My baby girl Remi weighing 8lb 2oz and born 2 days before her due date.
My Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction (SPD) started when I was around 14 weeks pregnant. I now know I had it in my previous pregnancy but because it started late in the pregnancy, was much milder and I had no clue of what SPD was, I put it down to baby laying awkwardly or pregnancy ache/pain.
By 24 weeks I was on crutches. I did go to physiotherapy but did not find it much help as they just showed me ways of getting out of bed and gave me a support belt and told me “keep your legs closed as much as possible”. I was given codeine but really did not want to take it and only took it a few times when I was in complete tearful agony. The support belt did not help although, its hard to explain, I used my daughter’s bed sheet folded into a long strap-like shape positioned under my belly and around my neck to “lift” my belly a little to ease the pressure on my pelvis. I really wished I had taken a picture as it was slightly helpful especially towards the end of the day even if I did look silly!
When I told my midwife I wanted a homebirth, initially she said I should see a consultant and that he would most probably advise against a homebirth. I asked why and she said because they would advise me not to be very active i.e in bed….and also because at home there is no strong pain relief and I may need it. I refused there and then to see a consultant and she wrote in my notes that I was unco-operative!!
At my next midwife appt, I saw a different midwife (the other was a locum) and she was the midwife to be with me during labour. She was lovely and so supportive. She advised me to do lots of research into birthing positions, especially ones that ease pressure off the pelvis i.e on all fours. She also said to look into having a birthing pool as the water would help – even if we may have trouble getting me in! By this point it was extremely painful opening my legs wide and getting in and out of bed was complete agony. I was sleeping in my recliner chair at night.
The day I went into labour started off as any other day. I had been losing my plug over the last few days little by little. I made some cakes in the daytime and had a few Braxton Hicks but nothing painful. When my 1 year old went to bed, I bounced on the birthing ball and watched tv. At around 10pm, I had some more Braxton Hicks which seemed to be quite strong so I started timing them and they were every 10 minutes! I called the midwife to let her know and she said to call her if anything got worse.
At this point I felt like I needed to poo. Went to the loo and nothing so came back into the living room and me and my partner were laughing and saying we hoped that this was it. The pains then started getting much stronger and so I told him to fill up the pool, as it could take a while to fill it up and I wanted it ready in case I needed it. I then called the midwife again and she said was already at another homebirth which had luckily finished and she would be along when she was done.
I sat down on the sofa and then suddenly needed to poo again and boy, did I have a clearout!! I was utterly embarrassed as my partner was in the bathroom filling the pool and it really smelt and so I got the complete giggles and could not stop laughing hysterically! After I had finished, for some reason I felt comfortable in the bathroom so stayed in there and got naked (I like to birth starkers!) I was swaying my hips and smiling because I knew I was finally in labour. My boobs were leaking constantly and I was just deep breathing through each contraction. I gave myself a pep talk to myself in the bathroom, telling myself that I had done this before and soon, baby would be here and the pain would be gone.
I came into the sitting room, we dimmed the lights and my OH lit some candles and put on some music. I was going to get in the pool but then decided against it as I was coping with the contractions by walking and swaying my hips so thought I would leave the pool for when the pains were becoming unbearable. As I was just walking around I did not notice any SPD pain.
Most of this time I leant against the wall and swayed my hips and breathed and counted my way through all the contractions like this …….breath in….1…breathe out……breathe in….2…..breathe out and so on. At this point, they were lasting up to 10 and were at their worst about number 5/6.
The midwife then arrived and suddenly the pains were lasting to 16 of my counting breaths and so I explained all this to the midwife. I don’t know how frequent the contractions were but I did have some time in between to joke and talk with the midwife. She said I was very good at explaining exactly what I was feeling. I am not a fan of internals and so she did not examine me, she just said to go with my body and I seemed to be listening to it and coping well so she did not feel the need to. She checked the baby with the sonic aid a few times and the baby sounded fine the whole time.
About 1am, the pains got much more painful and I tried different positions to get comfortable. I was in transition at this point and told my midwife this (!) as during the contractions I felt as though I could not cope with them, although I was ok in between the contractions and so I knew I was nearing the end. I lay on the floor for a bit on my side, sat in between my partner’s legs, stood up and leant on him and couldn’t get comfortable. I did not feel any desire to get in the pool, although I did lean over the side of it and put my hands in the water which was really nice and Adrian wet my face and hair with the water to cool me down. This position on all fours was very helpful – although I don’t remember feeling any pain from the SPD because the labour pain was stronger and was all I could focus on. The second midwife arrived and we were chatting and they were eating the cakes I made earlier during the gap in between the contractions.
I started to really feel I couldn’t cope now and was moaning to my partner and the midwife that I couldn’t do this; the pain was too bad etc. I kept asking why was the labour going on for so long and why hadn’t my waters broken yet. I felt I needed to wee with each contraction and my midwife said my waters were bulging that was why.
At 1.25am (I remember the time because I asked what the time was)….I felt I was nearing the end and needed to get comfortable to give birth so we put loads of covers and padding on my recliner chair and reclined it so that the leg part was out. I opened my legs which was lovely. The pains were really bad now and I was scared that I was going to give birth with the waters intact. The midwife asked if I wanted her to break my waters as she could see the head and she might be born in her waters. Although that scared me, I said no as I wanted her to be born without intervention. I was trying to cry at this point and my partner came and sat on the chair and I was holding on to him and crying (well trying to) and saying I’m sorry I can’t do this. After a short while I felt the urge to push….the pushing was incredibly painful and after two contractions and gently pushing, some water came out and the midwife told me that my waters had gone. I then had a third contraction and told the midwife “she is coming out of my bum!”…..I felt her head move under and she started to crown. I panicked at this point (don’t know why – I did the same with my first daughter) and held my breath. Adrian was whispering in my ear to keep breathing and gently push, which I did and her head was born. Felt like an eternity waiting for the next contraction and then it came and one push and she was delivered along with loads of water, screaming on to my chest.
We had lots of skin to skin and then daddy had a cuddle whilst I was looked at. I had wanted a physiological third stage but the midwives were slightly concerned about how much blood I had down there so I was given the injection. Placenta was fine and I was fine although I had lost slightly more than “normal” blood and was told to get to bed! Remi was very bruised in the face and had bloodshot eyes for a few weeks so I definitely think the painful pushing was because of her big head!
By 4am, I had had a bath, something to eat and was in my own bed and it was absolute bliss.
Im not sure if SPD hindered or helped my labour. I did get very uncomfortable being in a position for too long and pushing was much more painful than my previous birth but that could be down to her being much bigger than her sister was and/or just being a different birth. It certainly did not create any obvious issues for me and apart from the pushing stage, I did not feel that this birth was more painful than my previous birth. The SPD stuck around for about three weeks after the birth although on a much lesser pain scale.
It was a truly amazing experience having my baby at home and fully recommend it! I will definitely have a home birth with any future children if I have any more.