Birth story - Jordan and baby Florence
After my 12 week appointment I received a letter following the screening tests to confirm that I had low PAPP-A. The letter explained that this may affect the baby’s growth, we would therefore be monitored closely with more scans throughout my pregnancy.
The baby grew on track against the growth plot however, we had a few episodes of reduced movements and fast heart rate so ended up in triage a few times to be checked over. I went into early labour at 35 weeks with surges every two minutes due to dehydration as it was extremely hot! The consultant managed to stop the early labour by rehydrating me and I was kept in over night for monitoring. I was allowed home but the hospital arranged for me to see a foetal cardiologist to investigate baby’s high heart rate as the baby was presenting as tachycardic throughout the monitoring and suspected there could be a heart problem. We attended the scan which was absolutely nerve wracking however, all looked to be okay and they reassured us baby would be checked again once born.
I plodded through the remaining few weeks of my pregnancy enjoying box sets, films, nice food and generally relaxing. I drank raspberry leaf tea daily from 32 weeks to help with the surges. I had already completed the online course by 30 weeks, so it became a ritual to take a daily long bath and practice up breathing and down breathing. I also ran through positive affirmations and meditated to soothing music to prepare for the birth.
On 2/8/18 my colleague from work text (who was also pregnant) to ask how I was. I explained I was informed I should have a sweep on 8/8 to try to bring on labour and if no joy I had been told it would be induction on 10/08. I had accepted this using BRAIN due to the risks factors in connection with Low Papp-A and the tachycardia. I told her I had period cramp that day too which was odd and that I felt a little uncomfortable so wondered if things would start to move forward soon.
At 7pm I realised it was my mucus plug coming away causing cramp. I told my partner things were about to begin and we watched Netflix as I tried to phase out the surges that started to come. I tried to rest but by 11pm they came every 7 mins so I put on my tens machine, grabbed the birthing ball, surrounded myself with sweets, water, isotonic drinks and watched Downton Abbey through the night as I couldn’t sleep. I sent my partner off to rest in preparation to help the next day.
By 12:30pm the next afternoon I felt I needed to head to the hospital. I’d been using up breathing, paracetamol and my tens machine but I felt things were moving forward. The surges were strong but I was managing using the up breathing and kept repeating to myself that I could cope with them as it was my own body and that they were brining is closer to meeting baby.
I was trying to get into the car mid contraction when a neighbour tried to say hello to me but I was zoned out and muttered a “hello” very abruptly back. I’ll have to apologise 🤭 the drive was a little uncomfortable due to speed bumps and traffic but I continued with up breathing and tried to zone out the outside world.
At the hospital I was examined and was 4cm, I was informed I could go and sit in a café or walk about until I’d progressed further. The surges were very powerful so there was no way I could sit or walk around without making noise so we headed home.
I wanted to be alone so until 5:30 I hung over my birthing ball through the surges and tried to rest and doze in between them. My partner checked on me intermittently to make sure I was okay. I continued with up breathing, taking paracetamol after four hours and knew things were really ramping up.
We headed back in for 6pm and I was examined again. At this point I was 6cm so I was taken to the delivery suite. I wanted a water birth but needed to be monitored so I accepted this mode of delivery would be safer for the baby and I.
I used gas and air to get to 10cm which I loved!! The baby's heart rate became a little erratic so the consultants monitored from their control room and the midwife reassured me I was doing well and that the baby would be here soon and it would be time to push shortly. In my birth plan I didn’t want to be coached to push but given baby’s erratic heart I went with what was advised.
I was frustrated I was asked to stay on the bed due to internal monitoring. Initially I had been using the birthing ball which was provided relief from the surges but baby was showing distress from the bouncing. I used the bed to hang over, kneel against and tried to use it to my advantage
As I was 6cm when I first arrived to the birth suite and surges were intense, I didn’t unpack any of the stuff I intended to use during labour except flannel and lip balm. I didn’t even take off my maxi dress!
I got to transition stage around 8pm and wobbled, I remember asking the midwife what was going on! She explained this was the time to actively push. I started to but became very tired so was given guidance by the midwife and consultant as they pushed down on the perineal area to encourage me to push hard with every surge.
I wobbled more at this point as I thought baby was stuck. The consultant was frank at this point to push or episiotomy and forceps, I gathered everything I had left and eventually baby crowned. I breathed slowly and Florence Luna was born at 11:01pm using Gas and Air weighing 7lb 3oz.
We had delayed cord clamping, skin to skin and were in awe of her. I tore slightly but didn’t feel this and the repair was simple and quick in the delivery room. Placenta delivered 5 minutes after I was given the injection.
Nothing really went to plan but the breathing techniques and information really helped me birth. I also declined opioid “pain relief” as I felt strong enough to do so!
The whole experience was empowering and I was told they were impressed with how well I coped. Totally worth it now Florence is here.
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