Well, I always think it’s best to not have a birth plan and to just see what happens. However, we did have a plan of sorts. Baby was going to arrive any time after 14th May – When the Grandparents were back from holiday, they would have LP and we would have a homebirth, or ideally, Baby would arrive at night, LP would sleep through the homebirth and wake up to a new arrival the following morning.
That was as far as our plan went, and the actual events were completely different but not negative at all.
Everything started on Thursday 9th May really, although I didn’t realise it at the time! Dave had been off work a couple of days before with a virus and went back to work Thursday. I was at home with LP and spent the day in and out of the toilet being sick – I just couldn’t keep anything down. I managed to sip water but didn’t eat anything at all.
Over the course of the day I also had random Braxton Hicks/contractions but nothing regular or very painful. I stayed up until Dave got home with a milkshake for me at 11:30pm and remember commenting to him that ‘I feel awful, if I go into labour feeling like this I really don’t think I’ll have the energy to get through it’.
We then woke up at 8am on Friday when LP started chatting through the baby monitor. She came into bed with us to watch cartoons – a bit of a ritual! We stayed there for about half an hour during which time I had more pains, although these were now quite regular – every 10 minutes.
We came downstairs to have breakfast and by 10am the pains were closer together – every 5-7 minutes. I told Dave that if they were still going at 11am I’d ring the hospital. For the next hour I tried to sit with LP while she had breakfast but found sitting incredibly painful. I eventually moved onto my birth ball in the lounge and we decided it was probably best to set the birth pool up in case this was the real thing… I think we both thought it was a practice run and the real event was a week or two away!
At 11am I rang the Hospital who were contacting the local on call midwives for me who would be aware of our homebirth plans. At this point contractions were every 3-5 minutes and lasting 40 seconds.
At 11:30am my midwife, Kelly, and a student midwife Jacqueline, turned up at our house. I’ve known Kelly since my booking in appointment in October but strangely have known Jacqueline since my booking in appointment with LP – I was the first pregnancy that she’d booked in when she started training but unfortunately she wasn’t around to observe LP’s birth. I had hoped that she would be around this time as she so far hadn’t been present at a successful homebirth – so it was nice when they both turned up at the door.
At this point I knew I was in labour and so was honest with the midwives – we didn’t have anyone to have LP while it happened as her Grandparents were on holiday – due back in a couple of days and well before the due date! However, we had arranged for my good friend Jo to look after LP in the event of a transfer to hospital either after or during the homebirth. The midwives were calling a further midwife out, Debbie, as they needed two qualified midwives to be there for the pushing stage and weren’t sure how quick I’d progress. Debbie had met LP when she was a few hours old to do her ‘new baby’ checks. It was nice that all three midwives I knew – last time there were two midwives that I hadn’t met before, which at the time was absolutely fine, just a different experience this time!
We were conscious that the pool took a couple of hours to fill and so Dave started to fill the pool whilst LP played and watched ‘The Zoo’, the midwives drank tea and looked at our wedding photos and we all chatted whilst I bounced on my ball and breathed through the contractions.
At 12pm LP had lunch – I still hadn’t eaten anything but was drinking plenty of water and after LP’s lunch Dave put her down for a nap at 1pm. At this point the contractions were still about every 3 minutes but lasting a minute and were getting more painful. I decided that I’d quite like to get in the pool as soon as I could. Dave came down from putting LP to bed and sorted getting the temperature right on the pool – at least 36 degrees and making sure it was at least above the minimum fill level.
During this Kelly said she’d like to do an examination before I got in the pool to make sure I was progressing as expected. Kelly examined me, said my waters were bulging and I was at least 8cm dilated!
After this I got in the pool at 1:30pm and it was lovely! The warmth of the water was perfect and it felt so good, just what I needed. I carried on having contractions in the pool and they gradually grew with intensity.
At about 2pm I decided I needed some kind of pain relief and so the midwives set up the entonox gas and air for me – I’d forgotten how instantly drunk it made you feel!
I felt the urge to push at about 2:45pm and it was at this point that LP decided to wake from her nap. Debbie went upstairs to get her and she sat quietly with Debbie whilst I was in the pool. When I started to push my waters went with a shock, Baby’s head was delivered at 3:02pm and Baby came out at 3:03pm with the next push! Kelly pushed Baby down through my legs and I brought It up to the surface, at this point Debbie had given LP to Dave and they were both there, Dave emotional as I said ‘It’s a boy, We’ve got a blue one!’ and I was crying out of relief, shock and every other emotion.
So Troy Alexander Wishart was born at 3:03pm on 10th May, 16 days early, in our birth pool in the lounge! He was covered in vernix and I stayed in the pool with him until his cord stopped pulsing. Dave then cut his cord and Debbie took him to clean him off and look him over. I then had an injection in my leg and delivered the placenta into the pool.
The midwives then helped me onto a makeshift bed (a duvet and shower curtains)on the sofa where I had skin to skin with Troy whilst I was examined for damage – no tears or stitches again! Amazing.
We then tried to get Troy to feed and he wasn’t interested – I wasn’t concerned by this as I knew he would feed when he was ready and would probably be exhausted from the exertion of being born!
The main issue that became apparent was that he had been making grunting noises that didn’t seem to be subsiding. It was an hour after his birth and the midwives rang Central Delivery Suite at our local hospital for guidance. They were told to transfer us to hospital to get Troy checked over and so Debbie rang an ambulance whilst I went upstairs to clean myself up, get some clothes on and compose myself. By the time I came downstairs there were two paramedics in our lounge, an ambulance and paramedic car outside.
Dave called my friend Jo who came to look after LP and Troy and I left in the ambulance with our ‘just in case’ hospital bags and a handful of Mars bars – I hadn’t eaten in 2 days and knew that the adrenalin wouldn’t last forever! Dave would follow behind in his car when Jo arrived.
We got to the hospital near enough instantly, it is only a 5 minute drive anyway and so when you’re going there with blue lights flashing it takes no time at all. The paramedics were lovely, the first people to congratulate me on my new Son, and they wheeled me, holding Troy, on a stretcher into the Central Delivery Suite. Kelly had come with me in the ambulance and stayed with me whilst Dave arrived and Troy was examined.
They put Troy under a heat lamp, took bloods from his feet and did the standard observations on him, during this time he managed to feed well, even though it was difficult for him to breathe during it.
After this we were transferred to the Special Care Baby Unit where more tests were done. To cut a long story short, he was suffering from Transient Tachypnea of the Newborn (TTN) which is apparently a fairly common illness that can occur when a baby is premature or when labour was very quick. It meant that Troy had too much liquid left in his lungs and so breathing was difficult. SCBU put a cannula into his hand to administer antibiotics and to take regular blood samples from. We then stayed with him on SCBU in an incubator until very late at night, when they thankfully transferred us to the Transitional Care Unit where Troy and I have been ever since – less than 24hrs in reality but it feels like an age, especially as Dave and LP can only ‘visit’. We will be here at least until lunchtime tomorrow, 12th May whilst Troy finishes his course of antibiotics and has more blood tests done.
For now though, Troy is feeding well, at least every three hours and is a beautiful baby. He has that amazing new baby smell, is all scrunched up from being in my belly, has wrinkly too-big-for-him skin, purple perfect fingernails and is covered in hair like his big sister was when she was born. To be honest, they are the image of each other.
I think I’m going to need a few more blog posts to cover off all my reflections of the last couple of days but to start with here are a few ramblings.
I feel incredibly fortunate to now have two healthy, beautiful children both of which were born at home and to have gone through both labours with no tears or stitches will always amaze me – I think I am very, very lucky.
Transferring to hospital after the homebirth was incredibly disappointing for me at the time. I was very upset, but, in hindsight, the best decision was made. I’m glad we transferred and that Troy has had the care that he needed – I had never thought beyond the birth and so the thought of transferring after the homebirth hadn’t ever occurred to me – strange as it may seem. The midwives were incredibly supportive but professional throughout as were the paramedics and the transition to hospital was smooth and as untraumatic as it could have been.
Breastfeeding is so much easier this time round. With LP I had two weeks of hell to establish breastfeeding and this time round it is just working, it feels so natural and I am just so much more confident with it. Yes, we are only 30hrs into our breastfeeding journey but this time I am feeling a lot more positive about breastfeeding than I was at this point last time.
LP has amazed me throughout. It was never the plan to have her around me in labour and definitely not during the birth but having her there added to the experience, it was right for her to be part of the event that has completed her family and I am pleased that she was there for it. Had there been an alternative, LP would have been elsewhere and it would have been less for Dave and I to think about but with the support of a good friend, everything worked out the best way that it could have. LP with never remember it but she will always know that she was there to see her Little Brother being born.
This homebirth was completely different to LP’s but it was an amazing experience all the same. It was a lot quicker – 3.5hrs from the midwives turning up until Troy arrived, there were more people involved but the one thing that was very much the same was that I had my Dave for support – who was amazing throughout, I honestly don’t think that I could have done it without him.