CORINNE & FRANKIE
The birth of my daughter was a mixed affair. I was totally prepped for her birth – less so her arrival and babyhood but that is another story. I knew all the positions, all the breathing techniques, the pain management techniques from heat to epidural (not that I would be needing one of those), I had attended countless prenatal yoga classes, been the annoying know-it-all in my NCT AND NHS ante-classes and participated in active birthing workshops with my husband (and only birth partner). This was going to be a Home Birth and I was going to nail it! Pretty obvious where this is going to go right?
At 41+5 days – my case loading Midwife team had advised me it was time for an induction. I had my 3 “sweep and stretches”, reflexology, pineapples, curries, raspberry leaf tea, dancing, camel walks, acupuncture and lots of sex. My understanding of a medical induction was that it would negate my planned home birth and be the first of many interventions which I knew would make for a trying birth.
That evening, resigned now to my planned induction in the morning, my partner and I had a leisurely dinner and went to bed early. Around 9pm I found I was bleeding. A small amount of blood (which always looks more than it is) but not mucous “plug”. I contacted my midwife, was referred to the MAU and after an assessment it was suggested a stay overnight in the ante-natal ward as it was likely I had to go ahead with planned induction in the morning. I took this advice and stayed for a very unrestful sleep in a 6 bay room whilst my partner went home .
The next morning I was advised that as there no further bleeding – it was likely it was “just a very bloody show” and as my contractions had started, I should go home and labour as planned. I was truly excited by this and prepared to leave. I went to the toilet and found the toilet also contained quite an amount of blood. I called the midwife to view and then it was all “action stations”.
I was advised I was likely to be having a placenta abruption and I would be prepped for a C-section. This was inconceivable to me. I remained calm, took the information in and called my partner to return the hospital. My surges now had very much started and I was moved to the labour ward to labour until a decision could be made re: a C-section which I was I refusing – could we not just see how it all went as my surges had started (immediately at 3 in 10mins)? I have very vague memories of this but this was agreed to however I was to be on continuous monitoring, made “nil by mouth” , cannulated and drip inserted for hydration and told to under no circumstances I was to be mobile- bedrest only. Everything I had done in preparation – for the most part – out the window. I still had my breathing, access to TENS and sounding techniques – I remained calm and put these into play.
Time is a blur after this as I retreated into my own space. I was examined at one point and advised on having my waters broken to speed things along.. After only 6hrs of intense labour, solo as my partner decided to sit in the corner with a book and paper as he had a “cold”, my sounding and breathing techniques exhausted I decided I couldn’t continue and requested an epidural. I imagine this was transition period but without any support to ease me through this an epidural was agreed.
Once the epidural had set in, I could rest mentally and relaxed. My Mother arrived to check in and we agreed she could stay. It was then, things started to go a little haywire with the Babe’s heart rate… not returning to a good rhythm following each contraction. The obstetric team was alerted and a scratch was taken from Babe’s head to read her O2 count and an urgent decision made to act to get Babe out now! Without time for transfer to theatre, a code Blue was called for the obstetric team - the paediatric team and haematology team were all called in to be on hand and it all went very quickly. I was kept informed at every stage –the consultant obstetrician made an episiotomy, attempted a forceps delivery only to need to internally cut the umbilical cord which was wrapped tightly twice around my daughter’s neck (the likely cause of the distress). Once delivered she was handed to the Paediatric registrar for stimulating – the little trooper returned to us like nothing had been a bother for her – she continues to remain pretty stress free – and wrapped and left under the heat light. I asked my husband to go to her for “skin-to-skin” however the consultant obstetrician declared otherwise – my husband was to stay with me as I was haemorrhaging heavily. Active management administered and the consultant with his hands inside me, clamping down on my uterus would to stem the blood flow. Oxygen was applied, the consultant maintaining his composure and a very kindly midwife explaining everything that was going on. I remained calm, my partner remained calm and my daughter remained unattended to whilst my poor mother was seated at the end of bed watching it all unfold in horror.
Finally, the emergency was over. A transfusion administered (I had haemorrhaged 2.5L) and the team was congratulated by the consultant on a job well done. Our daughter was handed to my partner for the skin-to-skin whilst I was stitched and finally handed to me for our ‘golden hour’.
That was our birth story. I am in deep appreciation to the Kings obstetric team for saving my daughter’s life, my life and keeping us informed each step of the way. The birth in no way fitted in with hopes and wishes for the birth of my daughter or me as a mother, but we got through it – humbled by it all.
My hope and wishes for my next birth is that my body births my daughter with me being present for all the sensations of birth . A home birth in my space, supported, loved and my body left without any intervention from others to bring little one forth.