Saturday, 15 December 2018

Our positive birth story - Carter William John Willis, 9th December 2018

Carter William John Willis - Our positive birth story.

As my due date was nearing I decided, like any mum to be, to do all that I could to get things moving along! Allllll the oxytocin, clary sage, curries and I could’ve popped the birthing ball I bounced on it so much whilst watching multiple films in a row. 

Friday 7th, we had our annual adult family panto which was when I was telling Todd “I feel like I’ve got a headache in my bits” it didn’t bother me in the slightest, wasn’t painful, I just felt a bit achy down there!

Saturday 8th, Todd went to work, I did the house work and then about 15:00 we decided to go down town so I could get my nails done, Todd could have a hair cut and we could go for another “last meal” at Prezzo where I enjoyed 2 starters and a main! (ladies rinse those last meals, I probably got 3 dinners out of Todd for saying “but babe what if he comes in a minute and this is the last chance we get to go for dinner!?”) I was still feeling like I had a bit of period pains but nothing worth mentioning or complaining about. We joked about him “being here tomorrow on his due date if he took after his mama being on time” (The 9th was the due date I was given at my private scans, but the NHS gave me a due date of the 12th at my 12 week scan) We then went to Wilko to get some pudding and snacks for the hospital bag as I had kept eating the goodies we’d bought in every food shop from the previous 3 shops!

We got home about 18:30 and I put on Love Actually, got on the ball & sniffed some clary sage. 19:00 comes and “babe, honestly I think I’ve just had my first contraction?!” Surely not, only 3% of babies are born on their due date! I felt like a kid on Christmas morning, no way was our baby actually going to make an appearance soon?! I called my midwife Niki, Niki was going to be on call for the birth because we’d formed a lovely bond during my pregnancy, I asked her to be my midwife after one of my initial appointments and just feeling so relaxed and supported by her. Anyway, she said “how exciting this could be the start of it, make sure you let me know when your contractions are lasting 45-60 seconds and you’re having 2 or 3 in 10 minutes, but try to stay home as long as possible so we don’t have to send you away if you come in and aren’t dilated enough” 

I downloaded a contraction timer app and at first they were pretty sporadic but they were lasting 38/40/45/35 seconds each time and I was getting them every two minutes, I sat and thought to myself “I’m not going to be able to do this, contractions are actually quite strong, if this is the start and this could be on going for a day or so yet, I’ve got no chance!” But I used my hypnobirthing breathing techniques and time flew by, it was nice to know when the contraction was about to go and Todd was counting me a few times when I forgot to breathe. I got in and out of the bath twice, had hot water bottles on my back (I swear I grew this baby in my back I’ve had terrible back ache!) and we started to take bits downstairs and get ready. At about 01:30 I decided to wash my face and put some makeup on but it took me about 45 minutes to do one eyebrow because contractions were thick and fast and took my breath away! Todd called Niki and said we’d have to come in soon to be checked because I was getting too uncomfortable, and Niki said to just be sure as we didn’t want to make the journey to have to go home again, but I was just sure it was time. 

At 03:00 we left home, I had a huge blanket around me, a hot water bottle on my back and a barley bag on my front. I had my eyes closed near enough the entire journey and just did my breathing and tried to stay calm. That 15 minute journey to the midwife unit felt like it took about 15 days! 

We walked in and I saw the Christmas tree with warm lights on first in the corridor and Niki showed us to our room, the purple mood lighting was calmly covering the walls and the battery LED candles were flickering in the corner, all I could smell was toast! I immediately sat on the birthing ball and Niki did some checks on me, before she examined me on the bed “Rey you’re 7cm and your waters are bulging!” THANK THE LORD! I wanted a water birth so Niki ran the pool for me and at about 04:00 I got in.

As soon as I got in the water I felt and saw the gush of my waters breaking. I was gutted I didn’t have a dramatic water breaking situation, but was happy things were moving! That’s when the contractions were getting stronger, so I started on the gas and air and OH MY LORD how that saved my life. Gas and air really helped me breathe each contraction out, it didn’t necessarily take away the pain it just made me feel a bit like I was having an out of body experience and totally relaxed me! I wanted Michael Buble’s Christmas album on because his album makes me happy and I bloody love Christmas! Annnnnnd we had that on repeat for the following 4 hours, safe to say we haven’t listened to him since! I remember Todd feeding me love heart sweets and reading me the messages on each sweet. Time felt like it went so quickly, probably thanks to the gas and air, it also felt like my eyes were shut the entire time and I didn’t really have much concept of my surroundings. The second midwife Jamie came, who was just as lovely and was so informative about each thing that was happening to me, she helped me anticipate what was coming and how to do things, which I loved, I felt so supported. 

After a while things felt different, there was more pressure in my bum and back and I also felt like I needed to squeeze out a poo! This is when a few mammal noises came out. Hypnobirthing taught me downward breathing for this stage and it did kinda work but I needed longer more almost strained pushes here. Jamie told me to not let the noise out and to use it to push down as it would give me more energy and she was totally right. Todd was in the water behind me sat on the first step and was almost holding me up and supporting me so I could put all my efforts into bearing down. We hadn’t planned on him being in the water with me so he hadn’t brought any trunks bless him so he sat in a holey old pair of boxers! I felt so secure once he was behind me and like we were totally in this together, he was breathing in my ear so I could copy him whenever I felt I was loosing focus, as at this point the gas and air was taken away. He kept reassuring me “breathe through your entire body babe, come on you have this” My elbows were in his knees and my body was forwards and slightly upright and the next few contractions took every piece of breath in me and I breathed them down into my body whilst drawing them out longer, I hope that makes sense... the bloody torch wouldn’t work but Ol’ Plumber Todd to the rescue had one in his coat pocket - ay?! Bloody works torch shining up my bits so that Niki and Jamie could start looking as the head was coming down. “He’s got some hair!” Well that comment gave me determination, I felt like during this stage I forgot why I was here in this situation, I forgot I was having a baby and was just going through this for the sake of it, but when they told me he had hair I thought “right I want to see what my baby looks like I want to get him out” so the next 3 or 4 contractions I gave it some welly, I didn’t feel like he was moving at all I just kept saying “I really need a poo he’s coming out the wrong bit” and everyone was reassuring me it was just his head crowning. Niki told me on my next contraction his head would be born and did I want to feel his head, I reached down and I could feel this fluffy hair, lots of it and again it just gave me every ounce of determination I needed for the next part, which I was the most scared of - getting the head out! One more contraction and his head was born at 08:51, one more contraction and the rest of his body came out (which I actually didn’t even feel!) 

Niki placed him on my chest, my wide eyed perfect baby boy who I’ve waited so long for, just staring at me, instantly with one hand in his mouth and one tightly grasped around my finger and all 3 of us just stared at each other for a good 10 minutes. His cord was round his neck a bit but he wasn’t bothered in the slightest, I don’t actually think he realised he had been born - he didn’t make a sound. It was all so peaceful. Something you don’t imagine birth to be and for that reason, I fully believe in hypnobirthing.  

Todd cut the cord and then we all got out the pool, Carter was weighed, 7lb 4oz, just like I had predicted the night before and he was dressed. I was given the injection for the placenta to come out as I wasn’t feeling any contractions and then that’s where it all went a bit tits up...

My placenta wasn’t coming out and so the paramedics were called. I was put on a stretcher and blue lighted to hospital, whilst my husband and baby had to follow on behind. Todd is actually my hero, a new dad, all of half an hour and he’s given sole responsibility of putting this baby in our car and making his way to the hospital! I swear the ambulance driver hit every possible pot hole on his way, I was so sore and I felt so incredibly vulnerable. I had no underwear on as I had the cord hanging between my legs, I was heavily bleeding and I was so cold even though I had our throw over me and a nightie on. When we got to the hospital I was left in a room on the delivery suite, in desperate need of a wee and like an angel, Todd’s mum, Loraine, walked through the door and I just couldn’t have felt more emotional, she helped me crouch down onto a bedpan sitting on a stool and turned the taps on to help me have a wee. Someone must’ve been watching over me because my placenta came out in the bed pan - the journey must’ve shook it out of me! I was so thankful because after a natural and such a positive birth, exactly how I had planned, the last thing I wanted was surgery. I really do take my hat off to those ladies who go through child birth, as if that isn’t the most mammoth task in the world, to then have to be operated on, you just want to hold your baby and look after it! 

I was examined and told I had a 2nd degree tear, I refused stitches because again, I just wanted out, I was so traumatised by having to be rushed into hospital and taken away from my baby that I just wanted it to be over. In walks Todd carrying the car seat with little Carter in, so content and fast asleep. Loraine then cleaned my legs up as I had blood everywhere by this point and helped me change into Todd’s jammys and then we left for home at 12:30 noon. Home to meet his big brother Gibson, who to this day, thinks he's alright when he isn't crying and always wants to be sat beside his baby brother.

All the above seems like a distant memory to me now, one week later, it’s been the toughest and most rewarding week of my entire life. I can’t stop staring at my baby and I just fall in love with him over and over again every day. Breastfeeding was hard to get the hang of, as is only getting two hours sleep a night, but every night and day we improve a little bit more. My bruised and achy body gets better with each day and each dose of arnica and I am more mobile by the day which helps. So we are just over here enjoying our little bubble of love before Todd heads back to work and then it’s just me and my boy.

Carter William John Willis.

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading my positive (mostly) birth story!

Love, Rey x

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