones.
Hanging over edge of pool. Entenox cracked open. 17:57
Thankfully Dadonthebrink did the round trip pretty quickly, I put the headphones on, put on the music from the Avatar and put the volume up high to block out everything. I had stopped timing my contractions too. It was just me, the music and the gas and air… and a reassuring stroke from Dadonthebrink once in a while.
I was a good girl and kept an eye on the monitor and kept adjusting the pads to listen in on Sticky Bean…that is until I just snapped and threw the monitors and the straps off saying something along the lines of “take these bloody things off me and leave me alone” (…in hindsight a clear sign of transition) …Good thing I wasn’t in “established labour” yet. 😉
(I think it was at this point it was suggested Dadonthebrink gets in the water with me to hold the heartrate monitor pads in place… I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry at this. Thankfully I didn’t hear the conversation that lead to this suggestion. My answer was an absolute NO!!!… I may have even cursed, I don’t quite remember.)
Not long after that the contraction pattern began to change it wasn’t pulling sideways on my tummy, but exerted a downward pressure. Next I knew I was mooing like a cow- a deep guttural groan with each contraction. I remember my midwife looking up from her notes with utter surprise- I guess not being in “established labour” can also get you to where you need to be.
My next thought was I need to make a record of the time… so I tweeted.
Pushes starting 18:21
I think the room became very busy after this. Thankfully the music drowned everything out. I didn’t hear as people kept asking if it was ok to check baby or my pulse…so they got on with their things to do, I got on with mine. If they touched me at the wrong time I slapped the hand away. The pain was pretty bad, like my back being split with knives. I questioned whether the gas and air was on properly and whether it was the full strength stuff.
I looked up at some point and saw Dadonthebrink just there, ready to comfort me, that felt really reassuring. I may have even managed a smile.
With one of the contractions I felt the baby rotate slightly, which eased a bit of the pressure on my back. I thought I was on the home straight from this point.
Things got really intensive as I went into full blown second stage labour. There was still an immense amount of pressure on my back… memories came flooding back of similar pain from my 1st labour where I couldn’t deliver Little Miss after 4 hours of second stage labour and had to transfer into hospital from home at that point. I started to panic: I told Dadonthebrink “I can’t do another Little Miss labour, especially with a baby this size!” He stroked and held my hand.
In an effort to give the baby space to descend in the birth canal, I kept moving about in the water, trying different positions, even standing up at one point (then got back into the water as it was bloody cold in the room)
After 30 or so minutes of no progress the Senior Midwife on the team suggested I needed to get out and onto the bed (about 3 meters away) so they can examine me and make sure the cervix wasn’t in the way. The pain of getting out of the pool was bad. I needed assistance even to lift my legs onto the step and over the side. An urge to push came at each move. Out of the pool I clung onto my midwife and Dadonthebrink for dear life as we slowly shuffled across the room, keeling over with each step.
Half way across, I had one of those enlightened moments, a flash of what I needed to do (remembering some things I’d seen an independent midwife demonstrate for progressing things in this stage of labour): I did a Sumo wrestler impression: bang, bang legs apart, then added a bit of Haka (not the chest beating bit, but the bit with the feet- slamming heels on the floor) and then added a bit of belly dancing hip wriggle to it… only for a minute of or two. (I must’ve been quite a sight!)
Couple more agonising steps and I made it to the bed. As I sat on the bed, just as they urged me to put my feet up on the bed for the examination, I said- “no need the head is coming” I leaned over and got on with what needed to be done. The head took a long time to descend fully and deliver. The midwives asked me to use the gas and air and take big deep breathes during the contraction instead of pushing, thereby let the body do the work. It worked! …and minimised the tearing. Sticky Bean’s head was delivered and with the next push out slid his body.
This is where the hairy bit started: he was limp and white, though had a decent heartrate. I was told to quickly turn and sit on the bed while he was placed between my legs, still attached to the umbilical cord (as per my request). He was given couple of puffs of air and rubbed very vigorously with a towel. He soon pinked up and started to complain about being treated this way. (With Little Man this same scenario went down very differently- his cord was cut, he was whisked into a corner behind me, I was left there in a panic and to this day I believe that was partly the reason I haemorrhaged so badly. This time there was no evident panic, people worked together beautifully.)
Gorgeous boy born 7:28pm 10lb 7.5oz All ok, tho had hairy mo, he’s fed for over an hour already. Thx 4 support! 22:21
We had snuggles with Babyonthebrink, he tried a bit of breastfeeding and I handed him over to Dadonthebrink when the contractions to deliver the placenta became too intense. Dadonthebrink cuddled his new son to his bare chest. It took just over an hour to deliver the life-giving placenta.
Just moving out of labour suite to my room. It was all a lovely, but painful experience. 22:23
We needed to stay in for 12 hours of observation on Babyonthebrink both for the meconium in the amniotic fluid and for the need to assist him with breathing initially. The staff found a spare bed for Dadonthebrink to move into the room so he could stay the night. This was a huge help for me, as I kept having these coughing fits, but my muscles were so knackered that I could cough properly and had a suffocating feeling. Having him there meant he could quickly pass me water when it was needed and take the baby if needed.
As it happened Baby was amazingly calm, had a good feed then very good sleep… if only I’d had slept that much too!
A contented #babyonthebrink after 5hrs sleep & an hr & bit of feeding again. Wednesday 6:02
We were discharged that morning.
This post is dedicated as a Thank you to the lovely, supportive staff at the midwifery led unit, Dadonthebrink and My-Lovely-Advocate, our birthing partner for making this a very positive experience for me and Baby!