OKay - here it is...Thee Birth story (sorry its long!)
The Birth of Hamish Oliver Harrison
Don’t get too excited ladies – it was a birth plan that did not go to plan (at all!). Certainly nothing like I had hoped but all that could have been given everything...(photos are as links as some may not wish to view them – nudity and stuff shown!)
I will start with a briefing on the birth of my son Duncan, nearly five years ago. Unlike this pregnancy, Duncan’s pregnancy was much more uneventful. Never had morning sickness, never had heartburn, never had to get up in the middle of the night 50 times to have a wee... In fact, if it wasn’t for my huge (yet measuring pretty average) bump – you would have never known I was pregnant! One morning, (T+3) my waters spontaneously ruptured and like most first time mothers, I found myself going into hospital to give birth. On arriving, I was already technically in ‘labour’ at 4cm. And then at 15:55 on that Monday morning of the 19th of September 2005, my first born, our son, Duncan Cooper Harrison came into our world via ‘emergency’ caesarean section. He was undiagnosed breech and big – weighing in at 10 and half pounds. At the time, this was a good enough reason for my c-section. Over time though, through research and healing (physically and emotionally) – his birth became an unneceaesarean. With him, I will always wonder if I could have birthed my child vaginally or not. Maybe I could have – maybe I couldn’t have. I never got the chance to try.
Not long after the birth of my first son, I knew that one child would never be enough for me. Our son would have a sibling one day. I was in no rush though as I wanted a slightly larger age gap than most people choose. Conceiving did not come easy for us though. I had many early losses and after more than a year of heartache I started to see an acupuncturist for fertility ‘issues’. I conceived and had myself a ‘sticky’ on my first cycle seeing her! I was due April 17th 2010! I was so happy! I would be a mother of two and my son would soon have a brother or sister – another half to him which would complete our family!
After years of healing and research, I knew that I wanted a homebirth the ‘next time around’. Halfway through my next pregnancy, I felt strongly that having an unassisted birth was the right choice for me and my baby.
I continued to see my acupuncturist throughout the pregnancy. She was very helpful because this time around my pregnancy was very different! Morning sickness from the start, heartburn, backache, even some pretty serious pelvic pain (perhaps I had SPD – but I never complained too much about it, just made sure I took it easy!).
I was convinced this baby was a girl! The whole pregnancy was different – even my bump shape was different! I have beautiful castings of each pregnancy and the differences are amazing! http://i113.photobucket.com/albums/n...edcastings.jpg
Because of my first son’s size and my horrific sugary-carb diet at the time during my pregnancy with him, that I was convinced is what caused his very large size, I decided this time around to watch my diet carefully. I adopted a diet fit for someone with gestational diabetes in the hopes for an ‘average’ sized baby this time around! Despite all of this, I suddenly started to measure rather large for my dates (at least 6 weeks ‘ahead’) more than halfway through the pregnancy. There was not much concern there though – sometimes woman just measure big and I already had a history of having a large baby. I gained six stone with my first son’s pregnancy but this time around managed to only gain a very healthy three stone. I felt great - my body could do anything!
Well...my due date came and went. I was starting to feel very heavy and tired. At my last MW appointment the week before, I was measuring in at 48 weeks! This baby certainly could not be more cooked! So, Tuesday night on the 20th of April I proceeded to take Caulophyllum and Cimicifuga from my homeopathic Ainsworth Mother & Child kit – which would either cause a natural ‘induction’ or just tone up my uterus – depending on what my body was ready for. I woke up early the next morning with what I knew were contractions (they still felt like Braxton Hicks but accompanied by mild period like pains instead of just being annoying and painless). (Perhaps the homeopathy did its job?!) This was confirmed when I got up to use the toilet at about 3:35AM that Wednesday morning, to find a bloody show. I had previously been losing my mucus plug for the last few weeks, but so far no blood – until now.
I debated whether or not I should wake my DH up just yet but decided since my contractions at this point were still rather irregular (ranging from 2-6 minutes apart and only lasting about 30 seconds each) that I would let him get as much sleep as he could. I could not sleep though. My contractions were painful enough to prevent myself from being able to lie down and relax so sleep was out of the question. Instead, I got on my birthing ball and watched the latest recording of Stargate Universe whilst munching on my Girl Scout cookies a great friend of mine sent me from America! J I was excited and far from the nervousness I felt when labour was impending with my son Duncan!
Early morning rolled around and my contractions were still coming – though still irregular. I thought I would try and get some rest whilst I could. It was just not happening though. I knew DH would be up soon so I figured I would clean the bathroom and kitchen first and then let him know that this was really it. I got another huge bloody show shortly after letting him know (which of course I showed him! Hehe). This was certainly a different start for me! – With my son, my waters broke first...and I never had a ‘show’ of any kind at all!
After breakfast my DH proceeded to set up the birthing pool! We had done a practice run before so this was a piece of cake for him. It was up in no time!http://i113.photobucket.com/albums/n...y/IMG_0318.jpg
Duncan woke up then, as usual, around 9ish. I made him breakfast and he was exciting to see the pool going up again!
I continued to labour away. They were becoming much stronger but still not very close together (about 5 minutes apart) so I figured I would have a relaxing bath whilst I could. Duncan was upset that I was not getting in the pool though but I felt it was far too early for that just yet and a bath would be just fine!
Around 11AM that Wednesday morning, my contractions became much more intense and much closer together. Lunchtime rolled around and I sent my DH out to get me Chinese. Nothing like being in labour to get what you really want! At this point, being such a lovely sunny and warm day, I chose to labour outside in our back garden. The bricks of our house felt good and cool to me when I used them for support whilst the fresh air and sounds of spring were rather comforting. I am also ashamed to admit that I could not help but wee every time I had a contraction, so another handy reason to labour outside! My contractions were now coming every two minutes and lasting for about a minute each. DH had fun playing around with contraction master or using his phone to time them. We had our lunch and then I decided to give the birthing pool a try. http://i113.photobucket.com/albums/n...y/IMG_0348.jpg
I have to say that the birthing pool was not very helpful for me though. My legs were tired but it felt so much better to stand and squat through my contractions and that was just not happening for me in the pool. Duncan was also rather annoying, fishing for the thermometer in the pool whilst I was in there and wanting to play with his dinosaurs in the water as well. The pool idea was just becoming a bit too stressful. Up until now, my birth was going just as how I had always visualised. http://i113.photobucket.com/albums/n...y/IMG_0328.jpg
Late afternoon was coming though and still no baby. My contractions were very painful at this point and still rather close together and coming fast. I tried everything I could to get myself in more comfortable and manageable positions. I tired the toilet, I tired the birthing ball, I tried the pool again, I tried using a door frame, our sofa, and the chair...you name it! I decided that I could not take any more of the pain and told DH to call my MW and have her bring some gas and air. He asked me if I realised what that meant?... This is when my UBAC went out the window and HBAC took its place. http://i113.photobucket.com/albums/n...y/IMG_0361.jpg
Around 5PM my MW (yes – MINE!...the same MW I had seen my whole pregnancy! I was so pleased it was this way! – With my son, I never saw the same MW twice!) Sally arrived with her lovely student and two and a half canisters of gas and air on hand for me to use. I was in our bedroom sat on a mat contracting away whilst DH filled her in on everything so far. The gas and air was good...I was not sure if I was using it right but Sally said I was being very modest with it – which surprised me (cause I was certain I wasn’t!...the stuff is rather addictive! Hehe). Duncan wanted to have a go on it as well – but he thought you blew into it! hehe http://i113.photobucket.com/albums/n...y/IMG_0363.jpg
Time gets rather hazy here (at least the photos have a time on them so I can look at them and know!). I went back and forth from the bedroom to the toilet a few times and began to relax with the gas and air a bit. I could even finally eat something and we all got to chatting away whilst I continued to labour away, finally settling on the sofa chair downstairs. We watched tele (turns out my MW is also a fan of Desperate Housewives! Hehe), snacked and chatted away.
Curiosity got the better of me and I asked Sally to check how far along I had come around 7PM. I was slightly disappointed at this point to hear I was only 5cm dilated (consider how long and close together my contractions have been for the past handful of hours!) – but my waters still had not ruptured and we all knew that if they went at any time, things could suddenly speed up rather quickly with an ‘omg – the baby is coming NOW’ kinda moment!
However, after a few hours, the gas and air was not working as well. I quickly went through those canisters and Sally sent her student back to the Maternity Unit to get some more (I swear it took her ages to bring them back!). I then went through a total of 6 and half canisters of gas and air! The stuff was good...but it honesty was not helping much towards the end! (I can still taste it though!)
Around 10PM Duncan feel asleep in the chair next to me – I was holding onto the stairs and trying to work my way through all the contractions. I was not having much of a break through any of the contractions since about 6PM and I was really tired at this point and hungry but could not eat anything as the contractions wouldn’t let me! DH took Duncan up to bed and at this point I became very loud (VERY loud! – I remember telling DH that I know I told him I wouldn’t be loud in labour but it felt good to be loud with every contraction...DH was just amazed that it didn’t wake Duncan up!). I also became very emotional. I felt I just could not do this any longer. Sally was still amazed that my waters had not ruptured and felt that it could not be long now! So she called another MW to come as that was ‘policy’ for a second MW to be there when the baby was born (her student didn’t count). I was 8CM at this point and my waters were bulging with every contraction.http://i113.photobucket.com/albums/n...y/IMG_0373.jpg
The second MW arrived shortly and I guess I was doing better than I thought because I remember at one point both MWs sitting on the sofa knitting!
1AM the next morning rolled around I finally just could not take anymore. I felt I couldn’t take anymore since 10PM the previous night but my MW knew how much a homebirth meant to me and they kept trying to keep me going as I was – they were very persuasive very encouraging despite I felt I wasn’t doing that great a job managing with it all! I was still only 8CM though. Nothing was progressing and things were actually slowing down! They called an ambulance (per my request and I needed something more than just gas and air at this point) and my MW Sally and I transferred to Gloucester Hospital at 1:19AM, where I was painfully awaiting an epidural because at this point I just wanted to rest, eat and get this baby out of me! My MW Sally just wanted nothing but for me to have a vaginal birth – even if that meant going the route of an epidural. This is where my HBAC turned into a VBAC.
I was so glad that my MW Sally was able to come with me though. DH could not as he had to stay at home with Duncan (though we knew that this would be the case if the situation came to this). My MW had the camera and was able to take pictures the whole time though. I do not know what I would have done without her! I am so thankful – she went beyond her care of duty with me!
We arrived at the hospital and received the epidural at about 1:30AM. The epidural did not work though. Nope – just did-not-work-at-all! They topped me up three times over an hour and it still was not working! By 3AM I was still only 8CM so they thought they would try and break my waters which they did at 3:08AM. It felt good. But it did nothing to speed things up at all either. An hour later I was still only 8CM dilated and my contractions had slowed way down. Despite all of this – baby seemed to be coping fine. My MW feels that this was a sign that the baby’s head was just not descending (because if it was, they would naturally expect a flux in heart rate – but he stays at 120 BPM the whole time).
This is the point where I agreed to a caesarean section. It was clear that nothing was progressing and I didn’t know how much more of this I could take (the pain that is). I cannot express to you how much pain I was in. I do not know how some woman can do it...I guess our bodies really are all very different!
Shortly after 5:10AM that Thursday morning I was out. As the epidural never worked, I had to go under general anaesthetic. Another reason I was thankful for my MW. Even if my DH could have been there, they would never have allowed him into the theatre due to the GA. Sally got even better pictures of this baby’s birth than we were able to get of Duncan’s birth because she was allowed ‘in’ and ‘behind the curtain’. http://i113.photobucket.com/albums/n...y/IMG_0388.jpghttp://i113.photobucket.com/albums/n...y/IMG_0391.jpghttp://i113.photobucket.com/albums/n...y/IMG_0392.jpghttp://i113.photobucket.com/albums/n...y/IMG_0395.jpghttp://i113.photobucket.com/albums/n...y/IMG_0397.jpg
At 5:29 that Thursday morning on the 22nd of April 2010 – Hamish Oliver was born! All 12lbs 4oz of him! Apparently they all had a good guess of what his weight would be upon passing him around and my MW won the bet! She knew he was well over 10lbs upon holding him though they all thought she was crazy when she said he was at least 12lbs!http://i113.photobucket.com/albums/n...y/IMG_0402.jpg
I haemorrhaged badly though and required a blood transfusion. Other than that, things went pretty smoothly. ...well, as smoothly as these things can go!
They put the placenta in the bowl I provided for them so that I could take it home. It is currently in our freezer though I have had a bit to eat already! Very glad that they respected this request!
At 6AM Hamish was put to my breast for his first feed. I was still unconscious. http://i113.photobucket.com/albums/n...y/IMG_0410.jpg
Around 8AM I started to come to. The first thing I did was ask if it was a boy. Though during my whole pregnancy I was convinced it was a girl, I just knew my baby was a boy when I was in labour. I then remember looking at him and thinking ‘omg –this is not my baby!’...because he looked nothing like Duncan! (I even though he was a bit ugly at first if I am honest! Hehe) I guess I expected him to look like my first son! In some ways they are very similar, but their body shape is very different. Duncan was a big baby but he was long and skinny whilst Hamish is pretty chunky! I did not picture me having a chunky baby at all! I guess I just expected my boys to look similar! In many ways though I am glad they look so different. I was worried that if I had another boy, I would feel like I was replacing Duncan – I know that sounds silly but I love Duncan so much and I never wanted to feel like I was pushing him aside - but it is hard to feel that way when you have two very different boys (in so many ways!). http://i113.photobucket.com/albums/n...y/IMG_0420.jpg
Daddy has his first cuddle at 10:15AM that day. Duncan then met his brother for the first time later that day around 3PM. He was all smiles. He is a very proud brother! (this really surprised me – though he still has no interest in even touching Hamish, he often tells me how much he loves his brother and loves looking at him!) – His behaviour at the moment is only annoying and this could be due to hormones as well as him playing up. I think he feels like he just doesn’t want us to forget that he is here and a part of this family too. Unconditional love and patience will get us through this!
Despite everything, I know I tried all I could and I know my MW did all she could to help me try and achieve a vaginal birth – though in the end it just did not happen. I do not regret the way things turned out. I guess it was just never meant to happen. With Duncan, I will always wonder because I never had a chance with him – though I was 4cm as soon as my waters broke with him, I never really got to ‘labour’ at all with him. I don’t feel that need to wonder and ponder with Hamish because we were both there and got as far as we could. I don’t really blame myself with a baby that big, though I do feel a loss. This is our last child and I will never get a chance at trying for a vaginal birth again. The desire will always be there for me to birth my own child. I know some people can and do birth babies that big though.
I would love to add that he is nursing like a champ (like most people seem to add at the end) but that just isn’t the case! (despite that first feed) We are struggling with latch issues at the moment whilst I am exclusively pumping for him...so twice the work – We shall overcome! He loves the sling (well – slings!) though and sleeps pretty well through the night which is a bonus (his brother was very similar though but I guess that just comes with having such a big baby – they take in more and are satisfied for that much longer...or so everyone says!)
So there you have it! – One downhill rollercoaster of a birth! But here we are nevertheless! http://i113.photobucket.com/albums/n...y/IMG_0440.jpg