I had a very easy pregnancy really, just a few minor complaints.
At around 12 weeks I decided I wanted a home birth. I collected
all my research from the internet and finally persuaded my
husband Chris, which was no easy task. Once he was behind
me he stuck with me all the way. Its not that I hate hospitals
but I knew that at home I would be in charge, I could labour
in any position I wanted and not be constantly hooked up to
machines. I just knew I could cope without pethidine or an
epidural as these aren't allowed at home, only gas and air
or a tens machine. It took a lot more persuading with the
midwives who weren't very pleased with it being my first baby.
They said that I have an unproven pelvis and that I don't
know how I will be during labour. Homebirths are becoming
very popular now and there are support groups run by the NCT
in most areas. We went to a number of these meetings and also
attended antenatal classes.
I went for the standard tests at the hospital and at 36weeks
went for a growth scan, which showed the baby was approximately
9lb in weight already. I was tested for diabetes but I was
fine. I steadily got very large as you can imagine carrying
such a big baby! At 38 weeks I went for another scan and then
had another at 40weeks where they wanted to induce me but
I wasn't having any of it. I didn't fully realise how my large
my baby was, I didn't trust the scans, after all they can't
accurately predict the sex can they? By this time the consultants
weren't happy with my decisions and wrote as such in my notes
but they couldn't make me. I really did not want to be induced
as I'd heard so many horrible things about it, so I tried
every self-help technique I could to try and induce myself,
none of these worked. The midwives were concerned now as my
iron count was low, I had high BP and was on bedrest, I was
carrying a big baby and I was a first time mum. They did not
want to deliver our baby at home and said that a supervisor
of midwives would have to come if I insisted but they would
not recommend it.
As it happens I went 12 days overdue and was admitted to
hospital to begin induction. I was both sad and happy. Upset
that I couldn't deliver at home but I became focused on trying
to make the hospital birth as like a home birth as possible.
I was also happy that I was going to see the baby as by this
time I was huge, had hundreds of stretch marks and was in
a lot of pain when I moved.
All packed we headed for the hospital. There I was examined
and found to be 1cm dilated. The baby's heart rate was monitored
and the first dose of gel 2mg inserted. This aggravated me
and made me sore but nothing else happened. The monitor has
to stay on you for at least half an hour to make sure that
the baby isn't reacting badly. At about lunch time the hind
waters broke, but still nothing happened and a further 2mg
of gel was inserted at 8pm, the water remained clear throughout.
The 2nd dose of gel should have been inserted earlier but
because my waters had broken a doctor had to apply the gel
instead of a midwife, and the doctor was busy. All night I
had contractions 5 minutes apart, I walked the corridors,
took a bath then some paracetamol and tried to sleep.
When I awoke on Tuesday after only 2 hours sleep they had
gone again but I did have a show. Once more the doctor was
too busy to examine me so around lunchtime the doctor came
and found I was about 4-5cm dilated but as the head still
hadn't dropped, she recommended having my fore waters broken.
It was a difficult decision for us to make as I had already
agreed to be induced and nothing was happening while around
me women were having contractions and going down to delivery.
We knew that having the fore waters broken should help the
head to drop down but would mean being constantly monitored
during labour. After much discussion we agreed and at 3pm
I was taken down to the delivery suite and my fore waters
broken by a doctor. A tap was also put in my hand ready for
the drip and for blood to be taken. After discussion with
the midwife and doctor they agreed to letting me try and start
contractions by movement for about 2 hours before starting
the drip. I mobilised letting them monitor the baby's heart
rate frequently but I was still not getting contractions and
the head was still very high. The drip was set up and the
contractions started coming.
Having the drip meant that I had to remain monitored, I moved
when uncomfortable from bed to chair and eventually settled
on leaning over the back of the raised bed. The midwife did
an internal examination and I was still 5cm. The drip was
increased slowly to the maximum flow, baby was still comfortable
and I was just breathing through the contractions as I knew
there was still 5cm to go. The midwife kept offering me pain
relief as usually it is taken half way through the increases
due to the intensity but I wanted to wait. Chris was with
me the whole time and would massage my back through the contractions
as I felt like it was breaking.
In-between the contractions I was able to talk with Chris
and the midwives and have a laugh. I was starving hungry as
I'd missed tea time and wasn't allowed to eat during labour,
only take sips of water. Time just went nowhere and before
I realised it I had been in labour 6 hours. The midwife did
another internal and called in the sister to double check.
I remember the doctor then being called in to check too and
being told the head still hadn't descended, I was still 5cm
dilated and that we should start thinking of a caesarean.
This was when I asked for gas and air. The doctor was called
in to chat to us about a caesarean. Chris asked what would
happen if we just continued with the labour, they said that
really if I was still labouring the same in another 2 hours
time then it would be obvious that it wasn't going to progress.
Seeing how nothing had changed with 6 hours of labour it seemed
pointless to me to try another 2 hours of intense contractions
so I agreed to the caesarean through tears.
The doctor came back with a consent form for me to sign and
I was prepared for theatre. I was gowned up and the drip stopped,
which didn't stop the contractions though straight away so
I was still on the gas and air. The doctor insisted on taking
more blood samples before he would perform the operation as
my blood could have changed in the last 6 hours. When they
came back the doctor agreed they were OK and I was moved on
to a trolley and taken down to theatre.
Chris was taken into another room to gown up while I was
given the epidural. By this time the contractions has slowed
right down and eventually stopped. After the epidural was
given they inserted a capitor, gave me injections and took
my blood pressure and pulse. I had terrible shakes which apparently
is partly shock and from the epidural, I was also sick when
the epidural was being given because of the drop in blood
pressure. I can remember asking if I would still get my tea
and toast after the delivery which amused everyone, as it
was I wasn't allowed to eat until tea time the next day.
In theatre I asked where Chris was and he was then called
into the room and he sat on a stool next to my head. There
was some pulling and pushing and then we heard her cry in-between
the suction which is a sound I will never forget. Then I heard
the midwife say "What a Whopper!" The first shock
was that the baby was a she we both had been very convinced
it was a little boy. The second shock was the weight at 11lb
12oz! They just couldn't understand how she had fitted inside
my 5ft 2 body! I heard them say that Melissa was posterior
which would have explained the terrible backache I had experienced.
Melissa scored a Apgar score of 10 at only 1 minute, she
had never shown any signs of distress during the labour or
delivery. I was in recovery a long time as my blood pressure
and pulse wouldn't calm down. Chris held Melissa right from
the birth until we went to the ward, all I could see was two
chubby cheeks sticking out of a cover. The midwife put her
on the breast in the recovery suite but I was still shaking
and couldn't hold her myself.
That was the part that I found the most difficult when she
was born, all I wanted to do was to hold her. The midwife
put her head close to mine as soon as she was born and I kissed
her. I found it upsetting that she was crying but I couldn't
move to cuddle her, I just wanted to hold my baby. When we
finally went to the ward it was about 1am. Chris stayed until
2am then the midwives hinted that it was time he left, I didn't
want him to go, he had done a wonderful job looking after
Melissa and I didn't know how I was going to cope.
I don't remember much else about what happened that first
night probably because of the pain killers. I know that Melissa
wasn't there when I woke up as they had taken her to the nursery
for the night. I did manage to breastfeed her with the help
of the midwives and we fell asleep together for a while which
was wonderful. I lost a lot of blood because of the large
placenta that had been feeding her so needed two blood transfusions.
It was bad timing really as the drip was removed and then
the next day the capitor and drain. I had just started to
be mobile when they gave me a blood transfusion and I couldn't
walk very far again. All this at the same time as the baby
blues made me pretty depressed and blubbery.
Melissa was taken to the nursery a few nights to allow me
to sleep. A lot of midwives came to visit us in the first
few days to see the "large" baby and also to talk
about the birth.
It has taken me until now to get over the birth of Melissa.
At first I thought it hadn't affected me in any way but at
about 6wks I started with post natal depression. I denied
it of course but would cry and was exhausted. It didn't help
that I was still anaemic and Melissa had colic that lasted
most of the day and night. She slept very little until 10
weeks old when the colic was in control. She still has colic
and is now 17wks old but is sleeping a lot more and I'm over
my depression, well nearly. What I find so hard is the fact
that I will never be able to try for a home birth which is
all I ever wanted and am more likely to have another large
baby and another c-section. We missed out on the tiny baby
Even though my birth story sounds pretty horrific its amazing
how you get over it. The first smile is to die for and now
she is a very happy contented little baby, chuckling, cooing
and chewing her fingers while cutting her teeth. I'm much
happier now and am coming to terms with the fact that I did
need a c-section, I would never have pushed her out and yes,
nature does get it wrong sometimes. I've since had a glucose
tolerance test to test for diabeties and I don't have it so
I must be destined to have big babies. Which is good in a
way as Melissa never had a floppy head and we weren't worried
about holding her. The down side is big babies take a lot
of feeding and I've got a pile of newborn clothes and nappies
brand new that she couldn't fit into! The up side is they
have offered me a c-section at 36wks if I have another large
one so you never know I might take them up on it and the clothes
might fit. I've been told I can't have a home birth because
I still have an unproven pelvis, risk of a ruptured scar and
a history of large babies. My community midwifes have refused
to deliver but there is always an independent one isn't there