I wanted to write my birth story fairly early whilst I still remember most of the details.
The plan: High BMI VBAC at Home
The Result: Unplanned C-Section
I’m glad to finally be able to share my birth story with you and the birth of my second child. What I have learned is that a positive experience does not always mean one that goes to plan, but that from the experience – that takes time to process, and will take more time in the case of the birth of my son, you feel positive. I can not fault the care I received during labour, delivery and post natal whilst at Basingstoke hospital. I have felt listened to, respected, cared for and most importantly completely supported and looked after thanks to the Hampshire Hospitals maternity team.
My beautiful son was born at 8.46pm and delivered by a second unplanned cesarean section weighing 9lbs9oz at 40+13 weeks. He arrived into the world with shocks and surprised at his size on Thursday 4th October after a pretty lengthy labour. This was kicked off with a cervical sweep at 12noon on Wednesday 3rd October, with tightenings and a bit of a show from 3pm. I was booked in for 9.30am the next day to my hospital to have my waters broken if things had not progressed. I am so pleased, and proud of myself, that they did. I called my wonderful Doula around 10pm who helped me set up the environment in the living room with tea lights. I was using my birthing ball and keeping hydrated. I got a couple of hours sleep to try and conserve my energy a bit and made great use of up breathing and my Babycare TENS machine. By around 8.30am I was struggling a little and wanted some more pain relief so we went in to hospital for 9.30am as expected and I was taken straight to a delivery room.
I was introduced to my midwife and student midwife who would be looking after me and I accepted an examination to find I had got to three cm and full effacement so I requested to wait to break my waters and the midwives were happy with that. I also accepted a CTG trace for 30 minutes whilst bouncing on the ball as I was hoping for a VBAC and due to my size it was a bit of a challenge getting a good read on my baby’s heart rate. After the trace the midwives were happy to resume intermittent monitoring for the rest of my labour. After 4 hours I accepted another examination and I was found at 4cm. Things had not progressed as quickly as I would have liked and so I accepted having my waters broken to try and help things along a little bit. Once this was done things began to get a little intense for me.
Up until this point my labour had been everything I wanted however eventually I was struggling to differentiate between the contractions and I wasn’t actually noticing any breaks or dips in the pain. I was saying I couldn’t cope anymore, I was sick a couple of times and I wanted to stop. Something in my mind was telling me that this was, sadly, not the transitional period we were hoping it was. At 7pm I accepted another examination to find there had been no progress. I was getting worried about the amount of pain I was in and how difficult it was for the midwives to get a heartbeat from my baby. It was at this point I requested we go to theatre for a c-section. This was never what I wanted but ultimately, I am incredibly happy with my decision, especially with what I know now. I met the obstetrician who talked me through the consent form and explained the surgery. I was feeling really very anxious at this point and as they had to take away the gas and air and my TENS machine I was struggling but tried using up breathing, relaxing my jaw and shoulders through each contraction as I was taken into theatre. Thankfully the surgery was done under a spinal block which was a little hard to administer but eventually we got there.
Surgery took longer than expected as when the doctors got to my uterus they found more scar tissue and a hole in my womb. They found a very weak uterus that hadn’t been contracting as effectively as it should have been which could have been due to a number of things. My BMI was one, his size was another and unfortunately this just was not meant to be for me. Now I know this I feel even better that at the time I made the best decision for everyone and that has made this birth a really positive one for me. At no point did I feel out of control or disrespected. I love the fact that most of the people in theatre were women including the three amazing doctors who put me back together again. I loved seeing Adam holding our son by our head. I think we had optimal cord clamping which I requested and I would have liked to hold him however I was really feeling quite unwell during the surgery and I ended up falling asleep after asking the anaesthetist if it was safe to do so. I then got to carry my son through to recovery where we did get some of that lovely skin to skin and I got to see his beautiful face properly.
Adam and my Doula Sophie were so amazing and the team that took care of me offered so many lovely congratulations. I ended up staying in hospital until Sunday 7th October and I’m now continuing to recover at home. Family and friends have been amazingly supportive and I cant wait to get back up on my feet again properly. I am so pleased and proud to introduce everyone to my little boy Felix David Locke. Despite what has happened I still passionately believe in birth planning and I think all of the preparation I did with Hypnobirthing, particularly The Digital Pack by the Positive Birth company, having my amazingly wonderful Doula to support me through pregnancy and a very loving, kind and compassionate partner made this the most positive birth I could have had. It just seems I am that woman and I am one of the statistics. But I am here, I am safe, and I am teary but so happy. I really believe sharing birth stories helps women come to terms with any fear they may feel and I honestly believe the amount of information I consumed during pregnancy was so beneficial. Sharing my birth story is, I hope, a way of giving back to those women and to also say that despite things going differently, I am feeling really well in myself.