hannah's birth story
Baby boy born on Monday 2nd December at 13.54, bang on 39 weeks, weighing 7lb 12oz
Bit of background, my first pregnancy ended up being a rather drawn out and complex one with trips up to Kings College Hospital Foetal Medicine Unit every other week, for ultrasounds. I was initially told I would need to be induced at Kings (I live well over an hour away so going once in labour wouldn’t really have been a viable option) but at 36 weeks it was decided that all would be well for me to birth at my local hospital instead. I went into spontaneous labour at 38 weeks, very long back to back labour in which I did get to 10cm eventually, but unfortunately my son never descended fully into my pelvis due to his position. He was too high up for forceps, so ended in an emergency c-section. Although he was definitely back to back from the start of labour, I believe his overall position which stopped him from being born vaginally was due to CFM which was unfortunately read wrongly (midwife believed baby’s heart rate was dropping, when in actual fact it was slipping and picking up my pulse! So I was asked to lie down unnecessarily.)
Roll on my second pregnancy! Wonderfully boring in comparison to my last! No nasty surprises at scans, no extra scans, everything very normal and low risk, apart from my previous section. I was offered a VBAC appointment with the HOM at the hospital I planned to give birth in, I went along knowing that the one thing I really didn’t want was to have constant monitoring, and really, I’d love to be on the MLU not labour ward. HOM basically said no, hospital policy is CFM on labour ward, but they strongly encourage birthing in water. I didn’t really put up a fight because I was just a bit shocked at her response tbh, but after going away and thinking about it, decided this was not acceptable for me and that I needed to start doing some serious research! Around 30 weeks I realised that the place I really wanted/needed to give birth, was actually at home, so I contacted my midwife and told her my plans!
38 weeks came and went and I started to feel a little disappointed that I hadn’t gone into labour yet! Haha. All I’d had were some mild period type pains. On the Saturday the pains started to feel slightly more contraction like, but still very irregular and not very often, so I just ignored them. I lost a bit of my plug, but this had been happening on and off for the last few weeks anyway, so I tried not to think too much of it. Same sort of thing happened on Sunday but again I just ignored it. Went to bed like usual, woke a few times overnight due to needing a wee and the odd contraction but still nothing major so just went back to sleep. Got up on Monday morning (now 39 weeks) and felt as the morning went on that things were becoming a bit more rhythmic.
I started to think that actually maybe this might happen today. I hadn’t actually told my boyfriend yet that I thought things were starting because I hadn’t known how long it’d take and I knew he’d start freaking out slightly the moment I told him. Since he was at work 40 minutes away though I decided it was probably a good idea to let him know! We spoke at about 8.30 and I said he should probably just finish up where he was and not go onto the next job he was planning. By 9.30 I’d called again to tell him he should probably just leave now because I was struggling to look after our toddler during contractions. I started using the Freya App to time my contractions just before 10 and within a few contractions it was telling me I was in established labour. I kinda didn’t believe it though so just continued timing them and waited for my boyfriend to get home. He got home around 10.30 by which time my contractions were about a minute and a half apart. He called the MLU at about 11, who said they’d send the on call midwives out, while we waited for them we got my boyfriend’s mum to come and collect our son and our dog.
My contractions by this point were pretty relentless with very little break between them. I asked my boyfriend to sort out the TENS machine for me because I couldn’t concentrate enough to do it myself. The midwives arrived just after I got it on, at around 12 and my boyfriend got on with inflating the pool. There were 3 of them which I thought was a bit odd at first but I then realised one was a student. After they’d got themselves sorted out they asked if I’d like an exam, which I accepted and it turned out I was already 10cm. She said his head was still a bit high up so give it an hour and I’d probably be ready to push. But within a few contractions I was getting the urge to push. I was still in my living room at this point while my boyfriend and one of the midwives were filling up the pool in the dining room. Thankfully We’d managed to get some waterproof mats down on the rug just before because my waters suddenly popped in one big gush all over the floor beneath me. I started to get very vocal at this point and could feel his head pushing down each time I had a contraction. All of a sudden we realised that the window cleaner was the other side of the (thankfully closed) curtains! My boyfriend, in panic mode was like “shall I tell him to go away?” To which me and all the midwives were like “Noo! Just ignore him!” Haha.
After a little while my midwife suggested I might be giving myself a sore throat (she was correct! ) and that I might be better putting my energy into some slightly longer pushes to help get his head to stay down, as it kept bobbing back up a bit between contractions. My boyfriend then appeared saying he thought the pool was ready, alas it was still a bit cold though, so the midwife said to add more hot water and see how it went from there. Finally it was ready and I could get in, the relief of being in the water was amazing! I’d been feeling quite conscious that I was tired and just wanted to sit down because I’d been squatting with every contraction out of the pool. After a few more contractions (not sure how many) his head was half out and I had to wait what felt like an age for the next contraction to get the rest of his head out! Then with the next one his body shot out and he was passed up to me. We had a cuddle in the pool for a while until the cord stopped pulsating and then the midwife asked if I’d mind having the injection to deliver the placenta because she was a bit worried about blood loss in the pool due to my previous section.
I was quite happy at that point to get out and deliver the placenta because the cord felt quite short and it was actually a bit uncomfortable anyway trying to hold onto my son with it attached! I transferred to the sofa and delivered the placenta then just sat and had a chat with the student midwife while we ate biscuits and drank coffee. She told me it was not only her first home birth, but her first ever birth that she’d been present at since starting her training! She’d also had an emergency c-section with her (now teenage) daughter, so it all felt quite apt that she was present for my HBAC.
All in all it’s been such a wonderful experience and it was so nice to just have my eldest back with me within a few hours, so he could meet his new baby brother, rather than having to drag him into hospital.
*birth story and pictures shared kindly with consent*