After what I would class as a traumatising birth I’m feeling good to write this now…
Since I gave birth to big, I always knew I wanted a homebirth for my next baby. I’m a stubborn one, and literally nothing was getting in my way. Now I know birth doesn’t always go to plan, but many things can influence this. And after having a perfect straight forward birth with big, I never expected the tale of events that led to little being earth side. In my head I had planned for some complications. What if I get to 42 weeks? (I planned to continue the pregnancy with daily monitoring, rather than an induction) What if baby is breech? What if my waters break without contractions? There were 2 points I didn’t consider.
What if there is shoulder dystocia?
And what if I have a post partum haemorrhage?
Two complications I honestly thought would never happen to me. I guess no one expects it though. So I’ll start from the beginning.
26th Jan (40+2) I was feeling very unwell, lower back pain generally just feeling awful. I didn’t know if this was baby related or I just felt ill so I phoned maternity day care for some advice, they said it sounded like a UTI so call my GP. I visited the GP and had no signs of infection in my urine but she gave me a course of antibiotics just in case, but she thought it could be early labour. By 10pm I felt so ill and was in so much pain we called the delivery suite for advice (I was sure I wasn’t in labour but felt so ill I didn’t know who else to call) I explained and they had me come in for monitoring. The lovely midwife kindly explained that because I was low risk she wouldn’t usually strap me down with monitors and she was pretty sure I was in labour just from watching me. She did pop the monitors on as I explained I wanted a homebirth and wanted to check baby was okay with me being so unwell. After 45 minutes the monitors confirmed I was contracting and I started feeling much better in myself, I was given the numbers for community midwives and they were happy for me to go home to labour after she gave me sweep (at my request) We got home, cleared space for the pool but I told hubby not to blow it up yet, I was too tired and wanted to sleep. I didn’t wake up for 6 hours after that and it had all stopped.
My midwife came to see me at home, nice and early at 10am I was 40+5. After explaining what had happened with the false start she continued with the rest of my appointment and offered me a sweep again. She told me she was sad she was off an annual leave from the end of the day and was hoping I would have had the baby while she was on call! I had the sweep and was 2cm dilated, she told me she made the sweep worth it and unlike when I’ve had sweeps before, I didn’t feel a thing – it wasn’t uncomfortable at all. She finished up and let me know which midwife was on call that night. (The midwife who was my community midwife with big!) which really reassured me. She gave me one tip “the best thing to get them out is the way they got in!” And left. I felt niggles all of the day really. I didn’t tell a soul in fear of jinxing it! Big usually stayed at my mums on a Friday night, so we took him round as usual. On the drive home we picked up McDonald’s, sat and ate in the car park and went home. Early night for us! This might have been the last night we would have just the two of us for a while.
Not long after we got into bed at around 12am I remembered the tip from the midwife.. 🙈 45minutes later just as Husbot managed to get to sleep I had a huge contraction. I knew instantly this was the real thing. I jumped out of bed to run a bath, I knew I would be in for a long night. As I lent over to rinse the bath out another contraction! I gave up with the bath. Pulled my undies down as I felt the need to pee and Gush! Waters gone! Strange feeling, I was laying on a hospital bed when they went last time. I waddled to the bedroom to grab a pad and waddled to the lounge to get the phone. After speaking to the midwife unit they sent the midwife out right away (she could tell they were coming thick and fast and advised I dial 999 if I needed to push) I wouldn’t have phoned an ambulance. I would have given birth with the assistance of just Husbot.
The bathroom was my comfort. I was still there when the midwife arrived. I wanted everything kept as hands off as possible. I only consented to having my abdomen felt the once, I consented to fetal monitoring throughout, which I didn’t really notice. But I did decline vaginal examinations. That wasn’t in my plan to be honest, but it felt right. I had 100% trust in my body, and internals only give you a snapshot of that moment. I would have reconsidered if I wasn’t making progress but labour was clearly progressing fast. As soon as the pool was ready I climbed in, and not long after the 2nd midwife arrived with my gas & air. In total I had 2 midwives, who both had students with them. From the point of my gas arriving I zoned out. I was in my own world, quietly concentrating on bringing my beautiful baby earth side.
I only remember a few things that were asked of me. Do you feel like you need to push now Cherise? No! I didn’t. I knew why she was asking I’d read up on the purple line that appears when your cervix is fully dilated and because I was on my knees it was visible to her. Not long after I did begin to push, I breathed through every push and delivered his head without letting out a scream (I screamed a lot with big!)
Things become hazy from here. I didn’t know how much time had passed but I heard I need you to give me one last push otherwise we’re going to have to get you out Cherise..
That was it, he didn’t come out still. With asedsistance I was being lift up and out. While standing one of the midwives lifted my leg up. Another push Cherise. Still no baby. I was put on the floor, on my back, knees pushed back to my shoulders. One last push.. I let out a scream as his shoulders were finally out. He was placed on my chest and he began to cry.
I didn’t quite have much idea what had just happened. I hadn’t done any research on shoulder dystocia.