A Positive Birth Story: On the Consultant Led Unit – Group B Strep Positive
Time for something a little different. Many moons ago I promised to share my positive birth stories… and here we are, a few years later and I’ve finally got my arse in gear to publish them. Let’s start with Ernie’s, who is now three and a half, but I can still remember this incredibly clearly.
Let me start by saying this was NOT the birth I was looking for. After reading Ina May and Kate Evans and as many hypnobirthing books as I could get my hands on, I was getting ready for my oh so blissful birth on the midwife led wards. I was diagnosed with a heart murmur, but that was ok. I had severe cystitis leading to a hospital admission, but that was ok. But then I had a couple of swabs done after thinking I had thrush, and although I was given the all clear regarding thrush, they did show up as Group B Strep positive. BAM. Case closed. It’s the proper hospital wards for me. (At this point in time I didn’t realise I could fight this. As a bit of a people pleaser I was happy to let the professionals take the lead in this. I felt very differently before my second labour, so do read my Positive Home Birth Story, if you want to see how I dealt with that.) I felt quite relaxed about the idea of labour, and was quite ready to let whatever needed to happen, happen. So although my “dream labour” wasn’t going to happen, I was determined to not let that crush me, and to just go with the flow.
I personally think this adaptable spirit in me, really, really helped me. It kept me relaxed. It transferred to my birth plan… I really wanted to not feel like a failure after the birth. I had no idea what to expect, so wanted to feel prepared for anything. I wanted to aim for drug free and a vaginal birth, but I would do whatever I needed in the moment. If I felt I needed all the drugs under the sun, I would have them.
My due day came and went. I felt incredible anger towards women in my antenatal class that had already had their babies. The ones that “skipped the queue” were the worst. I could barely look at them!! By 41 weeks the news of a birth literally had me in tears. Where the hell was my baby? Everyone telling me to enjoy this time to myself could stick it up their bloody arse. I was a walking blob. I posted photos to my instagram of humungous seals. I ate pineapple…. lots of pineapple. I tried essential oils. I tried curry. Exercise. Long walks. Bouncing on my ball. Walking sideways up the stairs. Walking sideways down the stairs. Relax. Relax. I CAN’T RELAX! Sex next… The least sexy sex I’ve ever had. “Do it NOW, ejaculate as far into me as you can NOW. Right do that again tomorrow morning, and evening, and the next morning. Nothing in-between… what if it “dilutes” the good stuff? Lets timetable it. 12 hours apart sounds ok right? 8am and 8pm works for me…” Romantic films. Teary films. Let’s look through old photo albums and cuddle. I need oxytocin. GIVE ME OXYTOCIN.
Funnily enough after our super sensual timetabled sex one evening (it probably was 8pm on the dot) I felt a pang… hmm.. was this… IT? Pang. I whipped out my contractions app. PANG! This is it! My baby is coming, we might have a baby by tomorrow!!!
The night came and went, with quite full on contractions every five to six minutes lasting around a minute each. They were too painful for me to sit down, so I paced the hallway. Up and down. Up and down. Up and down. I ran a bath and told Lex to go get some sleep. The bath helped but after 90 mins I was ready for a change. Still five minutes apart. Still one minute long. My five minute gap wasn’t enough. I was desperate for sleep, or even a sit down, but I just couldn’t. By the morning nothing had changed but I wasn’t sure when I should be phoning the midwives. I’d been in what I was assumed called labour for over 12 hours. Should I be coming into hospital now? I was told to wait until my contractions were closer together.
The day passed with my contractions unchanging. Lex put happy films on the tv which I saw clips of as I paced past the living room door. Come on baby! I’m getting tired! I was so tired I told myself that it was fine to ask for drugs as soon as I got to hospital. No one can give birth after pacing for 24 hours. Can they? I told myself to sit. JUST RELAX WHY DON’T YOU. I forced my bum onto the bed. Breathe. Breathe. Breathe. The contractions stopped. They stopped for about 30 minutes. In this time I ate a little snack and rested. I suddenly felt nervous. What if that was it. The moment had come… and gone? What if I ended up having to wait another week?! I commanded my body to obey. It’s time to work! And, as if my body was listening, the contractions started again. PANG. I had levelled up. 5 minutes apart. 4 minutes apart. 3… phone the midwives! Are we going? We are going!
The car journey was hell. Sitting in one position when I NEEDED to walk, to stand, to let my body go with the surges. My tens machine helped immensely but I needed to move! Luckily it was over. I then waited for a room. Waiting, waiting. Pacing, pacing.
My room was a hospital room. It was bright. It was clinical. It was stale. I turned the lights down. Opened a window. The midwife was stern, her student was sweet. Good cop, bad cop. My antibiotic drip was set up. I got hooked up to a million things. I felt covered in wires. I asked to just be checked manually and to not have the heart rate monitor on constantly. The midwife was not happy. She mentioned that I would have to stop and sit for the checks. I agreed to wear the wires. I knew I could fight, but I didn’t want to waste my energy. So many wires. Too many wired. Take off the tens. Take off my headphones. It was all feeling a little bit like I wasn’t in control anymore. As I half expected, the contractions started dying down again. No, no, NO! Everyone looked disappointed. The midwife asked if I wanted to lie down and have a rest. I didn’t. She insisted. I lay for 20 minutes and then told her to jog on. I wanted to do it my way.
I wouldn’t talk, I was in my zone and it was all mine. Lex sat in the corner writing. The midwife looked like she had nodded off. I didn’t care. This was happening. I was doing this. I was in charge now. The sun started rising, and I noticed that the view out of the window was phenomenal. It moved me almost to tears. I look out across Bristol and thought “this is where my baby is going to grow up”.
I was still pacing when the midwife suddenly said, “you’re pushing”. I bloody wasn’t. “I can see you’re pushing.” I wasn’t. She checked me and said I was 10 cms and ready to push. Could I feel my body pushing? uhhhh no. She beckoned me over to the edge of the bed and said I could hold on to the edge and push when I felt the urge to. But I wasn’t feeling the urge to. I couldn’t make sense of this, was I meant to just push? Or should I actually wait until I felt like I had to? I started pushing. I pushed really, really hard. I was so tired though. The midwife put her head between my legs to see if she could see anything… and my waters went. HA!
The hilarity was over and everything got moped up. I was trying to push still but my legs were shaking they were so tired. How on earth was I going to do this?
Lex piped up and suggested I knelt on the bed holding onto the elevated head of the bed. It felt right and I pushed. I pushed and pushed. I got quite hysterical. I couldn’t work out what everyone was on about. I wasn’t feeling any urges to push? I pushed nonetheless and felt like I was getting nowhere.
The baby’s heart rate was dipping, and we needed to keep an eye on it, so the midwife clipped a monitor on the babies head. Wires coming from my tummy, wires coming out of my vagina. It was strange. But I focussed on the pushing and watched the sunshine stream into the room.
The pushing continued for hours, but suddenly I felt the head crowning. Everything was stretching and it felt hot and stingy. The pain was there but feeling so close to the goal was the bigger sensation. I pushed down, hard, here we go, here we go. I ignored everyones orders and focussed inwardly. Only myself and this baby know what to do.
At around 9am I birthed the head, stopped for a moment and then the body followed. Ernie was here. I want him. I need him close. He was born behind me so I couldn’t see him. The heart rate monitor was tangled in his hair. It was a bit strange. I felt this surge of emotions and felt so proud of myself, but here I was on all fours with my baby stuck behind me.
Luckily the clip became untangled and after a bit of an awkward climb over him and the umbilical cord (which was still attached to the placenta inside me), I got to hold my little red haired Ernie in my arms. Ernie latched onto my breast quickly and the sensation made me gasp. I didn’t realise it was this intense!
I birthed the placenta naturally and we waited until the cord had stopped pulsing before Lex cut it.
I did end up with a small tear and a few nasty grazes that needed stitches. This was the only time I ended up using pain relief (aside from the tens machine), and gulped down the gas and air. I’m pretty sure I said a few weird things, and when I “came back into the room” I felt a bit embarrassed! Ha! No one batted an eyelid though.
With regards to the Group B Strep – we did have to spend 24 hours in the hospital after the birth to keep an eye on Ernie and make sure all was ok. He was absolutely fine though, but I still appreciated the time in the hospital as there were people around to help with breastfeeding (even if they weren’t quite the experts I was hoping they would be).
Looking back at this birth I think I did so many things right, but also a couple wrong. I should have not listened to the midwife telling me to push. I should have waited until I felt it was right. It felt all wrong, and I felt like I was working against my body, not with it. I wonder if I had perhaps had an easier, or slightly quicker time of pushing, had I waited until I felt the urge to push. (I totally relied on my body to know what to do in my second labour with Gus, and it was so different!!!!)
However, my relaxed zone I created for myself kept me calm and steady throughout most of the labour. My readiness to adapt also helped me I feel.
This was not the labour I had dreamt of, but I came home feeling positive and grateful for it. It was hard, it was long, it exhausted me. It empowered me, I felt radiant, I felt proud.blog comments powered by Disqus