Birth story - Catherine and baby Finn

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I have 3 beautiful daughters and I'd like to share the story of my lovely birth of my 4th and final baby. The lead up to my birth is nearly as long as the birth story itself, but I thought I'd include it as I know it was only a few days ago that I was desperately reading and loving these stories and I always wanted more!!

So here it goes...

I have Ulcerative Colitis, it's unmedicated and I actually don't have any symptoms really as its very mild but as a result, I have to be consultant led during my pregnancies. Colitis can effect your nutrient absorption levels and so they worry about small babies. To that end, I also have to have several growth scans through pregnancy and happily, size has never been an issue. In fact this time, I had such a large tummy, probably owing to the 3 previous pregnancies, that they were nervous about him being too large (that old chestnut!), every consultant appointment and midwife check came with the side glance and the comment that I had a ‘sizeable’ baby on board. I honestly didn't care, I knew my baby was just right. But my size did lead everyone to believe he would come early for sure, I heard it so much I started to believe it. He dropped early which I was convinced was a good sign.

We got to due date, 30th June, which I was amazed by. I felt so ready to have a baby and I was exhausted this time round, in the nicest way, I wanted it to be over and to be on to the next bit of it all. I had a sweep at 40+4 and she told me I was 3-4cm dilated and soft but still a little posterior… Great news.. During this appointment they booked my induction for 40 +12 (this was how far over my consultant would allow me to go owing to my baby's predicted size but I wasn't worried about that, I didn't believe for a second I'd get there!). I lost my plug after that sweep and was so convinced that THIS was the start of it. Not so. I had a further midwife check and sweep at 40+11. My last chance to get this moving naturally (It's worth noting, that in the days between I was doing everything I could to induce my labour naturally, I spent lovely time with my girls and husband and other family and friends, we walked, I drank fresh pineapple smoothies, had sex and even inserted a few evening primrose capsules vaginally. Nothing had worked).

So I sat with my mum, husband and oldest daughter and watched our football fate play out on the evening of Wednesday 11th July. I did what the midwife that day had advised, I had a little glass of wine and didn't think about everything that would come tomorrow, induction day. I started having mild surges through the game but I didn't mention them as I was sure they'd disappear like so many before. So I went to bed knowing that if it was the real thing, I'd be woken up soon enough by them.

The surges kept coming all night, every 10 minutes pretty much. I slept through lots but some woke me, but I kept thinking I must rest and they're not strong enough yet. So morning came and we got up and sorted our girls out for the day and left them in my mums capable hands. We went off to the hospital with all our bags ready, despite my trepidation at an induction, it was quite a relief to know that next time I'd walk through my front door, I would have my little boy. I was still having mild surges, still every 10-15mins, most didn't even require breathing through but a few did. I was hopeful. After the typically long and annoying wait in the antenatal ward, I was checked by a lovely midwife who informed me that whilst nothing had really changed since my final sweep the day before (still 3-4cm, soft but only mid-anterior cervix), my monitoring showed regular natural surges and my waters were easy reach, so they would send me to delivery to have them broken in attempt to kick start labour rather than use a pessary. I was totally over the moon and relieved. I cried quite alot!!!

More waiting but at 3.30pm we went across to the delivery ward, more monitoring to make sure my baby was OK and then my waters were broken at 4.30pm. As soon as we were taken off all the monitors, I jumped up and my husband and I began pacing the floor and walking the stairs to kick start things! My surges immediately picked up, they were every 5 minutes within 30 minutes of my waters breaking and very quickly every 2-3 minutes and much stronger. We went back to the delivery suite and they started to fill the pool up for us in one of their lovely big pool rooms. We got settled and I breathed through my surges and really enjoyed it. I was euphoric already, my baby was finally coming.

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The midwives were lovely but because I had been ‘induced’ they really wanted to monitor my baby constantly with a remote device… I agreed initially but then the remote panel kept failing and not sending a signal, plus the straps kept popping off as I rotated my hips through surges. It was off putting and my husband decided it was enough. We used BRAIN and decided we didn't want constant monitoring and as we hadn't been artificially induced with hormones it felt over the top. A senior midwife came to talk to us about it and she was very supportive of our decision to just monitor every 15 minutes. His heart rate had been steady through the whole day so it didn't even feel like a risk at all.

So we laboured on… the up breathing was amazing and got me smoothly through very regular, strong surges. At around 7.45pm having been in the pool room for a little over 2 hours, I felt like the pool would be a nice relief. I had a big poo (!!) and then got in the pool. It was so relaxing but the change in position made my surges much stronger from then. I knew I was close to transition because I could feel myself wanting to say ‘I can't do this’, my arms also started shaking with a new burst of adrenaline. I knew I could do it and knew I would do it, but thought maybe some gas and air would give me a change in focus at that point as I could feel the adrenaline pushing me to panic a bit. My husband is like a birth partner from heaven, he was so controlled and focused. Kept reminding me to bring myself back to green and to focus like a laser on my up breathing. He was amazing.

I felt the change and my body start to push my baby through the birth canal. It's such a powerful feeling. It's hard to put into words. It's breath-taking and all-consuming but weirdly wonderful. I changed to down breathing without thinking about it much. I definitely do some serious ‘mooing’ at this point in labour. It was probably about 10 big pushes and I felt his head begin crowning and then panted to allow it to be birthed slowly. I reached down and felt his head, so much hair!! A few more pushes and he was out, I grabbed him from between my legs in relief.

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It got a little blurry for a few minutes because they quickly realised the cord was round his neck twice, he was a little bit floppy so they cut the cord and whisked him away to be checked. I obviously panicked abit and sent my husband to stay with him, thankfully I heard him cry within 20 seconds and the midwives were amazing at reassuring me. They helped me out of the pool while a doctor checked him and by the time I was on the bed, he was back on my chest and doing fine. He was gorgeous. I accepted a managed 3rd stage because I was feeling a little overwhelmed and I needed to have all the people disappear, plus I knew that they wanted me to have a managed 3rd stage because as a 4th time mum there is a slightly higher risks of post-partum haemorrhage. The placenta came away within a few minutes and I came away with only a tiny graze that didn't require stitches. Exactly the same as my 3rd daughters birth (also a lovely pool birth… actually nearly identical). My registered labour time was 2hrs and 57mins.

Finn was born at 8.26pm on Thursday 12th July and weighed a completely normal 8lb 11oz (despite all the silly size scare mongering!)

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We had a lovely few hours of skin to skin and feeding and happily left the hospital the next morning to introduce our 3 daughters to their new baby brother.

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My birth was amazing. A huge thank you to The Positive Birth Company for the amazing digital pack and this lovely community. I recommend it to all the pregnant women I can!

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