Birth story number 4
Mimi Modral-Gibbons. Born May 29th '20
Issues: Under active thyrid, Strep B, Age 42, Insulin controlled diabetes, birthing during a pandemic.
My birth plan changed very little due to Corona. I could only have 1 birth partner, but I only ever wanted 1. When I went in to be induced, (due to complications with my GD) my husband couldn’t come in with me, I would need to call him when I was in active labour, but this is what we always did anyway. (So he could stay with our other kids as long as possible.) I added this to my birth plan:
At 37 weeks, my induction was set for 38 wks plus 4 days. (I had done my research and wasn't going to have an induction if there were no complications with my GD, but unfortunalty, I was experiencing complications, so I was felt it was the best thing to do to accept the induction being suggested.)I requested a sweep (please ask for the pros and cons, so you can decide if this is the right thing for your situation.) and had it at 37 plus 1 day. The baby was quite high up, but they could reach to do it, and when I asked my bishop score, I was told it was a 5. I had mild stomach cramps for the rest of the day, then by the am it had stopped.
I had requested another sweep for the following week, which I had at 38 wks plus 1 day. The baby had moved down a bit lower, and my bishops score was now 6. Again, I had mild stomach cramps for the rest of the day, then by the am it had stopped.
With sweeps, I am not expecting for them to make me go into labour, (although that would be great!) I am hoping they will soften up my cervix and nudge things along enough, so that they make the induction process slightly easier. If I wasn’t booked in for a full induction, I’m not sure I would have them, but knowing that is what is coming, it seems like a good starting point for me. Some people find them very painful. I have had them in pregnancies 2, 3, and 4 and only ever find them a little uncomfortable.
At 38 wks plus 3 days, I went into triage with reduced movements. Everything was fine according to the monitor but I wasn’t feeling as many movements as I usually do. This with the fact that that my insulin needs had dropped dramatically (both could be a sign of placenta failure with GD.) meant they decided to keep me in and induce me a day earlier.
They were very busy, so I went to a ward to wait. I stayed overnight. When I woke on Thurs, it was my official induction day, so obviously I was a bit frustrated that I hadn’t been able to stay at home the night before if nothing had been started anyway. All day I waited, but they were still too busy. At 11pm that night, they were able to take me to delivery, but they were still too busy to do anything, so they took me to a room to sleep and said I’d see them in the am. It was great to have moved 1 step closer, but frustrating to have gone from being a day ahead to a day behind. Frustrating because I am not being good at being patient, but all that time I was thinking about how the baby may be safer out than in, and how precious time was being wasted…..
A midwife came in, woke me up and put me on a monitor.
She examined me, said I was 2cm and asked to break my waters. Some people find this painful, but I have had it done 3 times and its only mildly uncomfortable. As I was Strep B positive, I had decided to have antibiotics-it is totally your choice. (through a drip every 4 hrs.) The thing about the birth I was most anxious about, was having a cannula put in. In all of my pregnancies, this has been a traumatic event, with several painful attempts needed, where I throw up/faint, the midwife gives up and calls a doctor/anaesthetist to do it instead. She told me that that would happen quicker if I let her try it 1st, and she was confident she could do it. I had had so much waiting that I agreed, and she did it completely painlessly, and very quickly! She put me on the antibiotic drip-again, it's totally up to you if you have this, which tool about 20 mins to go in. I couldn’t feel anything, and I was bouncing on the ball she gave me. She said I’d be examined again in 4hrs
About 40 mins later, my midwife for the birth took me into a lovely, massive birthing room. It didn’t have a pool-I’d had it previously agreed that of I didn’t need gel/pessaries or to go onto the oxytocin drip, I would go into the pool, despte the fact I was high risk. She said they would move me to a room with a pool later, if I didn't go onto the oxytocin drip. They said I could call Jon in now if I wanted, but we had agreed that he would stay at home with our other 3 children until closer to the time.
I was going to go for a walk around the hospital grounds, to kill a bit of time and hopefully get things moving, but there was only an hour to go before my examination, I was still leaking tons of water and I was now in a lovely room, so I decided to stay where I was, bouncing in my ball, dancing and listening to Radio 1. I couldn’t feel anything happening yet.
I was 3cms. Abi asked if I wanted to wait and see how things went, or if I wanted to go onto the oxytocin drip: During my 2nd labour, they broke my waters, I refused the drip and had a lovely birth in the water. During my 3rd labour, I had a pessary, and they broke my waters. Hoping for a repeat of birth no 2, I refused the drip over and over as I was desperate to avoid all the negative things you read about it. The labour was very long, and ended in me being prepped for a c-section and ending up with forceps instead. In hindsight, I felt I should have accepted the drip.
I agreed straight away to the drip. I didn’t need another cannula as they used a 2 way attachment to the one I had-massive relief. At the same time as I had that I had a 2nd dose of antibiotics.
I was still bouncing on my ball. The monitoring machine was telling me I was having contractions, but I couldn’t feel anything for about another 90 mins, when they got a bit stronger, but I was perfectly able to breathe through them using my Hypnobirthing breathing “Waves of Relaxation.” First with my eyes open, then later, closing my eyes.
I was taking my blood sugars every hour. (If I had 2 high results, I would need to go on something called a “sliding scale”. This has never happened. I am more likely to have low results, as labour is the best form of exercise, and once on a drip you can’t eat and can only have small sips of water. I did get 2 low readings and each time I ate 2 glucose tablets.)
I had phoned my husband Jon and suggested he come in at 1pm. He phoned my mum to come round and look after our 3 older kids. She and my dad had been self isolating as strictly as we had, so she was able to safely come into our home.
At 1pm, Jon phoned asking what time I thought I would give birth!!!!! He was in the hospital car park but had a puncture and wanted to know if he had time to get the tyre replaced! He limped round to the tyre place, and begged them to believe his wife really was in labour so could he push to the front of the queue! He came rushing into the room and was relieved to see he hadn’t missed the birth! He announced it was like being in a day spa it felt so relaxing! Het up my fan, and Hypnobirthing tracks on repeat, closed the curtains and dimmed the lights, then ate his sandwich. After our long 3rd labour, he was settling in for the long haul.
Things were definitely getting more intense now. An exam showed I was 6-7cm and I was relieved that things were moving much quicker than at the last birth. I asked for gas and air and moved off the ball and onto lying on my side on the bed. I love gas and air, it works really well to help with the discomfort, but can make me feel sick if I take too much for too long. Hypnobirthing breathing is perfect for taking enough and at the right time, so I always felt in control of the dose and knew exactly what to do with it.
Jon kept the fan pointed in my direction and kept a wet flannel on my forehead to keep me cool.
Things were feeling more intense. My midwife Abi was sure this was because I was in transition/10 cm dilated and asked if she could check. I just knew I couldn’t roll onto my back and remember saying to Jon “Just sort it out, lift a leg or something.” He did, and Abi had guessed right. She said I had moved from 7cm to 10cm in 30 mins, so it was intense because I was almost there. I moved off the bed and stood on the floor, leaning on the bed. This didn’t quite work, so Jon helped me onto all 4’s leaning over the back of the bed, where I was more comfortable and stayed to the end. (The same thing happened at birth no 2)
About 10 mins later, I “trumped”, and heard Abi say “Right this baby is coming,” (Jon told me later, that she added a protective visor over her mask.) and she was right. I could feel the baby moving down into what felt like my bottom. With Hypnobirthing, we don’t do any false pushing and we breathe or hum our baby down, and this exactly what happened. The baby came in its own time, with no need for any pushing from me, or coaching from the midwife. She let it all play out. I birthed in silence and the baby came out in silence. (This is just how I happen to birth, it isn’t a rule or anything!) I remember thinking that this part was very intense but that it wouldn’t take long, so I should give into it/go with it, so I didn’t interfere or slow down the process and I took myself off to my “relaxing place.”
By 4.07pm, we had a baby. I had asked for the baby to go to Jon 1st, who would pass it to me and help me hold it. (The 1st few mins can be overwhelming and I am always a bit too shaky to be trusted) Abi brought the baby round the front of the bed and said “I’m about to hand the baby to Jon, but look, you need to look.” She was so insistent because after having 3 boys, we just assumed this would be a boy too, but somehow, we had made a girl! Then I turned round, sat on the bed, and got to have cuddles for the 1st time.
The baby had the vit K injection. We didn’t do delayed cord clamping because there is a slight increased risk of jaundice with this and GD babies are more susceptible to jaundice. I asked for an oxytocin injection to bring on the birth of my placenta more quickly and after it was checked, we put the placenta into a chiller pack, ready for placenta encapsulation.
She weighed 7lbs 3oz-exactly the same as baby no 3.
She latched on to my boob quite quickly and we all had some quiet time together. Abi bought me some toast-once the placenta is birthed, the gestational diabetes is gone! I couldn’t totally enjoy my carb fest, as the gas and air had made my mouth completely dry and eating it was hard work!
After about an hour, I got up to shower in our private bathroom. Such a treat, and one of the best perks about avoiding an epidural. Then back for more cuddles until we moved to a ward.
It happened to be visiting hours when we were moved there, so Jon got to stay for about another hour before he had to leave.
Mine and the babies blood sugars were monitored over the next 24 hrs and we both passed.
The “oxytocin drip” summed up:
All labours increase with intensity from start to finish. I feelt that this was more intense then my 3 none drip births, but not more hard work because it was so much quicker. I don’t know if that’s down to luck or the midwife being skilled enough to know when it was time to turn the drip up or down. I instantly regretted not going on this drip at my 3rd birth as I feel I could have made it much quicker and possibly avoided the baby becoming distressed. I was scared about what I had read, about contractions coming thick and fast with no breaks in between. That was not my experience at this birth at all.
We are absolutely besotted with the latest (and last) addition to our family. Welcome to the world, Mimi!