So lets start by the myths of pregnancy “Oh this is your third baby, your labour will be quicker!” well this was a lie! Each pregnancy and labour is different. With my other two I had hospital births, I like the idea of knowing if anything were to happen unexpectedly doctors are there. With this pregnancy I planned a hospital birth but at 34 weeks I changed my mind and requested a home birth. I researched hypno-birthing and lotus birth and wanted to give them a try.
Going through labour twice before I know what to expect, I know what it feels like to be in labour and what contractions feel like. When I got to 39 weeks I was so ready to have him, I had been off work for 1 week and was bored, I wanted to have my newborn so I could change his nappy and breastfeed. I think I built up a lot of anxiety and tension in my head because I love to plan and had this whole fantasy of how my labour was going to be.
In my head I expected to start having contractions, I was going to go in the bath with candles and relax, I was going to go on on my birthing ball and listen to relaxing music and reggae. It would then be time for me to push, I would get on all fours or stand and my partner would deliver the baby. I would then let the umbilical cord stay attached to baby until it stopped pulsing. I would then be able to chill at home and feel so relaxed.
Well that didn’t happen, instead it happened like this……
I woke up about 2am and felt contractions, they wasn’t that strong but it was enough to wake me up. I decided that I need to be well rested especially if this was the real thing so I tried to get more sleep. At 4am again I was woken up and decided that there was no point in trying to sleep. I got up and set up my front room for labour. I had already blown up the blow up mattress. I lit some candles, began bouncing on the ball I put on my headphones and started listening to relaxing music. I rang my midwife at 5am and she made her way. When I was examined I was 4cm diluted. I continued labouring, bouncing on the ball, listening to reggae, walking around the house.
At 12pm I had an ice pole- this particular ice pole I ate every night when I was pregnant. As soon as I tasted it, there was a POP and I felt a huge gush. I said OMG! I didn’t even know what happened then my waters broke- You know how you see it in the movies. I was so shocked because my waters didn’t break like that with the boys. I was amazed at how much water I had because I thought I was mainly baby, every time I moved more of my waters kept coming out.
I was in so many positions during labour, I swear I changed position every 5 minutes, I was quite set on having baby on all fours or standing because the gravity would help bring him down but it was just not comfortable. We noticed that baby had pooed in me but because it was light it wasn’t a worry, baby’s heartbeat was fine and he was enjoying being in there a bit too much.
Fast forward to about 3.30 the pushing stage, by this point I was in so much pain I asked for some pain relief, I told myself I can’t do this. I was done! I was tired and was so over it. I could not believe I had been in labour for almost 12 hours. The midwife listened to baby and his heart rate started to drop, at 3.55 she let me know that she is ringing an ambulance because baby is distressed. At this point my body was telling me to lay down, I was now comfortable and this was the position I needed to be in, there goes my idea of being on all fours. My mum and partner were both by my side, my mum really helped me know how long to push for and my partner continued to praise me for doing an amazing job. The midwives held my legs and also gave me lots of encouragement. My mum said his head his there now and made me feel it, this made me realise how close I was to the finish line, the last few pushes and he was out at 4.15.
When he came out he didn’t cry, his head was flat and he did not look like any of my children, he was floppy and grey. The time the midwife called the ambulance was perfect because as soon as he was out they were waiting to resuscitate him. They had already called the hospital to admit him. My partner went with him, blue light ambulance to the hospital. The other ambulance waited for me because we had to wait for the placenta to come out. At this point I wasn’t scared or worried, I think it was all very quick and my adrenaline was still buzzing. Oh yeah so there goes my lotus birth too but of course my main priority was making sure baby was well.
It was noted that baby was brow presentation at birth, this means that instead of the baby coming down the birth canal face- down with the back of the head facing the mothers belly and chin tucked in against the chest so the smallest position of the head passes through the birth canal. In a brow presentation the baby does not tuck its chin against its head, it leaves them facing up as the head and neck is extended backwards. Due to this position there is less space for their head to pass through the canal.
He was admitted into NICU 25 minutes after he was born which I think is pretty awesome, I can only thank the midwives and paramedics for this, you know when they say every minute is crucial. He went through a process of cooling which is protocol for children who are born with a lack of oxygen. The body is cooled to 33 degrees for 72 hours to help prevent brain injury. It is then slowly re warmed. I was finally able to see him after 4 hours. I started to hand express callosum so that he could get my breast milk. He made great progress and after the 3rd day I was finally able to have some skin to skin. He latched on my breast easily on day 4 and was discharged to special care. After monitoring how he digests his feeds etc he was then discharged to post natal ward. The doctors and consultants were impressed with his progress. After observing his heart rate on post natal we were finally allowed to go home on day 7!!
Having a child in NICU is not new to me because Micaiah was in special care for 3 days. It is important to get rest, eat properly, keep hydrated and look after yourself but as a mum who already been through it again I found it difficult. I would literally sit by his incubator from the moment I woke up till about 1am. I just about ate and tried to keep hydrated because I started getting headaches and hallucinating. You just want to be there to see them blink or yawn. You want to make sure they are OK.
Now baby is doing really well, gaining weight, sleeping well, eating, lots of poos, peeing all over the place, trying to roll and move himself everywhere. I still am quite cautious and worry at every little thing but I am getting better. Once I left hospital I felt better, I think because I didn’t have any pain relief and was aware of everything that happened my body was running on adrenaline. I don’t regret having a home birth. I loved every minute of it, the midwifes were amazing. Despite the position of baby which made him get stuck and having to be admitted into hospital, this was something that could not be detected while in labour. I feel like if I had a hospital birth it would have been heavily medically intervened which is something that I would not want.
This was my longest and most dramatic labour to date but I did it, with no pain relief, no stitches and for that I am proud. Currently myself and baby are doing really well and for that I am grateful. I hope you enjoyed this blog. How was your labour? Had you heard of brow presentation before this? Have you experienced NICU? Let me know in the comments xxx