Isadora & Hal

positive birth story

Lorelie’s birth story

Prelabour and early labour at home

I went into pre-labour the night between Tuesday and Wednesday with steady surges coming once and hour and staying that way for about 24 hours. The following night they intensified and by Thursday morning I had irregular but strong surges several times per hour. As the morning progressed the surges intensified and became more regular, getting up to a frequency of a strong and long one every five minutes. I moved around and tried out various types of positions.

By Thursday noon the surges lasted for about one minute, with no more then three minutes between them. We still wanted to wait with going in to the hospital to avoid being sent home so we had some last intimate time for a while and then I had a shower and rested in bed with a hot water bottle at the back. The heats made the surges slow down to a frequency one every six to seven minute. When I got up from the bed they got back to a frequency of one every five minutes and then stayed there during the evening and the beginning of the night. In the evening I tried the TENS-machine, which I honestly was quite skeptical about (since I didn't want to numb myself out and I wasn’t to sure how it would effect the baby) so I only used it on the lower frequencies (three) and turned it on only during the most intense part of the surges. We took walk in the neighborhood before midnight to see if that would speed things up and during that walk the uterus was more or less contracted all the time even though the intense feeling still came in surges. We got home and I told Hal to get some rest in bed while I went downstairs, since I wasn't able to lie down because of the intensity of the surges. Even though I had been eating and drinking a lot during the day and Hal had massaged me and done what he could to support me, it had been two long days and a long night at that point and I was getting quite tired. I had also had a really bad cold (completely blocked nose and deep yellow almost green slime) for a couple of days before the labour started and now I felt like I was getting a fever and started to get worried. I woke up Hal and since none of our thermometers at home were working I said we should go to the hospital.   

We left home in a cab 1.42 and landed at the Hospital 1.57 I closed my eyes and were listening to the hypnobirthing relaxation recordings, trying to stay in my own zone. 

Homerton hospital

I got examined in the maternity ward fairly quickly at around two thirty and it turned out I didn't have a fever even though I felt really hot. I was only 4 cm dilated but since my water broke and there was blood in the water, we had to stay in the hospital. Because of the blood we had to go to the labour ward instead of the birthing center, as we had wished for. Hal talked to the midwife Gladys and explained that we really wanted a birthing pool even though we were in the labour ward and she helped us accommodate our wish. We then met with our midwife Abigail Hudson who escorted us to the room and helped us install ourselves in room 7 with calm music, lots of LED candles, spirit animals, totems, snacks and drinks. I got a wireless heart rate and contraction measurer so I could move around freely, which was brilliant. I used the TENS-machine (still only on level three and only used during the most intensive surges) and focused on my breath with hypnobirthing techniques (thinking about balloons and bubbles, breathing out longer then I was breathing in) helped even though things felt quite harsh at that point. We decided to agree put in a thing in the arm in case drugs would have to be administered later and a doctor came in and did that. I walked around a bit but didn’t really use the various tools in the room much and ended up sitting on the toilet quite a lot. I tried to use the gas twice but it made me feel nauseous and I had to throw up. After a while Abigail thought I could start to get ready for the pool and suggested I should take a shower while it was filling up, which felt really good. In the pool I could really get into my own zone and focus on the breathing through the surges much easier. The guidance Abigail gave me to let my shoulders down also helped a lot. After a while in the pool I had to start holding back the desire to push with the surges, but sometimes I couldn’t fully hold back and the body pushed a little bit.

There was an examination early morning before Abigail ended her shift at 8.30. I got out of the pool and found out I was then 8 cm dilate at that stage which was good news since the she has said in the beginning that they normally estimate it will take 4 hours per 2 centimeter. 

We were introduced to Cynthia Jordan and the student midwife Debbie. Cynthia checked me and I was then fully dilated and just had to wait for the baby to descend a bit more in the birth canal. Unfortunately the shift change happened just before I was about to go into the push stage and the surges stalled because of the change in atmosphere. I tried my best to get back into the zone but it was difficult. Cynthia gave me directions for the push stage and said it would be great if we could wait until a quarter past ten or so before we started. 

I tried pushing a bit in the bath but the surges never really came fully back on so I decided to agree to get out of the bath and get oxytocin drip, to help stimulate some surges to push with. Hence it was a really good thing that I had the thing in my arm already. Before getting me on the drip an obstetrician emptied my bladder, which also was really great since 5 dl - 1l came out and pushing with that still in there would have been difficult. Another obstetrician said that there was forceps and other medical ways to help would that be necessary but I made it very clear that I didn’t want that. I then got on my knees in the bed and the pushing with each surge started. The surges still felt really mild and only a fraction of what I had experienced them like earlier, but I tried my best to push as much as I could holding for three times ten. In the end I had to ask the Cynthia to opt up the dose to make something happen. It was still difficult to get enough feeling of the surge to continue the pushing for as long as I wanted or as long as they encouraged me to. Once we got to a point where I felt like I could push long enough to get the head out Cynthia saved my perineum by making sure the head didn’t come out too fast by instructing me to breath and push in a different way, while simultaneously easing the vaginal opening a bit with Vaseline as it was stretching to let the head out. A few more long pushes during the next surge and then the body came out. No tear at all and not a single stitch needed

The baby had the cord around its neck, there was meconium on the side of the lifeless floppy body. Cynthia swiftly got the cord away and said “sorry dad I have to cut this”, pushed the emergency button and within seconds the room filled with doctors. They took the baby over to a station at the right side where I could see over my shoulder how they stimulated her by rubbing her to get her going. You could hear attempts of screaming and breathing but the body was still lifeless. I was still on all four and could also see lots of blood and things pouring out of me between my legs. 

Hal cried and came over and said “it’s a little girl” and then went back to the station where they were working on her to be close to her. Time stood still and so many thoughts rushed through my head. The fine line between life and death, euphoria and catastrophe. 

I moved over to my back to deliver the placenta and got more oxcytocin to help with the delivery since I had lost some blood. After a few minutes she was fully pink, using her little voice and awake enough to be put on my chest. Hal asked what should “we call her, what comes to mind?” and what came to mind was Lorelie so we agreed that, that’s what it was. They had to do a gas check after and we said yes to a Vitamin K injection but said that the top to toe examination could wait until we’d had more skin-to-skin. It took quite a while for her to calm down from the trauma but once she found peace and started to feed we could finally take a breath of relief and feel into the joy of her entering into our lives.

Such a beautiful experience...

I am so touched and grateful. 

We then had some time to ourselves in the room and after a while we were offered a hot meal, which was lovely. I had a shower, we packed up and were then moved to the postnatal ward without any sense of being rushed which helped maintain our post partum glow. There we met Ella and Chidi and continued the soft landing and the rest. The next morning we had a top to toe examination by Anna and it was decided that we should stay a bit for observation because a potentially swollen fontanelle. The day went by very fast with calm and nice check-ups now and then and after Dr Lin had examined the fontanelle in the evening, we were able to go home. It felt really good to stay in the hospital for a while to ensure that she was fine and also have the possibility to ask various questions about little rashes, poos, breast feeding and other new parenting things. 

From the moment we stepped into the Homerton hospital we received the best care possible, considering our desires about a natural midwife lead birth, but with full medical support available the minute it was needed. Every single staff we encountered throughout our stay were so loving and caring. Midwifes, obstetricians, students, the registrar, cleaners. We are so deeply grateful for the professionalism and the love that all employees so evidently put into their work.  

3,8 kg, 58 cm at birth and now 6 days later she's breastfeeding like a queen (latching on well as long as she's calm) and had already gained weight Monday when we went to the midwife's open clinique to check on her jaundice. Today we breastfed in public (outside a cafe after a walk) for the first time.