Birth Story - Terianne and baby Dorothy
Birth Story - told by Dad Ben
At 10pm on Thursday 11th of May 2017, we had just got back from a walk around our little village in an attempt to get the birth process going. We knew we still had a week till the due date, but we thought we’d try anything to help bring things along.
Teri had been feeling little cramps, just before and after the walk, however we ignored them as we thought it could just be braxton hicks or the baby was just moving and making Teri uncomfortable. Once we returned home, we started to get ready for bed when Teri told me she was still feeling little cramps. In order to help ease her discomfort, I ran her a warm bath around 10.30pm.
At about 11pm Teri was sat on her birthing ball, leaning over the bed and she told me her cramps felt a little stronger. A gentle back rub came in useful at this point, along with our LED candles, scented clary sage spray and the relaxation music by Steven Halpern that we had conditioned ourselves to in the weeks leading up to this point. At this point we both still thought it was only braxton hicks.
It was 12am now on the 12th of May 2017, Teri had what she considered her first strong surge (contraction) and began using the breathing techniques we had learnt on our hypnobirthing course. I began to time the surges and found that Teri only had two surges that weren’t less than five minutes apart and weren’t 1 minute or longer. We went two hours at home with the surges being like this before we called the delivery suite to inform them of the timings. They asked us to wait it out longer and call back as they were short staffed. The surges were getting closer to 3.5/4 minutes apart and lasting over 1 minute.
At 2.45am we called the delivery suite again to tell them the stage we were at. I should add now that at this point things start to get a little unnecessarily stressful. (Midwives and the NHS are fantastic but this was not their finest hour). Over the initial phone calls we made, we were told that all the midwives were busy, however a midwife finally came to the phone to speak to Teri and asked her to wait a little longer or if she really couldn’t then to make our way to hospital and we would be buzzed into the building. We asked if the pool was available and we were told “yes”. So we set off to Newton Abbot, which is what our preferences stated and what we had mentioned during the phone call.
At 3.15am we arrived at Newton Abbot hospital and paid for parking (£10). We buzzed twice at the entrance but no response. We rang the delivery suite again, only to be told “oh there is no one there we meant Torbay hospital and use car park C”.
We arrived at Torbay at around 3.45am in car park C. (Which just to make everyone aware this car park is absolutely miles from the Women’s health unit, you want J or H) To add to this we also walked to the wrong entrance (outpatients instead of women’s health suite. Due to outpatients being the nearest set of automatic doors to car park C). I called the delivery suite again, and they sent security round to pick us up and drive us to the women’s health unit. (At this point I would like to thank the lady who said to use car park C... NOT).
We finally got inside the correct department, I buzzed at the delivery suite door and we were greeted by a nurse to tell us that the delivery rooms were full and no birth pool available anymore. We were put in a room two floors down from delivery in the John McPherson ward.
After making it known how annoyed and frustrated we were about what we had just gone through, I set the room up as it was at home: LED candles, scented aromatherapy spray and relaxing music. We settled into the room by about 4.45am.
We refused our initial ‘pop up on the bed’ request for that initial check on dilation. We were left alone for Teri to relax and breathe through each surge, whilst as the birth partner I continued with back rubs and gently counted during the breathing. Teri also felt much better with a cool flannel on her back, staying hydrated and keeping her energy up with bottles of water (with straws) and flapjack bars.
At approximately 6.15am, we were told that Teri had reached 4cm dilated, at which we were amazed given the experience we had just experienced to get to this point. I should add that during the crushing blow of being told ”sorry did we not say Torbay hospital” and “all the midwives were too busy”, Teri kept such a cool and calm head throughout. She kept the breathing up whilst stood outside the wrong hospital and during the extra long travel time and security team drive. I could not have been more proud as a husband.
At approximately 7.10am, Teri’s surges began to get much stronger, so I rang for a midwife to explain that she was now feeling the urge to push. Teri was wheeled up to delivery suite, only to hear the conversation, ”anybody know which room Teri is in’?…Nope, no idea” Which is just what you want to hear!
We settled into a new room by about 7.25am and were left alone, Teri was really powering through at this point, still only having back rubs and breathing through. Absolutely incredible.
I thought I’d run the shower as Teri wanted water on her back to ease things, but as we were stood in the shower, Teri’s waters broke and she really wanted to push. I started to believe I was going to be catching this baby in the shower as Teri couldn’t move from where she was. With some seriously strong encouragement, I managed to get Teri back into the main room. She seemed to be most comfortable in the bed side chair, which she had sat in in both rooms. I could tell things had really upped a gear so I rang for assistance.
By the time the nurse came in, half the baby’s head was already out. For some ridiculous reason the nurse decided to say the following to us, "Get on the bed please, as those chairs are really difficult to clean" Again, not what you want to hear at this point! I shall let you all imagine what I wanted to shout in reply! Anyway, we ignored the comment as the nurse left to get the midwife. Teri powered on with the breathing, still listening to the relaxing music in the background, gripping my hand.
Enter midwife ‘Flo’, who was an absolute godsend and we cannot thank this lady enough! By the time Flo entered the room, it took about 1 minute and baby Dorothy was born, which was at 7.38am on Friday the 12th May, weighing 7.1 pounds.
We had our golden hour of skin to skin quality time as a new family of 3, which was important to us. We were able to delay the cord clamping, of which I cut! (feels like cutting a really fatty steak) and this ensured baby received all the blood from mum. Finally Teri was able to physiologically birth the placenta too.
Teri had no pain relief or medical interventions… Just a cold flannel and a back rub. Now I know these are hardly major incidents but being sent to the wrong hospital, told to park miles away and not having enough staff who were any where near attentive enough… How on earth this birth of a first baby wasn’t slowed down by stress or ended up having more complications, I don’t know!
All I know is my wife was incredible, I'm so so proud.
A quick message to our delivery midwife Flo, you were amazing you made us feel like we weren’t just in the way. We are so grateful to the way you looked after us after the birth of Dorothy.
I’m sure it was a busy night and everyone at the hospital was rushing around. But at a time when we wanted to know we had help and support, we felt alone and a nuisance, till the very last minute (literally).
Teri smashed the birthing process, thanks to The Positive Birth Company’s teachings of breathing and relaxation. Teri was so strong and confident and is one tough cookie. If you think you love and respect your partner right now, wait till you watch them do this.
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