I was given the opportunity to go through my birth story earlier this year with a community midwife at the hospital my daughter was born in. I have written about my disappointment at not being able to have my natural home birth before over at Mamma McCann. Nearly a year and a half after the birth I have been a bit more at ease/laid back with the process of my labour but without any understanding of why my daughter was born by emergency c section and why I suffered so badly during labour. In honestly I am still tearful when thinking about the birth and my decisions.
I met Jane Canning, Birth Story Specialist at the Royal Sussex County Hospital to go through my medical notes and discuss the labour, birth and my decisions leading up to it. Recently I have been very focussed on whether asking for an induction was right or wrong. Would it have made any difference to the birth, if I could have done anything differently? You see now I would have made a more informed decision, at the time I was desperate for baby to arrive.
I still feel selfish that I am so emotional about the birth but yesterday has answered so many questions for me and I feel better about how our gorgeous, beautiful daughter arrived in the world. I still feel tinges of sadness at my dream of that hippy birth where mum has flowing locks, and breathes through it with a fab soundtrack. (But hang on I still can be that hippy mum with long hair, flowing white skirt stood at a gated house with bare feet in the grass.)
I was induced with Prostin. I’ve now been told that I had an extreme reaction to this medication which is why my labour was so painful and terrifying. My body had to adapt quickly to extreme pressure. When the midwife examined me my cervix wasn’t favourable, I wasn’t dilated and baby was not descending. The Prostin made Fizz’s little heart work harder and although we were not told at the time her heart rate was accelerating and decelerating. I’m glad I wasn’t told this at the time as I know this would have caused me extreme worry on an already accelerated situation
Jane explained that dilation happens in a typical labour ½cm to each hour. Considering I wasn’t dilated at 7:40pm and was 8-9cm by 10pm she assured me I had coped really well and with only 2 painkillers with a very extreme reaction to the Prostin. I felt encouraged as to be honest I was so scared I have never really thought about what my body had coped with and what I had gone through. I also knew that I was very emotional but it was so nice to take the time with Jane and actually have some praise for doing so well.
I was giving an epidural at 23:50pm after being fully dilated for 35 minutes. Fifteen minutes later they broke my waters for me. Fizz had fresh meconium and later produced thick meconium – this often happens when baby is in distress. Jane said this was no surprise considering the reaction I’d had to the Prostin. At 1:20am I was actively encouraged to push but my daughter had still not decided to move downwards. Three hours after being fully dilated it was found that Fizz was in the OP (Occipito Posterior) and it was decided that Fizz was in too much distress, not moving from OP and so an emergency c section was carried out. I discussed this with Jane and it is possible that with baby being in so much distress the shock of a vaginal birth could have had meant I had a very sad birth story and in fact that her position made it impossible for me to have had a vaginal birth. I felt relieved. There was nothing I could have done to change this, if I had waited for a natural birth and not been induced we would have had the same outcome. I actually felt that Fizz had her choice her birth and if coming out of the sunroof was her option then so be it – she is a little madam now so it fits in that she should have made decisions that early.
I leave you with these quotes from my Sunroof Mummy blog and hope that in future we can all consider them and with knowledge empower other women to feel that any birth is a sign of celebration not of failure. After yesterdays experience I know now that I did not fail, I did in fact endure and adapt to an extreme situation that provided me with a beautiful baby and my focus should really be our future and not our past.
‘Women need to feel empowered whichever way they give birth. The birth is not what is important it’s the aftermath, nurturing your child, loving your child. We should not be judged by the way baby arrived but of our own courage, strength.’
‘We need to have choices not be frowned upon by others just because it may not be right for them. Mummies – stand together, be a support, be open with each other about birth but not oppressive with your opinion. Surely we should join together in nurturing our babies after delivery not forcing opinion and upsetting each other on what is a means to an end. Your babies are all equally important; the actual birth style should be irrelevant!’
If you are having issues with how you gave birth please contact your health service quicker than I did. I have lived with so many upsetting thoughts about this and I really felt a birth story would be so beneficial to every women giving birth
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