** Scroll to the end if you would rather just watch the video**
We welcomed Carrie Cornelius into this world two months ago, on her due date, weighing 7lbs. Despite a Gestational Diabetes diagnosis I’d had it agreed that I could have a water birth on the midwife led unit. I had originally wanted a homebirth, which made complete sense following my unplanned homebirth the first time around, but was happy to compromise with birthing on the midwife led unit.
I’d managed to maintain my gestational diabetes by diet alone, with only a handful of high blood sugars throughout my pregnancy, all of which I could explain. Carrie’s growth was estimated as normal so there was no need to induce me early, I could go five days over before being induced. I was offered a sweep the day before my due date which I happily accepted, Aria came the day after a sweep and I really did not want to be induced, so was willing to try everything possible to prevent medical induction.
At the sweep I was told that my cervix wasn’t favourable, she had managed to tickle babies head but it wasn’t as thorough as a sweep, she delightfully showed me her bloody fingers afterwards to show me that she had tried her best. Grim.
I was told my sweep wasn’t favourable with Aria, and she came the following day…
Sure enough, around one hour after my sweep at 12:30pm I started to feel what I thought were braxton hicks contractions. These continued throughout the day, I was convinced that it wasn’t actual labour but decided to time them at around 8pm, just in case. Sure enough the contractions were roughly every three minutes lasting around 20-30 seconds and my phone app told me to prepare for hospital.
As I’d had an unplanned homebirth on Aria it had been agreed that even if I were only 1cm dilated when I went to hospital they wouldn’t send me home, as that is exactly how the homebirth came about last time! Due to the GD they wanted to do everything in their power to make sure that I birthed in the hospital. When I called the hospital they were convinced that I wasn’t in labour, but due to circumstances agreed that I should go in.
We arrived at the hospital at around 9:30pm. Again they were convinced that I wasn’t in labour. They told me that I wouldn’t have been able to talk through the contractions if I was. Before checking me they said I would be allowed to stay in because of my history, but Spencer would need to go home as partners can’t stay overnight unless you are in labour. Much to their surprise and our relief, they examined me at 10:20pm and discovered that I was five centimetres dilated!
Unfortunately they were short staffed and had no one on the midwife led unit, or no rooms with birthing pools available. They offered me the next best thing, a bath. I was a little disappointed but happy to get into the warm bath with my gas & air. If you’ve read Aria’s birth story you may find it amusing to read that I almost got stuck in the bath, again. Spencer eventually got me out after what felt like forever and me falling back in there at one point, and I made it to the bed to finish labouring.
My body wanted me to push and I couldn’t resist the urge, but on examination the midwives discovered that my cervix hadn’t fully dilated, there was still a lip around the edges. I recall telling them to just cut the baby out at this point. I’m not really sure what happened next, if the midwife intentionally burst my waters or it just happened whilst she was examining me, but everyone got soaked. They really did burst and things ramped right up and Carrie appeared shortly after, at 2:25am on her due date.
We delayed cord clamping for a little while, before the placenta was taken into another room for stem cell collection. Carrie and I enjoyed plenty of skin to skin contact before she was weighed and measured, and then placed back on me for a lovely long feed. I laboured with gas & air and was lucky enough to have no stitches.
I’m not sure exactly how long and when everything happened, but my notes say that the first stage of labour lasted 3 hours 50 minutes and the second stage just 25 minutes.
We later discovered that Carrie had a true knot in her umbilical cord, this is very rare and can be incredibly dangerous. I still get so emotional just thinking about what could have happened and how lucky we are.
As a result of the gestational diabetes Carrie needed to pass three blood sugar tests before we could go home. Unfortunately, despite a long feed, she failed her first test and required a sugary syrup to perk her up. I had harvested colostrum and took a few syringes into hospital with me, we gave her these but she wasn’t really a fan, spitting the majority back out. She passed her next test but only just which was surprising considering she had the syrup, a feed from me and some of the harvested colostrum. As a result I decided to top her up with formula in between each test. She passed the remainder of the tests and we were able to be discharged once Carrie had been signed off by a paediatrician, as failing the first test meant that she couldn’t be signed off by a midwife. We finally left the hospital at 7:14pm and headed home to collect Aria and settle into life as a family of four.
Grab your tissues for the video…