So here it is the long awaited story of how Norah made her way into this world. As I sit and type this out Norah is snoozing on my chest, her favourite spot to sleep. It’s all a little surreal that she’s here and we’re now a family of four.
You will probably want to make yourself a cup of tea and grab some biscuits and settle down for the story. Although the birth wasn’t exactly a long one, I’ve got a lot of detail to explain. So here goes.
If you were following my pregnancy you will know that at 34 weeks I was measuring 37 weeks, what followed was many growth scans, appointments and checks to make sure that baby wasn’t getting too big. All the tests came back clear and it was decided that I’m just good at growing big babies. Edith wasn’t a tiny one at 8lb 7oz, so we didn’t expect to have a small baby.
At my last consultant appointment it was decided that at 39 weeks I would have a sweep to get things moving along. Thursday the 1st of March was that day. It was also in the middle of the coldest and snowiest weather the UK has had in many years. Oh yes. The Beast from the East was in full swing.
That morning I said to my husband should we cancel the appointment as the weather was awful and I didn’t know if the roads would be safe enough to travel on. My husband said he would ring the hospital, check that the appointments were still going ahead and see what they said. The receptionist had come from our way and said that the main roads were not that bad. We decided to go ahead with the appointment.
We called my Mum over as she couldn’t get to work with how bad the weather was. She was able to look after Edith for us while we popped out for the appointment. It was time to go and we decided that it was a good idea to put the car seat and hospital bags in the car, just in case anything were to happen. I gave Edith a great big hug and kiss and said goodbye. I thought that I’d be back that afternoon but something told me to give her a big hug and kiss, just in case.
We got over to the hospital half an hour early as the roads were quite clear. We decided to get something to eat while we waited as we were both a bit peckish. The time quickly passed and we headed up to the appointment. They were running behind and we sat there for a while. When we did get called they told us not to get up, just that they wanted me to have a scan first just to check everything over.
I didn’t realise I would be having a scan but I thought it would be a nice opportunity to see her again. We waited to be called through. The scan was a bit pointless, you couldn’t really see much. Her head was down and turned away and she was too big to see anything. Everything was perfect with her and she was once again measuring big.
We were then told to sit back in the waiting room for the consultant and he would discuss the scan with us. More time passed while we were waiting and I remember looking out of the window at a man trying to get his car of the thick snow on the carpark. I said to my husband that I was having a few pains, but nothing much. I decided it was Braxton Hicks and that combined with the baby moving so much inside was why it was happening.
I said to my husband “We’re not going to have a baby today”. We were called through to the consultant. He told us that the scan estimated baby’s weight to be 9lb 4oz and we needed to put a plan in place to get her out. He started the process of booking me in for induction. I would return Saturday night at 8:30 and they would start me off.
The consultant gave me leaflets all about shoulder dystocia, where the shoulders get stuck behind the pubic bone after the head comes out, and things about c-sections. It was a bit overwhelming and it felt a little like they didn’t think I would be able to push the baby out by myself. My husband explained to me later on that he was just telling me all my options but at the time I still felt a little scared.
The consultant then asked if I wanted the sweep. I said yes as that was the whole reason we went over. I wiggled out of my maternity jeans and laid on the bed covered with a piece of paper. Oh the glamour. He started and told me that if it became too painful to tell him to stop. Just as I was about to tell to stop he said “Oh, I’ve got a surprise for you”.
That’s really not what you want to hear when some has there hand inside you. He said “You must have a high pain threshold because you are 4cm already.” I was already in established labour and had no clue. With Edith I was 3cm for half a day with no progress and so much pain. I couldn’t believe that I was almost half way already.
Naively I thought oh maybe we’ll go home and just wait for things to progress. Oh no. Baby’s head was still high and there was a risk that the cord could prolapse which would result in an emergency C-Section. He said that I would be sent over to the maternity ward or delivery suite. It was very surreal. My waters were bulging so it was very risky. The consultant said the plan would be to pop my waters and get things underway. It was a good job we took the hospital bag because we were indeed having a baby that day.
We’re having a baby today.
We sat in the room whilst the consultant and senior midwife checked to see if there was a bed for me. Both my husband and I were excited and nervous. Neither of us had prepared to have a baby that day.
We moved from antenatal to the ward. Another senior midwife checked to see if delivery suite were ready for me. There were no beds on the delivery suite to begin with so they said they would leave me on Ward 11, the maternity ward, just in case my waters went then I would be in a good place rather than waiting in the cafe and having them break there.
As we got to the bed I saw two other ladies who were being induced. I thought they must hate me waltzing in here 4cm already without even knowing. I know I would of!! They decided that putting a cannula in was a good idea in case I needed an emergency c-section. I have the worlds worst veins and it took a senior midwife and a Dr and 3 attempts before they got one in. I turned into a bit of a pin cushion. The midwife told us to sit and wait for the bed and if I were to have any contractions to let her know and she would put me on a monitor.
I called my Mum to let her know we wouldn’t be back anytime soon. I started to cry. Oh the wonderful pregnancy hormones. It was when I heard Edith’s little voice. I could hear her saying “That’s my Mummy”. I spoke to her, told her I loved her and then told my Mum we would keep her updated. It was the first time I would leave Edith overnight and I worried about her being upset. Of course I had no need as she was with her Nanny, who she adores! Shortly after this my contractions started to pick up a little. I was now aware of them. They weren’t painful yet but I definitely knew they were there. I think it was the internal that started things off a little.
My husband went to find the midwife and told her that my contractions had started to pick up. Like she had said before, she strapped me up to a monitor to check on how baby was getting on. It was re-assuring to hear baby’s heartbeat again. She kicked the monitor off a good few times so the readings were all over the place but she was healthy in there.
The midwife came to find us to tell us that we could now go through to delivery suite. I should say before this point my hopes were that I could give birth in the Dolphin Suite, which is a home from home room for women with low risk pregnancies. I started off there with Edith before moving to the delivery suite. In all honesty I couldn’t care where I gave birth. I was too excited (and nervous) about meeting my baby.
The midwife from the ward passed us over to our midwife, called Kerry. She was wonderful. She got to know us a little and we explained that I had only come in for a sweep and that I wasn’t expecting to be in active labour already. She explained that we were waiting for a consultant who would break my waters for me. I was hooked back up to a monitor and we waited a little while before the consultant came to see me.
The consultant came in and explained my options. As my contractions had been progressing I could wait 4 hours and hopefully in that time my waters, which were already bulging, would go by themselves. Or he could pop them for me and get things moving. I had told my husband earlier on in the day that when it came down to making decisions that he should make them for me. In situations like this my mind goes blank and I don’t know what to do. He said it would probably best to have my waters popped there and then and get things moving quickly. The midwife told us afterwards that it was the best decision as I could have waited the four hours and not progressed at all.
The consultant gave me a little time to prepare, i.e going for a wee and getting undressed. I said to my husband at that point that I think things will happen quickly after my waters are popped. The consultant came back in. The midwife had to push down on baby to help her get into position and stop the cord from prolapsing. The consultant asked if I was ready and he started.
It was very uncomfortable. At this point my hypnobirthing breathing came into force. My husband, who I thought hadn’t listened to what I had said about it pulled it out of the bag. He told me to focus on my breathing. 4 in 8 out. This helped so much. My waters went and it was the strangest sensation. It felt like I was swimming in them. There was so much. It was warm and really not pleasant to be laying there in them. Luckily Kerry changed the sheets and cleaned up.
At this point my contractions really started to pick up. My husband went to the car to get the hospital bags. I spoke to Kerry and had to stop a a little for contractions. As everything went okay and I didn’t need a trip to theatre because of cord prolapse I was given the go ahead to eat and drink which I did. With Edith I got dehydrated and low on energy. I knew how long labour could last so I wanted my body to be prepared. Things really picked up. I was still happy breathing through the contractions. I wanted to stand up but didn’t know if I could because of being on the monitor.
Kerry said I could stand up and she could get bean bags or a birthing ball if I needed one. I was happy at that point to just carry on leaning against a small wooden cupboard on the wall. I asked my husband to rub my back because I could feel the pain there. I didn’t want to have gas and air until I felt like I couldn’t cope with the pain. I was still breathing through them and my husband was amazing at keeping my mind focused. I went into myself a lot. With Edith I was loud and my hands were flapping all over the place. This time I was calmer and I whispered instead of talking.
I was ready for gas and air. My husband asked Kerry who brought it over to me. I started using it but didn’t feel like I was doing it properly. My husband checked with Kerry as I was convinced I wasn’t doing the way I should. I was. I started to feel light headed and wanted to get back on the bed. With Edith’s labour I leaned over the back of the bed and that helped with the pain. I wanted to do the same this time. I got into position but it didn’t help. I waited for the next contraction to pass and then moved again. In the end I ended up on the side with my leg with one leg up. I was worried that I needed a wee because with Edith’s labour I couldn’t go. Kerry said she could help me to the toilet or put in a bed pan. In the end I didn’t really need to go and she said she wasn’t concerned as I had been recently. Throughout the contractions I needed my husbands face right next to mine and I was holding on (okay maybe pulling) the hair at the nape of his neck.
I can’t do this.
I started to feel like I couldn’t do it anymore. Which I knew was the transition stage. The stage just before you’re ready to push. I couldn’t believe that I was at the stage already as I was only 4cm when my waters were popped. Kerry said she could examine me if I wanted or we could just go with my body. Once again my husband said lets just go with your body. He was right. Before long I felt like I needed to push. I didn’t think I could because not enough time had passed. With Edith they told me not to push when I felt the need because I wasn’t fully dilated. Kerry came back into the room and my husband said that I felt like I needed to push. Kerry said if that’s what your body is telling you then do it, she was so clam and reassuring. She popped out and then came back in with another midwife. I wasn’t aware of this at the time, I was very focused on contractions. I was using the gas air a little and breathing through the rest. I didn’t like the gas and air as much this time. In fact just biting down on the mouthpiece brought me as much comfort. I used it sparingly.
I started to push and groaned (although my husband says screamed!) with each push. I still had the gas and air in my mouth. I could feel the baby moving down and I felt the “ring of fire” as she started to crown. I didn’t feel it with Edith as I was numbed. After 4 big pushes and some very deep fingernail marks on my husbands arm. My beautiful baby was placed on my chest. That overwhelming feeling of love and euphoria came over me. I did it. She was here. At 17:45pm, an hour and forty minutes after having my waters broken, Norah Birdie Quinn Wood came into this world. She was just perfect. I had skin to skin straight away, Norah was a little bit swollen after coming out so quickly.
My husband cut the cord and blood spurted out onto the bed. I really wanted him to cut the cord and I’m so glad he did. I had the injection to speed up my placenta coming out. It took a little while. A few more contractions and it was out. My husband asked if they would be able to show me the placenta as I didn’t get to see Edith’s and I’m a geek who loves things like that!
My husband had cuddles with Norah while I was stitched up. I had a small second degree tear. They weren’t sure if they needed to stitch it but decided to in the end. It was uncomfortable but my husband put Norah’s face right by mine to comfort us both! Kerry brought over the placenta and explained it all to me. It’s such an incredible thing to see what kept your baby alive.
I was then able to feed Norah. She latched on straight away and fed for ages. It was just like Edith did. We were left to get to know our baby. Later on after many feeds and cuddles I had a bath, got into comfy clothes and tried to sleep.
They gave Norah the vitamin K injection and weighed her at 9pm. She came in at 8lb 15 1/2 oz, almost 9lb. Because her weight was over the 90th centile they had to get blood from her foot three times before feeds to check her blood glucose levels. They were all okay. We were told that after 6 hours after birth we could go home if we wanted. That would have been just before midnight. We had to wait for a paediatrician to sign Norah off unfortunately they were caught up with emergencies and as the weather was awful ice and snow we stayed the night in the delivery suite. If we had of been transferred to the ward my husband would have had to have travelled back in the ice and then back again in the morning. I am so grateful they let us stay. We left hospital at 9am the next morning and came home to Edith. Our hearts burst when Edith and Norah met!
I had such a positive birth which was incredible after the long labour I had with Edith. I’ve said it wasn’t enjoyable, as it was still painful (it’s labour after all), but it was close to enjoyable. My body took over and knew what it was doing. I am so incredibly grateful to Kerry for letting us do our thing. She sat quietly in the room while things were progressing. Letting me focus on my hypnobirthing breathing but being there if we needed her. It was exactly the birth I had wanted. It didn’t matter it wasn’t in the room I had wanted before. I just want to let people know that the delivery suite isn’t a bad scary place and it doesn’t mean you can’t use hypnobirthing. I can honestly say it changed my outlook on labour and I am so glad I prepared myself this time. I am so grateful that my husband supported me the way he did. He was amazing and I couldn’t have done it without him. He focused my mind.
So that’s the story of how our Norah Bird came into this world in under 2 hours!