I’m very fortunate to have met lots of lovely people via the world of twitter.
One of these lovely people is Shauna Tate. We started tweeting each other a bit before Christmas and since then we’ve got close seeing as Shauna was 6 weeks ahead of me in her pregnancy.
We’ve shared ups and downs and tried to solve all sorts of questions that have risen through our pregnancies and when the lovely ‘Loli’ was born on Monday, I felt like I went through the birth with Shauna.
I was petrified about going into labour and giving birth, but talking to Shauna and now reading her birth story, its has put my mind at ease and I am now actually looking forward to the momentous day.
But enough from me, here is Shauna’s story:
The Incredibly long Birth Story of Lucy Olive Tate 🙂
This is not really just a birth story, it’s also about the barriers i faced, and the home birth decision. If you want to get to the nitty-gritty, its the stuff in bold!
Firstly, it’s important to understand the basics about me:
I am 20 years old with no medical problems, this was my first pregnancy and there were no complications whatsoever during the 41+1weeks.
I feel the above made our decision about having a home birth easier to persue.
Whilst pregnant, i had regularly considered having a home birth – it’s not that i hate hospitals, we are lucky to have the care we have available today, however the real factor for me was the possibility of being away from my Husband. Silly some would say, as when the baby arrives you have far too much else on your mind – but me and my husband do *everything* together, he even sits with me when i have a bath. I could have hoped that the birth in hospital would go top-notch and husband could stay with me after until being discharged, but i couldn’t know this for certain and it started to panic me. Why should the father of my baby be sent home after her arrival – whilst i lay in hospital?
When i was 37weeks pregnant, i told Mick how i didn’t want to wait til no.2, i wanted to have a home birth now, with my first pregnancy. Firstly, he was worried ‘What if something goes wrong?’ but when we really looked into it together, he was reassured. I’m not going to lie and say i’m close to the hospital either – its atleast half an hour away.
I approached the midwife at my 37week appointment and said plain and clearly ‘we’ve decided we want a home birth’ – now the midwife and i weren’t close, she’s not mumsy, she’s absolutely huge and one of those flappy types – always stressed, can’t keep still etc! She immediately put up the barriers and responded ‘How are you going to deal with the pain?’ – I told her i certainly didn’t want an epidural or pethidine if i was in hospital anyway, and she told me its ‘girls like you who end up having all the drugs’. At first, this hurt me so deep and i left the appointment and burst into tears – i didn’t realise that this comment would make my birth experience the most amazing experience possible. It drove me to research – i don’s just mean lifting a book, i was obsessed – i looked into every birth story available to read ever [well, it felt like that!] I asked everyone questions, dug deep, looked into medical scenarios, coping with pain, etc. For example, i never knew that if i’d have to have an epidural, i’d need a cathatar inserted and this could make it difficult for me to wee after the birth, and therefore keep me in hospital [without my husband!] – i went crazy, i’d wake up at night panicking about not being able to have my home birth and i’d get on the laptop and email whoever, wherever about whatever was on my mind. I wanted to prove the evil midwife wrong.
When my due date came and went, i was not prepared – i really thought Loli would be born early, due to measuring big most of the pregnancy, and also my period dates being very confusing. I felt miserable, i immediately felt my home birth dream slip out of my hands as the midwife told me my induction would be on Friday 25th March. This ofcourse drove me to research inductions in depth. I wanted to know my options, i did not understand the point of an induction at 40+12 when an average pregnancy can last 38-42weeks. I was ready to decline the induction and ask to be monitored, this would scan the fluid around baby, and check we are both healthy to procede [and that the placenta wasn’t declining]
I was told i would have a sweep at 41weeks, to be honest, i was gutted when this came round – i wanted to decline, i just wanted my body to go into labour naturally, like i knew it could. A midwife i had never met arrived at about 3pm on Sunday 20th and we decided i would go ahead with the sweep, in the hope that it would prevent the need to induce. We went upstairs to my bedroom and Mick sat next to me as she gave the examination: She looked confused and said “you’re 3cm dilated!” i was like ???? wtf??? She told us we just needed contractions to start, or my waters to break and baby would be on her way! I was so happy – my body was going into labour all on it’s own, and the examination confirmed this 🙂
Immediately as she left, contractions started – the usual braxton hicks tightenings, we decided to go for a drive in the landrover [Husband is a gamekeeper, we hoped the bumps would bring on the action!] then we got home had a big dinner and the contractions were getting uncomfortable – i was getting excited and it felt like it was happening. I used my Tens machine on & off and husband doubted i was going into labour – we’d already had false alarms! I ordered him to fill the birth pool which took about 45minutes, by this point the contractions were all over the place and i thought it had all ended, we went for a walk up the private road we live on in the hope gravity would break my waters – no such luck! contractions stopped hurting and we decided to go to bed – by this point it was about 2.15am Monday 21st March! The birth pool was lent to me by an amazing friend ‘S’, who has had a home birth herself, and also experienced an emergencey caesarian. S supported me and mick so much during our pregnancy, she was my resource for any information/support i needed – when she offered to lend us her ‘Made In Water – La Bassine’ birth pool, we were over the moon! We had it inflated from 38wks, with the hose attached to the tap – this meant when labour did arrive, we’d have nothing to worry about! The pool was in our dining room, with some tarpaulin underneath that unfolded when we needed. We had recently had a woodburner installed in the dining room too, so it was the warmest room in the house – favourable for giving birth in. The midwives delivered a home birth box a few weeks prior to my due date so that everything would be ready!
At 4.40am in bed, i was woken by a loud ‘POP’ feeling – it was really painful actually, and i wondered if my waters had burst – i turned the light on and told Mick what i had felt, i stood up and GUSH, waters went everywhere – i ran into the bathroom sat on the toilet and Mick ran around like a crazy person – topping wood up on the fire, making sure the pool was 37’c – he was relieved we had already filled it 😉 – I immediately got ‘the runs’ – which i was very happy about, i didn’t want any pooing in the pool thank you very much! I knew my waters were suppose to be clear, they weren’t, they were really green and gunky – this could only mean one thing: meconium in the waters. There was now a possibility that my baby had pooed inside of me, and was in distress, there’s a possibility that baby can swallow the meconium and develop infections. Due to my previous outbirst of research, i knew full well that it’s actually quite common for babys overdue to pass meconium, and it may not mean they are in distress.
I rang the delivery suite and explained my waters had broke, contractions had only just started, and i told them my waters were clear. I made the decision to say this because i knew a midwife would be sent out to examine me and she could have a look at my pad and if she was concerned about the meconium she would then make the decision on what to do. If i had told them on the phone the waters weren’t clear, i would have immediately had to transfer, with no opportunity to home birth. The midwife on the phone said they would send a Midwife out at 8am to check on me [it was 5am when i rang]
I sat on my birth ball and went on the laptop! I told twitter my waters had broke and this created loads of excitement and realllly took my mind off the contractions! It was great! Everyone needs twitter when in labour haha. My contractions kicked up a notch and it felt like they were one after the other, i rang the delivery suite at 5.50am and told them i could not wait til 8am. Finally, at about 6.40 a midwife arrived! She examined me and told me i was 5cm and could get in the pool, she said mmy cervix was stretchy and baby was very low so i was doing well. I got in the pool and thought where the heck is the gas & air!? Eventually she bought this in and it was just as lovely as i had imagined! Mick sat next to the pool and held my hands, reminding me to breathe. We were in this together. The contractions were so frequent, the midwife rang her colleagues and told them they needed to take over, as her shift was almost over and i wouldn’t be in labour much longer.
Firstly, the midwife from my pregnancy arrived – this scared me, i knew she doubted my ability to cope with pain. I HAD to prove her wrong, then secondly a really lovely pro-homebirth midwife arrived. As soon as they arrived at around 8am they told me [without examination] to have a go at pushing – i had to put the gas & air down and push. It was incredible, i couldn’t believe how i could feel Loli moving down inside of me. The midwives were shocked at how low baby was but they needed me to ‘push her round’ my pelvis, as she was just sat there. It was tough, i could feel her come down as i pushed, then go back up when the contraction ended – i needed to push alot better than how i was pushing. I tried kneeling in the pool to help her come down – Mick held my shoulders as i pushed down, it wasn’t as comfortable as laying in the pool with my legs up but it did the trick and got her to come down a bit more! Yelling ‘fuck a duck’ between contractions really made myself chuckle and stay positive, i was so happy that i was in labour at home, i just kept saying this! The midwives were regularly using fetal dopplers to listen to babys heart rate, which was perfect, no scary stuff! After about 40minutes of pushing i felt her come where we needed her, and it was now the horrendous part – the crowning! this wont make sense but it felt incredible, not nice, incredible, it felt out of this world. I was yelling ‘wow’ between my pushing! I couldn’t believe that i could feel the head and i just knew it wouldn’t be long! The burning sensation when i pushed her head out was not one i will forget quickly, but it felt sooo surreal and i just couldn’t wait to meet her. They pulled her body out and passed her onto my chest, the pool rapidly filled with alot of blood and they realised there was a tear in babys cord. Mick didn’t get the chance to cut it because they had to do it ASAP – which was a shame, i wanted it to stop pulsating naturally, but it didn’t really matter at that stage i just wanted her to be ok! She was squarking and completely coated in vernix – she looked like she was made out of cream!! The pool was still filling with blood, and although we made the decision to give birth to the placenta naturally, the blood loss was a cause for concern so Loli was frusted to Mick for a cuddle and the midwives pulled me out of the pool to determine where the blood was coming from, they injected me but couldn’t wait, and pulled the placenta out. Gross. I lay on the dining floor feeling like i was going to die! I felt incredible, the birth was so quick and it didn’t hurt as much as i thought it would, but the loss of blood made me feel so out of it. I got taken upstairs, sewn up and put in the bath! The midwives then dryed me and put me into bed – Mick came up shortly after with our baby and she went immediately to my breast. It was incredible! I couldn’t believe how easy it was for me, how quick the dilation was, how quickly i was pushing. She was born at 9.25am, just 4hours and 45minutes after my waters broke! I was in euphoria that we were in our home, our bed, with our baby! The most shocking thing for me was that i had not experienced a self doubt phase, i had read all about this, and it panicked me that i may yell ‘i cant do this’ or ‘give me an epidural’ and be transfered to the hospital, but the wholeeeee time i was in labour i knew i could do it, i was visualising my uterus pushing Loli out, and it just felt so much more normal than i expected! I got lucky, but i really think it was down to my research, nothing panicked me at all, i was excited – not scared!
The evil midwife who doubted my ability to cope with pain was in shock at how well i did and how happy i felt whilst pushing – this was the best feeling in the entire world! I’m so glad she pushed me to do my own research. I’m so glad i met ‘S’ for all the guidance & encouragement and i’m so glad i bought Maggie Howells ‘Effective birth preparation’ book.
If you have any questions – gory or not, about my home-water birth or pregnancy, or any of the references/websites i used for support – please feel free to email me at: shauna-tate @hotmail.com
Thanks for reading 🙂
Shauna Tate 🙂