The Birth of Hugo James

Hugo James – Tuesday 12th August 2014 – 9.49am – 9lb 9oz

I can’t believe it’s taken me four weeks to write this, and at the same time I can’t believe that four weeks has gone by so quickly.

I really struggled the last few weeks of my pregnancy, I was, to put it mildly, a moody cow. I was tired, I was hot, I was uncomfortable. I felt like an awful mum because it was the summer holidays and I was too big to fit behind the wheel of the car so we didn’t really go anywhere or do anything. My due date came and went, and I was STILL pregnant. I was starting to worry that my much wanted home birth wouldn’t happen and that I would have to be induced. I’d started ignoring the phone because I knew what the person on the other end would say: “Any news? Any twinges? Come on, get a move on.”

My midwife did a sweep when I was 40+2 and we got hopeful. She could feel his head and my waters bulging. We came home, we rearranged the living room to make room for the pool, I text Jay, our birth photographer, and got her on standby.

41 weeks came, and I decided I was going swimming. When I was pregnant with Zack, my waters went after going swimming, so I figured it couldn’t do any harm. I swam, I went home, and nothing. I bounced on the birth ball, I sent Neil to the shop for comfort food, I cried at Long Lost Family, and I went to bed.

I woke up at 5am, as I’d been doing fairly regularly, and was pleased that I knew my midwife was coming later to do another sweep. I came downstairs. Read the news about Robin Williams, read some of my book. I started getting twinges, but didn’t think anything of them, they weren’t painful, they weren’t regular, but I thought something might happen later.

Neil’s alarm went off at 7am, so I went back upstairs, and told him that I had a feeling today was the day. I had my shower and went back downstairs. Neil got his shower and got the boys up and dressed. They came down about 8am, and by then, I was fairly sure labour was in the early stages. I wasn’t in any pain, just uncomfortable. But I text Jay to give her a heads up.

Jay text

I was sat on the couch, and I felt what I thought (for about half a second) was an almighty kick, and then realised it was actually my waters. Cue, another text to Jay to let her know we were on.

Neil and Jake were inflating and filling the birth pool, and my contractions were still not following any regular pattern, and I was talking through them. I called my midwife at 8.30am (MY midwife – was so happy she was working that day!) and told her that she wouldn’t need to do the sweep, that my waters had gone, that I was contracting, but I was fine. We agreed that she would do the visit she already had booked in, and then come and see me.

My neighbour was on standby to have the boys for us, she’d been on standby for a few weeks, so we called her, and got no answer on either the landline or her mobile. We later found out that she was outside with some workmen and didn’t hear the phone. So Neil went a put a DVD on upstairs for the boys to keep them out of the way.

Jay arrived just before 9.30am. She says that I had “that look” on my face and that she knew it wouldn’t be long. It was just after she arrived that I made Neil call my midwife back and tell her that I needed to use the gas and air, so could she come please. She was here ten minutes later.

I knew I wasn’t going to be able to make it into the pool. It was full, it just wasn’t warm enough, and at this stage I was fairly confident that even if it had been, there’s no way I would have been able to get in. Louise got me hooked up onto the gas and air, and held my hand through contractions.

Contraction

She used the sonicaid to check his heartbeat, and it was then that I shouted “He’s coming!” It was quite comical, Louise said “If he’s coming, shall we take your knickers off?” Yeah, that would help, wouldn’t it?

A few pushes, and my gorgeous boy was born at 9.49am. 22 minutes after Jay arrived, and 9 minutes after Louise. You could say we cut it fine.

He's here

My first words after he was born “Oh I’ve made a mess of the carpet!” And I really did. We hadn’t planned for me giving birth on dry land, and even if we had, I laboured so quickly that I’m not sure we would have had the poly sheets down anyway.

The photo’s that Jay took are amazing, and prove that I am a crier. Neil says I’ve been the same now with all three births.

Yep, still crying

The fact that the boys were at home meant they got to come down and meet their baby brother when he was a few minutes old. It was lovely.

Big brothers

So, I didn’t get to use the pool, but I did get my home birth. I got my amazing midwife (who I now consider a friend), and a fabulous photographer there to capture it all.

Louise

Best of all, I got a gorgeous baby boy, who we all love very much.

Welcome to the world baby Hugo.

Roz Barnwell, Hugo James Birth Story, Worcester 120814 Roz Barnwell, Hugo James Birth Story, Worcester 120814 Roz Barnwell, Hugo James Birth Story, Worcester 120814 Roz Barnwell, Hugo James Birth Story, Worcester 120814

A very special thank you to Jay at Jay Emme Photography for capturing these amazing pictures that I will be eternally grateful for. Every time I look at them, I get so emotional. Go and check out her facebook page and give her a like, and tell her how much you like them.

Pregzilla

I am 38+4 and really not coping with the heat. Any other year I would be soaking up the rays and rolling my eyes at anyone that complained, but, alas, this year I am a complainer. 

38 week bump

38 week bump

I am now not booked in to see the midwife until August 6th which is after my due date. This week I had +1 ketones in my water, but I know that is because the day before I didn’t eat nearly enough, so I got a bit of a telling off, but they weren’t worried. 

Home birth is still all go. I have all the stuff (although I need to lay my hands on some poly dust sheets we bought the other week), my “go bag” is nearly all ready, my play list is ready, all we are doing now is waiting. I must admit I was hoping to have given birth by now, but baby seems quite comfy and isn’t even engaged yet. The midwife assures me this is normal for a third baby and the head might not even engage until labour starts so it’s nothing to worry about. I’ve had no contractions, I’ve had no “bloody show” and my waters have not broken. I’m uncomfortable and struggling to sleep, which is no fun. 

Yep

But seeing as baby isn’t here yet, I am hoping labour holds off until Monday/Tuesday as the lovely Jay from Jay Emme Photography isn’t around this weekend, and we are hoping that she is able to make it (we’ve got a stock of bacon in the fridge and everything!), and my usual midwife is back from holiday on Tuesday so she may be able to attend if she’s back.

Although, now I’ve said that, baby will no doubt arrive tomorrow. 

The next time I post, might end up being a birth announcement! One can only hope!

The One Where I’m Classed as Full Term

On Monday, I turned 37 weeks. Although I’m not technically due for another 3 weeks, I am now classed as full term, which means that if I go into labour (soon, please let it be soon!!) the midwives are on call for me and will attend me at my home birth. 

37 week bump

On Thursday, my home birth pack was delivered, and on Friday my birth pool arrived! I’m sure I’ve mentioned that I’ve had my pool from Water Baby Birthing Pool Hire. I haven’t used the pool yet, obviously, but if you are considering a home water birth and don’t want to buy a pool, I would thoroughly recommend this company. Emma is lovely to deal with, and for £90 you get your pool delivered at 37 weeks for 5 weeks hire and it includes all of the accessories you need, so you don’t need to buy them. You can reserve your pool at any point during your pregnancy and at 36 weeks, Emma will call and see if you are still having a home birth, and if you are she takes payment and arranges delivery. 

Anyway, the pool I went for is the Birth Pool in a Box Mini. We went for the mini as it doesn’t take as long to fill, or take as much water, and as I’m vertically challenged at 5ft 1in, I didn’t see the need to go for a bigger one. Neil isn’t coming in the pool with me (we are both fully agreed on that!) so it only needs to be big enough for me. 

We  had a test run of sorts on Saturday evening, where we went through the box, made sure all the accessories were there and inflated it, we didn’t fill it, just wanted to see how long it took to inflate, and how big it was so we knew exactly where we were putting it. 

PicMonkey Collage

Whilst we were doing that, I had a bit of a “moment”. Call it pregnancy hormones if you like, but I had a few tears. I couldn’t have a home birth with Jake, with Zack, we had that horrible scare and even the chance of using the Birthing Centre was gone. This time, my pregnancy has been pretty much text book, with no complications, no scares, and a different consultant who is much more relaxed. So this time, we get to do things the way we wanted to since 5 years ago. We’ve come so far since then, been through so much. Four years ago, I was still having chemo and had not long come out of hospital being treated for a bout of Pneumonia with a stint in Intensive Care. Never would I imagine that we would be here today. 

Not long to go now. We’re on the final leg!

*Disclaimer – I haven’t been paid or recompensed in anyway for mentioning Water Baby Birth Pool Hire- I just loved them so much I wanted to share it with you*

 

35 Weeks

I am now 35+1 weeks pregnant. I’m not really sure where the time has gone, it’s whizzing past, and I could quite possibly have my baby as in little as 2 weeks. This terrifies me more than a little bit!

I had my 34 week midwife appointment last week and all was well. I had bloods taken for thyroxine levels and full blood count (they like to check your iron levels towards the end if you are having a home birth). My midwife is booked in to come and see my on July 10th to deliver my homebirth pack, and I will get a call next week from Water Baby Birthing Pool Hire to confirm delivery of my chosen pool.

I’m taking Raspberry Leaf tablets in earnest and have started taking one Oil of Evening Primrose tablet in the morning, which I will increase at 37 weeks.

So how am I feeling at 35 weeks?

Huge (I think the words hubby used were along the lines of “freaking enormous”). Uncomfortable. Fed up of heartburn. Tired. I keep getting cramp when I’m in bed, and I’ve come down with a horrible cough, that along with loo trips in the middle of the night mean I’m not sleeping much.

Jake is getting excited. He’s telling the teachers what we are having and what name we are toying with. I say toying with. I mean name that Neil and Jake have chosen and that I’m not completely sold on yet.

I have my final growth scan next week, and all being well I should be completely discharged from the consultant which will be fantastic.

So it’s all go at the moment.

I shall leave you with a bump picture taken on Thursday (34+3) on our 8th Wedding Anniversary.

Image

Home birth – 3rd Time Lucky?

I’ve always wanted a home birth. It was planned with Jake. We had the appointment for the midwife to come and deliver the magic box at 37 weeks, but I had a bleed at 35, and so the doctors decided that they didn’t want me to go overdue just in case my placenta was failing, and I was to be induced. With Zack, I didn’t even get as far as suggesting it. My consultant (I was consultant led due to having my thyroid removed) needed convincing about me using the Birth Centre instead of the Delivery Suite, but when I had *that* scare, even Birth Centre was off, and Delivery Suite it was.

I know now, after spending a LOT of time researching things, that actually, I could have still had a home birth if I wanted to. They aren’t allowed to say no, but it would be against medical advice, and a Supervisor of Midwives would come and explain the risks to you.

Ultimately, they have a duty of care to attend you. The Nursing and Midwifery Council says ‘Should a conflict arise between service provision and a woman’s choice for place of birth, a midwife has a duty of care to attend her… Withdrawal of a home birth service is no less significant to women than withdrawal of services for a hospital birth.’

And so, this time, pregnancy number 3, and once again I have brought up the subject of home birth. I never started this pregnancy wanting a home birth particularly. To be completely honest, I thought it was beyond the realms of possibility being consultant led. But then she said she would discharge me back to midwife led care at 36 weeks providing my second growth scan was fine, and I had no reason to believe it wouldn’t be, seeing as Zack’s birth weight was a healthy 7lb 4oz. So I started the research, and then I chatted to Neil, and I we decided that we would give it a go this time, so I joined some home birth groups on Facebook, and I reserved a birthing pool. I’ve chatted to my midwife, who is fully on board, although she suggests the the SOM will still want to talk to me about risks as I’m not *normal* due to my thyroid issue, but doesn’t see it as being a problem.

I should stress the point here – I AM NOT ANTI HOSPITAL BIRTH. I’ve had two healthy babies delivered in hospital, with two very different labours, and I am grateful for that. I am however, pro home birth.

Yes, I know there are *risks*. But don’t we take risks every day? Every time we cross the road, we risk getting run over. Every time we get in the car, we risk having a crash. We go to a shopping centre, we risk a bomb going off, etc etc blah blah. But you  know what? Most of the time, we are okay. If I need to transfer to hospital for any reason, we are literally a five minute drive away. It would be quicker to get Neil to put me in the car and drive there than to wait for an ambulance.

I have carefully thought about it, weighed up the pros and cons and decided that this time, home birth is the better option for me, for my family, and it’s going to take a lot for me to be convinced otherwise.

 

The One With the Growth Scan

Now that I am in the last trimester, the appointments are being stepped up a notch. I had my GTT at 28 weeks, and thankfully, if not unsurprisingly the results were fine. I’ve had to have one in all my pregnancies due to the fact my mum has Type II Diabetes. It’s a simple enough test to do, just very boring as it involves lots of sitting around on uncomfortable chairs.

I have really been struggling the last few weeks. The tiredness has reached a whole new level, and I found myself needing a quick power nap even after a task as simple as doing the school run. Not really ideal as I still have Zack to look after. I wasn’t sure if it was just third tri lethargy or if my thyroxine dose needed increasing. Luckily I had an appointment with my consultant and for a growth scan last week.

With Jake, I didn’t need growth scans as I was “healthy” and had no medical ailments. Then with Zack, because I’d had my thyroid removed, I had growth scans every four weeks from 20 weeks. This time I’m only having two growth scans, one at 30, and one at 36 weeks. I’m not sure if this is because everything was fine with Zack, or if it’s because I’m at a different hospital with a different consultant, either way, less is more as far as I’m concerned because I’m planning on a homebirth this time.

Neil couldn’t come with me to the hospital last week as he’s manic at work, so my mother-in-law came with me as moral support. I’m sure I would have been fine on my own, but I always like someone with me to talk things over with afterwards.

First up was the scan. They had to check the placenta this time around as as the last scan it was low lying. Thankfully this time, the placenta had moved out of the way, which I was really pleased about, as I don’t want anything to stand in the way of the home birth.

We had a 4D scan at 27 weeks and that showed that baby was head down. Now, baby is lying oblique. I’m not too worried about this just yet, I have another scan at 36 weeks, and am fairly certain s/he will have moved again by then, but just in case, I’ve had a look at Spinning Babies to find some exercises that might help.

As regards growth. Well, baby is bang on target, and estimated weight is currently 1627g (approx 3lb 9oz) and is measuring just below the 50th centile. Although, I know growth scans are to be taken with a pinch of salt. According to previous growth scans, Zack was going to be 9lb + whereas in reality, he was 7lb 4oz!

growth chart growth scan

Then it was through to the consultant. Blood pressure etc was all fine. I explained how tired I had been feeling, so they repeated my thyroid function blood test. I assumed that I would need my dose increasing, so agreed to call my GP in a few days for the results. I didn’t get that far as the consultant called me on Friday and said that she’d looked at my results and thought I was taking too much so has in fact reduced my dose. After a quick nose on Dr Google, I found that the symptoms of too much thyroxine are very similar to the symptoms of not enough, so I’m hoping to start feeling better in the next week or so.

I have a midwife appointment this week, then won’t be seen until 34 weeks, at which point I will be on fortnightly checks.

It’s all starting to get a bit real!

29+4

So, somehow I have gone past 29 weeks and am into my third trimester. We have a girls name decided, and we are yet to decide on a boys name, Neil and Jake vs me, it would seem!

This pregnancy feels different to my pregnancies with Jake and Zack. With Jake and Zack, I was elated, excited. This time, I’m waiting for those feelings to kick in.

It’s not that I’m not happy. It’s just that I’m not quite where I was. And I feel awful about it.

It’s been a bit of a rollercoaster.

We weren’t planning a third, so it was a bit of a shock. Then I was convinced I was going to have another chemical pregnancy, as I’d had before Jake and before Zack. I was sure that was just how my body works. I had early blood tests which showed my HCG levels had more that doubled in a 48 hour period, and we had a scan at around 7 weeks that showed a strong heartbeat.

At 10 weeks, I had a small bleed and some cramping, so had another scan which showed that everything was still fine. The 12 week scan went absolutely fine. We then announced our pregnancy, and had some negative reaction. Heaven forbid we have a third child!

We chose to have a private gender scan at 16 weeks and found out what we were having, but at 20 weeks, found out we were having something else. So we had started to bond with what we thought we were having, and then had to bond with the other.

When I was 23 weeks, my Dad got rushed into hospital with heart trouble, and got a diagnosis of Unstable Angina and spent a few days in CCU. When I was 24 weeks, Dad went back into hospital, spent some more time in CCU and had an angioplasty. When I was 25 weeks, Dad went back into hospital and spent yet more time in CCU.

Also, when I was 25 weeks, Mum failed her memory test at the GP and is being referred to the hospital, and will have some more tests done. I strongly suspect she will end up with some kind of dementia diagnosis.

To add to that, we have been going through some social worker assessments, not for us, but for my brother with learning difficulties to try and get him some extra support, as the support he was getting has now gone away due to lack of funding. Thank you Mr Cameron. The first assessment said he wasn’t eligible, and was factually incorrect, so we put a complaint in, and had to start the process again. We’ve just been through the second assessment, and are waiting for the outcome, although I feel it will be a lot more positive than the last one. It helped that this social worker was older than 12.

So with all of this going on, I’ve not had much of a chance to get ready for this baby. And I think that’s what I need to do. Once the baby clothes come out, the cot gets assembled, my growths scans are ok, I think I will start to feel excited about meeting the new member of our family. I know that once s/he is in my arms, I will fall completely in love.