Positive Home to Hospital Birth during Covid

Guest blog of this beautiful birth story, from our Home Birth Support Group UK, by Kirsty Smart.

??? Birth Story ???
Baby boy, 7lb7.5oz, 12.30pm Friday 24th April, 40+1, 3rd baby.

Hello! My waters started to go at 6.20am after a couple of very little niggles that had woken me. My waters have never gone until the end with my older 2, so a bit of a surprise! Unfortunately they were quite thick with meconium, so I rang the community midwives and they offered to send someone to check, but it would be quicker to go to the birth centre by the time she would get to me.

I was quite sure it was meconium so I decided to go in. Confirmed it was meconium and it was thick, but baby’s heart rate was absolutely fine. I was having some mild surges by this point, manageable with hypnobirthing but getting stronger and more regular. I’d already decided that if it was mec, I would go to the hospital so baby could be monitored for my own anxiety, and obviously the midwife advised that we go there.

We got to the hospital just after 8am by which time the surges were stronger again and definitely in a pattern, I asked for the wireless CTG (or CFM continuous foetal monitoring) monitoring. I knew the evidence for them isn’t robust, but I felt I’d prefer that just on me than the midwife listening in every 15 mins, and I wanted to be monitored due to the meconium.

All fine though, baby’s heart rate was steady and fine, monitor picking up regular strong surges, I was moving and breathing and hypnobirthing, and although they felt powerful it was manageable.

I asked for a vaginal examination at 9ish out of curiosity, 4-5cm. Then I just carried on like that, surges getting stronger and stronger, but hypnobirthed through it all with breathing, visualisations and affirmations.

Baby’s heart rate still perfect, not even notably decelerating during surges. I needed to go to the loo at 11.55, and then my body suddenly started pushing by itself which took the midwife by surprise.

I managed to get out of the loo and kneeled on the bed, leaning over the back (didn’t want baby born down the toilet ?). This is when I really felt like I went into the zone and it was really primal, my body just pushed the baby without me consciously doing anything.

I could feel baby moving down and bobbing back up. The midwife called in the 2nd midwife, and she called in 2 paeds registrars and the obstetrician.

They wanted to put the “clip” (screw) on baby’s head because baby was so low down they were losing the trace by now, but I refused, I knew inside myself he was ok, he had been fine all the rest of the time, I could feel him moving and I could feel how low he was I knew it wouldn’t be long, and I’d only been pushing for 25 minutes at this point. The 2nd midwife tried to argue which wasn’t ideal, but I stuck to my guns.

I decided to turn round into sort of squatting on the bed. For some bonkers reason they’d also got the episiotomy tray ready, but I told them I completely refused consent to cut me, I’d rather tear naturally if it came to it.

I’d already told the midwife earlier on that I wanted completely hands off and no perineal support.

The change of position seemed to help and baby was born in 2 surges after just over 30 minutes total of “pushing.”

When his head was being born, they noticed he was back to back. He was crying and pinked up almost straight away.

They wanted to cut the cord and take him to the resus table to check him, but again I refused, picked him up and told them to check him on me.

Again the 2nd midwife (and she was the more senior one) tried to argue but I told her no, the cord was staying and he was staying on me. The doctors checked him over when he was skin to skin and all was fine. 1 minute apgar was 9 and he was very alert. All the doctors and the 2nd midwife left then. And I didn’t have any tears or anything ?

We had an hour skin to skin and he fed, I was hoping for the placenta to come naturally in this time, but I tried a few different things and it didn’t seem to want to budge, and I was getting fed up of it not coming by that point so I asked for the injection and it came about 10 minutes later.

We cut the cord after the placenta came. I had another 2 hours of skin to skin and feeding, and went in the shower while my husband had skin to skin.

Then the midwife weighed the baby and did her checks on him. We had about another hour together in the room before me and baby were transferred to postnatal at about 4.30pm, which unfortunately due to the virus birth partners aren’t allowed on.

I had decided to stay for the 12 hours of meconium observations just to ease my anxiety. Baby fed lots and (somehow – don’t know how there was any left in him) had 3 dirty nappies overnight. The staff on postnatal were brilliant, so much better and more empowering than those on labour ward. We were discharged in the late morning and home by lunchtime.

Even though I am a bit gutted that he wasn’t born at home and I didn’t get to use the pool, the labour and birth itself was pretty much as it would have been at home, hands off and with me making the decisions (although I would have liked to not have to argue about them).

Knowing your rights and being empowered to act upon them is so crucial, and the Home Birth Support Group, the paid Freebirth and Emergency Childbirth Support Group and Samantha Gadsden and Jenny Wren especially, have been absolutely fundamental in me being confident enough to be able to advocate for myself and my choices.

Samantha Says

This is the MOST INCREDIBLE birth story, when I was talking privately with Kirsty, I joked I had visions of her wrestling the baby to herself, to which she replied – she did.

Kirsty joined our homebirth group with her second baby and my freebirth group with her third, to explore her options and all of this enabled her to protect herself and her birth from interference and know which things she did want and when she wanted them.

Kirsty was also able to protect her baby from medicalisation of the newborn, cutting the cord prematurely is harmful to even the most poorly of babies.

The blood still in the placenta is full of oxygen which is always beneficial to the baby.

All of my groups run with a “home birth transfer is not a failure” ethos.

Congratulations to Kirsty and her family and her partner on the birth of their beautiful baby boy.

If you have found my blog and support helpful and would like to support my work – you can donate to my paypal https://paypal.me/SamanthaGadsdenDoula

Born – Swansea Bay University Health Board.

Virtual, online and telephone support available.

Samantha Gadsden walks with women on their life’s journeys. She is an experienced Doula, based close to Cardiff in South Wales, mother to 4 children and wife to Eddie, more information can be found on her facebook page, Samantha Gadsden Doula and her website, Caerphilly Doula. Virtual, SOS DoulaTelephone and online support is always available.

If you are interested in writing a guest blog or sharing a life or birth story please feel free to contact Samantha HERE.

“Your Journey, Your Body, Your Baby, Your Birth

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About Samantha

Samantha Gadsden walks with women on their life’s journeys. She is an experienced Doula, based close to Cardiff in South Wales, mother to 4 children and wife to Eddie, more information can be found on her facebook page, Samantha Gadsden Doula and her website, Caerphilly DoulaSOS DoulaTelephone and online support is always available.

You can also join one of her network of supportive GROUPS.