Sunday, 3 July 2016

Our fourth bundle of joy - A birth story.

The past eleven weeks have gone by in a whirlwind. In recent weeks, we have been in a better swing of things, settled even. little lady has been sleeping a lot better only waking once or twice for a little feed each night most of the time. She's such a happy and content soul, growing at such a rapid rate, developing chunky rolls, and has the biggest cheekiest grin and most definitely finding her voice in this family by shouting and cooing so much! she seems so much bigger for only 11 weeks old and holds herself so well!

The first 8 weeks were amazing but equally tiring - physically & emotionally. When you have more than one child, time is very limited and having time to try and enjoy those small moments can be cut short when seeing to everyones needs and sometimes forgetting your own. plus feeling mama-guilt for not being as active or energetic with your littles. Despite that though, we've tried our best to embrace the madness and welcome our littlest girl into our tribe. I was hoping to have posted so many of my draft posts by now but as mentioned above - time is limited.

So here is my birth story if you fancy a read, like with my previous three babies, it was a fast one so not leaving me a long ride up to the story but what I can say is that after three attempts (I gave birth too quickly to get chance!) I FINALLY got my water birth!

So here it goes...

 Thursday the 14th April was like any other overdue day. 7 days overdue to be precise. I had so many niggles gearing up to the time of being 'full term', and this did sometimes make me think that baby would come early, as my braxton hicks were stronger than ever, the pressure from baby's head was so intense at times that I thought it would fall out any minute, but knowing this was my fourth baby in five and a half years, my muscles were completely broken and my body felt a little tired i knew it was just those things combining to make me feel this way, and with hindsight on my side - I knew this baby would really be overdue like the other three. They were 3, 5, & 9 days past their date (estimated due dates - how pointless are they anyway, baby will come when it's ready!)

That morning at 11:30 I had an internal examination from my midwife, the same midwife who i've seen with all four of my babies and who understands the way my body works in pregnancy - so I felt at ease being in her care each time. The appointment was booked for a 'stretch & sweep', but after doing the examination, she told me that my cervix was getting ready but very posterior meaning not S&S was able to be done really. By this point, baby was also in fully back to back positioning, this made me feel a little on edge as I knew the difference in pain as Halle came out unknown back to back. I managed her one hour labour pain-free but comparing her labour to the other two and I can honestly say her stung a bit more. Not only this, I just wanted to not have any negative obstacles on my mind prior to giving birth for the last time. I'm not suite sure why a back to back labour is deemed to be 'a nightmare' as for me I felt it went well, but being told something isn't the "easy" or "correct positioning" for a baby's head to come out would make anyone feel uneasy right?

After the appointment, we decided to grab something to eat to see if things would kick off. Other than period type aches, there was nothing to report so we went home. Later that evening, the little ones had gone to bed, Mr T & I started watching crap like Eastenders on the tv while I was still pottering about every now & again with mild cramps coming over me, but nothing out the ordinary as I'd been aching for the previous few days. We then watched a bit of Celebrity Juice (this has fast become our Thursday night thing to watch together, and lets face it - it is stupidly hilarious) after the first half, I decided to go up to bed as the cramps were regulating, but not necessarily painful.

Is this the night?


At around 11:30 I started to count my contractions on an app on my phone I only downloaded that day luckily, usually I just do pen and paper but this was helpful as I just thought I would be heading up to bed to go to sleep once more. After half an hour of contractions - ones which were coming every 6 minutes and lasting around 40 seconds. The app kept alerting me 'Get to hospital now', I just snoozed this and carried on timing, contractions are a funny thing really as in between them, you are just your normal self, I was anyway, I go into a calm mode when labouring so I thought I was kidding myself. The only thing I knew was certain was that they were fast becoming more intense. By 12:15 we decided to ring our second birth partner (my sister in law) and Tys Mum who was planned to watch over the kids. I carried on counting the contractions which were every 4/5minutes and lasting well too. Still remaining calm, but knowing how fast I have previously laboured - we knew it was time to get checked. We headed off to the hospital which is luckily a 5 minute drive from our house, the contractions still tricking me as they were so fierce in one moment, yet a sense of calm was over coming me each time and in between.

We're having our baby!

We got to the midwifery-led unit at roughly 1:10am on what was now Friday the 15th April. We were then met by a lovely midwife called Charley who took us to an observation room on the unit. each time i've come up to this level I get a huge rush of emotions going through me as i've given birth to YM & P there (Not Halle as planned as she came super speedy downstairs!) but I walked through the doors calmly, knowing full well that this is the morning I would bring our little baby into the world even if it was going to be a few more hours yet. Powerful memories flooding back to me when looking down the corridor to the room I gave birth to the other two, which now had a birthing pool in it. So back to the observation, I was quickly checked by the midwife to which she told me I was 3cm dilated. My sister in law then piped up and said, "She may look cool, and calm, but this can be deceiving and the next thing the baby will start crowning!", The midwife said "Is she really like this all the way or screamy towards the end?", to which my sister in law said, "no she really is this calm, I wish I laboured like her!"

After being checked over, she agreed it was safer to stay at the hospital for a while to see how things go, I asked if I could be checked soon as my body seems to progress very rapidly on its own. I also really efficiently asked for the birthing pool to be filled up as its been a wish of mine with all three previous births but never had enough time to get in. As the pool was starting to be filled, we then go settled in the birthing room, contractions in full swing, but managing them quietly & confidently each time, walking around and rotating my right foot (something I've done with all three, maybe a distraction?!). The lights in the room were dimmed, and the atmosphere was really relaxed which was exactly what I wanted. The contractions were coming every 4 minutes by this point and I was questioning whether I wanted to lay down on my side, or remain standing and mobile. I had a weird feeling that if standing, the baby would fall out, but laying down was uncomfortable. So I remained standing for those few contractions before the pool was ready for me. The midwife then said to me that because of my previous PPH with my first birth, and the fact in this pregnancy I had such low iron, that i needed an infusion and the general risk factors of the previous blood loss (even though I had the same type of births with my second & third but didn't lose much blood at all) that I needed to have a canula fitted just as a precautionary procedure. That if all of a sudden things went pear-shaped, then I could be safely transferred to observation once delivered the baby. If I didn't agree, then I wouldn't have been able to stay on the MLU, or have the water birth I so desperately wanted to have after three attempts!

At 2:10am had my canula fitted, I was a lot braver than the last time when it was rushed into my hand once things went pear-shaped, so with this being planned and relaxed it felt better. It wasn't until I asked the silly question if my hand would bleed, to which she replied, "sometimes it ....ooops there it goes" - my hand was squirting lots out, I felt it dripping over me, and on the floor and I almost had a moment, but I just kept holding Ty's hand, looking into his eyes and tried to stay as calm as possible as we all knew this was the best thing for us if we wanted to birth we planned. 

I tried a bit of the gas & air as the contractions were coming stronger but each time i've tried this it hasn't lasted long as I just don't like the feeling of dizziness and a dry mouth! so I continued with what I felt was best and that was deep breathing, & keeping in mind that each surge was one step closer to meeting our baby.

Our first water baby.

At around 2:15am came the time came to get into the birthing pool, as soon as I got in, I instantly felt a lot lighter, less exposed (like baby was going to fall out!) and just more peaceful. Ty was leaning in front of me outside the pool, and my wonderful sister in law had agreed to try and photograph and film the birth. She has caught the most precious photographs with all of my births and this time we wanted to add that bit extra and try and film seeing as this is our last time doing this. we are eternally grateful for these memories captured by her!

The surges were powerful and at times, and sometimes I didn't know if I was doing it right. Within a few contractions I started deep breathing and started having urges to push. I had a couple of moments when baby's head felt like it was going back up but this was just her turning the right way (thank goodness as she was back to back hours before in examinations!) I think by this point I was nervous thinking baby would be back to back, even though Halle was born this way in less than an hour start to finish, it definitely was more stingy than the other two. Not only this, I just didn't want anything jeopardising a chance to have a relaxed water birth. 

Our lovely midwife kept saying she had never seen a birth like it, just so relaxed and calm. The buoyancy of the water was wonderful and I'm so glad I stuck to my thoughts to get my water birth. She continued to guide baby's head with each push, then informed us that she would pass baby through my legs in a short time allowing Ty to help too (his face dropped as he felt excited but equally scared as he had it in his head that baby would swallow water or something) but with the calm words, and within 8minutes 42 seconds and being in the pool for no more than a total of 15 minutes came the last push, there was our baby swooped up through my legs, up to Tyrone and my hands and on to my chest at 2:29am.

Amazing. 

I just remember that euphoric feeling hit me once more. Our baby was finally here, all fingers and toes, that lovely first sound of her cry, then to see her all snuggled and relaxed when I was holding her against me in the water waiting for the cord to stop pulsating. I was being observed carefully as it was still unpredictable if I would start to lose blood or not. After the cord was cut, the short time spent in the pool was cut short as the pool slowly started to turn dark red which is normal to some extent, but given my precious blood loss with my first the midwife wanted to monitor me very closely. So baby was handed over to Daddy, I then carefully climbed out the pool with the help of the midwives (doesn't your balance and body go like jelly once given birth, such a weird feeling) then all of a sudden I felt something literally fall out of me and onto the floor, I looked and shouting oh my god what's that, it was a huge lump of bloody my oust thing which the midwives said its okay, it's your body clearing out but we need to check you properly. So off onto 'dry land' so I could be observed  and get warm as my body has sent itself into an adrenaline shock it would seem, shaking uncontrollably (it did this with the other three but not this bad ) I felt fine in my myself but couldn't stop. I remember saying "I am okay, I just can't control this shaking!"..I then had the active management injection to help speed up the placenta, and I birthed it within the next contraction. 
So after being checked over and starting to have fluids hooked up to my drip they realised I would need a couple of stitches where my last scar was. I felt a bit annoyed as with any of them I never thought I needed any but it was literally due to their sizes. There was a second midwife assisting the drip and she may have been new as she was a little unsure what was going on as she almost ripped the Canula out and injected me directly into my arm before the midwife set her straight. I just remember not giving her my arm for a moment! Needles aren't my strong point! I was also losing a fair amount of blood too which needed attention by the doctors which meant leaving the lovely midwifery unit.
(Thank you to my amazing sister in law for capturing these moments as she did in our other three birth stories!)

Thankfully, after being hooked up to the fluid drip upstairs, and also now the hormone drip (which helps your uterus contract - and what they use to induce labour!), all was fine and my lovely midwife came back to reassure me she saved me a private room after I was finished downstairs in observation. It was then time to see to those couple of stitches that I needed, and the doctor needed to press down on my tummy while doing an internal prior to starting - and this HURT. I remember saying to her "PLEASE STOP!". Legs up in stirrups, dignity out the window and i was just looking over at Ty holding our baby girl just trying to distract myself. My poor sister in law got a pinch in her arm as she was sat with me and i remember us giggling as i apologised if I hurt her - giving birth and all the things that go with it surely bring out the strength in you don't they! I never knew I was so strong! so after about 20 minutes it was over, Ty & his sister left so they could get back home ready to tell the little ones when they woke up. It's funny really as he told me the next day that Phoenix had woken up while we were gone and said to his Grannie "Grannie you go home now, Daddy home!". After all that, it was then time for baby girl and I to rest, and in my case - have my 'after birth tea & toast'. Now I know hospital food is usually pretty awful but there is something about the thing you eat after giving birth, the tea and toast had never tasted so good. By this point it was about 4:38am and i was waiting for my drips to finish so that I could get back upstairs and rest properly without leads hanging everywhere.

Off we went back upstairs at around 7am, and I was hoping I wouldn't bump into anyone as we had to be wheels up in the public lift and I hadn't got the time to put my dressing gown on! Thankfully we didn't and I held on to my baby all snuggled in tight then we were left to it in our little room. I was then waiting on breakfast again as I was just so hungry, this wouldn't be until after 8:30 but it still tasted great. While baby girl was laying in her little cot still remaining nameless I couldn't help but sit and stare at my battered tummy, just like I did with my other babies but this time is was even worse and felt so tender. but you know what? despite my tummy looking and feeling like a war had gone on I was also feeling extrememly thankful and glancing over at our healthy baby girl I just felt that feeling all over again like I had done three time before.

 You know that feeling of sheer pride, happiness, wonder all rolled into one? exactly that.


Baby girl still remained unnamed and I was eagerly waiting until my little trio came to meet their newest sibling face to face. Halle was the only one out of everyone who said our baby would be a girl, she also decided that she couldn't possibly be a boy so it was a no brainer of course. Us on the other hand were still so shocked to have another little girl, over the moon but in sheer disbelief as we just had feelings of having another little boy, as our last baby was one. I remember saying to Ty at one point "Do you think he will be sad that he won't have a brother? - I got so emotional about it thinking he would be mad at me!

It was written in the stars I say, our big girls have their little sister, our little boy has now become a big brother to that little sister that he will without a doubt protect and guide, and as a foursome I'm pretty sure they'll be unstoppable & unbreakable.

I had no doubts this little baby would fit in like a dream regardless of gender, watching how much love they hold for one another already really is the best feeling.
Here's a little film of our pregnancy, birth & first day with our fourth bundle of joy.
*change the setting to watch in HD :)


Here's a round up of previous pregnancy related posts:





A maternity style challenge with Bonprix. 

 'Believe you can, and you will' - My tips for a positive birth experience. 

Comfort in pregnancy, Featuring Bravado Designs silk seamless nursing bra.

Pregnancy Essentials: What i've found useful in four pregnancies in five years. 

Hello Third Trimester

Our 20 week scan, gender & rollercoaster news.

Ten worries I have for my fourth pregnancy.

20 weeks pregnant in our fourth pregnancy.

Hello second trimester.

Expecting our fourth baby, poorly months & huge reassurance.

Pregnancy ramblings - Diastasis Recti in pregnancy.


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5 comments

  1. Ah this was so lovely! Congratulations again! So sorry I didn't get a chance to say hello at BML, I saw you during the first keynotes but didn't see you again all day! x

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  2. What beautiful photos, and a wonderful birth story. Congratulations.

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  3. Natalie what an absolutely beautiful post and such lovely pictures. I feel the calmness just from looking at them! You are amazing...really you are!
    She is beautiful and I loved reading this and sharing in this special moment x

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  4. Such a beautiful birth story, I actually felt so calm reading it- you're amazing being so calm and collected! It sounds very similar to L's birth but his was very long and drawn out and I can get a bit worked up when in labour. I can see why you didn't like gas and air but that stuff just absolutely got me through it, having not been allowed to use it first time around. Gorgeous post, photos and a stunning video too. Treasure these always Nat. I really wish I had some from L's birth xx

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  5. Beautiful birth story and absolutely gorgeous video! You've totally captured all the feelings of having a brand new baby, it made me feel quite emotional actually, especially knowing that I won't be doing it again. I had a kind of similar experience with my third baby and it's so annoying having a straight forward labour and delivery and then being hooked up to all the drips and everything afterwards isn't it? I found it so frustrating but I know it's necessary.
    She is so gorgeous, what a lovely family you have xx

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