05 Jan A pretty “CAUL” birth experience
It all started on March 11th 2013. I was 6 days overdue, feeling fed up and terribly uncomfortable. My midwife came over for her usual daily check up and it was mutually agreed to perform a sweep. It just so happened that my sister was off work that day too and had popped over to mine to see the midwife (Melody) who had also been her private midwife. As the baby had still made no appearance and it was lunchtime we walked (I waddled) to the local pub. If your midwife says to you to go and relax with a cheeky glass of wine then you jolly well do as she says!
We were chatting and putting the world to rights, as sisters do, and about an hour later I suddenly felt a twinge. It was not like anything I had experienced before and thought to myself could this be a mild contraction. I suddenly came over all hot and could feel a little sweat bead slowly appearing on the top of my lip.
At this point I really tried not to freak out (I wasn’t far from home so that was all fine) but after 9 months of carrying a weight and not knowing if it was a boy or a girl was pretty overwhelming. I was excited, nervous, petrified, scared all rolled into one. My sister told me to relax and not to think about anything just yet and track all the contractions on an app I had downloaded to see a pattern.
I started to see a pattern and I was experiencing these mild waves every 10 minutes. It was time to waddle back home and prepare for the night ahead.
We had always opted for a home birth. It wasn’t something I had considered before but my sister had one and gave birth to a very healthy boy with no drugs in her front room in a pool. I also opted to have a private midwife who happened to be one of the longest serving midwifes in the UK and specialised in home births.
I got back to the flat from the pub and said to my, now husband, “I think this is the start.” He was pretty laid back and started to rearrange the lounge so I had space to move the birthing ball around.
I remember kneeling over the birthing ball, rocking backwards and forwards watching some rubbish on TV, which helped take my mind off the contractions that were coming more frequently.
It was 9pm and I felt a very sudden shift in my body and attitude. I felt incredibly hot so got down to my underwear and felt the need to try the TENS machine out. It was the lowest setting at this point and I turned to my partner and said “ Its time to call Melody!” (my midwife).
He was frantically trying to fill the pool up and by the time my midwife came over I was having contractions every 3 minutes. At this point I was in quite a bit of pain and hoped I was nearly there!
I got into the water, which felt lovely, and my partner was pouring water on the base of my back as a nice natural pain relief. I really thought I was nearly there, as did my midwife, but after she checked me I had only dilated 1 CM!!!! I could not understand it. I guess in some ways I started to panic. The blow of being in so much pain but not progressing, coupled with the house being fairly new so not that familiar, meant that my mind was all over the place. My midwife, and husband, agreed that this was not progressing and it was a good idea to drive to the local hospital. When I got to the ward, I had to sit in a waiting room but at this point I was having very regular contractions. My midwife helped me breathe through each contraction which helped enormously. Her calming voice almost put me in a trance. I remember saying to her “ I can’t do this anymore” and at this point was offered a Paracetamol or suggested I go for a walk – yeah like that was going to help!
No one had any idea that I had actually dilated from 1cm – 8cm from leaving home to the hospital ( those road humps!) I was in transition!
The nurses finally agreed to a shot of Pethadine – thank god!
After the injection I was asked to walk slowly to a bed in one of the rooms and get some rest to allow the drugs to work. I must have walked 3 steps and then felt this incredible urge to push! It honestly felt like I wanted to do a big poo (sorry). I could feel the baby wanting to come out. My midwife insisted I get checked and hey presto – was now fully dilated so into the delivery room I went.
It all happened so quickly!
I was in the delivery room leaning over the bed and my legs started to shake so I was told to lie on my back – a position that wasn’t natural to me and I didn’t ever imagine giving birth on my back.
My whole body took over and I just wanted to keep pushing. The noises that come out of me were pretty spectacular. Grunting, straining, roaring like a lion! Every sound made was my way of dealing with each contraction. I surrendered to my body and let every muscle do the work to push the baby out. This part actually felt good. It took 3 pushes and then our little girl flew out.
Little did I know that she was born in her Amniotic SAC (Caul), which was a complete and utter shock to my partner. He went white as a sheet as all he saw was something that resembled a small alien!! My waters had not broken so the fluid in the amniotic sac was still protecting our baby when she came out. The journey along the birth canal was so fast and I wonder if this is because she was born in water.
My midwife said this was quite rare and anyone born in the Caul were deemed lucky. Well I was the lucky one that’s for sure. I just wish we had been able to take a photo of it.
The Pethidine suddenly kicked in and I felt like I was floating on a cloud.
Such a surreal day and one I will never forget. I had planned for a home birth and little did I know that being in a hospital (the last thing I wanted) was going to actually speed things along. I was more relaxed!
I then went on to have a son a couple of years later who was born in a birthing pool so I did get the experience I wanted in the end. Although my birth plan didn’t go quite to plan the first time around I would not have changed a thing!
What is a sweep? http://www.babycentre.co.uk/what-is-a-membrane-sweep
Home Birth: http://www.babycentre.co.uk/a536331/home-birth