Baby number five was to be my last. We were both agreed on this. Five was plenty to be getting on with, it was time to look to the future and to life beyond pregnancy and babyhood. I signed up for a postgraduate course to update my skills and I hoped to get back into work soon.
Life decided otherwise.
In October 2016 I discovered that I was pregnant again. It was a huge shock. I didn’t know how I felt about it. I couldn’t talk to anyone about it. I couldn’t even bring myself to tell the husband. I ended up booking a private scan in secret and on my own just to make sure that it was a viable pregnancy in the right place. It was a few weeks after that before I felt ready to finally break the news to the husband. It’s a miracle I was able to hide it that long considering I was so sick I could barely lift my head most days.
It was 24 weeks in before we told our immediate families and our extended families and many friends didn’t find out until 30 plus weeks. We never announced on Facebook so some people didn’t find out until last week when our beautiful, perfect third son made his way into the world.
I didn’t think I would ever be posting on this blog again but I want to share his birth story.
I went into this pregnancy as a grand-multipara and from the off they were going to treat my GBS status as positive (a swab would later on confirm that I was indeed GBS positive again). All of this meant I was destined for the labour ward again. I was okay with this. I expected it. I didn’t even raise the prospect with them of home birth or going to the midwife led unit. It didn’t seem like there was much point, so I settled myself with the thought of the labour ward. I was worried about a repeat of T’s birth, as being back to back I had found the whole process extremely long and very difficult. I had a lot of bad feelings about myself and how poorly I had handled it.
I spent a good portion of the third trimester making sure I sat up straight on the sofa or using my birthing ball to do everything I could to get baby into the right position. This was also the first pregnancy where I got to the end and I wasn’t desperately impatient to go into labour. Part of this might have been because my due date (same due date that I had with little A in fact) was just a few days after the kids would finish school for the summer, or that Big A suddenly developed another condition on top of her type 1 diabetes (Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome, if you’re interested). In the end I was the most pregnant I had ever been, 39+6.
I woke up that morning and around 10 o’clock the contractions started. They were uncomfortable but quite irregular, around 10 minutes apart. Sometimes they would get closer together but then they would space out again. Around one o’clock I decided that I would call fetal assessment and get them to check me out because of my GBS status. I went up and they checked me over. I was only 2cm and they placed the belt too high so it wasn’t picking up the contractions I was having. In the end the midwife said I was best going home for a bit and seeing how things went. My MIL was having her annual 4th of July barbecue (a day early). We decided to swing by that for a while and stock up on some protein.
The contractions continued, going to 3 minutes apart when I was standing up but spacing out again if I sat down. At five o’clock we decided to go back to the hospital again. At this point I was 3cm and they decided to admit me and give me my first dose of antibiotic. After this we were moved to the antenatal ward and told to wait there and give them a shout of we thought things were ramping out.
And things continued on as they had been until about 10.30 when suddenly a contraction hit me that made me jump off the bed and burst into tears. They suddenly started coming one on top of the other with barely a gap in between. The husband went to find a midwife as I held onto the bed trying to catch my breath between these furious contractions. A midwife appeared and examined me again and said I was now 6cm so they were going to take me round.
This was the shocking moment. She said they’d had some changes in their guidelines and even though I was a para 5 and GBS positive I could go to the midwife led unit AND they were filling the birthing pool for me. As they wheeled me round she said oh someone who knows you is in the MLU.
They wheeled us into the room and the midwife on duty was none other than a friend of mine! J is a fantastic midwife, she was heavily involved with the maternity liaison committee that I used to volunteer with. It really couldn’t have been more perfect. All the things that I had always wanted but I hadn’t dared to hope for this time and it was just coming together.
They quickly finished filling the pool and around 11 o’clock I got in. It felt marvelous. I could move about so easily (yes, SPD had got me yet again!) and the water was so soothing. I used gas and air and held onto the husband and just went with what my body was doing.
At 12 minutes to midnight our baby boy was born. He came out still inside his sack as my waters didn’t break until after his head was born. There was a little bit of meconium in the waters but they weren’t concerned. I lifted him up out of the water myself and cuddled him to me. It was just magical.
It only took six attempts, but I got there in the end.