11 May

Melanie’s birth story

Melanie is the happy mum of Lucas, dinosaurs hunter

I was lucky enough to have been judged low-risk and consequently referred to an out-of-hospital midwives practice.
The care I received there was perfect, and I became very comfortable with the 2 midwives who were taking care of me. This was really important to me, as I’m a very shy person and need time to feel totally at ease with new people.

But you know this thing about births never going according to plans? Well, about 3 months before my due date, my midwives informed me that their practice was in danger of being closed down by the hospital they were linked to.
And indeed, 3 weeks before my due date, the practice was closed and what I had hoped for the birth of my son was not on the cards anymore.

Other than that, I had a textbook, hassle free pregnancy. Everybody was telling me that first babies are always late, which wasn’t making me happy. My son’s due date was on the 17th of December, and I really wasn’t fancying a Christmas or a New Year’s Eve birth!

But he had other plans. On the 9th of December, I had the show. My husband decided to take the rest of the week off work to stay with me. Nothing happened for another day.
On Friday, my midwife, with whom I was still in contact, advised me to go to the hospital to be checked.

There, they took a swab and I was sent back home being told to come back on Monday (this was a Friday).
On the bus home, I had my first ever contraction. It wasn’t too painful, so I wasn’t sure if it was really it. It was about 1pm.
Then as we got home, the contractions started again and very quickly, they became more regular, and a lot more painful. By 3pm, I was having contractions every 5 minutes.

My husband called a mini cab and I was at the hospital again, this time at the delivery ward, by 4pm.
The receptionist asked me if my waters had broken and I said no. She then disappeared, leaving me and my husband there for a very long time.
My waters broke as she was gone. The contractions had eased up as we were coming to the hospital, but were starting again in full force as we were left standing in the reception area.

We were left there until 5.30pm, completely ignored by the reception staff.
Finally, a student midwife who was coming in for her shift, or something saw us. And within minutes, I was in a delivery room.

I was checked at that time and was told that I was already 8cm dilated.
I didn’t want any drugs. My plan was to have the most natural birth possible. I also wanted to refuse the injection to help with the placenta delivery, as well as the vitamin K for the baby.

I was offered Gas and Air, which I tried and hated. It made me feel dizzy and nauseous, which I found worse than the now 1min long, 3 min apart contractions. At some point, I noticed that the midwife wasn’t the same as the one I started with. I don’t know when the change happened. It put me off kilter a bit.

At 7.45pm, I was told that I could start pushing. And I pushed. For what seems forever with little to no progress. At 10pm, I hadn’t progressed much. The midwife could see the top of the baby’s head, but she had been able to see that for the last hour or so.

She told us that at this point it would probably be best if we got some help in. She asked me if I could still go on, and I didn’t feel I had it in me to keep pushing.

The next thing I know, the room is suddenly crowded with people. Two obstetricians are there. They are very nice. After checking me out, they decided that the ventouse would be best for us.
It went very fast after that. The only thing I remember is the pain when they attached the ventouse onto the baby’s head. And then the immense relief as I pushed my son out. It was 10.20pm.
He was quickly given to the pediatrician who had appeared out of nowhere, to be checked over. He was fine.
It took them a good 5-10 min to give me my son. I had to ask for it!

He was the most beautiful baby in the whole world. He looked like his dad so much, down the hair, that it was a bit spooky! Funny, though!

The obstetricians recommended that I got the injection the help the placenta along, which I agreed to. At this point I wanted to be done and left with my baby.

And we waited, and waited and waited. After 45 min, I was given another injection, in the cord this time. Another half hour later, they called in the phlebotomist to set up an IV.

Still no placenta.

They drained my bladder, in case it was too full and blocking the way.

Still no placenta.

They were starting to talk about retained placenta and that I might need to go to the theatre.
After all of this, that was really not what I wanted.

They called in the senior midwife. A no-nonsense kind of woman. Very scary, too!
She told me I would not go to the theatre and that I would push this placenta out. I told her I was too tired to push anymore. She told me that I would. And I did. Well, she made me push, and pressed very hard on my belly with her hand while tugging on the cord.
Next thing I know, my placenta was on the table, being checked by the other midwife.
The senior midwife left the room, telling me “See, I told you you would push this placenta out!”.

One of the obstetricians came back in to stitch up my tears.
I was so relieved it was all done, with my son in my arms, that I chit chatted with her. We joked a bit.
The beautiful thing about a mostly drug free birth is that you feel absolutely wonderful after it. At least, this is how I felt, despite all the kerfuffle, and someone stitching up my private parts.

By 4.30am, I was rolled to my bed in the post-delivery ward.
I had almost no sleep whatsoever. When I finally started to snooze, it was the time for the nurse to come check on me.

By 5pm this day, we were back home with our newborn.

I would (and I will) do it all over again in a heartbeat. This was the best day of my life.