”After every storm comes a rainbow”
Our Rainbow, Libby Mae Iris, arrived safely and swiftly into the world on Friday 23rd February 2018 at 3.51am weighing 7lb 1oz of pure perfection.
We’d had an appointment at the Rainbow Clinic on the Thursday morning. I was having my final scan and my 3rd sweep. This was it, my last chance to get this baby out naturally. At that appointment we were told that the induction date would be brought forwards from the following Monday to Saturday – just 2 days away! I desperately didn’t want an induction, it went against all of my hypnobirthing practice. We were also told that it looked like baby’s growth had slowed down since the last scan, but they think the measurement from the last scan was an anomaly so it was brushed off. I left the appointment feeling deflated, crying for most of the day. My positive attitude taken away from me by hospital protocol.
I spent most of the day bouncing on my ball, willing this baby out. I went for a long walk, ate pineapple then cooked a hot thai green curry. It still didn’t feel hot enough and I knew I’d have to up the ante to bring on labour. Cue the “Ghost Chilli powder”. If the 8th hottest chilli in the world couldn’t assist getting this baby out, nothing could. So I’m sat eating tea when I start to feel these odd twinges. I’d had cramps pretty much all week but this was different. I had pain continuously, then it went, then it came back. Ever so calmly I say to Scott “Erm, I think I might be in labour”. What timing!! He didn’t quite believe me so set up a timer to see how far apart they were. We timed for about 20 minutes and it turns out that my contractions are 3 minutes apart. We need to ring the hospital at this point.
By 9.30 we’re packed in the car with our bags, ready to start the most memorable journey we will make. I’ve got my hypnobirthing relaxation on and I’m in the zone….well as much as you can be in the car! My breathing techniques are helping with the contractions and I feel ready to do this.
In triage I’m checked over and told that I’m only 3 cm Dialated so technically not yet in labour. They give me the option to go home or wander around the hospital for a couple of hours. Given that home is 30 mins away, we chose to stay at the hospital. I return to be checked over again and they tell me that I’m now 4cm dialated and in labour! Hurrah! This means that I get to go up to the delivery suite and can completely get into the zone. I’m hooked up to a monitor so they can see how baby is responding to the contractions. At this point I’m still trying to hypnobirthing as good as I can but I cannot fully get into the zone as I know I’m going to be moved around again.
During the time in triage, a midwife comes to talk to me. They are waiting for a bed but there are discrepancies with my notes so they can’t decide whether to send me to the higher risk consultant led labour ward or the standard delivery suite, equipped with birthing pool. I need to speak to the consultant and persuade her that I’m not a high risk delivery (All the midwifes are apparently trying to talk the consultant into letting me go to the delivery suite – we’ve caused quite a debate!) Apparently, at the Rainbow Clinic appointment they had noted the query on baby’s growth and also the change in induction date. This made the consultant feel uneasy as to her, it looks like there is a problem. I manage to persuade them to allow me to go to the delivery suite and wait to be taken off the monitor.
Whilst chatting to the consultant, hooked up to the monitor, there’s a loud pop followed by a gush of water. I feel our baby almost shoot down lower. “Oh F$£k my waters have gone” I tell the consultant, who is now sat in my puddle laughing at my announcement! The sensation of the waters breaking and the baby dropping made me want to throw up! URGH!
As they are happy to take me to the delivery suite, they prepare to take me off the monitor, however, just as they are taking me off, they notice a problem. As I’m contracting, baby’s heartbeat is dropping significantly. They monitor me for a couple more contractions and decide that they are worried enough to send me to the labour ward! At this point I’m completely in the zone and past caring what they will do. The contractions are getting stronger and closer together, I just need to get to a room and really use my hypnobirthing techniques. I’m beginning to have doubts that this will work – I just want gas and air now, surely it’ll help with the pain. The midwife comes to take us to the labour ward “I can’t do this anymore” I tell her. She suggests we leave and go up to the labour ward now but I insist on getting changed (come on, I’ve wet myself, let me have some dignity). I didn’t know it at the time but the midwife was keen to get me up onto the ward quickly as she knew baby was coming imminently due to my change in state of mind.
We make it up to the labour ward and I climb onto the bed and drape myself over the head of the bed, eyes closed and attempting to get in the zone. The pain is immense and I feel the urge to push – I’m convinced I just need to poop….I can’t be at the point of pushing given I was only 4cm just over an hour ago!. I’m hooked up to a portable heart monitor so I can move around. But with every contraction, baby’s heart rate is dropping. The midwife remains calm but instructs me to turn over to hook me up to a wired heart monitor so they can get a more accurate reading. I do as I’m told – each movement is so difficult – I can’t focus on anything and try my hardest to follow my hypnobirthing – each contraction is taking me closer to meeting our baby. Once I’m hooked up, they are still struggling to get baby’s heart rate and I need to move onto my side as they can’t find a heartbeat at all. The midwife is getting concerned and tells us that she might have to pull the emergency cord and the room will flood with people. I’m still feeling the urge to push and carry on going through the motions. The midwife takes a look and tells us that our baby will be born imminently. She can see the head. I keep on pushing and feel the head come out. My next contraction arrives quickly after and another push and our little girl has entered the world. Our world is complete! Our little bundle of perfection is here after a 2 hour labour and we couldn’t be happier. All worry of her being distressed during delivery is gone – she’s here and she’s perfect.
We decided to go with delayed cord clamping to ensure our baby gets all her blood after birth. I also opt for natural delivery of the placenta, something which takes over an hour.
Despite the worries during labour, I’m happy we were in control during the birth. We had a wonderful midwife who supported our choices and, despite her concerns, kept it as close to our birth plan as she could.
So here I am, sat cuddling our wonderful little girl on my first Mother’s Day. She’s perfect…no actually she is. She sleeps well, feeds well (although she does guzzle and puke) and is content most of the time. We couldn’t be happier! Even the cats quite like her 💕