If I am honest I wasn’t going to write about my experiences surrounding Monkey’s birth, however as Kipper’s is getting closer (2 weeks to go now!). Selfishly I think it will help me put certain things to rest as things didn’t exactly go to plan and this is now impacting on my birth decisions for Kipper. You will know from my post Preparing for a Natural Birth that this is my preference this time round as it was last, however as we get closer the ‘size’ of Kipper is becoming a worry. Why? Well heres why….
Prior to Monkey’s birth I was super prepared, attending Hypno Birthing classes and doing as much research into gentle birthing as possible. I purposely avoided one born every minute or anything which I felt went against what I was aiming for. Instead I seeked out Youtube videos that showed water and active births. I listened very night to my relaxation CDs and visualised the birth that I wanted. Sound obsessive? Maybe. Of course my guess date came and went, in the end I was 16 days over when I eventually went into labour naturally. Don’t get me wrong I do not recommend doing this, I understood the risks and visited the hospital daily for monitoring, I asked for expectant management and they helped me with my request. In the end I think it was a combination of a sweep and a four mile hike that actually got him moving.
I got my first surge (contraction) at around 9.30 in the evening when I was putting the last of the washing out. I took a couple of paracetamol and had a warm bath, with candles and turned on my relaxation CDs while Hubby attended to the pool. Part of the reason I did not want to be induced was because I had been planning a home water birth. The pool had been blown up three weeks previously, and Hubby did a great job of filling it up. I can’t tell you how long it took. Then Hubby rung the home birth midwives only to find that they had sickness and really I needed to go into hospital. We pleaded and at midnight two wonderful ladies turned up to support us, one of them the head a midwife for the area. Dragged out of bed they were brilliant I couldn’t have asked for more. They kept my monitoring limited as I had requested. Up to 5cm I was active walking around and leaning up against the wall most of the time – don’t ask me why but it helped and moving my hips in circles. I can visualise it now. At 5cm I got in the pool, I am not sure what time it was, it was dark. We had dimmed lighting and I basically fell asleep in between surges I was so relaxed. By the time the sun had come up I was at 7cm, no pain relief other than the water. Then I slowed. Its a bit hazy but at some point the decision was made I needed to get out of the water to speed things up.
I ended up having a puff on the gas and air – my first mistake, it made me throw up everywhere, poor Hubby got the brunt of it. Then I stopped literally no more surges. The adrenaline rush had been too great and nothing was going to get the labour going again. Because I was 16 days over they did not want to break my waters at home, as it was likely I would need to go into hospital on blues. So instead I made everyone a cuppa and we waited for the ambulance to turn up, I also made them tea and it was all a bit surreal knowing I was 7cm but nothing going on! However as soon as I laid down in the back of the ambulance I had the biggest contraction that seemed to last literally the full 45 minute journey to the hospital. Now we live in the middle of no where and there are a lot of single track roads with big pot holes and the ambulance took the fastest route according to sat nav. Which meant I think we hit every single one, Hubby followed in the car trying to direct him to the main road!
Once in hospital the midwife who had accompanied me thought I would only be in for a couple of hours and that she would see me at home the next day with our baby. How wrong could we get… I was put straight into a delivery room, I wanted to go back into the water. However they were reluctant to let me because I had slowed down, despite the surges now being in full swing. I went from being allowed to get on with it on my own with very little monitoring to being hooked up a monitor and put on a bed. Incidentally my waters were so clear you could have drunk them! Apparently I ended up throwing the belts across the room on more than one occasion, frustrated with not being allowed an active or water birth. By half past twelve being hooked up to Syntocinon meant to speed me up for the last hour and half and still not progressing (as Monkey was back to back not that we knew that at the time either) but having artificially strong contractions because of the drugs I opted for an epidural, my second mistake.
Suddenly everything was calm, and I slept. I should also say at this point the midwife had been very reassuring, although all the decisions had been taken our of her hands and were being made by the registrar. Who thought a c-section was where I should go next, I had only been in hospital for about four hours… It took until 6pm that evening for me to get to 10cm. I was told to push. It was hard trying to figure out when because I couldn’t feel anything, instead I was watching the monitor and pushing when it peaked. I am sure we had a conversation about having one of those movable epidurals so I could actually get on all fours when the time came. But it was impossible.
Although I was pushing nothing seemed to be happening, again c-section got mentioned, they wanted to take us down to theatre. Still we resisted, Monkey’s vitals were fine there was no reason to push it just because they wanted it all done within a prescribed time frame. Looking back on it we had no idea he was as big as he was, at 9lb 2oz, me effectively in a leaned back semi lying/sitting position, there was no surprise he was rocking in my pelvis. I often wonder if what happened next would have been avoided if I hadn’t taken the epidural.
We got lucky (or we perceived that at the time as we still didn’t want the c-section they wanted) and had a shift change, the consultant that took over agreed to try ventouse, we agreed to go to theatre after if it didn’t work, no forceps. It did, she connected straight away and pulled, then the whole room went into crash. Suddenly there was about 15 people in this tiny little delivery room, all doing something different. Although not much of a comfort as such it was like a well oiled machine. I was still reasonably high on drugs and general birthing hormones so although it happened it was almost as though it didn’t happen to me. They realised he was stuck, with shoulder dystonia and he had gone too far down the birthing canal to push him back as such. So there was no other option than to get him out. I ended up in the McRoberts position, I didn’t even know my legs went that far back, with two midwives pushing him down and the consultant pulling – I think it probably resembled the delivery of a calf on country file. Poor Hubby Im not sure if he will ever really get over it. It all ended well, Monkey came out albeit a little traumatised and needed to be bagged, but I got a quick cuddle before they warmed him up. Hubby then had him on hist chest as they put me back together.
I have been told shoulder dystonia is rare and there was no way of knowing it was going to happen, but I am concerned it may happen again especially as we know Kipper is on the large side and Hubby is broad on the shoulder as is Monkey. I also wonder if I had maintained my active/water birth not had an epidural and ended up on my back then I may well have been in and out, instead of Monkey being born at 8.46pm. I guess that question will always remain unanswered.
So my decisions this time round, agree to induction which is the natural response to having a big baby – lets induce you (no reference made to the actual size by the way) – what? And be hooked up to the drug that I couldn’t cope with last time round… or let it happen naturally and run the risk of Kipper getting stuck due to size if I go over …or go for a private growth scan to understand likelihood of size (they are only 70% accurate) and then make an informed decision about c-section. Hubby was 10b and since Kipper was 6lb 60z at 34 weeks we have chosen the last option. Once we know size I can make a judgement call. Interestingly when we had the consultation on the previous birth the midwife then said anything over 8lb then they would like c-section anyway. Not that this has seemed to filter through to the consultant. So over the next couple of weeks I have some pretty tough decisions to make all the time keeping one eye on my natural birth and trying to relax.