It was March 2017 when I found out I was pregnant again. I had been taking the recommended higher dose of Folic Acid which in theory should help lower the risk of another neural tube defect so we were feeling fairly confident- surely, we had had our bout of bad luck?! Again, it was another plain sailing pregnancy with no morning sickness, cravings and a less than scary weight gain.
I had a 16 week scan, back with the same consultant who diagnosed Louis’ spina bifida, same department, same room. I couldn’t bring myself to watch the scan on the large screen at the foot of the bed. Instead I watched the consultant. I watched him like a hawk trying to pick up on any body language he would let slip to reveal if it was good news or bad news. Are we going to be led to that room again and look at the well- rehearsed sympathetic faces?
A smile! He’s smiling at us! The consultant started to explain different findings from the scan. This has got to be good news, we haven’t been led to another room. He proceeded to show us all of the important bits, and crucially, and I quote ‘a perfect spine’. Needless to say I cried, happy tears, at last! What a weight lifted. With the exception of some additional scans to monitor my cervix because of previous gynae surgery, pregnancy went without a glitch. I tried my best to turn into a hippy- taking up pregnancy yoga and hypnobirthing- which I would defiantly recommend to pregnant Mommas out there.
At 40 weeks I had a cervical sweep from my Community Midwife who reported I was already 2 cm dilated. Who said labour was hard?! It was around lunch time the following day I started to get some niggles. My mum had a day off work and was looking after my 2 year old nephew Josh; they called around with a plan to head over to TESCO for a little walk to keep me moving. Josh was upstairs with me as I was getting my shoes and coat before heading out. I took one step from the top and took a hold of Josh’s hand, with the second step he slipped, came out of my grip and summersaulted head first down the stairs. I screamed as though I was watching him being murdered, and to be honest it felt just as bad seeing him fall. My mum ran out to see him in action; as he hit the bottom, I fully expected him to be unresponsive. I am still more traumatised by this than childbirth!
In a heap at the bottom of the stairs Josh screamed crying. Thank fuck! My Mum picked him up quick- they were both covered in blood. As they sat down together we noticed something fall……it was a tooth! He had knocked a tooth out as he tumbled down the stairs and the blood was coming from his mouth which was now supporting a whopping, bruised thick lip. Josh had already lost a tooth and knocked another sideways a few months earlier after nose diving into a TV cabinet, so to see another tooth drop to the floor was extra stomach churning! He defiantly lives up to the name Toothless Terror now though! (And for the record the dentist is confident all adult teeth will be fine!)
I like to think secretly, but on reflection maybe not, I thought ‘great’! I am now full of adrenaline which means my contractions were sure to stop!
Our house was soon full, my sister left work early after hearing Josh had fell down the stairs, my Dad collected Martha (my niece) from school as he could get there sooner than my brother in law. Adam arrived home while me and my Mum finally made the trip over to Tesco, this time for lolly ices in an attempt to sooth Josh’s mouth. Thankfully my contractions were getting stronger, but not enough to steel me of my dignity at the local supermarket! I followed my Mum out to the car park and managed
to make my way to her car in time to lean on it and breathe through the next contraction……only it wasn’t my Mums car, she had led me right past hers to another black fiesta in the same row! Finally- some happy hormones as we fell about laughing.
Once everyone had left our house, I set myself up in a quiet area, leaning over my large inflated gym ball listening to my hypnobirthing relaxations. Visualising the sun rising, a hot air balloon raising, or anything else to help with my ‘up breathing’. Adam will confirm- it was about half way through the Liverpool game 😉 when I decided that I wasn’t happy with the movement of the baby. It had been a while now of feeling reduced movement, so I called the Assessment Unit at Liverpool Women’s Hospital.
Taking their advice, we arrived at the unit about 45 mins later and to be honest I couldn’t tell you anything about the journey- which is a good reflection of my hypnobirthing because I must have been totally in ‘the zone’. We left the hospital bag in the car, convinced we would be heading home shortly- yes I had some discomfort but it wasn’t anything I couldn’t handle.
I was hooked up to a monitor for 30 mins or so and asked to push a button each time I felt the baby move. I didn’t really have any convincing movements, but put it down to coinciding with contractions because the staff were happy with what they saw. I was offered another sweep from a midwife who bigged herself up as the best sweeper around- an almost cert to bring on labour! I jumped at the chance, my only reservation being slight embarrassment because I recognised her from school, albeit she was a few years older than me. Any dents to my ego were quickly restored as she sat at the side of the bed, with her hand in my vagina and asked if I was sure I wasn’t in pain, revealing that I was in fact 4 cm dilated and in established labour. I felt like more of a legend then!
We were advised to stay at hospital, mobilise around the building and have another review in a few hours. My waters broke during the examination, the surge in hormones meant my contractions were a lot stronger and I spent most of the time vomiting! I was unable to leave the room for a walk but instead bounced up and down on a gym ball which worked a treat.
Four hours had passed and I needed something to help with the pain. I was examined again- 7cm dilated so I was able to hop into the pool (more of a large bath). Pre labour, Adam had strict instructions to maintain my dignity at all costs; I didn’t quite understand the women you see on One Born Every Minute who walk around the room stark naked in the throes of labour, yet here I was stripped down to my birthday suit in less than 3 seconds climbing into the tub, too quick for Adam to scramble through the hospital bag to locate my tankini top. Worry not, he shoved it over my head
once I was in and comfy….and wet….making the job significantly harder.
The water was heaven!!! I swear it reduced the discomfort by about 80%, and the little mould at the bottom of the bath was perfect for pushing the small of my back against, given Adam gets a 2 out of 10 for back rubs! He does however, get a 10 out of 10 for making the room as relaxed as possible
with dimmed lights and LED candles placed around the bath. He set up our Bluetooth speakers and started the playlist I had prepared- full of lovely dovey feel good songs- keeping that oxytocin flowing! Or….. making the place so peaceful you manage to have a little sleep. Right Adam?
The next examination confirmed I was fully dilated which is just as well because my body had naturally started to push. It took a little longer to deliver than the black and white hospital guidance would have liked, but we utilised another string from our hypnobirthing bow, which persuaded the doctor to give me more time in the water to deliver naturally.
The pressure was on, the doctor was coming back to review things in 30 mins so I had to get this baby out! I turned around so I was facing out of the bath with my arms leaning over the side; possibly a little hesitant before anticipating what was to come- I was now pushing so hard my feet lifted up off the floor. This time around, it was an involuntary impression of a cow (something I couldn’t shake off in my attempt to breastfeed!) as I knocked out some serious ‘grit’ noises. The crowning of his head was accompanied by some expletives, but I got myself together, gathered my
thoughts and told myself ‘I can do this….I am doing this’.
Arriving all at once and looking rather surprised to be in this world, our rainbow baby was born.
It was time to be happy.
Teddy Curry. Born 7th December 2017 at 09:53. Weight 8lbs 6oz.
Blog Big Up’s
Sarah Tipney and her passion for Midwifery and hypnobirthing.
Jenni Jones Pregnancy Yoga
Take a read of my next post to hear about what happened before we left the hospital.