Warning: This story ends in transfer from home to hospital after the woman experiences a post partum haemorrhage or PPH. This is a positive story, with a positive outcome and a woman with no regrets but may be unsuitable if you are of a sensitive nature.
Amélie Ophelia O’Connor decided she was ready to meet the world (2weeks early!) and landed earth side at 15.28 on the 10th March 2013…the best Mother’s Day pressie EVER!!!
We were all a bit late with organising what we wanted for our birth and as you know we were on the hunt for a doula! The week before Amélie arrived I managed to interview 3 doulas (all from your list) and although all 3 of them were fantastic, something seemed to click with Sam Shepherd and on Friday night (8th March) I had a lovely chat with Rob my husband and I called Sam to confirm that we wanted her as our lovely doula! It felt great to have made that decision and I guess I started to feel calm and safe.
The next morning we woke, it was Saturday and my husband I set about tidying the spare room as that’s where we were planning to put the birthing pool. We also sorted out some more clutter and at 2pm I jumped in the bath as I’d arranged a birthday meal for Rob with all our friends…however Amélie had other plans!
Whilst in the bath I felt a few ‘contractions’ and shouted down to Rob that I thought I’d had a couple of ‘Branston Pickles’ (our nick name for Braxton Hicks) but I must have had 6 in the bath. When I got out and started to get ready…I was finding it hard…I was having to stop, bend over and breath through them! This made us really late leaving and we ordered a cab to the tube station. At the station the contractions weren’t going away. I was convinced they were just practice contractions, but felt this over whelming urge to get home. So…another can was ordered and we headed back home! Me in tears as I was terribly sad that we were going to miss all our friends…but once home, things really stepped up a notch and within an hour I was having a contraction every 3.5 mins lasting for 45-60 seconds!
Rob called the midwife as I’d thought my waters had broken and she arrived 20 mins later to confirm my waters hadn’t broken…but I was def in labour! Eeeek! I had only seen the home birth midwife on Wed! Talk about timing!
Next Rob called our doula Sam. She needed to head to ours quickly as she had the pool we were using (which she was meant to be dropping off on Monday…oh and meeting Rob) but 2 hrs later Sam was at our house, helping Rob organise the spare room and the pool, whilst Rob knocked on neighbours doors looking for a hose pipe! (9pm on a Sat night!)
So…we were on! It’s at this point I lost all track of time. Contractions came and went and I could sense Rob and Sam getting everything in place. Rob arranged for water and some food, although all I wanted was sliced apple! And before I knew it, it was night and Rob was asleep at the end if our bed, on the floor and our 3 cats had positioned themselves around our bedroom…it was 1.30am and I was shattered! I think my body sensed this…and some how…I managed to slow my contractions down and get some sleep. Nothing comfortable…I was sitting up, but we got through the night.
Next thing I remember is day light…it was around 11am and I must have been going through the ‘transition’ part of my labour because I spoke to Rob and told him that I couldn’t do it any more! I was exhausted and I wanted to be transferred into hospital so I could get an epidural! Rob said he’d speak to Sam and 2 mins later he was back upstairs, saying calmly…’hunny Sam and I think you should get in the pool’ Now…in my head I thought I’d responded something along the lines of ‘you two don’t know what your talking about! Get me to to f**king hospital, because I want an epidural!!!!’
In reality Rob said I happily agreed to get in the pool…funny how scued reality is for the labouring woman! Hahaha!
Once in the pool (around 12pm) things changed. I felt the urge to ‘push’ that’s when I knew we were on the home stretch. My contractions really kicked in again and I could feel we were close! I also got a second wind…which I needed as pushing takes a lot of energy!
After a bit of time feeling as though I was doing the biggest poo of my life, things moved to the front and I knew Amélie was nearly here! The contractions were strong, almost on top if one another and intense! Our midwife finally said the magic words ‘I can see an inch of dark hair’ and I knew it was only a matter of time before my baby was in my arms! I felt everything…I guess it stung a bit when her head was coming out…but every single second if labour was bareable…and that’s all I’d asked for.
Finally Amélies head was born (after a bit of bobbing) and at 15.28 her white little body left mine and she floated to the top of the water, arms outstretched like a little water angel!
I’m crying as I’m typing this…the magic and love that hits you when you hold your baby in your arms for the first time is UNBELIEVABLE! In fact I know now, that there are absolutely no words to sum up that feeling! A million words wouldn’t even come close! I just looked at her and knew that any love I’d ever felt before had grown X a million! I honestly believe that you really learn to love once you’ve had a child. I thought I was madly in love with my husband…but somehow I’m now even more in love with my husband! Babies do this to you!
I delivered my healthy, big placenta perfectly. I had a shower, the midwife checked me over…no stitches required! Sam bought me up some toast and Amélie was wrapped up on me, breast feeding! And then I started to feel VERY exhausted. The midwife seemed happy and I asked everyone to leave so I could get 40 winks before my family arrived.
I’d love to say at this point, I got into our own bed for some quick snuggles before my family arrived…but this didn’t quite happen.
That’s when I started to feel very unwell. I couldn’t get my breathing under control and although exhausted I thought I was having a panic attack. I asked Rob to call the midwife back and within 10 mins she was back, and Rob was calling 999 and then it all gets a bit blurry.
Unfortunately I was haemorrhaging internally and was rushed to hospital
My parents arrived 5 mins after the ambulance arrived, so not the best welcome for them…seeing their daughter being stretchered out, semi conscious. I remember bits…all I kept thinking was ‘I can’t die, I’ve git a baby girl that needs me’
Once in hospital they tried to establish what the problem was…and tried to remove the clots manually which they couldn’t! And I ended up in theatre where they were able to remove the membranes and contract my uterus and stop the bleeding.
Not the happy ending I wanted…prob not the best story to tell, but I have learnt a few very valuable things.
1) trust your body…for the good or the bad…my body served me unbelievable well! I am in AWE of my body! It delivered my beautiful baby and it stayed strong so I’m here, alive to watch my beautiful baby grow
2) I am also in AWE of the staff at Whipps Cross hospital! I chose a home birth to avoid hospitals, but the fact we have them as back up should anything go wrong… We really don’t know how lucky we are
3) I am a believer! I am not scared of giving birth! Birthing my beautiful Amélie (she has just farted! Hahaha) is single the most AMAZING thing I have ever done! And I would do it again in a heart beat! If someone had told me 2 months ago that I would have birthed my baby at home, using 4 paracetamol as pain relief…I would have told them to f**k off! Sorry to be so blunt…but really…child birth is an honour! And I feel blessed that I got the birth I wanted for our little family
4) once I’ve spoken to a specialist about how we can move forward (I’m hoping that this was just a one off) I’m already looking forward to adding to my little brood of Monkeys!
5) being a mummy is what life is allllll about! I am LOVING IT!
So…nothing in life is perfect. Child birth doesn’t always go the way you want and there can be some hairy moments…but there us NOTHING to be scared about.
Even though Amélie, Rob and myself spent our first night as a family in intensive care…it was still the BEST night if my life! I stayed awake allll night looking at my baby and chatting to the staff.
So to all those unbelievers out there, do yourself a favour and BELIEVE! Because right now…I’ve literally got the whole world in my hands.
My birth WAS AMAZING! Amélie and I worked perfectly together! I honestly couldn’t have wished for anything more perfect!
The 2nd part..although not ideal is the reality. I hope no one ever goes through what I did…but that was my journey…and even still…I’d do it a million times over because I got my baby! And we are all healthy and happy and it all works out in the end.