Birth story - Sarah and baby Sadie

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For context - our firstborn son was born at exactly 32wks gestation in 2016 after a spontaneous premature rupture of membranes and a short labour and delivery with episiotomy and 2nd degree tear.

Because no reason was found for his early arrival, we were naturally cautious about how this pregnancy would pan out. I had been going for regular scans and baby was measuring big each time - 90th centile +. Having watched the digital pack twice over since around 20wks, I was calm knowing my body wouldn’t grow a baby too big to birth, and just hoped we would make it past 32wks!

At 36+5 (wow!) I woke in the night at around 1am with a strong urge to pee and after struggling to waddle to the loo due to pelvic girdle pain, I realised that even after peeing, I was “leaking” and realised it must be my waters. I woke my hubby (James) only for him to sleepily say “just put a pad on and go back to bed”, haha if only it was that simple! But knowing I wasn’t quite at term yet I knew I’d have to call the hospital. Sure enough they told us to make our way in. At this point, aside from leaking waters, I had no other labour symptoms.

After arranging my Dad to come and stay with our toddler, and both James and I showering and snacking, we made our way to the hospital around 2am. On arrival we were sent to an assessment ward, where I lay on the bed chatting to James. I started experiencing light period cramps (I’ve never suffered period pain of any sort but imagined that was what other women experienced when they had it). James started timing the cramps as they were coming and going in waves. I was practising my up-breathing at this point but honestly didn’t really think I was in labour and we were still chatting. When James realised these cramps were 3 in 10mins he alerted the midwife who took one look at me and said “you’re far too calm, I don’t think your labour has started yet”. She left our cubicle then immediately stuck her head back round the curtain to say “but this isn’t your first labour is it?!”. She then asked if she could examine me just to check my progress, to which I agreed - I was feeling really relaxed but curious to know if the ball was rolling or not. To my utter shock she immediately told us “wow you are already 6cm we need to get you through to labour ward!” I was soooo shocked, but excited that soon we would be meeting our baby.

At around 3am we were taken through to a small but perfectly equipped delivery room and introduced to our midwife Jordan. She read through our birth plan and was sooo calm and supportive of all our preferences. The room was so quiet with just James and Jordan to support me. I was kneeling upright over the back of the bed and within maybe 20/30mins could feel the cramps changing to that familiar downwards urge, so powerful. Thanks to the course I knew what my body was doing and was so aware of baby moving down my body - it was incredible. I went from kneeling up over the bed to almost sitting down with each downward surge. As this intensified I think it was safe to say I was making not just moo-ing noises but noises from every other farm animal too! James and Jordan calmly reminded me to use that vocal energy towards my down breathing which helped me focus on what my body was doing.

Before long Jordan announced that baby’s head was crowning and with the next surge would be out. I was so shocked when she then told us that was the head out after what seemed like only seconds - that was the bit I’d been dreading and it was over before I knew it! With the next surge our baby’s body was born and she held up baby for James to tell me the sex (we’d kept it a surprise). At 4.46am our little girl Sadie was born weighing 8lb 3oz (our son was 4lb 4oz so she was nearly double his weight)! She was immediately put to my chest for skin to skin and began to root around for my nipple and suckle within minutes which was amazing. We had delayed cord clamping and then James got to cut the cord, all moments we hadn’t experienced with our son due to his super early arrival.

After the cord was clamped, we waited for the placenta to come out but with no sign of it, I was given the injection to help things along. After a magical hour of skin to skin, there was still no sign of my placenta so soon the room starting filling up with doctors etc. They “massaged” my stomach to try to stimulate delivery of the placenta but it wasn’t budging. Our only option was a manual removal of my placenta in theatre with a spinal. After a few choice words of frustration (woops!) I realised that Sadie was here safe and healthy and I’d had an incredible birth, so this wasn’t going to spoil or negate from that. I was wheeled off to theatre whilst James was left in the labour room for skin to skin with Sadie. Anxious about the spinal I can honestly say it to was so non-eventful, and the manual removal was very straight toward. I was up in the recovery ward within an hour or so. I didn’t need any stitches from the labour and just needed to recover from the effects of the spinal.

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Sadie spent a couple of nights in NICU due to raspy breathing in the hours after her birth, but after some monitoring she was discharged up to the ward with me.

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I can’t explain how positively I look upon my whole labour and birth, after our previous premature delivery, this couldn’t have been more different. So quick, so calm and so positive. I am soooo proud and happy when I think back on it, and will cherish the experience forever. I honestly believe our attitudes and ability to focus and be calm and positive was all down to the digital pack - James managed to watch all the videos too so was clued up on everything when the time came.

Thank you to Siobhan and to everyone involved in making the PBC digital pack. I’ve recommended it to so many pregnant friends there are at least another 5 mums I know who’ve since bought it, bloody brilliant, a life-changing £35 very well spent, I will be forever thankful. Xx

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