On 24th August at 2.25am my second little boy was born into the world weighing 9lb 1oz. His birth was not what I had planned or envisioned in my head, however I feel it’s an important story on how to deal with changes to birth plans ‘in action’.
I had written a very simple birth plan with the following wishes:
- Home Birth
- Water Birth
- Active Birth
- Able to move around
- Calm environment
- Support & Reassurance that I can do this
- No offer of pain relief unless I ask
- Husband to cut cord & tell me the sex
- Physiological delivery of the placenta
At 10 days overdue I was getting very fed up and trying not to focus on the impending induction I was booked in for. All week I had been getting lots of Braxton Hicks and twice thought I was in labour but things just stopped. Very frustrating! Especially when everyone is giving advice as to how I could ‘get things going’.
Friday evening I had put my toddler to bed, my hubby and I sat down to watch TV. I kept getting up because it felt like the baby was moving loads and I couldn’t get comfy. After 15 mins ish my hubby was questioning are you in labour? My answer was no, the baby is just moving I’m never in labour and this doesn’t feel like contractions. Very soon after I realised these were contractions and they feel pretty close together.
I asked hubby to call because I wasn’t getting enough of a break between contractions to talk, I was already humming and singing with each contraction so I knew this was active labour. A midwife was on her way from Beverley and she arrived quickly with another midwife coming pretty soon after. My parents had picked my toddler up because he started crying (very glad they did). One Midwife asked if she could feel baby and listen in which I consented to. It became apparent quite quickly that there was a concern. Both midwives felt that the presentation of my baby was oblique. His head was to the right of my pelvis. They explained that they needed to take some advice from the labour ward but that it was likely that a home birth would be too high risk and the reasons why were explained.
The labour ward gave the same advice and I agreed to be transferred for a scan at the hospital and monitoring. At this point my first wish on the birth plan was out the window. No home birth for me. The ambulance arrived very quickly and I was on the labour ward before I knew it. I had a scan which confirmed that the head was to the side and not in the pelvis. My contractions slowed a little with the transfer and everything but they were still quite close together. I had forgotten my birth plan so I gave the hospital midwife a quick run down stating I don’t think any of this is relevant any more (it was – VERY relevant and if I had not had this conversation my birth may have been quite different).
One of my concerns about birthing in hospital and being monitored was that I would be confined to a bed and on a monitor. I confirmed that I was able to move around as I wanted so I carried on contracting and remaining active. A Dr came in to advise me of the plan – I would be taken to theatre to have my waters broken in a controlled way to see if baby would come down into the pelvis, however the reason this would be done in theatre is because the risk is that the cord goes down before the baby and in this case an emergency c section would be required.
I then had someone in the room trying to put a cannula in. When I say trying it was pretty awful. She didn’t seem to know what she was doing and it took a few attempts. This intervention was the worst part of my labour I didn’t have trust in her and it was painful. Luckily the Anaesthetist came in the room to speak to me and took over finally getting it sorted.
The Anaesthetist was excellent. He explained that I could have a spinal block for the procedure (which would cover the emergency c section if it was needed) and he could put an epidural in ready to use for pain relief later on if I was able to carry on with natural labour. My husband was listening much better than me and pointed out that I’d had a previous labour with no pain relief. The Anaesthetist asked me if an epidural was ever on my radar for this birth and my answer was ‘No way’. He then advised if this was not on my radar before then we could just do the spinal and go back to original pain relief options after the spinal wore off.
I was wearing my TENS by now that I had been sure to grab and pop in my bag! So I was all ready and waiting to go to theatre for the controlled breaking of my waters with the hope that I could labour naturally afterwards if the head went into the pelvis without the cord first. I hadn’t been examined as this was too high risk in case of accidental breaking of my waters. Another Dr came in and said he wanted to examine me prior to theatre. This freaked me out because of what had been said about the risk of waters breaking so I asked questions (asking questions was SO important). After a discussion I agreed to the examination. Before he examined me the Dr explained that I had the option of just going straight for a C Section and not having the controlled breaking of my waters. My response was ‘why would I just have a C Section when I could have the chance at a natural birth?’. The midwife explained that they would always give all the options but I couldn’t get my head around it.
The Dr then went on to explain the controlled breaking of my waters but informed me (which neither of us had realised) that if it went to emergency C Section I would be given a general anaesthetic and my hubby could not be present for the birth. This was freak out point for me – I am terrified of being put to sleep and neither of us would see our baby born. I cried, I was just gutted. Having my baby born by C Section was hard enough for me to deal with but not being awake to see them? No. I couldn’t. So I asked if me & my husband could have a minute to discuss. We both agreed that although the emergency C Section and GA was only a risk it wasn’t one that we wanted to take. So there I was deciding that I would have a C Section, which I NEVER thought I would do.
At this point the only things left that were achievable on my birth plan were for my husband to cut the cord & to tell me the sex. And electing to have the C Section meant I could hold on to that 1 thing. But at least it was something. This is the point in the story where I feel incredibly blessed and where that conversation with my midwife when I was admitted about my birth plan was SO important.
The Dr examined me – “1,2,3,4,5,6” & the head’s there. I didn’t believe him! Are you sure you know its there??? He advised for my waters to be broken which at this point I didn’t question because I was tired of questions and I was just so relieved that I could have a natural delivery. So my waters were broken. I had some more of my birth plan back. I could have an active birth, I could have the support & reassurance that I could do it and I could have a physiological delivery of the placenta.
What happened next was the most intense, quick, most amazing experience. My contractions hit new heights and within 2 contractions after my waters being broken I felt I needed to push. During these 2 contractions my midwife came back in and asked if I wanted to use the pool (they still have one on the labour ward). I think at this point I told her I loved her! She had listened to me when I came in – I wanted a water birth. In fact it was probably one of the more important things for me and she sorted it Her colleague was filling it up as we spoke but I was already feeling the urge to push!
We moved round to the pool room and my first push was at the side of the pool. It was still filling and they didn’t have the room all set up but they were flying around doing it. I got in the pool whilst it was still filling, it was deep enough. The urges to push took over at that point, I was sick & after a couple of pushes I asked for gas & air because I was getting no respite from pushing. I’m not sure how long I was pushing for but it felt like 10 minutes. The midwife said ‘that’s the head’ with your next push I will bring the baby through your legs for you’. I couldn’t believe it, here already! My baby was born and it was an incredible feeling. Dad had a little look and told me it was another little boy. I was back to the feeling I had when my first son was born – I was superwoman!
Now for the placenta. The thing I had worried most about. I tried not to think about it and focused on skin to skin, relaxing and staring at my new beauty. I felt urges to push and went along with them. I agreed as per my birth plan that if 45 mins passed I would have the injection. The Midwife suggested that I could get on to a commode so that gravity could help me out. As soon as I sat on it out it came. Dropped into the commode! Job done. So within an hour I had gone from holding on to 1 part of my birth plan to being able to achieve all of it apart from the home birth.
I appreciate this is a long story but I hope it helps someone. Although it wasn’t a home birth it was a birth that I am proud of.