Lydia's Birth, by Jenni

Lydia Elise is Jenni's fourth baby. She was born at home and, as one of Jenni's sons said, "it was wonderful". Especially so because just two and a half years earlier, Jenni had cervical cancer and was told she'd have to have a hysterectomy. She researched carefully and chose a cone biopsy and careful observation instead, but at the time still worried that any future children would have to be born by elective caesarean....

After spending the whole pregnancy worried that the baby might be premature (potential incompetent cervix due to large cone biopsy 2.5 years ago), my due date came and went and we wondered if the baby would be as late as the last one (41+5). The midwife came at 40+3 and it had flipped breech again, but turned during the visit! So I agreed that if I went into labour I would call a midwife asap to determine which way up the baby was, as it clearly had a lot of room to move around. After a couple of minor false starts all was quiet, and I was holding out for the weekend when 'my' midwife would be back on call.

Friday night (40+5), Guy was up late studying, I had a couple of hours sleep before waking at 1:15 with mild ctx. Was very irritable and not up for labour at that time of night! Towards 2:00 the ctx were somewhat irregular but coming every few minutes, not convinced this was 'it' but called the on-call midwife anyway. Rocked on my birth ball and had Guy massage my back, but more because I thought I might as well use the freebie labour massage oil that had come with the pool hire than because I *needed* the support.

When the midwife arrived I was about to try and get some sleep, but then I perked up when she palpated and confirmed baby was head down and well engaged. She offered a VE, I accepted and was pleased to be 4-5cm with a bulging bag of waters, as it had been easy going so far, and there had been some concern that my cervix wouldn't dilate properly due to scar tissue, but it was obviously fine. We discussed aspects of my birth plan and she was happy to be as hands off as I wanted. I was strangely reluctant to get in the birth pool but Guy got it ready while I stood through the ctx, which I could still talk through. There was quite a jolly atmosphere and I was pleased with how it was going, very manageable.

I thought I ought to get in the pool at some point, and when I did around 3:30 it was lovely and warm and welcoming; I waited for the next contraction to see how it felt. No contraction came for several minutes - we joked that it must be *really* effective pain relief and I was just not feeling them. Then the 2nd stage hit me like a train!

I floated, letting the water and the power of the contraction overwhelm me - my loud "ummm" turned into a pushy "arrgh" and the midwife appeared, as Guy went to wake the boys. Soon after, the next contraction went on and on, I shrieked helplessly as I felt my waters pop and the head reached my perineum. Then another, and the head was out, it was utterly uncontrollable and I had hoped to avoid tearing...then the baby was out and passed up to me; it looked quite grey and after a minute or two the midwife was anxious to cut the cord and rub the baby up in a towel, after which it pinked up rapidly. That was the only bit I wasn't entirely happy with but I can see why it happened and I wasn't in a fit state to leap out of the pool at that moment.

I was in total pain still. Guy heaved me half out of the pool and the placenta came out with one push, only a few minutes after the birth, with no syntometrine, yay! Then I got settled on my birth nest and the baby was handed to me. I had asked not to be told the sex, convinced that it would be a 4th boy, and didn't look for a few minutes. Then Guy realised that I still didn't know, and told me we had a girl! I asked him to double check, and he asked the midwife to! The 2 boys who had been there for the birth were calm and enjoying the atmosphere; their brother joined us soon after and we all moved upstairs to the bedroom to get to know our little girl. The 2 year old beamed and said "this is wonderful", which said it all really.

I had declined to have my perineum checked, but felt that perhaps I hadn't torn. I went to the loo and showered off and was sure I hadn't torn. The difference to my other 3 births with 2nd degree tears and stitches was amazing - I could sit down without wincing. (note: actually I had torn a teeny bit but I didn't notice till several days later!) The baby wasn't interested in feeding at first but soon she settled in for a good feed, the midwife left, and we got on with the new day, sleep deprived but delighted with our new addition.

Lydia Elise (the boys got to choose the middle name and it had to be a car!) weighed 8lb, and I am so pleased to have completed my family with another good homebirth. Especially since I was told that I couldn't have any more children and would *have* to have a hysterectomy, so I'm very pleased to have proved the doctors wrong :-P And after my previous bad history with that hospital, I've had a supportive midwife who came to my house for all pre-and post-natal appointments (and was gutted to miss the birth!), and a bonus nice midwife for the birth too. Shame I didn't really get the full benefit of a waterbirth though.

The first 1.5 weeks with Lydia have been fantastic, she's healthy, happy and thoroughly beautiful, and IMO a perfect example of how gentle birth => happy baby.


Related pages:

Jenni's third baby's birth story


Home Birth Stories

Fast Labours

The cervix, and birth after cervical surgery, on the UK Midwifery archives


Home Birth Reference Page
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