On Thursday 13th October 2016 I gave birth to Felix Otso Len. My third child and second son.
Here is my birth story.
I had put Ezra to bed and was just in the process of getting Violet to bed at 7:30pm. I was feeling good. Not too tired or achy and I was enjoying my first week of maternity leave.
As I asked Violet to get into bed I felt what I would describe as a ‘shift’ inside me. Almost as if the baby had jumped. My waters had gone. I popped a pad in and carried on with Violet’s routine. I suggested she let me sing a very short song that evening and she obliged! As I said goodnight I gave her extra kisses and told her I loved her a few more times. It felt poignant that she was about to get another little brother.
I left her room and tried to keep my emotions in check. This was all happening about a week sooner than I had mentally prepared. Thankfully we had all of the equipment we needed for the planned home birth.
I went downstairs and called Joe who was at a phonics meeting at school. He said everyone cheered when he said he had to leave! Then I rang my mum as she was on standby to deal with the children. Next I called the MLU but they didn’t have any record of me being booked in for a home birth. I said I had an arrangement for IV antibiotics to be done at home (i’m GBS positive). The midwife was confused and said she would find out and ring me back. I didn’t feel alarmed, just that Tuesday I had seen a midwife who ran through that would happen and she wrote everything down in my notes.
I then went to the kitchen and unloaded the dishwasher! I felt ashamed that the midwife would see a messy kitchen. Isn’t it daft what we do…?
Contractions started mildly. Joe ran in and busily started clearing out the living room of kids toys and sorting out the pool. At about 8pm my mum arrived. The contractions were steadily increasing in intensity every time and the gaps were becoming less. Joe asked my mum to time them for me. There didn’t seem to be much build up to each contraction. Just a few seconds before they peaked and remained intense.
The MLU rang and wanted to clarify what I was having for the home birth. They had no record of me having had the risk assessment done or any booking of me. I reiterated what had been arranged: midwife to bring a bag of IV antibiotics to our house where a canula would be sited and I’d receive the medicine. She said she would go away and double check. I didn’t have headspace to feel concerned because I purely wanted to focus my mind and energies on each contraction.
Joe continued to fill the pool in the living room while I laboured in the kitchen. I was concentrating hard on my breathing. Trying with all my might to keep the breaths long and focused. I swayed my hips side to side, round and round. I wanted to make each contraction count. Didn’t want to tense myself. It was difficult but I felt positive. I did start to wonder what was happening with my home birth. Where was the midwife? I felt like I was progressing quite fast.
Joe finished filling the pool and called the MLU again. Joe told them that I was labouring quickly. He asked for a midwife to come to our house as soon as possible.
Soon after 9pm a midwife came. I was reaching my limits of pain tolerance. She said to Joe that I needed to be transferred to hospital as I needed to have the antibiotics done there. Joe was frustrated….it was madness at this stage to change the plans and why had our booking been lost?? She started to explain the risks to baby. Joe interrupted her saying there’s no way we would put our baby at risk and had gone ahead with the home birth plans as a suitable workaround had been suggested to us which mitigated the risk. We aren’t the type of people to bullishly ignore medical advice. The midwife immediately backed down and understood there had been a mess-up and we were not in the wrong at all. She called for an ambulance.
The second midwife arrived. I was asked to go to the sofa to be examined. Laying down was agony. I was 6cm. As I got up to sitting another contraction hit and I panicked. I felt stuck between contraction pain and the discomfort of my position. As soon as it faded I got on the floor wedged between the pool and the wall! I had my chest laying on the sofa. That contraction on the sofa seemed to have changed things because I suddenly felt some surges to push. It wasn’t overwhelming but definitely something had happened. I was given the gas and air which was a relief. Two ambulances arrived and the midwife asked me to stand. As I started to get up I felt the baby descend and enter the birth canal. I shouted “no he’s coming out!” And got back on the floor. The midwife squeezed herself between the pool and the wall and told me not to push as I was ‘only’ 6cm. I knew I wasn’t. I knew he was coming. She asked me to stand as I needed to get in the ambulance. The next contraction came and all I could do was push. The urge was primal. I heard the midwife say “OK I’ve had a visual”. She said I really needed to get on the sofa as being on the floor in that tiny space was no good for birth! I heaved myself onto the sofa, head stuffed into a pillow, gas and air in my mouth. Despite being in pain it felt like a relief to have the urges to push. I felt excited that this was almost over and I was so close to meeting my baby. I breathed in as much gas as I could. It really took the edge off the stingy crowning pain. The midwife asked me to gently push. I did as she said and his head was born. There seemed to be a long pause until the next contraction. But I sucked the gas hard and he was born at 9:44pm!
The midwife gave him a rub down. He didn’t cry immediately. He seemed a little shocked by the speed of the birth. But then he responded and started to cry. My cord was quite short as when she passed him through my legs he only reached my tummy! This is compared to Ezra who had a cord so long the midwives described it like a skipping rope! I layed on my side and had skin to skin with him. I was still a little high on gas and to be honest a bit shocked myself by the speed and intensity. The cord was left to pulsate. As we needed to transfer to hospital I agreed to have the injection for the placenta rather than wait as I had planned. It came away quickly. Felix was wrapped up and given to Joe for his first cuddle. I remember the paramedics putting a tiny hat on his head and my mum got a towel as an extra layer to wrap him in.
While everybody was preparing for the hospital transfer I sat on the sofa in a bit of a daze. Everything felt a bit frantic and not as I had envisioned. There were 5 paramedics stood in my hallway with the stretcher on the drive!
We were blue-lighted to hospital. I was able to finally speak to the midwife and explain what had been arranged and booked. I assured her that I would never put his health at risk through sheer bloody mindedness to have a home birth. Yes I wanted the experience and it felt like the right thing to do with already having 2 children. But if I had been told otherwise I wouldn’t have forced the issue. She understood. Apologised for the situation and seemed to fully appreciate where we were coming from. It was looking as though Felix would need to have IV antibiotics himself.
We arrived at hospital and a paediatric doctor said they would not give antibiotics yet but do observations every 2 hours and if he showed any signs of infection then go ahead with an IV.
I fed Felix successfully and finally got to look at him properly. He was so so beautiful. The love rush hit me. He stole my heart in that moment.
The 2 hourly obs were all normal. I couldn’t sleep at all because of the euphoria flowing through me.
We were discharged at 4pm on Friday and came home to a very happy family.
Felix was 7lb 13oz at birth and 55cm long. He is my smallest baby so far and even feels it. Newborn clothes are baggy on him which is unheard of for my other 2 big lumps!
The midwife has recommended that we make a complaint as the home birth wasn’t the best use of their time or paramedic time. I understand where she’s coming from. Now it’s all done I don’t want to kick up a stink. Me and Felix are healthy and I did get to birth him at home. I suspect he may have come in the car or something if we had driven to hospital which is one of my nightmares!
2 hours start to finish. I can’t believe it. Only a tiny tear and no stitches. I have to say all in all I had a positive, if incredibly intense, birth.