Dean’s birth story
I recently had a really positive home birth experience with my son Dean. And I’m thrilled that not only was it a great birth in its own right, but that it was the polar opposite of my first birth which left me traumatised.
First time around we fell in to the common trap of “agreeing” to an induction in hospital at 41+5 for no reason other than being post-dates. This led on to a cascade of interventions over the next 4 days as my body just wasn’t ready – including 3 pessaries/gels, an epidural with the hormone drip, episiotomy and ventouse delivery.
Because of the trauma I felt relating to my first birth, my husband and I discussed getting some more support with my second pregnancy and birth. We considered doulas and private midwives and after careful consideration used our savings to appoint Rene Bozier, a local private midwife who came highly recommended. For us, this meant we could have continuity of care, as well as more antenatal and postnatal appointments and support than with the NHS. Most importantly it meant we had someone caring for us who knew us (and us her) and was experienced at supporting “normal” birth without interventions where possible.
While appointing Rene didn’t mean an intervention free birth was guaranteed, whatever happened this time, I knew I’d have an advocate and someone to interpret the hospital system for me if required. It also meant we weren’t automatically in the hospital system of induction conversations and debates about where we could give birth just because of gestation dates. The dream of a home birth in water, with a midwife I knew began!
Here’s an overview of some key features of Dean’s birth:
- Our not so little man Dean Ethan Barry arrived safely and swiftly at 2.57am on 28th May 2019.
- He weighed in at 5.22kg or 11lb 8oz so a lot more than my first son (4.225kg) and measuring 63cm! An example of how big babies can safely be born vaginally and at home (without tinkering from doctors or special monitoring). Also, an example of how the hospital size scans can be misleading – we were “predicted” a 9lb-er, at 36 week scan.
- When born he was 41+6 weeks gestation, with labour starting on the evening of 41+5. I’m a firm believer that most babies really do come by 42 weeks if left alone rather than labour being induced (if there is no medical reason to do so).
- Dean was born in the birth pool at home as I’d hoped. I can highly recommend both the pool and home birth!
- It wasn’t all plain sailing. I had a cold, which at one point we thought might have contributed to a high temperature reading which would have been a transfer to hospital in case it was a sign of a labour related infection. Thankfully a different thermometer and opening some windows cooled things down.
- There was light coloured meconium in the waters, which for a lesser experienced team may have been cause for concern.
- Around the time my waters went Dean decided to move up in the pelvis and completely disengaged from my cervix. His new position not only meant he wasn’t dilating my cervix, but the surges were then forcing him in to the front of my pelvis (pubic bone) which was excruciating. Unless he went back in to the right position we were looking at a transfer in to hospital for c-section.
- All of the 3 things above, plus Dean’s size and gestation in a different setting or with different carers could have each triggered very different birth outcomes. You could say the odds were stacked against us! But all the way through the pregnancy and birth baby was happy and my vitals were otherwise good. I am so grateful for the care that Rene and Michala (our second midwife) gave us throughout the birth – always looking at the big picture and how to problem solve to enable the birth we really wanted, rather than using things that went off track as a reason to transfer us. Without them, I honestly believe we would have ended up with a c-section, given the events that transpired – and importantly, a c-section that was avoidable, as Dean’s birth shows.