Wednesday 2 May 2012

Our Birth Story

(Goblin is 30 months)
A lot of my friends are pregnant or giving birth and it got me thinking about my pregnancy and birth experience with Goblin. When I was pregnant I wanted to hear lots about other people's experiences. But when I scoured the internet for birth stories they tend to fall into one of two categories:
1) Beautiful peaceful harmonious drug free home-births
2) Horrendous scary stories of babies having to be ripped in an untimely fashion from their mothers womb and rushed to intensive care.
When I started writing this post I was confident that mine bridged the gap. But having read it back I think to some readers it might fall into scary category 2. It didn't feel that way to me though - See what you think.
The day before Goblin was born
My pregnancy was pretty normal. I was ridiculously tired all the time but I put that down to the 3 hour daily commute to London and back for my full time job. After all, the books all say that fatigue is part of being pregnant. However at 31 weeks I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes. At the time I thought I had no symptoms but looking back I suspect some of the fatigue and constant peeing, as well as the huge amount of amniotic fluid I was carrying, were probably symptoms. I was after all a prime candidate being over weight, of South Asian decent and having a family history of type 2 diabetes.
Goblin at 1 minute old

I had wanted a natural drug free water birth in a midwife unit, but they told me that due to the diabetes I'd need to have an insulin and a glucose drip so I'd have to give birth in the hospital. I'm a pragmatist and I wanted what was best for my unborn baby, so I resigned myself to a hospital birth. This first blip in my birth plan was probably a good thing as it prepared me mentally for what was to come.
After my diagnosis up til the birth I had to make weekly trips to the diabetes clinic and see a midwife and diabetic nurse. I was put on high doses of insulin which were increased weekly and I never did get the sugars under control. By the time I gave birth I was on 20 units per shot, 5 times a day (for anyone who doesn't know, that is a lot of insulin). I'm not bothered by needles so I was quite happy to follow this regime but I don't hink my colleagues at work were quite as sanguine when I whipped the needle out at my desk.
Goblin breast feeding just after birth
The hospital called me in for a sizing scan at 38 weeks because babies of mums with gestational diabetes can either be really huge, or really tiny. They estimated based on his size at 38 weeks that if I went full term Goblin was likely to be 11lb. So they decided to induce me a week early. I was quite pleased to have a date for the birth.
On induction day we had to get to the hospital for 8am. We knew we'd probably be waiting around so Hublet brought the laptop and we watched back to back episodes of the West Wing. At 8pm they said they were sending us home. I was disappointed. I'd expected to be going home with a baby. But when I went to find out what I was supposed to do next, and explained that my induction was due to the gestational diabetes, they 'miraculously' found me a place on the ward and started the induction immediately.  Then they sent Hublet home - no men allowed on the maternity ward ( I guess I accidentally stepped into a time machine and was transported into the past).
The morning after Goblin's birth
They'd told me that Goblin's head had not engaged and that if my waters broke I should not get up because there was a risk that the umbilical cord could fall out of my cervix - which is apparently very bad for the baby. At 2 am my waters broke. I mentioned earlier that I was carry a ridiculous amount of amniotic fluid. It poured, out of me, across the bed, through the sheets, onto the floor. I was at risk of drowning in my own amniotic fluid (slight exaggeration - but only slight) so against medical advice I stood up and went looking for a nurse.  My labour started immediately and by the time I found a nurse I was huffing and puffing quite a bit and the nurse gave me some drugs. They may have been paracetamol or codeine - I have no idea, but it didn't matter because with the very next contraction I puked them up anyway. And that was the end of the drugs for the next 4 hours - they couldn't give me any more because they didn't know how much I'd ingested. 
Goblin day 1 - "Who knew babies come with hats"
At 6am the midwives decided it was time for me to go to the labour ward and I was allowed to phone Hublet. He arrived just as they were wheeling me down the ward corridor - the trip to the hospital is half an hour by car and I am pretty sure it didn't take half an hour to get down the elevator so lets not go there! 

Once in the labour ward they kitted me out with 4 drips.
1. Induction drug
2. glucose
3. insulin
4. haven't a clue - probably just to make me look pretty and even
Have you ever tried going to the loo down a corridor in an open backed hospital gown with 4 drips trailing - not dignified!
Now this is where I deviate significantly from what my original birth plan had stipulated. Instead of the "no drugs", I opted for lots of drugs. When you already have 4 drips in your arms, whats a few more chemicals to add to the mix.
The Pethidine was great, I fell asleep between contractions. I don't have much memory of large parts of the day but apparently with every contraction I was violently sick to the point were they ran out of sick bowls.
Hublet cuddles 1 day old Goblin
I do however remember coming to the conclusion around lunch time that a vaginal birth was no longer realistic. However when I suggested to the midwives that they might as well give me an epidural as a c-section was an inevitability they looked horrified. They looked equally horrified at 4pm when my response to them telling me they couldn't give me an epidural "because they were to busy" was to ask if they were "F**king joking". In all fairness I wasn't swearing at them, I was swearing because of the situation - I'm not sure they made the distinction, but they dosed me up with more pethidine, giving me a third dose - which is apparently so rare it needs special medical sign off.
My twin visits the hospital on day 3
At 7.30pm they finally gave me the epidural and the pain of the contractions disappeared. I was supposed to click a button to get more epidural medication when I needed it, but I kept falling asleep so Hublet had to click the button about every half hour for me. When the obstetrician came to check on me he concluded that I had only dilated to 7cm and my cervix was dilating unevenly. I would need an emergency C-section. In my mind it wasn't really an 'emergency'. Goblin wasn't in distress, he just hadn't engaged (turns out he was actually stuck in my pelvis - his head was a bit pointy when they did get him out).
They needed to get my informed consent for the operation, so the obstetrician explained the procedure to me. For those who haven't already spotted it I have a wonky face. One aspect of this is that my eye doesn't close properly when I am asleep. Throughout the whole discussion of the operation I was fast asleep with one eye open and the obstetrician had no idea. Hublet spotted this and pointed it out but they woke me up and got me to sign the forms anyway (informed consent is not really what it says on the tin). Then they took me off to the surgical wing and Hublet was scrubbed and gowned and brought in to see.
Goblin's first day home with Nanny and Poppy
Hublet watched as they cut open my belly and pulled out our son. Goblin wasn't breathing and they had to clear his airways and ventilate him. Apparently this is quite normal with c-sections. I was blissfully unaware of this and as they sewed me up Hublet held our squawking new born baby. They sent Hublet home as soon as I was moved to the maternity ward - stupid no men on the maternity ward rule.
They offered to leave Goblin in the bed with me for the night (So much for the NHS advice about not co-sleeping) but I was so high on pethidine I didn't trust myself, so I asked them to look after him. At about 6am they came to tell me that Goblin had been admitted to the special care baby unit (SCBU) because his glucose levels were low. This sounds more scary than it was. We knew that due to the diabetes there was a high likelihood that Goblin would need to be put on a drip, so I wasn't worried when they came to tell me.
The day after Goblin was born
The midwives forced me to have a bath as soon as I woke up the following day, despite having been sliced open less than 12 hours previously. Then, with Hublet back in the hospital to help me, I was allowed to shuffled down to the SCBU to see my son properly for the very first time. The nurses called him "the big baby". He weighed in at 8lb7oz which compared to all the premature babies in SCBU was enormous. They'd even given him a special side room so the parents of the prem babies wouldn't be upset by how small theirs were by comparison. Goblin stayed on SCBU having his sodium levels monitored for three days. Eventually when nobody could tell us what the problem was with having marginally low sodium, we decided to discharged ourselves. And finally got to take little boy home on day 4 of his life.
Goblin's first international call to inform his German friend he'd arrived in the world.  
Some mum's who have had emergency c-sections feel they haven't 'properly' given birth. I never felt like that. I don't think it matters how our little ones come into this world. What matters is what we do next.

If you'd like to read about other birth stories why not check out Crayon and Critter's Mothers day "My child's birth story" link up
 Mother's Day Blog Hop


  1. Love the last sentence of this post.

  2. I love birth stories so much! Almost makes me want another one! I read your comments, so here are some replies...

    -I saw so many cool ideas out there with the crayon melting. I especially loved the idea of incorporating it into something else---a swing, a garden, etc...but I wanted them to do it. Maybe we will have a round 2. =)
    -It's funny that I keep getting emails about the Crazy Hair Day. In fact, Charlotte came up with the idea with the pipecleaners but was VERY dissappointed when I was done. I refused to do it again because she was already late for school, but then got MAJOR high fives after she won "craziest!" Kids. @_@
    -Packing foam: Yeah, it was a mess. Originally, they were instructed not to play with it and I was waiting for trash day, but they kept wandering over there. Dad had a meeting and Mama was exhausted, so I caved. Luckily, the gardeners came with their blowers the next day and it was pretty easy to sweep up the rest that made its way into the playhouse. You are right about vaccuums though--we invested in a shop vac year 2 of having kids!! LOL.
    Thanks for visiting! WE love what you are doing too!!

    Gianne at

  3. BTW, we're on facebook with the website address as its name:

  4. Thank you for sharing this. I had 2 c-sections, one was what I consider to be a serious emergency J was getting very distressed with each contraction and when they brought him out the cord was wrapped around him multiple times and causing issues. He was also taken to SCBU but due to drug withdrawl was in for almost a week after wards. With T she was a little monkey and despite having a scan the day before (which like you I had every 2 weeks due to gestional diabtes) and showed her head down she turned around over night and decided to go feet first which they wouldn't let me have a vbac with (understandable with the expectation of an 8lbs+ baby and a previous c-section only 18 months before) however when she popped out she was only 6lbs 9oz and tiny not the huge baby we were expecting at all. Although a c-section hers was not in a panic rush at all and it was quite amusing especially with the tidal wave that was my waters where the dr declared that they should have had a boat present for the waters that came out.

  5. I really loved reading this post and your outlook about your experience. It sounds like your mindset was where it needed to be to deal with potentially stressful issues as you went along. And I'm amazed that Hublet wasn't allowed to be with you in the maternity ward!!

    But what a wonderful little lad you created together x

    Maybe there needs to be a linky or series on birth stories - I love them!!!

  6. ^^^Happy Whimsical Hearts said everything I was going to mention! I'm sorry your original birth ideal didn't happen, but I'm so happy for you that your handsome little one is healthy. I love your attitude about it all. I had GD with all of my pregnancies, so I understand a lot of the details.

  7. Whoah! That is a story!!!! Your goblin is adorable!!! You're right- it doesn't really how the kids enter the world- I would have freaked at that epidural response!

  8. Thanks for stopping by my blog--glad to have found you. You are so right about there being two types of birth stories--mine falls in the middle as well and you've def inspired me to share. My induction and eventual c/s wasn't at all traumatic for me either even though it's not what I wanted. Great post! Beautiful baby :)

  9. Wow what a great story! Thanks for sharing. I also LOVE reading about other people's birth stories. I recently finished reading a great book titled, "Unassisted Childbirth" by Laura Kaplan Shanley, another great story which goes into details of how the author and her ex-husband delivered all four of their children (well, I guess he helped deliver one, she the other 3). An amazing story, with great tips for others interested in this birth method!


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