Tag Archives: hospital birth

A Surprise at 38 Weeks

thomas

I really have been rubbish at updating this blog this time round and then at the end it seemed to be over so suddenly that I spent a few days feeling a bit sad that I didn’t make more of it while it lasted. I was just so busy with the demands of family life, I didn’t have the time to sit down and wonder at it, and then little Mister decided to arrive a full two weeks early. He’s been the earliest if the squad yet, bursting onto the scene at 38+3 by my reckoning (38 by the doctor’s).

Sat down on the Saturday night with the husband. We got a take out and I decided that I really fancied a Crabbie’s ginger beer so poured myself half a glass of it over ice. about 9 o’clock contractions started and they were coming every four to five minutes. I left it an hour to see what happened but they were still coming, i decided to ring the MAU because my labours with the squishy one and little A were so short and because of the gbs. They told me to come up so I grabbed my bags but to be honest I expected that we’d be coming home again. They examined me in the MAU and I was only 2cm, cervix was soft but long and posterior. The midwife decided to do a sweep to see what happened and they left me on the ctg for half an hour. Contractions continued at every 5 minutes. they were definitely stronger when i was standing. The midwife asked what we wanted to do, we could go to the antenatal ward (the husband would have to go home) or go to labour ward (surprise, surprise they hadn’t heard anything about me going to MLU!) We decided to go to labour ward to see what happened. Contractions were very incoordinate and I said to the midwife that I had suspected for the last week or so that he was back to back, she agreed and suggested I keep standing and rotating my hips through contractions to try and get him to turn. Progress was very, very slow. They examined me about 3am and I was only 4cm. They offered to break my waters and I agreed because i hoped it would move things along. About an hour later i felt pushing urges and tried for a bit but nothing was happening, they examined me again and i was only 6cm. Baby was coping great with the labour but I was seriously flagging, contractions were agonising but had no rhythm to them. I started asking for an epidural as I was really struggling with the pain. The husband (who usually remains silent during my labours while i argue) decided this was the moment he would speak up and repeatedly tell them that no I didn’t really want an epidural and i’d only regret it. They gave me diamorphine which did sweet FA expect make me feel out of it (and not in a good way). I ended up in tears, literally begging for an epidural and they finally started to get it organised, by the point the anaesthetist came in I was 9cm so I couldn’t have it. If they had offered to shoot me in the head at that stage as an alternative I would have happily accepted. About two hours of pushing followed. I couldn’t surrender myself to it at all, E, and D and A were all born after very short second stages but I couldn’t stop myself fighting against it and begging with them to help me. I feel like the world’s biggest wuss, it’s just so embarrassing. Finally they did another internal and found there was a cervical lip that was getting more and more swollen, the midwife put her hand in and held it back through a contraction and while i pushed to force it behind his head. That was excruciating, but eventually I did manage to get him out. The cord was wrapped around his neck once, but he wasn’t at all distressed. I know I didn’t end up in the MLU but the midwives really were fantastic, they were very hands off, brought me a birthing mat and ball, there was a birthing stool available. They even brought us tea and toast in the middle of the night when our energy was flagging, it was a terrible experience but not because of where I was or who was around me, well except I’m not sure I’m ever going to forgive the husband. I kind of want to insist now that he is the one who gets sterilised, without anaesthetic, and possibly with a rusty knife.

My idea of romance has change somewhat too. I like to say to the husband, I bet Tom Hiddleston would have been a gentleman and sorted it

tom

So at 7lbs 10oz my baby boy is here and I am so happy to meet him. He’s adorable.

37 Weeks and getting the PMA back.

I’ve been feeling kind of like an asshole. You see in every pregnancy I’ve had to fight for the birth that i wanted. I’m not naturally a bolshy person, not by any means at all. I’m more the type to silently fume about something or to get upset or to feel like I’m just causing a fuss, but I had such a poor experience with my first birth which I truly believe contributed to the severe postnatal depression that I suffered after. It’s taken a long, long time to heal those wounds (and the scars are still there) and I’m admittedly scared of it happening again. So i start off from a frightened and defensive position.

I’ve been pleasantly surprised, nay shocked, to see the apparent sea-change in attitudes that has come about in maternity services in the last few years. I got the GBS result and I assumed, based on previous experiences, that I was going to be told I HAD to go to labour ward and that I would HAVE to have my labour augmented and HAVE to undergo continuous monitoring as standard. I expected to encounter unhelpful, patronising, scornful and paternalistic attitudes because I have before (it’s very important to note that it hadn’t been my experience with every HCP I encountered in pregnancy, but it did make up a fair proportion and naturally sticks out in my mind as the most upsetting experiences). I was very shocked when the community midwife called me and suggested that I meet again with my consultant to discuss my options. That threw me, i have options??? So I agreed and went long to meet with the consultant.

Wow. Mind blown.

She went through the stats on group b strep, on how low the incidence is, on how low the actual risk is, though it is important to note that for the tiny, tiny proportion of infants who do become infected with it, it’s a very serious disease. She said she actually regretted ordering the swab in the first place, as since little A hadn’t suffered from an actual GBS infection there was no indication to swab me, but she had and we had got back the result that we don’t and unfortunately she couldn’t pretend like she wasn’t aware of that piece of information. My choices were, i could go to the labour ward (with GBS status alone is not an indication for continuous monitoring!) written in very large letters across my notes and the thorough endorsement of Dr X to invoke her name in turning down any intervention that I wasn’t comfortable with, or I could have my home birth but the midwives hands are tied by Trust policy so I wouldn’t be able to receive antibiotics.

I thought long and hard about it. The only reason I received antibiotics within the four hour time frame with little A was because my waters broke before contractions started. If it had been based solely on the amount of time I was actually in labour (1hr and 50 mins) I wouldn’t have gotten them. Squishy’s labour was even shorter at 50 minutes. What are the chances that I’d even get them on time? I may well be barely through the door of the place before I’m delivering (and it’s a looooooong walk from the carpark to the maternity ward). So we decided to go ahead and book the home birth, at least that way my options stayed open with regards to changing my mind and going to hospital if I felt at the time that was the right thing to do.

I called the midwives on Friday morning to inform them of our decision and I think they freaked out a little, as suddenly I was offered the use of the midwifery led unit (with birth pools!!!!) that I had been categorically told was a NO the day before. The MLU is a very, very happy compromise for me, it’s none of the medicalisation of the labour ward but I’d get the antibiotics. I was pleased to accept, i just want it in writing because I’m paranoid of arriving at the hospital and them claiming not to have heard of me and admitting me to the MLU is against protocol etc etc etc. That makes me feel like kind of a suspicious asshole but i’ve been burnt before, and then I feel bad about all my ranting and wailing about how awful they all are because they have been so supportive, respectful and accommodating when all I was expecting was a massive argument and a struggle against a power trip.

I suppose we shall see how it all pans out, but I’m cautiously optimistic.

In other news I appear to be gestating Godzilla. I had a scan on Thursday and Dr X is estimating baby’s weight at 8lbs 3oz already. OMG that’s bigger than Squishy (my biggest by far) was at practically term. I think I may have to take the gorgeous little newborn sized onesies out of my bag and repack it with something in the 0-3 month range. Baby Loki does feel long (well he is a frost giant), as I am frequently simultaneously headbutted in the cervix and kicked in the ribs. I’m terrified of what size he will be, and I know it’s all my fault for eating far too many buns.

I am so ready to give birth now. I went to Ikea with my sister yesterday to get the last few bits and pieces that we need. I sort of hoped long drive plus long walk might equal some baby action but all it left me with were a lot of Braxton Hicks and crippling new levels of SPD pain. My poor sister also suffers horrendously from endometriosis, so by the time we were in the Ikea warehouse we were both hobbling and groaning like some kind person should really come along and put us both out of our misery. On the plus side though I got a baby bath for a bargainous £6. I also got a new cot mattress for when we get around to re-rigging the co-sleeper. I’m just waiting on the new car seat I ordered to arrive and the replacement axle for our iCandy pram and we should be good to go more or less, though I’d quite happily go right now while I’m definitely in the less camp because oh my god the last weeks of pregnancy are beyond tedious and uncomfortable. I just want to have a working pelvis back. Chronic pain is zero fun. i know that i am incredibly lucky that i will escape this chronic pain within a few weeks, i’m just impatient for it to happen.

Generally though i’m feeling much more positive, if not very impatient.

We did it!

I woke up on Tuesday morning feeling quite emotional. My hips were aching, I’d been contracting on and off and I felt thoroughly fed up. I decided to ring the midwives and ask if they would consider doing a stretch and sweep, only to be told they wouldn’t consider it before 40 weeks (I’d been told 39 the week before). I hung up the phone and burst into tears before finally pulling myself together and deciding that I needed to get out of the house for a while. I rang my friend’s hair salon and made an appointment to go in and get a long over-due chop and to get my crazy eyebrows tamed at the first time. Good timing too because when I got home I started to have contractions again. I kept an eye on them for a few hours, but they were still fairly irregular. When I had an hour of them coming five minutes apart I decided to ring Fetal Assessment to get checked out. The husband and I headed up and the minute I set foot inside the place everything stopped, the midwife examined me and the conclusion was I had a UTI so all I could do was go home.

On Wednesday, the husband and I went for dinner as I was figuring it could be our last chance to do something before we became a family of six.

I felt very niggly that evening and certain that something was going to happen. I woke up several times in the night convinced my water had broken was about to break just to discover that, no, of course it hadn’t.

On Thursday morning I looked around my bare kitchen (I hadn’t managed to go grocery shopping the previous weekend so we were running on the dregs). I decided what I needed to do was a big shop and lots of batch cooking so the family would be well taken care of when I did eventually go into labour. I text my brother at about 2.30 to ask him if he could watch the little ones while I went to Tesco and I was sitting on the sofa waiting for his reply when I felt an almighty pop and a gush.

I’d been told to go to hospital straight away if my waters broke because of the GBS so I rang the husband to tell him he needed to come home from work. I started to panic a bit because I’d gotten behind on the laundry and the only trousers I had that were dry were the ones I was wearing when my waters went! The Squishy one was following me around while I was making phone calls and heard me telling the husband that my waters had broke and I was going to phone my mum, she looked at me all earnestly and asked “are you going to phone Granny so she can fix your waters?”

My waters have always gone in labour before so I couldn’t believe how much there was! I left a trail from the kitchen, all down the hall and a huge puddle in the bathroom (Squishy at this point was following me with a mop!)

Once the husband and my mum got home, I managed to find a dry pair of leggings. I put on three pads to try and contain the never-ending fluid, and we headed up to fetal assessment. They examined me and said I was about 4cm. Contractions hadn’t started yet so they wanted to take me to the labour ward and start me on the drip. I was just gobsmacked, everything I had read had led me to believe I could have a totally normal labour with the gbs, the only difference was I would need the antibiotics but now they wanted to stick me on the ctg for constant monitoring and were pushing for me to take syntocinon. I started to panic a bit, I had such a bad experience getting induced with my first, that drip is a hateful invention and I could just see the situation spiralling out of control. I said to them I wanted the chance for contractions to start on their own, and for the next two hours I had a parade of doctors and midwives coming in telling me how I was putting the baby at risk and it would probably turn transverse if I didn’t start the drip and I needed to make a decision right now. They also left a student midwife in the room constantly so I could get bugger all privacy to discuss the options with the husband or my mum. I finally started to have contractions on my own but the machine wasn’t really picking them up so the midwife was very dismissive that anything was happening at all, it probably took her an hour to believe me.  They moved me to a different room and at that point they started to accept that I had gone into labour on my own and stopped hassling me about the drip. Being on the ctg was a total pain in the arse though, my movement was restricted and they kept shifting me around to pick up the heartbeat, in the end the put a clip on the baby’s scalp. When the contractions did start they came thick and fast and I was holding on to the gas and air for dear life. I was sitting on the ball, holding the tubing and I found it really helpful at the height of a contraction to lift my head up. The entonox made me a little giggly, I got this image in my head that I must have looked and sounded like a trumpeting elephant every time I lifted my head up into the air.

It didn’t seem like long before I started to shake and I said to the husband “I think I’m in transition”, then I totally lost it. I had been kneeling over the back of the bed but suddenly I flipped myself over (apparently I almost fell out of the bed, it was just the judicious pressing of the husband’s knee into the small of my back that stopped me hitting the floor). It took about two pushes that I had no control over and she was born with me letting out an almighty roar. I was just shaking repeating thank god that’s over thank god that’s over. I got the major shakes again and it took me about 20 minutes to calm down and stop shaking and gibbering.

Arya Beibhinn made her debut appearance at 9.20 pm on the 28th of June, weighing 7lbs exactly, after a recorded labour of 1hr 45 mins. She started feeding straight away and it seemed like not long passed before they moved me to the postnatal ward and chucked the husband out. I didn’t sleep a wink on Thursday night even though Arya slept well, but I was just too wired and it was too noisy.

We are home now and settling in nicely. She’s a little bit jaundiced so we are having some issues with her being quite sleepy and difficult to feed, but I feel so blessed to have her here.

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The Good and The Bad

I have started to write this post a number of times and then deleted what I’ve written or just plain clicked off the tab in frustration.

Firstly, I suppose I should report that the ECV was successful. It wasn’t terribly painful and it didn’t take too long. I went home feeling quite positive, if a little spaced-out from the muscle relaxant. The husband and I were chatting about ways to start encouraging the baby out (before it decides to flip around again) when the phone rang. It was my GP with the very bad news that the swab they had taken in the hospital last week had come back positive for group b strep.

Goodbye home birth.

Goodbye birth in the midwife led unit.

Goodbye water birth.

Goodbye staying at home for as long as possible.

Goodbye six hour discharge.

Goodbye to the possibility of getting a membrane sweep to help moves things along.

Goodbye any modicum of control I had over this process.

I am absolutely gutted. I can just see this birth turning into everything that I don’t want it to be. I’m tired from days and days of erratic pains. I’m frustrated, I’m fed up and I just want it over and done with. I had a midwife appointment today and I asked if she would do a sweep and she said no. I keep thinking the longer this goes on the longer I have to get worked and annoyed about it. The one hospital birth I had was awful, I don’t want to go there again. Plus I feel like I’m getting a whole heap of guilt piled on top of me because my mother has been present at all my previous births but the hospital has a 1 birth companion policy so I have to choose between her and my husband. I love my husband but I’m not sure how great he’s going to be at supporting me through this on his own, but I can’t deny him being there at the birth of his child.

I had a feeling from the start that I just wasn’t going to get a home birth but I didn’t anticipate it turning out this way.

The Hospital Bag

 

I’m not sure if it’s nesting or what, but I have felt a pathological urge this week to have absolutely everything ready for baby’s arrival. I went to Mothercare a few nights ago to pick up some nursing bras and nearly had a full on tantrum in the car park when I discovered that they had closed early for a stock-take. I put the cot together (but haven’t side-car’ed it to the bed yet, that’s another post) and I went furniture shopping for a chest of drawers for the baby’s clothes. I had one misadventure with a terrible bit of flat-pack, but that’s been returned to the store now and I went to a proper furniture shop instead. Lastly I had to finish off the job of putting together my hospital bag.

You see there’s still no sign of baby turning, I can’t decide whether or not to try the external cephalic version. This entire pregnancy I haven’t been able to settle myself on the idea of birthing at home (which is odd, considering the iron will I applied to making sure I got my home births on the last two occasions). Maybe my body has been trying to tell me something? Maybe this baby is breech for a reason? Maybe I’m supposed to go to hospital?

I don’t know, but just in case I need a hospital bag packed and ready to go, so like a woman possessed I went out this week and rounded up all those last bits and pieces.

Presenting – What to Pack for Hospital (bearing in mind you intend to spend as little time there as humanly possible).

The Bare Essentials:

 

I’ll admit there’s a few repeated elements here from the “What You Need for a Home Birth” post. Okay so here’s the run down of hospital essentials.

  •  Something to Give Birth In – I have a few options here. Firstly I have a tankini (In case miracles happen, baby flips and I manage to get into a birthing pool) and a breastfeeding friendly night dress.
  • Something to wear afterwards – I have two changes of PJs here. One black and one in slightly more summery colours. Colour isn’t important, well maybe black is the sensible choice given the chances of leakage.
  • Underwear – many, many changes of pants (see the above note on leakage) and nursing bras.
  • Socks and slippers. It might be an idea too to bring a pair of flip flops to wear into the hospital showers.
  • Maternity pads and breast pads.
  • Toiletries – the usual shampoo, shower gel, tooth paste etc. Best to bring a roll-on deodorant, rather than a spray, so you don’t choke your baby/other people on the ward when you use it. Oh and witch hazel! Don’t forget the witch hazel.
  • Not Pictured – Batteries/Camera, magazines/books, earplugs/eye mask, labour snacks, mobile phone & charger, own pillows/nursing pillow. Change of clothes to wear home.

For Baby – The Bare Essentials

  • I haven’t included everything that I’m packing in this picture (don’t want to give away the flavour!) but this is enough to give you an idea.
  • Portable Changing Mat
  • Nappies
  • Cotton wool
  • Nappy Sacks
  • Wipes (for you, not baby)
  • Muslin cloths
  • Receiving blanket
  • Cotton Hats
  • Baby gros
  • Vests
  • Socks
  • Scratch Mitts
  • Hand sanitising gel.

 

 

So there’s the run down. Hopefully these bags will never cross in my front door but should I need to go to the hospital I’m ready to rock. One week to go to see if baby will turn. Here’s the 35 weeks Bump.

Halfway there

I laugh when I look back on the optimism I had when I started ttc. I was going to cherish every moment of this pregnancy, I was going to be an earth mother, I was going to dress well, I was going to GLOW.

Ha.

Half way there and I’ve spent most of this pregnancy demented, audibly flatulent (I am an expert at “crop dusting” now, essential in public places), plagued with horrible dry skin/spot outbreaks, panicking about weight gain, living on ranitidine, trying to make my existing clothes work and freaking out at the prospect of having to give birth again. I’m starting to question whether or not I want to home birth this time, all because I made the mistake of reading some of that evil harridan Dr Amy’s blog where she states all babies born at home burst into flames immediately upon delivery or something. I KNOW it’s not true, I KNOW I’m not facing the same issues as American women with regards to my midwife’s qualification, experience and fitness to practise, I’ve done it safely twice before, but all it takes is catching that one episode of One Born Every Minute where the baby had shoulder dystocia and I go into a mental, hormonal flap.

I had a horrible experience giving birth to my eldest in hospital, and two amazing experiences at home, so why am I even contemplating it????

I suppose part of it comes down to this. When I found out I was pregnant with my eldest I went out and bought a couple of pregnancy magazines. We’re going back ten years here so bear with me. The very first one I picked up had an article about water births. I’ve never heard of such a thing, I thought “how amazing! I’d love to do that!” It made sense to me. Fast forward to my booking appointment and I discovered the only way to have a waterbirth would be if the city sank halfway through your labour.

By the time I was pregnant with the boy I bought my own birth pool and was very optimistic it would happen. It seemed like every other women in the UK could have a home waterbirth no problem. I was naive, I thought I would too, but I was told that only one community midwife in the whole the city was trained in waterbirth so I could labour in the pool but I had to get out to push. When he was actually born that was just what happened, the midwives told me they were trained in waterbirth but weren’t signed off on it yet.

In between the boy’s birth and the squishy one coming along, the local hospital opened up there very own fancy dan midwifery unit complete with TWO birthing pools (though only one of them was unusable because whoever designed the place didn’t make the door on one of them wide enough to admit a gurney). Hopefully by now the situation would have changed, right? Well if it hadn’t I intended to sit in the pool no matter what. As it happened, the pool was less than half full when Squishy came shooting out like a human cannonball, so I never found out.

So what do I do this time? Do I risk going to the hospital where they can fill a pool quickly and the staff have all been rubber stamped? Or do I stay at home where I may not get it filled in time or have to argue to stay in it? of course with the hospital there is always the risk that the pools will be occupied or out of order or they’ll decide I’m not a suitable candidate, and there’s the loss of autonomy and the risk of interventions (but I’ll be honest, the loss of autonomy scares me more). I just can’t make up my mind. Luckily I have twenty more weeks to do so.

And twenty more weeks to get a decent wardrobe together, organise a hair cut (see picture below), find a good moisturiser/cleanser and work on not eating everything I can lay my hands on.

I’m sure it’ll fly.