A birth against the odds
Frankie Jack born Sunday October 20th 2013 1.02am
Home water birth, Unmedicated VBA2C
Saturday October 20th I woke up feeling tired. 42 weeks and 2 days pregnant and every day wondering when this little boy was going to be born. I had been having pre labour for over a month, every day the contractions getting stronger. My midwife came and checked on me that morning and we decided to do a gentle sweep. I had not wanted to have one prior to this as I was afraid of AROM but I was getting so impatient and feeling under immense pressure form the outside world to have this baby now that I had exceeded 42 weeks. I knew that every thing was fine with my baby and that he was coming very soon but the negative comments were starting to ware me down.
I carried on having mild contractions throughout the day the same as the ones I had been having for weeks. I had been losing my mucus plug for the last week and some more of it came away making me excited that labour would soon begin. I took some Caulophyllum and some cimicifuga as they are a natural labour induction. My husband, Frankie, and I went into town had lunch together and did some food shopping even though I was exhausted and uncomfortable it was really nice to have some time alone together without our other 2 children. That evening we had dinner and afterwards decided to make love (even though I really didn’t feel like it!) I was still having mild contractions but we knew that it might just start things off.
It worked! Fifteen minutes afterwards I had my first strong contraction. I walked downstairs and had another it was around 9pm. I said to my husband “I think this is it!” and he smiled excitedly at me. He started bustling around and getting things ready for our homebirth. My contractions were about every 2 mins lasting about 30 seconds. I texted my midwife Laura to tell her things were happening. I then realized how strong the contractions were getting and called her to tell her. She advised me to take 2 paracetamol and a hot shower or bath and to call her when things progressed. I took a hot shower and the paracetamol and went downstairs to the living room. Frankie was setting up candles and drinks ready. I had to go to the bathroom and emptied my bowels a lot which was extremely hard whilst having such strong contractions. I then asked my husband to call Aini our nanny and friend who lives with us. I was a bit afraid of the strength of my contractions and wanted a strong woman there with me. I knelt on the floor in the living room over the mattress we had prepared and Aini massaged my back for me I called Laura again and all I remember saying was “Come” I knew things were moving quite quickly and really wanted her there.
I was so in the moment I didn’t even think about my sleeping children upstairs or the fear of rupture or anything going wrong I just went into myself automatically. I was not comfortable on the floor so I stood up and held onto the back of the sofa and every time I got acontraction I swayed my hips in a circle and bent my knees almost like a dance. Aini was rubbing my back and I don’t know how long we were stood there but I suddenly said “I can’t do this” and my husband said “Yes you can” I realize now that this was transition but it appeared so quickly I wasn’t even aware of it. Aini then said to me “Are you pushing?” and I snapped “No” but actually I was! My body had just started pushing all by itself! I think Laura arrived at this point and I asked for a bucket to be placed under me so I could pass urine I don’t know if I did but with the next contraction and push there was a gush of fluid into the bucket and my waters went. I remember saying to Laura “What do I do? I don’t know what to do?” and she just said, “Follow your body Hannah you are doing it!” Frankie and Laura were quickly trying to fill the pool, which was taking ages and I remember just longing for the relief of getting into the pool as I stood there. I started to roar through the contractions as I pushed and it felt very satisfying to grunt and roar as I pushed. I stripped off down to my bra as I was just so hot!
Finally I was able to get into the pool and I think I must have run and hopped into the pool as fast as my big belly would allow me. The relief of the hot water was instant and felt so good! From here I really went into labour land. I was completely inside myself and I kept my eyes closed almost the entire time. If I wanted a drink I just said “water” and my husband poured it into my mouth and he kept putting cold compresses on my face and neck, which felt amazing. I held onto the two handles of the pool every time I had a contraction and I pushed with everything I had! During this time the second midwife Kemi arrived I didn’t see her but I just heard her quietly in the corner, which made me feel more at ease. I roared like a lioness with every contraction and Laura told me to keep the sounds low, which really helped. Sometimes I would say “I can’t” as a contraction started and I would then change it to “I Can!” and I would repeat this to myself and everyone around me said “Yes you can Hannah” which really helped me to get through each one. At one point I was pushing so hard and I shouted out “ I am a warrior woman!” it was funny but also it was exactly how I felt. I felt like an amazing warrior woman pushing out this baby with all my strength I felt like I could do anything. The adrenalin was really pumping and my whole body was shaking with the strength of the contractions. Laura monitored the baby’s heartbeat frequently and every time it was great which made me feel relieved every time. Frankie stayed in front of me the whole time and he kept saying “I love you so much, I am so proud of you” and I then took hold of his hands and with every contraction I pulled with all my might and he held on. I took my strength from him at this point and I felt his love and strength flow into me through his hands.
I started to feel the baby’s head moving down and stretching me out. I pushed so hard and the head started to come out a little then go back inside. I said “It keeps going back in” but Laura reassured me this was supposed to happen so that the head would stretch me open gradually, stopping me from tearing. I carried on like this for some time and then Laura told me we had been pushing for 2 hours but everything was progressing normally so she was not worried. She said we would review again in half an hour. To be honest this scared me a little and I started pushing with a renewed vigor and seemed to get the hang of pushing and holding the baby’s head in place to stop it going back up again. I think I changed my position to a slightly more upright one as I was on my knees and this with the harder pushing really started to bring my baby’s head out. At one point I said “Is the head coming?” and Laura said “Yes feel!” and I did and I felt the head right there! It was amazing and I felt a spark of excitement and I said “ I am going to see my baby soon!’ and everyone around me said “Yes you are!” I felt a pop and my water went again, Laura told me there was meconium but it was only grade 2, which was not very thick, and baby seemed fine. She had told me before I went into labour that she would expect some meconium at this stage as most babies open their bowels in utero from 40 weeks. As I pushed out my baby’s head it hurt but I knew if I kept going he would soon be here and I pushed through that pain barrier. Laura told me to stop pushing and breath which was really hard and I squealed a bit with the pain and said I couldn’t but Laura and Kemi said you must as they could see the strength of my pushing and were afraid I would tear badly so I breathed the head out and I felt it slowly coming out. As his head emerged I went into myself so much that it was as though I could see inside myself and see the head coming out from the inside. I pushed hard and the head came out and I carried on with a scream and as the contraction was still there I pushed again and my babies shoulders and body followed in the same contraction! At this moment I seemed to wake up from my labour trance and I heard the midwives saying “reach down and get your baby Hannah” I looked down and all I could see were his little feet and curled up legs and I reached down and picked up my baby and held him against my chest. All I kept saying was “I did it, I did it” and my midwives smiled and said, “Yes you did it!”
I had lost quite a lot of blood so I got out of the pool and lay on a mattress and as soon as I lay down the placenta came on it’s own without any drugs less than 15 minutes after the birth. I carried on losing blood but it did stop and my uterus started contracting again. I lay and looked at my beautiful son and nursed him for the first time. I was so tired I couldn’t move for the next 4 hours and lay having drinks and snacks. My husband took Frankie and had skin to skin with him giving me a chance to rest. I got up to try to pass urine before my midwife left and as I sat on the toilet I was hemorrhaging and I started to feel like I was going to pass out. My midwife got to work putting me on oxygen and giving me a shot of syntocinon and we called an ambulance. This was a scary time I was trying not to pass out and could hear my girls outside the door and was hoping they couldn’t see me. I was stabilized before I left in the ambulance and when I got to hospital they kept me in over night due to the volume of blood I lost and I had a few tears stitched up in theatre but my perineum was intact which was amazing. This was a hard part of the experience and my recovery is slower because of my hemorrhage but I still would not change a thing and feel so much better than after both my C-sections. Frankie Jack was 8lb12.5oz a big boy and his head was asynclitic, the same as his older sister, which meant I pushed a much wider diameter out - and I was told my pelvis was “too small” and my vaginal arch “too narrow” to vaginally birth a baby. Labour was 4 hours from start to finish! I am immensely proud of myself.
I will never forget this birth for as long as I live. This was what I have been dreaming about for 7 years. 7 years ago I had my first emergency C-section. This birth has healed me in so many ways and it’s only been a few days. I know that this has changed me and I will see these changes in many areas of my life as time goes by. It has healed the trauma of 2 emergency C-sections and being told I could ‘never’ birth a baby naturally. It has healed the trauma of being sexually abused throughout my childhood and teenage years. I have taken my innocence back and am a strong, beautiful warrior woman.