time flies when you're being a mum

Childbirth tagged with 'Childbirth'

How do you get a baby out? Well, there are about a million different ways to do childbirth and this aims to cover as many as possible!

22 Jan, 2014

Last week one of my NCT friends was going to hospital to have an Elective C-Section. I saw her the Friday before and by the following Wednesday she was going to have another little boy. That blew my mind! It also made me realise that I don’t have any Elective C-Section Birth Stories in the Giving Birth Directory. When I put a call out on Twitter for Elective C-Section Birth Stories, Lauren, from Belle du Brighton, kindly said she would send me over her story.

Here it is! I love the detail; it is totally fascinating, completely different from my own experience but no less amazing. I won’t lie, I had tears! Enjoy (and look out for the camp looking student doctor –  made me giggle anyway!) xx

Elective C-Section – Belle du Brighton, Lauren’s Birth Story

My reasoning for an elective C section was due to a history of large babies on my husband’s side (he was almost 12lbs and is 6’6 now). This was coupled with his brother being born with a brain defect and having a hugely diminished quality of life (with the brain functions of a 6 month old) and sadly passing away at 18.

I am fairly small, and my mum had difficulty in my delivery even though I was a fairly small baby. All these things played on my mind until I eventually spoke to my midwife about it, after listing the pros and cons and reading a book about Elective C-Section. She got me a referral to the local NHS counselling service but it took so long to arrange I cancelled it as I had already been allowed to have an Elective C-Section by the time the letter arrived. She also made an appointment with a consultant at the hospital, who basically poo pooed the idea, did a growth scan (she showed 2 weeks ahead at that point, 32 weeks) and sent me on my way.

Looking back I should have stood up for myself more and stood my ground but I didn’t. I had a midwife appointment a few days later and she could tell I still wasn’t mentally alright about the idea of a natural labour so she called and made an appointment with a 2nd consultant. Long story short, the consultant didn’t turn up for work that day, so we got a locum, who agreed fairly quickly after I explained the back story, but he said it needed a 2nd sign off. He shot upstairs to the labour floor, and came back in 10 minutes with a signature. We didn’t even meet that doctor but she was shown our notes.

This all happened in week 37 of my pregnancy, and the Elective C-Section was scheduled for the day before my due date, with a pre-op meeting the day before. I was weighed, given some anti-sickness tablets to take before coming to the hospital, and told to fast from 1pm the night before, my husband was advised to ‘shave the top of the lady garden’. We were also told that it was likely I would be kept in for 3 to 5 days. The next day (after even less sleep than normal) we headed to the hospital bright and early, then sent home (after fasting for 12 hours and not drinking for 3!) due to a high volume of emergencies. We came back two days later, the day after my due date. I was assured that if I did go into labour naturally, that they would still perform an Elective C-Section as it had been pre agreed, which was a relief seeing as the next day was my due day!

When we arrived at the hospital at 8am we were put into a room and told we were first that day, due to being sent home 2 days before, hurrah! I was given a gown that opened at the back to put on, and Sam some scrubs. I was asked if I had taken the pills that they had given me to minimise stomach acid, and when I last ate or drank anything (no food after midnight and no water after 6am!). Various people then came in to introduce themselves. First came the head surgeon with about 5 students. He had a feel of my bump and looked through my notes then said the head still hadn’t engaged (so lord knows how much longer I would’ve waited if I’d not had my section that day!). Secondly, came the anaesthesiologist, with a student and someone observing from another hospital. He explained how the spinal block would work, and gave me the opportunity to ask any questions. Then along came Pauline to say hi, she would be looking after me after the Elective C-Section, checking blood pressure and giving painkillers etc. The midwife stuck a cannula in my hand (after being reminded she should give me a local anaesthetic first!) for the various things that needed to be dripped in to me, and taped over my wedding rings as I couldn’t get them over my swollen sausage fingers by that point!

At about 9.25am they came to get us, and just as we walked into the theatre I decided I needed a pee, so toddled back out again. Then Sam decided he needed one so he went out too… Then, with relieved bladders, we were ready to go!
 The spinal wasn’t half as bad as I expected. I was asked to hunch over with a curved spine and push backwards against the anaesthesiologists thumb, which is no mean feat when you’ve got a large bump in the way! Sam watched all this from the front so he didn’t have to see anything sharp. Apparently husbands often faint so they don’t give the option anymore!

At this point that I could see out of the window to the Brighton Marina, and watched a boat slowly work its way out to sea. It helped that it was gloriously sunny! Once that needle was in and had done its business,  I was spun onto my back and laid flat, my gown whipped up to form the screen so I couldn’t see my lower half, and then a catheter was put in so I didn’t piddle all over the operating table.

Some cold spray was used to determine if I was numb in the right places, then it was all systems go! Sam was seated next to my head on the left, Marc the anaesthesiologist just behind me and his assistant next to him. They did a role call (12 people including us!) and then got to it! Sam and I chatted to Marc about amusing stories from working in hotels, which kept my mind off the strange tugging sensation I could feel…

Then before we knew it the surgeons assistant said ‘Okay, we’re almost there. Do you want us to hold baby up so you can see?’

YES obviously I’d been waiting 40 weeks and a day to know what gender this baby was! We heard a sucking noise, which at first I thought was the baby crying but was them suctioning blood/amniotic fluid out, THEN the unmistakable cry of a new-born who’d been dramatically whipped out into the real world! A few seconds later they lowered the screen a little and showed us this waxy baby, a girl with a full head of dark hair! (I may have got watery eyed at this point!) She looked pretty angry to be out of her comfy space to be honest! She was taken to be wrapped up, and Sam went round to cut the cord and take a look at her!

Elective C-Section

About 3 minutes before she arrived, judging my the clock! (Plus 8 of the 12 people in the theatre!)

Less than two minutes later Sam was back with her all wrapped in a towel, and, oh my god, she was amazing! Thick dark hair and long legs! After a minute or two the midwife asked if I wanted her on my chest, so she was carefully placed there so I could hold her (not skin to skin as I was still in a gown and she was in a towel) but we literally just stared at her and got a bit teary with each other! I seem to remember saying, ‘Its a girl, a GIRL!’  95% of people had predicted that she would be a he! We were asked what we were going to call her, and everyone said what a lovely name, and made predictions for her future (an investigative journalist!?). It seems like they do this for all the babies they deliver, bit odd!

Elective C-Section

First cuddles!

After about 25 minutes (of stitching up time, using dissolvable stitches) someone apparently shoved a painkiller up my behind (I have no recollection of this, and didn’t feel it obviously) and then we were wheeled into recovery. The next hour is a bit of a blur of cuddles, skin to skin contact and attaching Athena to start to feed, which was painful, but so worth it!

I was allowed to try and eat some bread and tea after a little bit, which I promptly brought back up, and the same thing happened when I tried again, only this time there was nobody with me to give me the sick bowl (I was napping), and I spectacularly vomited fountain style whilst lying on my back, so it went all over me, the pillows, the floor… LUCKILY I wasn’t holding Athena, she was safely in her crib out of harms way! Sam and the nurse arrived back at the  same time to find me covered and looking very sorry for myself! The nurse helped to change me and I was given an anti sickness something or other in my cannula as well as the drip, and a liquid oral painkiller as by this point I’d brought up 4 paracetomol!

We were told we would be taken downstairs to the post-natal wards once a bed was ready,  so by 3pm we were downstairs in a bed on a ward of 4 other new mothers. Every so often someone came to check out my blood pressure and temperature, and changed my catheter bag. It was SO AMAZING not to feel like I needed to pee every 12 minutes, as I had for the last 4 months of my pregnancy due to her head being practically IN my bladder for so long. Sam went to find some hot food as he was starving, and I napped a little with Athena on my chest… when he came back we took lots of pictures to send to various relatives and friends, and just sat and gawped at her/each other with complete shock!

That night was spent with her mainly on my chest, alternating between feeding and sleeping, but I really didn’t get much rest because of all the various noises. The lady next door had a baby that spent most of the night crying, and the other two women snored. I was ‘released’ at about 7pm the next day, so only spend 36 hours in hospital. They just wanted to know that I was passing urine okay once my catheter was out and that I was mobile (I had a shower and stood up straight the moment I felt I could, as my stitches didn’t really hurt much at all!). They gave me a load of painkillers to take home, along with 7 little needles with something in to inject in my belly to help prevent blood clots, which wasn’t an issue for me as I’m fine with needles. Sam had headed off home with most of my bags (obviously I had packed as if I would be in for 3+ days as I was told 3 is about average after an Elective C-Section) and had comeback with the car seat. Once I was dressed (I wore the clothes I had worn in the day before for ease) we called a taxi and headed home! Sitting in our living room, only the day after but with a brand new baby was surreal, I’ll tell you that for nothing!

The recovery was not as painful as I had expected, although I was religious about taking the painkillers they had supplied and injecting myself with the anti clotting medication.  We went for a fairly long (but slow) walk 4 days after she was born to both of our work places and out for lunch. My husband did all the lifting for a week before he returned to work, and then I just did things slowly and carefully, or left them for him. About 3 weeks later my scar opened slightly at one side, but didn’t require stitches luckily as it healed on its own. We moved 6 weeks after the birth, so I was driving and lifting light things then and had no trouble. My post partum bleeding lasted for about 11 weeks, although the last 5 were really light. In the early days I knew when I’d over done it as I bled more. Now, 7 months later I get the occasional twinge in that area, and have got almost all the feeling back along the centre of my belly, as it had been fairly numb for a few months. The scar is now a dark pink colour and is around 8 inches in length.

Thank you so much Lauren!!

Did you have an elective c-section? How did you find it? What were the best and worse bits for you?

12 Jan, 2014

This isn’t strictly a birth story as the baby doesn’t actually come out BUT an ECV (or external cephalic version) is very much part of the preparation. By turning the baby from it’s breech position it is hoped that the mother is then able to go on and have a natural vaginal birth. Hilary has kindly shared the story behind her attempted ECV…

ECV Story (An attempt at turning a breech baby)

I was having my first baby at the age of 35. Even these days that’s still considered to be a fairly old mum! When I went to the hospital for my first check up, it was discussed that I suffered from Raynaud’s (bad circulation) and had been hospitalised with the condition back in 2006.

The midwife asked if I would take part in a study of the effects of the condition during pregnancy, whether my circulation would be affected or if it would have any affect on the baby’s growth.  The study would only consist of questions on my visits but they would like to do some extra “growth scans” to monitor the baby.  I was happy to agree, any extra care and excuse to “see” baby at scans before it came along was fine by me!

After my 20 week scan, at my midwife appointment, my midwife felt that the baby was in a transverse position (lying sideways).  She gave me some exercises to try and encourage baby to rotate.

I was then scheduled for one of the study’s growth scans at 28 weeks, and it was at this scan they discovered baby had rotated but the wrong way – he was now breech.  I was told it was still OK; there was time and a chance that he would rotate again.  Again I tried exercises to encourage the turn, watching TV in some very strange positions!

At my next appointment the midwife couldn’t tell if the baby was still breech or had turned. I was scheduled for another growth scan at 32 weeks so I had to wait until then to find out.

At this scan it was discovered that not only was baby still breech, he was frank (or extended) breech. His legs were straight up in front of his face and not bent at the knee. Basically he was just folded in half!  This meant the chance of him turning on his own was little to none. It was at this point that the ECV procedure was offered, I could either attempt this or it was going to have to be a c-section delivery.

ECV - frank breech

Image courtesy of WebMD

I had never heard of ECV before. It was explained that one of the consultants would attempt to externally manipulate baby to turn him round, pushing him out of my pelvis and rotating.

Of course as soon as I got home I was straight on the Internet to google ECV. I had a look at what the ECV procedure was like and found a video clip on youtube showing a successful procedure being done in what seemed like a matter of seconds!  I was happy to give the ECV a try as I really wanted the full “pregnancy and birth” experience; the anticipation of waiting for waters to break, the excitement of “it’s happening”, I even wanted the contractions!

I was booked in for the EVC at 38 weeks. I had been warned that the procedure could induce labour but I was ok with that, baby was far enough along that he would be ok if it did happen and I was happy to meet him early.

On the morning of the ECV I asked Hubby, “Should I take my hospital bag?” His reply was, “Yes. If you take it you wont need it, if you don’t I’ll have to race back for it if anything happens.”

So it was decided to take the bag but leave it in the car.

I arrived at the hospital and was taken into a ward with other pregnant women being monitored for one reason or another. I was scanned (just to make sure baby was still breech), then I was given an injection to relax my womb to make the manipulation easier, and then taken into one of the ultrasound rooms.

The consultant began the ECV by pressing the bottom of my “bump” near to my pelvis and pushing up.  She told me he came out of my pelvis really easily and that was a good sign as that was usually the difficult part.  She then started moving her hands round one side of my bump, pushing baby round. This was the painful part, Hubby’s hand was being squeezed hard and I was gritting my teeth.

She managed to get baby half way round then he stopped and wouldn’t turn any further. She let go and he whipped back round to where he started.  The consultant tried again, this time with a little more force in the turning. I had tears rolling down my cheeks with the pain but wanted to persevere so I could have a natural birth. Again he went half way then stopped and whipped back round.  The third attempt was even more forceful and painful. In the end my husband told her to stop as he could see the pain in my face and didn’t think we should carry on.

The consultant thought it was the fact that he was frank breech that was causing the problem and had he not been he would have turned.

I was taken back to the ward for monitoring to make sure the procedure hadn’t brought on labour. I had 2 machines, one monitoring for contractions and one to monitor baby’s heart rate.

Due to the relaxant I had been given I couldn’t feel anything but we started to notice the machine monitoring contractions started to do something. Then the one monitoring baby’s heart rate started to drop. 144… 120… 100… 88… when it got to 77 Hubby said “Should baby’s heart rate be that low?”

A midwife was passing by, she whipped back the curtain, looked at the monitor and all hell broke loose. She hit the emergency call button, dropped the back of my bed and told me to lie on my left hand side. I could hear someone calling for the consultant who had done the EVC and heard the dreaded, “Stand by to prep theatre for an emergency section!”

Panic was not the word!  The consultant came in and baby’s heart rate started to climb. It went from mad panic to quietly watching the number climbing. It eventually came back up to 140 and I was told I would have to be monitored for another 2 hours before they would be happy to let me home.  Thankfully all was ok. I was booked in for my section a week later and sent home.

I was disappointed the ECV didn’t work. It took me a while to accept that I wouldn’t get the experience I wanted but at the end of the day I knew it was what was best for me and my baby.

I do still sometimes feel that I have “missed out”. I have a beautiful little boy but I haven’t “given birth” and circumstances dictate that I won’t be having another baby so I won’t ever feel my waters break or know what a contraction feels like so I do feel a bit cheated, but I am glad I tried the ECV.

As for what happened when I went for my section, that’s another story…!

Thank you Hilary! But so cruel to get us this far and then leave us hanging! I look forward to the next instalment of your birth story xx

Did you have an ECV? Was it successful or, like Hilary, did you have to go on and have a planned C-section?


15 Dec, 2013

If you’re on the lookout for positive birth stories, this has got to be up there. Abbigail should be the poster girl for childbirth. Seriously, she loved her labour and she says it herself, it was that good she’d do it all again in a heartbeat…haha! I’m still not over mine 16 months later. Good for you, Abbigail! And thank you for sharing your wonderful story, helping to increase the number of positive birth stories! xxx

Positive Birth Stories – Abbigail’s great labour!

My beautiful son, Mason James Connery, was born on the 25 July 2013 at 9:40pm in Edinburgh Royal Infirmary Birthing Centre, weighing 7 lbs 2.

positive birth stories

His arrival came as a bit of a surprise as he was born at 37+6. I woke up in the middle of the night to go to the loo, nothing unusual being pregnant, but on my way there I heard a little pop then a small gush of water. Being my first I didn’t know if it was my waters or if I had wet myself! (more…)

When an Emergency C-section is needed

24 Nov, 2013

Fellow blogger, Mummy Morkus, has kindly shared her birth story with us today – I don’t want to spoil it for you but she does have an emergency c-section, and while I know it is something Mummy Morkus has had to come to terms with afterwards, the end result made it all worth while – a beautiful baby girl! She has written and shared this to help other mums and dads who went through something similar.

Mummy Morkus’ C-section Birth Story

We didn’t have a birth plan, but even our very lose plan flew out of the window when we actually got down to labouring.

The day after my due date I thought I had wet myself in the night. Turned out it was my forewaters. I was put on a strict timeline and given 24 hours to go into labour. Queue lots of walking, up and down stairs sideways, ball bouncing and reflexology.

The contractions were on and off all day and we settled down for an early night after I carb loaded. By midnight I was timing contractions and asked J to put on the tens machine. I carried on bouncing. By 4.30 the contractions were 3 minutes apart and lasting more than a minute. They were also bloody painful. The hospital said to come in.

Upon arriving I was examined and was only 2cm dilated. I was despondent but admitted because my time was nearly up. We made a plan to carry on until my deadline and then hormone drip and epidural would be administered.

8am and someone who didn’t know our plan came and examined me. Not only was I still just 2cm dilated but L had turned back to back. She then said, while I was puffing on gas and she was still examining me, “Partner please can you pass me the hook on the table over there”. Before I had a chance to close my legs in protest my waters were artificially broken. And there was a lot of muconium.

Cue mild panic from both me and J as we were put on constant monitoring. Luckily L seemed completely unaware of her early bowel movement and while still in an awkward position didn’t cause us any concern with her heart rate.

However, the artificial rupture of membranes caused my already painful contractions to suddenly up a notch and come thick and fast. I had more gas and air, it made me hallucinate and experience everything twice! It got unbearable. I needed an epidural.


They couldn’t get it in. The contractions were too close together, my back was too tight to get needle safely in. 3 failed attempts and I was given pethadine.

I can’t remember all the failed epidural attempts. I can’t remember the pethadine decision being made. I can’t remember anything from about 10am to 5pm.

I came to after the pethadine, after a spinal block and once the epidural was in. I had a mobile epidural so I could top it up as I wanted. So I did, a lot!

While I couldn’t remember anything, my body had been working and I was 9cm by 8pm, unfortunately by 10pm I was still only 9cm and a scan showed L to be trying to arrive face first rather than with a nicely tucked in chin.

I had to choose between a hormone drip to make contractions strong enough to possibly deliver her or a c-section to definitely deliver her.

To be honest I knew what I wanted instantly. A safely delivered baby as soon as possible with as little possible stress for both of us. C-section it was.

I couldn’t see much in the theatre but the blue cloth separating my head from the rest of my body and J’s face. Theatre lights are reflective so I was doing all I could not to look in them and see what was happening to my numb body.

I can’t remember the pulling or tugging, I can remember a cry and one spindlly limb when she was shown to J and we finally knew she was a she. I said L’s name and then it gets foggy again.

I can remember hearing my heart beat on the monitor and J being told to bring L to be checked. I felt sick and dozy.

Some time later I was in recovery. Alone with my baby in an incubator. Too far away for me to touch. Just staring at her. I wasn’t allowed to hold her till my heart rate increased.

Eventually she was in my arms. This little stranger who I was convinced would be a boy. It felt surreal. Like it had happened to someone else. Luckily she looked like me so I knew she must be mine.

We were at the start of something. For some reason L had made it as difficult as possible to arrive in the way we had thought she would. She was defiant to the end, even proving mummy wrong with her gender.

Mummy did however get the weight spot on. 8lb on the cute button, just like her 20 week scan, nose.

c-section birth story

Thank you Mummy Morkus! Baby L is now 5 months and if you want to find out how she got on with coming to terms with her Emergency C-section you can read more on her blog.

Did you have an emergency c-section? How did you feel afterwards?

And Happy Birthday Millie!

23 Oct, 2013

I first got to know Jade over a year ago through this blog and twitter as we were both excitedly waiting for the arrivals of our babies, trying to find our own positive childbirth story to pin our hopes on! A year ago today I got this lovely message from Jade on twitter:

“Hi Hannah, hope you all enjoyed Vienna 🙂 Millie was born Tues morning at 6.25am weighing 8lb! One happy smitten breastfeeding mummy here x”

Here is Jade’s lovely childbirth story – if you’re pregnant, keep reading this one over and over!!  (more…)

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