Amy's birth story
My due date was 1 January 2010. I had been advised that owing to my age and an increased risk of placental failure and hence stillbirth in the over 40’s, that I should consider being induced shortly after I reached term, if nothing happened naturally by then.
I was very nervous at the thought of an induction but I was more scared about risking my baby’s life by being stubborn about going into labour naturally, so I agreed to the induction. I know lots of people my age would not have agreed to an induction, preferring to let nature take its course, but for me it was the right choice as the thought of losing a baby I had carried safely for 9 months was not something I was prepared to risk.
I was booked to go into hospital on 3 January 2010. In an attempt to get things moving my midwife came for a home visit on New Year’s Day and did a sweep. It didn’t work and I was admitted to the antenatal ward late on Sunday 3 January.
The plan of action was to give me a prostin pessary on the evening of 3 January to soften the cervix and with any luck, labour would then start. I received the first dose at around 8.30pm and then settled down to wait to see if anything happened. I had a few twinges a few hours later but then nothing much more had happened and I was exhausted, so decided to get some rest. I could feel the odd tightening right throughout the night but that was all.
Next morning I was assessed and was told I was still only 1cm. I was give a second dose of prostin and had to wait 6 hours to see if anything happened. I spent the day walking up and down the corridors of the hospital but after 6 hours still nothing. That evening I was assessed again and frustratingly was still only 1cm dilated! I was told that I would be given a third dose that night and would be assessed again on Tuesday morning.
Rather unsurprisingly the third dose did nothing either and on Tuesday morning I was seen by a registrar and a consultant to discuss the next steps. I told the consultant I thought I was immune to prostin and he said some people are! The maximum dose of prostin is four, but I had been told that with second and subsequent pregnancies, women are normally only given 3 doses. Further doses of prostin can sometimes lead to hyper-stimulation of the uterus which then makes the baby distressed but the consultant said in my case as I had not reacted to it they wanted to give me the fourth dose to see if it would make the cervix even slightly more favourable. He then proposed to reassess me later on Tuesday afternoon and then whatever the outcome, I would be taken across to the delivery suite and my waters would be broken. He had to go through all the various risks involved in breaking the waters, including the risk of a cord prolapse which would have meant an immediate crash caesarean under general anaesthetic, but I was assured the risk was low.
Before the fourth dose of prostin the baby had to be monitored for 30 minutes to see if it was ok. During that monitoring I had a bit of a wobble about the risks of everything etc and I wondered quite seriously if I should just ask for an elective c/section. I told the midwife I was having second thoughts. She was brilliant and said she would get the consultant back to speak to me but said I needed to go with what my heart was telling me once I had all the information.
The consultant came back and I told him I thought maybe I was pushing my luck and that I should have an elective c/section. I was terrified of something going wrong with the rest of the induction procedure and that I would lose my baby. He listened to me and then said he could see that I was worried about the baby, but pointed out that I should also think of myself and the risks of having a c/section to me. A section is major abdominal surgery which also has its risks and he made the point that no obstetric procedure is 100% risk free. He told me that if they were concerned about how I would cope with the rest of the induction or if there was a risk to the baby they would do a c/section, but his opinion was that it was safer to try for a natural birth after my waters were broken than go straight to a section. After talking to him and realising I had not considered the risks to me at all (and obviously I had Sam at home who I needed to consider too, in case something did happen to me) I felt much better and agreed to the fourth dose of prostin.
Needless to say the fourth dose did very little and in the early evening I was seen by another consultant, who ironically had looked after me and had done the ERPC on me in 2004 after my miscarriage. I was so pleased to see her as I felt really safe with her before and she went through the next steps in detail with me. Later that evening I was transferred over to the delivery suite. Once there I met a lovely team of midwives and a registrar who was going to perform the controlled break of the waters.
My waters were broken very carefully and slowly to ensure the cord did not prolapse and after that I waited to see if contractions would start on their own or whether I would need a drip to get things going.
No drip was needed. I started contracting very quickly after the waters went and they were coming about every 2 minutes almost from the start. I had been warned that the contractions may be much stronger than in a normal labour after the waters went, but the strength of those contractions took my breath away. I asked for an epidural as I would still be able to move around and I did not want pethidine. The epidural was sited but unfortunately only worked partially and it took the anaesthetist over 2 hours to get my pain under control. I have to say I was in absolute agony and was using so much gas and air that I could not even stand up as it made me so dizzy.
Eventually they managed to get the pain relief to a reasonable level and I was told I had dilated from 2cm to 9cm in two hours! Normally dilation is 1cm per hour!
When I was almost 10cm the midwife noticed that the baby’s heart rate was decelerating during the contractions and she was a bit concerned about it. She called the registrar back and he agreed the heart rate was dropping. They brought a scanner into the room to see what position the baby was in because they said her head was still quite high. The scanner revealed that the baby had flipped positions and was now lying in the back to back position which was not a good position for delivery. After a short deliberation the registrar said the safest option for me and the baby was to take me to theatre and attempt a forceps delivery. I was told I would be prepped for a c/section in case they could not get the baby out. I could not believe it as I really thought I would be delivering her myself. It was almost a repeat of what happened when I had Sam, as I was also taken to theatre with him at the last minute for a forceps delivery.
Once in theatre the epidural was taken out and a spinal block was put in place. I was then put into stirrups and the delivery began. In the end it was quite straight forward and Amy Catherine was born at 3.11am on Wednesday 6 January 2010. She came out pink and crying and weighed 7lbs 13oz. I cried my eyes out when I realised she was safe. She was placed onto my chest and I cuddled her while I was stitched back together. Lovely.
I then spent 30 minutes in recovery with the nurse telling me to breathe through my mouth as I was in a bit of shock and was still shaking like a leaf.
Later we were taken back to the delivery room and the lovely midwives brought us tea and toast and marmalade. I sent Mark home at about 5.30am and I was then given a bed bath before I was transferred to the postnatal ward at around 6.45am.
I had to spend an extra night on the ward as I could not wee on my own after the catheter as taken out as I had stitches and piles, so everything was a bit swollen ‘down there’. I was finally discharged at lunchtime on Thursday 7 January and have spent the last few days getting feeding established and getting to know my gorgeous little girl.
I know how lucky I am to have my little daughter and she was so worth everything in the end. I have been truly blessed twice now and say thank you for Sam and Amy every day.
I am 45, DH is 50. Stepmother to a 20 year old. Missed miscarriage 2004. Gorgeous son born May 2005. Beautiful daughter born January 2010!