At the beginning of this year I was blessed to meet Sam and Mary and a Forceps birth wasn’t what they were planning. It was a pleasure to help prepare such a lovely couple for the arrival of their first baby. They were very keen, and wanted to receive information on as much as possible understanding the importance of covering the ‘what ifs’. I am so pleased they came to Talking Babies and prepared properly for their birth. Doing so meant they were able to stay calm, positive and informed. This with Mary’s fantastic determination lead to them having a positive birth experience, despite their plans needing to change.
Mary has kindly taken the time to write her birth story and is keen to share is with other expecting a little one. She, Sam and I hope that her positive Forceps birth brings you comfort.
Thank you so much Mary. Feel free to join me in thanking Mary in the comments.
‘My contractions began at 7am on Monday 1st April (there Sam and I were, joking about the potential of having an April Fools baby). I’d been a bit uncomfortable throughout the night but couldn’t put my finger on what was wrong.
The plan was for me to have a water birth at home. We had spent a lot of time discussing the pros and cons of each birth option (aided by the discussions we had already had in you class) and felt that it would be worth trying. We had hired a pool a few weeks previously so the morning was spent getting the house ready, getting the pool inflated, bouncing on my ball and trying to finish packing the hospital bag (just in case).
My midwife came at 1pm that day to check me over as there was a question as to whether my waters had broken or not – it turned out they hadn’t so the advice was to keep doing what we were doing and be patient. Also to go and have a nap (which turned out to be fantastic advice!). I had the Tens machine on which I don’t feel did masses for me personally but I liked the comfort of wearing it.
By 8pm that evening, my contractions had been growing steadily longer and stronger and at 11pm we phoned labour line again for someone to come out and see how I was getting on. After being examined, it turned out I was only 1cm dilated (so a fair way to go) and my waters still hadn’t broken. The midwife again suggested we call again when things were a bit stronger. She asked the trainee midwife have a listen to the baby’s heartbeat whilst she rang the birth centre to let them know that they were coming back. My waters then proceeded to break – I think that was a bit of a shock for the trainee midwife haha.
From this point the contractions got a lot stronger and at about 2am I got into the pool which was lovely! Really took a bit of the fear out of the experience and certainly helped me relax a bit. I was checked again at 4am to find that I was only 5cm dilated so remained in the pool for the rest of the night with gas and air and a movie or two on in the background. Definitely a big perk of the home birth experience!
At 8am we had a midwife shift change and my midwife, another midwife and another trainee arrived. I was examined again to find I was at 9cm but there was a bit of my cervix that didn’t seem to want to soften which they thought was causing some problems for the baby to move down lower. Both midwives examined me and then decided that it was just part to my lining.
Excellent, I’d hit 10cm, finally!
This was at about 10am on Tuesday 2nd. By then the contractions were very strong and the urge to push was pretty uncontrollable so I was encouraged to trust my body and do what I needed to do. Three hours, multiple positions and various rooms in my house later and my midwife broke the news that she felt the baby would not be coming on its own and that I needed to go to hospital. After all of our discussions about pros and cons of home birth, a trip to hospital was high up there in the cons but by that point I was exhausted and my contractions had started to slow right down. Luckily the baby was a trooper and maintained a fantastic, strong heartbeat throughout.
The ambulance seemed to arrive incredibly quickly and I was helped to dress and seemed to be in the ambulance very quick too. It was awful having to say bye to Sam as he had to come in our car but I had my midwife and the trainee with me so I wasn’t alone. The journey to Poole was quick, not massively comfortable having contractions in a moving vehicle but I only had two or three (compared to them being about a minute apart at my house).
We arrived at hospital and I was wheeled into a prep room. A midwife came in and introduced herself and then had a chat with my midwife to find out the situation, during which time Sam also arrived. A doctor came in and explained that, because the baby wasn’t moving lower, I was going to be given an epidural and they were going to try and get baby out with forceps by giving me an episiotomy. If they couldn’t then I would be having a cesarean. I had spent a lot of my birth determined that I was not going to have an epidural (as you can’t have one for a home birth) but knowing that this was how my baby was going to arrive safely into the world made me feel better – it almost helped having the decision taken out of my hands! Immediately my brain kicked into gear thinking about all the information we got at your class. What forceps were, what an episiotomy was, how an epidural was administered, how many people could potentially be in theatre – being in the know was definitely the best thing as the prospect wasn’t so frightening and both Sam and I knew what to expect. There was then a flurry of activity where a number of nurses, anethetists, midwives and surgeons came in to do their respective jobs. I remember them apologising for the number of instruments and needles they needed to stick in me – I did say it wasn’t the worst discomfort I’d endured that day haha.
After signing a permission form and being helped into a gown, I was then wheeled into theatre with Sam in his own gown too. There were lots of people in there. I was helped to move onto the bed and asked to curl my back over a pillow so they could administer the epidural. It wasn’t comfortable but again, thinking back to the session about how it works, I knew what I needed to do and why! I was asked to move so I was lying down and then, as the epidural kicked in, bliss! No more discomfort! It was lovely and at that point I completely relaxed! I knew I was in capable hands and that it wouldn’t be long until my little one would be in my arms.
I needed to be given an injection to start my contractions up again. I had a nurse with her hand on my tummy, who was keeping an eye on my baby’s heartbeat and was feeling for my contractions (as I couldn’t feel them by that point). As my contractions started again, I was told to push which was an odd experience but I knew the action, though I couldn’t feel it.
Three contractions later and she was here – Lola Rose Howell born at 15:47 on Tuesday 2nd April.
They put her on my tummy for a little while whilst my placenta was delivered and then she was taken to be cleaned up and Sam was asked if he wanted to cut the cord. She was then brought back to me and was on my chest whilst they stitched me. I was told they had to turn her as she had got into a funny position but because of the epidural, I didn’t realise or feel this.
We ended up having to spend the night in hospital as it takes a while for the epidural to leave your system and then a further night because baby was struggling with feeding (amazing support with feeding at Poole). Recovery from the episiotomy took a few weeks but it really wasn’t so long.
So yes it wasn’t the birth I had planned or wanted but it was the birth experience I had and the most important thing was that our little Lola was born healthy and happy! I wouldn’t change the experience and I am eternally grateful for the information I learned at your classes. Without it I think the whole experience would have been a lot more scary!!’
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