Conan's Birth, by Claire Constable

Claire managed to give birth naturally at home to her third baby, Conan, despite him being two pounds heavier than her other babies *and* being born in the occiput posterior position (face-to-pubes). The birth story of Claire's second baby, Katja, is also on this site.

3 days past my due date and I seemed to be getting regular pains in my back. I´d had a slight, bloody show the night before, so thought this may be it but I still wasn´t sure. Went to my antenatal appointment and told Sue, my midwife that I thought the baby would be born over the weekend.

By about 8pm all the pain was still in my back but I was sure this was labour, and with every pain I seemed to lose more of the show, although it was now clear again.

That night I couldn´t sleep, the pain was every 7 minutes and I couldn´t get comfortable whatever I tried to do. The next morning, still every 7 minutes and all in the back, I had a bath to try and ease things off. It didn´t do a thing so got back up again.

By 9/10am they were really hurting and needed to be concentrated on, around Noon they then switched to constant pain in my back and the only place I felt even partially comfy was on the loo so I rang Sue who said she´d come right over. She arrived and examined me – I was almost fully dilated with a huge sack of amniotic fluid there, so she rang for a 2nd midwife (the labour ward refused to send someone else out but Darlene was coming straight from another homebirth where the woman had decided to transfer in).

By the time she got there I was leaning over the birthing ball and kept being asked if I needed to push (I´d started on the gas and air just after Sue got to the house) I felt no urge to push but Sue asked me to try a few contractions without the gas and air (the same thing had happened with my second daughter) and I did a big push but the baby wasn´t coming down any further so Sue asked if she could check if all the cervix had gone. There was still a slight lip so she encouraged me to stop pushing, go back on the gas and air and stand up to try and bring the head down. I needed Kurt to press down constantly on my back as that was still where all the pain was and he was the only one who could push hard enough (I got him to show me how hard he was pressing after the baby was born – I´m surprised he didn´t break my back but I needed it at the time).

My cervix was fully dilated but I still had this huge sack of waters and no urge to push, with each contraction Sue kept expecting to be deluged by the amniotic fluid and got out an amniotic hook as she said he looked like he was going to be born in the caul. The gas and air had almost run out by now and I put it down in case I needed some more for later. Darlene had to go before much longer so Sue rang for a backup to swop over and bring more gas and air.

Around 5pm Sue asked if she could break my waters to see if that would bring the head down as I was really tired by this stage. I agreed and not long afterwards started to push. After several pushes I reached down and could feel the top of the babies head, so carried on pushing (had stopped with the gas and air by now). The pain while crowning was much worse than I remembered it in any other labour and the first time I´d needed to make noise while pushing.

I kept changing position to try and find somewhere that didn´t hurt too much and I felt balanced – I ended up lying on the floor with one hand under my back pressing up on the base of my spine. As I was pushing I kept thinking I don´t remember it being this bad before or this big.

There was a sudden release of pressure and I heard the midwife say "He´s face-to-pubes; no wonder your back hurt", I looked down and there was this grey face looking back up at me. I needed to push again with the next contraction (surprise in itself as the girls' bodies had come out without my help) and he just seemed to keep coming and followed by a really thick cord.

A few minutes after he was born Debbie came with more gas and air and Darlene left while we waited for the placenta. I wanted a physiological third stage so the cord was left and I gave Conan a feed. There was quite a bit of blood and, although I tried a few pushes, all that came out was more of the umbilical cord and a few clots. The cord was clamped and I cut it, Kurt then held Conan while I tried standing to deliver the placenta – It had no intention of coming out and I was feeling faint so Sue asked if she could give an injection to get it out. I agreed and after a few more minutes, and a few more clots the placenta came out but the bleeding still continued so I had another shot of synto. And luckily that seemed to stop it. My blood pressure had dropped to 30/60 and I´d lost around 600mls of blood (6 times as much as I had with either of the girls), but after a few hours in bed it came back up to within normal limits.

I was checked and I had torn; there was slight muscle damage then a long skin tear and was given the choice of if I wanted it to be sewn or left alone. I decided to leave well alone and heal naturally. When Conan was weighed we all had a huge shock: I had a feeling he was bigger than his sisters had been while I was pregnant (they had been 5lb 10 and 5lb 12) so had been expecting a 6 1/2lb baby – he was 7lb 13oz – a full 2lb heavier than either of the others and a much more difficult position. I´m really glad he was born at home, but can´t make up my mind if I´d rather have known he was posterior throughout the labour - it would have made the backache easier to deal with if I'd have been expecting it, but if I'd have been told the size and position he would come out in, I don't know if I would have had the confidence to do it alone.

mum to Alicia (hosp birth 20/11/00), Katja (HB 7/3/02) & Conan (HB 20/12/03) (Remove _homebirthsite_ to get the correct email address)

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