today my boy is 9 months old!
I have been meaning to write his birth story for the last 9 months, but like with so much of my blogging since he has been born, it has not got done!!
so much of it feels like it was only yesterday and yet it also feels like a dream. I don’t want to forget it ... so writing it is for me, so I can look back and remember.
I was born at home, so always wanted the same when I had a baby but as I got older I thought it would be less likely that I would be allowed. I thought at 38 I would be too old, but my midwife said I could if I wanted. I had a pretty painful time the 4/5 months before Billy was born. I had PPGP (pregnancy pelvic girdle pain) this meant that pretty much every position was painful apart from being propped up in bed. I couldn’t sit, go in the car, walk or lye on my side. It meant I was pretty house-bound and I just hobbled around the house holding on to the furniture. I went to my anti-natal classes, physio and do a weekly shop but that was about it and I would pay for them for the rest of the day and night. I went to bed at about 5 as it was too painful to be up much longer. Bed wasn’t much better as it was painful on my sides and you are not meant to sleep on your back when pregnant. I’m not writing this to complain, as although it was horrid at the time and I cried with the pain a lot, its to explain why Steve didn’t want me to have a home birth. He had seen the pain I was in and living so far from the hospital, he wanted me to have the best help I could if something went wrong. I was desperate not to go to Hereford hospital, which is about 40 miles away, but was happy to go to Knighton birthing centre, about 14 miles away, a midwife led-unit and had a birthing pool which is meant to be good if you have PPGP.
So that was the plan ... if all went well, to go to Knighton, have him in the birthing pool with a little gas and air and maybe stay there for a few hours after before coming home. My mum and Steve would be with me and although I secretly dreamed of a home birth, I needed Steve to be happy ... he was going to be my rock and the calmer and more relaxed he was, then the easier it would be for me. Steve’s niece booked her wedding 2 days before he was due, and as it would be in Knighton we joked that if I went into labour during the wedding, at least I would be near the birthing centre! I knew I couldn’t worry about the birth, what was going to happen, was going to happen. You can’t really plan a birth. I knew I just had to trust God ... but I think I transferred my worry onto the dogs ... I was quite worried about them ... what if I did have to go to Hereford and was away for a few days ... would the dogs be ok?? Stupid I know, but that's how my mind worked!! I was also worried about not having my midwife ... I know chances of having her were small as she would probably not be on duty or if she was, called out to someone else ... but I really wanted her not some stranger.
The drive over to Knighton for the wedding was painful enough, sitting on a Church pew and a hard chair for the meal killed me and by 6 O’Clock I was ready to come home and go to bed, but it had been a lovely wedding and I was glad I had made it. I knew I would suffer that night but the back ache that started at 4 in the morning was different ... I knew it had started!
just a warning ... there will be details of a birth next so if you don’t like talk of blood etc, then stop now ;)
at 5.30am ish I went to the loo and passed some blood. It was old blood, brown in colour, not bright red ... I hadn’t expected that so I phoned through to the Brecon Midwives, which is what we were told to do. I was told, that was fine, quite normal. Labour was probably starting, may happen today, may happen the tomorrow, but to try and get as much rest now as possible ... so I went back to bed and managed to doze till about 10am. The back ache had eased a bit by then. I text my mum at some point, warning her that I need to her to be ready!! I went over to my parents-in-law, who live next door and she made me a slice of cheese on toast for lunch as although I wasn’t hungry, she said I needed to eat! we relaxed there for a couple of hours, chatting about the wedding the day before and looking at the photos we had on our phones.
by 3 o’clock the cramps had started up again and by 3.30 I had a strong feeling that I just wanted to go home. I was uncomfortable and knew I just needed to be at home.
at 4, I passed the ‘show’ or what is also known as ‘the mucus plug!’ (lovely term!!) and the contractions started ... 5 minutes apart ... I timed them for about 40 minutes ... just to be sure! and then phoned the Breacon Midwives again! I spoke to Jessica, the midwife on duty who said she would be over to assess me. I asked if I could have a couple of paracetamol and she said yes. I text my mum to let her know what was going on.
Jessica arrived just before 6 and examined me. She was lovely, very chilled and put both me and Steve at ease. I was 5cm dilated. She felt my tummy and asked if I was sure I was due the following day ... I had quite a small bump, but that's because I had carried Billy very low. I had had to go for extra scans because he was small, but it was all ok.
She asked why we wanted to go to Knighton, when we would be much more comfortable here at home. She had everything here with her that we would have at Knighton apart from the birthing pool, and it would only be her at Knighton anyway. Also the half an hour journey to the birthing centre would be very uncomfortable for me and would probably stop the contractions for a while and delay it all. I couldn’t believe it when Steve agreed! it was what I had wanted all along, I couldn’t be happier. I think her saying it, put Steve at ease about it all.
contractions continued every 5-6 minutes, She and Steve rubbed my back, got me water, chatted between contractions about farming and local people they knew ... I breathed, closed my eyes moved around the living house leaning on what ever furniture was near!
at about 7 ish she examined me again, but when I got up from the bed, I threw up ... all over the bed and myself! We don’t have a spare duvet, Steve popped over to his mums but they didn’t either, so he phoned my mum, she was going to come over anyway, so he asked her to bring one. I had a shower and changed into my nightie.
my mum arrived at about 8. my dad bought her, but he didn’t stay long as he didn’t want to get in the way and our house is only little. I was still leaning on furniture when the contractions came, and sipping lots of water. At about 9, I asked if I could have some more paracetamol, which I had. After that I moved into the bedroom so I could rest a bit on the bed. At 10pm I was fully dilated and I had the desire to push ... which I did ... my waters broke. I am still amazed at how little mess there was ... they must have some very absorbent sheet things! She phoned another midwife then, as home births require 2 midwives, one for the mother and one for the baby. She didn’t arrive though for another hour. Sometime in that hour my nighty had come off ... maybe I was hot, but it is funny how you really don’t care! at one point she suggested I went to sit on the loo as a change of position may help ... our tiny little bathroom had me sitting on the loo ... the midwife kneeling in front of me, steve to the side holding my hand and my mum in the door way!
once back in the bedroom, I was pushing with every contraction, this seemed to go on forever. The midwives were really encouraging though, and Steve said after that he had never had 4 women in his bedroom before! ... nothing seemed to be moving or changing, but it must have been, as soon there was ‘I can see his head.’ She held up a mirror for me to see ... he had dark hair! Steve had been sitting on the bed behind me holding my hands and my mum to the side, mopping my forehead with a damp flannel and giving me sips of water between each contraction. Although having had 5 children of her own, she had never seen a birth from that end! Then it came the big one, the big push and his head popped out. the cord was round his neck but she quickly flipped it off and I had a head poking out between my legs ... I saw him, he made the cutest little squeak like noise and she held up the mirror so I could see. It was just before midnight. she told me to wait until the urge to push came again ... it felt ages ... like 5 minutes, but it probably wasn’t ... and I pushed and then there he was, perfect. she placed him on me and I just couldn’t believe that it was all over. He was born on midnight of the morning of his due date. She said we could pick which day was his birthday as they can’t put down 12 midnight, so we picked the 20th, which was the day he was due.
He lay on me, Steve took a couple of photos and popped over to his mum and dad to show them. The midwife was checking the cord and I can’t remember how long it was, about 20 mins I think, and I then pushed out the placenta. Steve cut the cord. The other midwife went into the bathroom to check the placenta, make sure it was all there. I sent mum in to watch as I wanted to know what they do! Everything was ok, so she then took Billy and weighed him and checked him while Jessica sewed me up (I had a 2nd degree tear) Billy was amazingly perfect, babies on TV seem to be born covered with blood, white stuff and very purple, billy came out with surprisingly little blood and no white stuff at all. He hadn’t cried or screamed, just made sweet little squeaking noises :) After they checked and weighed him Steve and probably my mum too had a cuddle while I had a shower. The other midwife left and I settled back in bed fed him. Steve lay beside me while mum chatted to the midwife in the living room. She had lots of paperwork to do and it took her 2 hours. Steve dozed beside me while Billy fed, an hour on each side. I think I text everyone ... sorry if I woke you all up.
Mum asked her why she hadn’t given me gas and air, I hadn’t realised but it was on the pillow next to me the whole time, and she said I was doing so well without it, she didn’t think I needed it. She said having PPGP usually made the birth easier as everything down there is already loosened up ... so the one good side to PPGP is it was a fairly quick labour :) She said that next time it would probably only be 3 hours from start to finish so we had better book it in now!
... and the dogs, well I needn't have worried. they were out on the decking the whole time! Steve took out Dilly’s bed for her so she was warm enough. He said she howled while I was actually pushing, but I don’t remember.
Jessica left at 3am and we settled down for our first night as a family of 3 ... well 5 including the dogs (plus mum in the room next door)
I know I have been totally blessed with a pretty dream like birth and I still can’t believe how lucky I was. I continued to have physio for my PPGP every week or so till Billy was 6 months old and have exercises to do for the rest of my life and will probably have the same in another pregnancy, but it was worth it, Billy is the little one I have waited for my whole life and I can’t believe he is 9 months old