Jessica's first baby, Eli, was born in hospital, and her second, Denna, at home. Her third, Adie, arrived on 23 July 2005... 19 days after her due date... and what a whopper! Here is Adie's story, as dictated to her mum!
Jessica and brand-new Adie.
It was 18 days since my expected date of arrival and the pressure was on to speed up my appearance. The midwives were worrying about me being overdue and the placenta not feeding me as well as it should be, about me getting too big to be born safely (particularly at home), and my mum was getting a lot of pressure to accept medical induction of labour. She was very keen to avoid giving birth in a hospital, knowing that she had a difficult birth experience with big brother 6 years ago when she was induced. She had a wonderful homebirth with big sister 2.5 years ago and was very much hoping for a repeat performance this time round. However, the clock was ticking and with every day that passed, the chances of this happening were decreasing.
Mum had spent a lot of the day in tears after finally deciding that perhaps there was something just not working right with her body this time, and perhaps the time was right to help it along a bit. She had decided to accept the offer of induction in hospital, and was booked to go to Taunton on Sunday 24th. This was a hard decision to make and she felt guilty for not trusting that her body was able to do the job itself, and also felt let down that her body hadn't done it. She was very upset that she would not be giving birth in her own home and would have to deal with the strange smells and feelings you get from hospitals, as she knew these would not help her birth experience and would only make her more tense when in labour. She was worried that the whole experience might be too much for her to cope with, and was quite anxious about what it would bring.
Her body had told her for many weeks that it was ready for labour, and all the signs were good that it could have been any day. But labour never happened, and her cervix remained stubbornly closed. During her 43rd week of pregnancy she decided to try something new, and contacted a homeopath. The first things she was sent seemed to help and I moved position in the womb. But still no labour. So today, after visiting Mary Stanley again for monitoring (all still fine), she saw the homeopath, who armed her with a big box of tablets and instructions! On the way home things started to feel different. She described the feeling as "tumbling" pains in her cervix, not quite contractions but the definite feeling something different was happening - could her body be starting to get going? She had a peaceful evening, took remedies as prescribed, and burnt a candle to spend some time imagining her cervix was the melting wax, and just trying to regain some peace after her earlier tears and upset. She went to bed and was sleeping before her head hit the pillow.
Less than 2 hours after going to bed, at 12.30am on term+19, she awoke to a familiar feeling, as waters started to gush uncontrollably from between her legs. Somehow she managed to move at speed to avoid damage to the matress, despite being 9.5 months pregnant! She sent some emails to tell her online buddies things were happening and then busied herself "making her nest". At about 2am she took a homeopathic remedy which started her contractions off immediately, rumbling quietly. At 4am she'd attached the tens machine to herself and completed a sudoku puzzle, but was finding it harder to be alone so woke Dad up for company and to get him to provide some food. He burnt the teacakes and the smoke alarm went off - thankfully the children slept through that! They both then settled in front of a DVD to await progress.
By about 5.30am things were getting more intense and Mum wanted a midwife, and she didn't feel bad about it being the middle of the night anymore. After some aggro on the phone about whether she was having a homebirth or not, her own community midwife was called. Mum was pleased she was on duty as she was with mum when she had Denna. She arrived at 6am and checked progress, only 2-3cms dilated but cervix was paper thin and likely to spring back at any point. Then she was called to the next village urgently to support an ambulance crew, so instead of her going to get gas and air, a second midwife was called to us instead. This was another midwife mum knew really well which pleased her a lot. Then a third midwife turned up with the gas and air, but she didn't stay as first midwife was on her way back by then. Chaos!
By 7.45am though, we had two midwives and gas and air, and Mum was starting to feel "transitiony" and felt quite pathetic and unable to cope. She even asked Dad to get a knife to give her a section, but the midwives wouldn't allow that at home! She tried the gas and air though and found that helped, and with plenty of back rubs she managed to get through this stage. At some point both Eli and Denna turned up to see what was going on, as Mum was quite noisy dealing with the contractions with lots of shouting. They went over to visit a neighbour after a while, to give Dad a chance to be with Mum all the time.
At about 9.10am things started to change again and a few pushing urges were felt, and everyone prepared for the final stage! Mum said it was strange how she didn't feel me moving through her as she had with my sister. During one huge push she felt her midwife pushing her back again and she snapped at her to stop doing that, and everyone in the room shouted back that no-one was touching her, that was my head she could feel! The doorbell then rang, and mum's sister turned up - just in time! It took 3 long contractions to inch my head out, and the midwives prepared themselves for the chance my shoulders would get stuck, but they came out fine with the next push - but my belly got stuck instead as I had my hands by my side like a soldier! Dad said it was like watching vets on tv pulling a calf out of a cow to watch the midwives pull me free as I'd got myself jammed in there quite tight! Finally at 9.40am I made my entrance into the world.
Mum was on all fours to push, so sat back and cuddled me when I was born, and was surprised to see I was a girl as she was sure I would be a boy! However I was having problems breathing so I was passed quickly to the midwives who gave me some air through a mask for a minute. Mum wanted a natural third stage but the cord was cut quickly to allow the midwives freedom to help me start breathing. I was handed back to mum when I was breathing fine but she had to hand me to dad as she was having more contractions, and it took two big pushes for her to birth the placenta as it was huge! The midwives were keen to weigh me as they were placing bets on my size, although mum didn't think I would be much bigger than my sister who was just under 9lb. She was very surprised to find out I was actually 10lb 3.5oz!
It took mum a few days to recover emotionally from my birth as she had felt so stressed in the days before, and she found late pregnancy to be emotionally a very draining experience for her. And then she went into labour after only a small sleep, so found it harder to cope than she'd have ideally wanted, plus it was her hardest labour as I was her biggest baby by a good amount. She however didn't need much recovery time physically, and emotionally she found she bounced back quite fast, and was actually really quite satisfied that, despite all the pressure, she'd got the birth she wanted, with two great midwives to support her. I'd waited till the eleventh hour to make my entrance, but thankfully things came together perfectly and it was a positive experience for us both to cherish.
Trainee Breastfeeding Counsellor, Full time mum to Eli (Jun 99), Denna (Nov 02) & Adie (23rd July 05)
Jessica - what happened when Adie was resuscitated?
Adie had a heart rate of about 60 and was not breathing. She opened and closed her eyes and moved her arms, so I knew she wasn't dead or anything, but alarming nonetheless. Her cord was cut after the mws asked if they could so they could "bag" her - which meant using fresh air through a face mask for about a minute I think. Apparently they aren't supposed to use oxygen anymore. I only held her for about 30 seconds though before I passed her over to them as her not breathing was a bit scary really. Noone has ever said "oooh that would have been better in hospital" type thing though, it's just one of those things that sometimes happens when babies are born, and I'm grateful mws know what to do! I tried leaning her over and patting her back and other things but it didn't seem to make any difference.
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