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Mia's birth, by Sue

Sue had her first two babies in hospital, and planned a homebirth for her third. However, she changed her plans to a hospital birth when she found she had a low-lying placenta and it was not clear whether a caesarean would be necessary.

After a disappointing pregnancy and being advised not to have a home birth due to a low lying placenta and 2 subsequent bleeds, and eventually not even making it to a birthing unit, Mia Christina was born in November 2006 weighing 9lb 6oz.

I was booked into have an examination under a spinal as the consultant at the hospital wasn't sure how close my placenta was to the os (opening of the cervix inside the womb), as it had previously been too close for a normal delivery. So I wasn't sure whether I'd have a section or not, or whether I would have my waters broken and a vaginal delivery.

Here is some more information on Sue's low-lying placenta:-
At 33 weeks Sue had a bleed and was given steroid injections to mature her baby's lungs in case of early delivery. At this point a scan suggested that she had a complete placenta praevia, ie the placenta appeared to be covering the os, which is the exit from the womb - the top of the cervix. By the time she reached term, the placenta appeared to be 19mm away from the os, so vaginal birth was a possibility, but there is still a risk of the placenta peeling away during labour (abruption) and of severe bleeding after birth (postpartum haemorrhage, or PPH). Sue's obstetrician advised her that normally a caesarean would be recommended if it was 20mm or less from the os, but he supported in attempting a vaginal birth. In addition, Sue's placenta was posterior, ie towards the back of her uterus rather than the front. A low-lying placenta at the back of the uterus is considered higher-risk than a low-lying placenta at the front.

Back to Sue's story:

We arrived at the hospital at 7.30am, the midwives just presumed I WAS having a section and was shaved and cannula inserted and also my nail polish removed ( it took me ages to get past my bump to do them). Even under protest they still went ahead with their protocols.

At this point I was still calm but already complaining to DH (Dear Husband) that this wouldn't be happening at a home birth.

I was examined, change of plan though, there was no spinal involved and the consultant was really rough and explained that I was 2cms dialated and 75 percent effaced and as the head wasn't far enough down it was dangerous to break my waters but could have a pessary to soften things, which I agreed to.

After 6 hours, nothing very much was happening and I had already discussed with DH if I was going to have a normal delivery why wasn't I waiting for things to happen naturally and we should go home.

The midwife said she would discuss this with the consultant but didn't see a problem, but could I wait until 6pm for them to be sure I wouldn't suddenly have violent contractions witht the pessary.

We started to walk around the hospital and eventually went to watch "Deal or No Deal" in the day room when I started to have regular contractions and they were getting more painful. By 6pm ( the time I was planning to leave) they were every 3 mins and I needed Gas & Air.

Hospital policy again - I had to be 3cms dialated or couldn't go to delivery and have pain relief. Apparently very stretchy and made a good 3cms but could have been what ever I wanted to be.

Change of midwife shift and managed to get a good one, she was Scottish and had a great sense of humour , very similar to mine, so in between sucking on gas & air and contractions we had tears of laughter( about nothing ) and DH not believing how well I was coping.

At around 8.30pm I was moved into a different room and another change of midwife. I was moved because they thought the baby's heart rate was dropping too much with my contractions, which were now 5 in 10 mins I was quite happy to go with the flow. The midwives were discussing the likelihood of having to break my waters in case they weren't clear and the baby could be in distress.

Note from Angela: to check for meconium, which can be a sign that the baby isn't coping well with labour or has been in distress in the past. Or which can mean neither of these things....

To which again I agreed. What followed was the worst treatment I have ever recieved. The first midwife couldn't break my waters and after 10mins of trying and making me extreamly sore and distressed she went to get another midwife who tried again for the same time and roughness. I dont remember this but DH said I was shouting at them to stop and crying in pain. I think at theis point I had found a zone to be in and blank out a lot of the pain as I would describe it as watching it happening to someone else.

Im truly convinced it was my bad temper that broke my waters as nobody seemed to be listening to me. DH rekoned there was more water than a 2 litre bottle of coke and they just kept gushing. And at the end of that episode the comment was "Oh, they are clear. "

Feeling totally violated, and now wet as well, I feel this is where my shock and retreat into myself began. I was left in a wet bed - I know I could have gotten out of it but I wasn't thinking too clearly.

At 9.30, after being examined quickly at my request and being told I was only 6 - 7 cms, I had the most incredible urge to push, which noboy appeared to notice until DH screamed at the midwives " is she ready for this? "

When the 2 midwives were finished arguing over whose delivery it was and got round to attending me, they realised that the baby's head was only 1/2 out and stuck. Ordering me to push when I had run out of contraction was usless but they tried it anyway.

Eventually I had a midwife on each knee spliting me like a chicken and one hauling and pulling at the baby to get her out.

She arrived into the world at 9.46pm battered and bruised but perfect in every way, me on the other hand was totally shell-shocked and out of it.

Note from Angela: It seems the midwives were concerned that Mia's shoulders were stuck (shoulder dystocia). One of the standard steps to try to free trapped shoulders is 'McRoberts' Maneouvre', where the mother is on her back and her knees are pushed up towards her shoulders. This causes movement in the pelvis which often frees the shoulders. Other approaches include turning the mother onto hands and knees, or climbing out of a birth pool.

Back to Sue:

DH managed to cut the cord and he also dressed her as I had no desire to hold her.

Again the waters that came out after she was born was loads and AGAIN I was left sitting in a wet bed as the midwives were away writing up their notes. I sat in the bed shocked and dazed for a full 2hours, SOAKED and cold. Eventually DH started to strip me off (I had socks on ) they went straight into the bin. T shirt peeled off and he started to clean me off and dry me. He was an absolute star.

I was brought a cup of tea and some burnt offerings that looked like toast and moved into a side room where I eventually came back to earth and had my first proper hold and breastfeed.

The next 24hrs were hellish; I was sick and couldn't eat anything, even being sick after the anti-sickness tablet. I was told I had to inject my stomatch with anti-clotting stuff. Oh yes and being constantly woken up to ask me if my baby was ok as she was blue - She is CONGESTED due to getting stuck.

I didn't eat all the next day too, but desided I was coming home even after some complaints saying Mia needed phototherapy.

Since being at home things have really settled and that first crawl into your own bed is HEAVEN.

If all births are like this one she will be my last, but definately worth it. I still maintain the worst bit I felt was being violated and railroaded about my waters being broken, The shoulder dystocia bit was just them doing their job.

Sorry if I have upset anyone already nervous about going into hospital. I must say my previous 2 hospital births went without a hitch.


Afterthoughts, on having a big baby and shoulder dystocia:

In my opinion the scans are useless at telling you what weight your baby is. From day one with my scans for Mia I was told she was on the small side, but then I started to measure bigger by 5cms and the midwife became concerned. Although a lot of it was water, (which I knew) I was told at 26wks she would be about 6lb9oz. I was induced at 39wks and she weighed a whopping ( well, for me! ) 9lb 6oz.

Anyway she also got stuck and I blame the midwife's guidance of being on my back on the bed in hospital. Had I have been at home I "might" have adopted that position myself but the choice was mine. I know I could have moved in hospital, but at the time I was also strapped to a CTG as I had just had my waters broken etc.

I believe that with all the other great things your body does naturally to "make" the baby then it will also make the baby fit through the escape route, unless there is something like gestational diabetes increasing your baby's size.


Related pages:

Home Birth Stories

Big babies and homebirth

Shoulder Dystocia - what is it, and how it's handled at a homebirth or a hospital birth.

Transferring to hospital - why it may be advised, and experiences from women who've done it.

Meconium - what does it mean if your baby passes meconium? Should you transfer to hospital?


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