Freya's Birth

By Sarah Sadler

Sarah planned a home birth for her first baby, Kirsty, but because Kirsty was in a difficult position, Sarah transferred to hospital in second stage and had a forceps delivery. This time, Sarah gave birth to a baby a pound and a half heavier than her first, under her own steam!

I gave birth to Freya Alice on Sunday 19th January 2003 at 23:45 - 6 days late. Baby weighed 9lbs 9oz.

I started to have twinges in the evenings about a fortnight ago. These came and went when I changed position or went to bed. I started having pains on Sunday at around 4.30pm but not enough to get very excited and thought it was the same thing. However they didn't stop when I started moving and thought it was a good enough indication to phone my mother and ask her to have my 2 1/2 year-old daughter overnight. She came round and didn't really believe I was in labour because I was so calm and could very easily talk through contractions, but because of the time it was a good idea that she settled early at my mothers rather than being woken and transported. I had decided very early on that I just couldn't cope with my daughter there when I was in labour. She's really not happy to see me in pain and would start asking to play games right at crucial moments!

We had tea and I phoned the midwife at around 7pm who came and saw me. I could still talk through contractions easily enough and we were more interested in where the baby was lying - after doing a posterior presentation labour with Kirsty I didn't want to repeat the experience. She palpated my stomach which produced a contraction when lying down - oww! Thankfully that was the last contraction I had to cope with lying down and it put my mind at rest that she was lying in a ROA position

Note: ROA stands for Right Occiput Anterior - head down, facing mother's back and to the side a bit. A very good position for birth.

Kevin (my husband) and I had agreed we'd make a nest on the floor and watch Lord of the Rings with my TENS machine on. I got hooked up to it and loved the sensation of the stroking on my back. But Lord of the Rings never made the TV because I went to the loo and the pains were much worse after that. Just the movement of having to sit down there was awful.

Kevin suggested I had a bath, so I kneeled on all fours in the bath while he used the shower on my back during contractions. This was lovely, but sadly, the hot water ran out.

I then put the TENS machine back on and, while Kevin made the bed up with waterproof sheeting, I paced the room. By this time it was 9.30 and we re-phoned the midwife because I had started to use the gas and air tank. She wasn't going to come out until she could hear me groaning away in the background. The second midwife lives 40 minutes from us and there was the student to invite who also lives some distance so they were all summoned at the same time.

They arrived by around 10.15pm when I was feeling quite hard working. I never had an internal exam throughout the entire labour so I don't know how dilated I was at this stage. They kept trying to find the baby's heartbeat but because my contractions were around 3 minutes apart I wasn't particularly happy with the intrusion. They found it difficult to find the heartbeat and I was concerned at first. It took several goes but they found her in a perfect LOA position. I was more happy that that would mean they would leave me alone as I knew the baby was fine for some reason.

The midwife suggested putting hot towels on my back and this worked really well. I didn't like my back being massaged but hot towels were lovely.

Suddenly my waters broke and I found this very frightening for some reason. I started to breathe wrongly and needed calming down. Everyone kept telling me it was the waters breaking but I really didn't know what it was. I didn't even think about what it was, I just got scared! One of the midwives wiped my legs as the fluid annoyed me. I also lost the plug just after the waters. I had been expecting a show but instead got a full one lump plug! Lukily I was now standing on my childhood beach towel so it could all be removed easily - I wouldn't have fancied stepping in any of it as it wasn't very pleasant.

It didn't seem to be very long after this that I started getting the urge to push. I didn't feel that I should be wanting to push as I hadn't gone through any type of transition phase or frankly worked hard enough to be there (this is really silly in retrospect but it was how I felt at the time). To have given me an internal would have meant lying on the bed and I really wasn't prepared to do that, so I insisted that they looked at my bottom to ensure that there was this line there which showed that I was fully dilated. This meant removing the hot towel which I was fine about. They laughed that I couldn't take their word for it and it was a bit silly as it was what my body was telling me to do.

It was now around 11.15 and I found pushing a much less organised affair than with my first daughter. I remember pushing contractions then as being very regular with distances between the pushing sensations being even and the same number of sensations each time. They seemed very random this time but sucessful!

I had now reached the "listen to the midwife" stage and Kevin ensured that I listened for their instructions of when to pant and when to push. I could feel her head bobbing up and down the bend and then could feel burning sensation as the head met the perineum. I didn't expect the stinging sensation and bottled out pushing during one contraction because it hurt so much. I didn't have any option during the next one!

She was delivered with very little further fuss at 11.45 pm - I was still standing and I remember looking through my knees thinking she had just fallen on the floor. Of course she hadn't - the midwife caught her - but its funny how you think things happen.

Placenta was born the next day after an hour attempting to have a fully physiological third stage. It was stopping me cuddling my baby so got bored with it all and had the injection. I don't regret this at all - an hour was long enough. It was a huge placenta which was very interesting to inspect.

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Sarah Sadler
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