Stephanie’s Story – Plan B Hospital Birth!

Who doesn’t love a birth story!? I certainly do. I think I found reading about other people’s experiences one of the most helpful ways to prepare for my births. Stephanie’s Plan B hospital birth is no exception, and testament to the fact that you can still have a great experience, even when events don’t follow the script you thought they would!


Steph, Andy and Baby Ruby
Steph, Andy and Baby Ruby

Stephanie’s Birth Story

I’d had a very uncomplicated pregnancy, and always wanted a home birth, so once I got my husband on board I was absolutely thrilled and we got the ball rolling.

The Blossom and Bloom home birth team were amazing from the minute I self referred to them, despite me being technically out of guidelines due to a high BMI and previous PPH.

The end of the calm seas…

We had plain sailing up until I hit 38 weeks, when my midwife felt that baby was oblique, with the head in my hip rather than pelvis. I decided I wanted to take up their offer of a scan to check, and the sonographer deemed me to have polyhydramnios at that point.

That started a cascade of fussing from consultants, insisting I had to deliver on the ward with a bedside scan and continuous monitoring. I had over an hour on the phone with one scoffing at everything I brought up, and constant scare tactics about bleeding and cord prolapse, but no real facts or support for my choices. It didn’t help that my lovely midwife was on annual leave and not back until my due date, but her supervisor absolutely smashed it out of the park with stepping up to help me and in the end I got it in writing that if I went into the ward, I’d get my water birth with intermittent monitoring. The consultant from the phone call agreed to my plan as part of an MDT [Multi-Disciplinary Team] meeting (I think mainly because I was adamant I wouldn’t go in otherwise).

A hunch…

Baby was due on Thursday 10th and I laughed with a mum on the school run that Monday that I was the most pregnant I’d ever been. Secretly though, I had a hunch baby would come on the 9th, as my boys were both born on the Wednesday before their due dates, and I do love a matching set.

I was in a foul mood all day on the 9th, I was uncomfortable and couldn’t settle to anything. I had a show first thing in the morning before dropping my eldest at school but then nothing else happened. (My husband told me later that he spent the day frantically wrapping up at work as he knew I was having the baby that night or the next day).

Labour under way…

It got round to the evening and I was still grumpy. We bathed our boys and my husband went to get them in bed, and I realised I’d been having a few period pains that were now distinctly tightenings. I timed a few and they were 45seconds every 3minutes, but not painful and so I thought this was early labour if anything at all. The boys decided they wanted to go to my mums so we whizzed them out of bed and round the corner to her, then came home to eat toast. I rang labour line while my husband sorted the pool out.

Still tightening every 3 minutes but no real pain. About 8pm (just as the liner went in the pool) I rang labour line, as once my labours establish, they go FAST. They informed me home births were suspended and they’d let the labour ward know I was coming in. I had a bit of a wobble at that point but I then decided to ring the ward to make sure my special plan was definitely in place, which it was, and moved to my yoga ball to bounce it out.

Time for Plan B – Hospital Birth!

My husband made me a cup of tea and sat down to drink a coffee about 10pm when all of a sudden I decided we needed to go. Now. (I have form for this, poor Andy didn’t get coffee or breakfast the day we had our oldest either!)

We are less than 5mins from the hospital and I had 2 strong contractions in the car, and took a while to get up to the ward, but once there we were met by a lovely student midwife ‘L’ who walked us to the exact same room I’d birthed both my boys in. We were met by another midwife, and they’d both very clearly read and were on board with my birth plan. (I did hand out my laminated copies of birth plan b, The Hospital Plan, just to make sure).

I was still having plenty of contractions and was needing to breathe through them but chatting fine in between; I asked if we could have the pool filled and asked for a VE to check where I was.

Respect

‘L’, was very clear about getting proper consent at every stage, and at one point I heard ‘J’, the other midwife gently correct her from saying “contractions”, to using “surge” instead as that’s what I’d written in my plan. It was lovely to feel so respected!

At 11.09pm, I was 5cm and getting in the pool. I joked to my husband that I had an hour to have this baby, and then I’d get my matching set. Contractions were about every 2minutes by now but still only lasting about 45seconds. I commented on how this wasn’t like either of my other births, and ‘J’ replied “well your body knows what it’s doing and it’s clearly doing it right!”

Full speed ahead!

From there, things were quick. At 11.20 my waters went, and ‘L’ came to check baby’s heart. There was a minute where she couldn’t find it, so ‘J’ came in, and I knew she’d been looking in the wrong place as I could feel baby in the birth canal but didn’t want to come out of the zone to talk to them, as I was mid ocean visualisation! ‘J’ found it right away and clearly knew we were close.

A bit of time later, I was kneeling at the edge of the pool and breathed out the head. (My notes say this was 11.32pm, but I’d asked in my birth plan not to be told the time or how long I’d been in the second stage unless I asked, so I didn’t know that at the time). Then all my surges stopped and ‘J’ asked me to change position to help the shoulders out, which I did. I knew instinctively I wanted to sit down with my back to the edge, so I did, and as I was moving I felt baby turn, so I knew we were close. I felt my body bearing down, so I used my down breathing and at 11.39pm (in the same position and room I’d birthed her biggest brother), Ruby was born.

Steph and Baby Ruby - 2 minutes old!
Steph and Baby Ruby – 2 minutes old!

On top of the world

‘L’ brought her straight to my chest, where Andy checked and said we had a little girl this time. I was feeling on top of the world and had absolutely no bleeding. ‘J’ told me the water was probably the clearest she’d ever seen! At that point I asked when I could leave, and ‘J’ did say that ideally she’d like me to birth the placenta first!

We had loads of skin to skin in the pool and though I had the injection for a managed third stage (part of my birth plan), there was no pressure at all to get out or cut the cord. We waited for white, then my husband cut it and I decided to get out. I got the shakes really badly so I decided to give Ruby to Andy for some snuggles and once I’d stopped shaking, ‘L’ did a quick check for tears (none!) and showed us the placenta. I think that’s when Ruby was weighed as well. Although she didn’t look it, she was our biggest babe at an impressive 8lb9oz, and my fastest labour, at a clocked 1hr48mins.

Ruby had been very chilled and quiet up to that point, but then decided she urgently needed a snack, so we got her latched on whilst I ate some toast and drank a cup of tea. After a good long feed, I handed her back to daddy to grab a shower, then repacked our bag, dressed Ruby and told the midwives we were off.

Home again…

We were at home on the sofa having another feed at 3.37 (whilst daddy built the crib!) and her delighted brothers joined us at about 10am. And I was back on the school run the next day, feeling like I’d bounced right back to normal.

Although it wasn’t our planned home birth, it really was the best home birth from home experience, and my hypnobirthing and homebirth planning made me feel so empowered!

Lovely Ruby – 2 weeks old!

Thanks Stephanie! Congratulations to you and your family, and welcome to the world lovely Ruby!

If you’d like to share your birth story – whether an planned hospital birth, plan B hospital birth, home birth or something completely different, we’d love to hear from you! Whether things went swimmingly or not so wonderfully – we want to hear them all.

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