Maia Chloe Jasmine
The Birth of Maia Chloe Jasmine
The story of my labour starts a couple of weeks before Maia actually arrived. It was a Thursday night, I was 37+6 weeks pregnant, and I began to have regular contractions. They were still mild, but I knew they were real contractions. For a few days before that I had been losing bloody show and the mucus plug. I called my friend Charlie who was going to be my doula, and she came over about 10pm. We watched “The Business of Being Born” and I could tell the contractions were getting weaker. Cora had vomited earlier in the evening so I wondered if that had made my labour stall. I went to bed after midnight and woke up at 2:30am. Everything had totally stopped so I told Charlie she may as well go home.
Over the weekend I kept losing more bloody show. This hadn’t happened at all with the other two until labour was fairly imminent, so I really thought it would happen soon. The days kept passing by with no sign of anything happening though. On Monday (38+3) they attempted a stretch and sweep. I was in agony because of my SPD and couldn’t walk very far at all. They don’t usually do them so early without a reason. However my cervix was unfavourable, it was very posterior and completely closed and firm. The midwife called in the head midwife for some reason, and they kept telling me how unusual it was for a 3rd time Mum to not have a slightly open cervix at this stage. We agreed I would come back in a week and try again. So the next Monday I arrived for my check to be told basically the same thing, except that my cervix was quite soft this time. But the midwife said although it didn’t look as if anything was imminent, she was hopeful I wouldn’t make it to an appointment a week later, on what would be 40+3. I went into active labour with Cora at 40+2 (40+4 from scan dates), and with Calvin at 40+5. So I was hopeful that a sweep at 40+3 would work.
My due date fell on a Friday. That’s the day that Cora and Calvin have swimming lessons, so I arranged a taxi to take them there and decided to go a little early so we could swim together first. Then I could stay in the big pool while they had their lessons in the small pool. We did that and had fun splashing around and playing with a few bath toys they had brought along. When they went off for their lessons I just swam gently from one end of the pool to the other and relaxed. Sometimes I floated, sometimes I tried to stretch a bit without the pain that I normally felt on land. I had a few contractions while I was in the water by myself. They weren’t anything too serious but felt like a bit more than braxton hicks.
The next day I was having regular braxton hicks almost all day. I must have been in early labour because I frequently got annoyed when Calvin would try and press on my bump during a contraction. These contractions throughout the day felt similar to the ones at 37+6. More than braxton hicks but not active labour yet.
After the kids went to bed around 7pm the contractions slowly started to get more intense. Charlie called at 8pm to see how I was doing. I had a few contractions while on the phone, and although I could talk through them, it was easier not to! After I got off the phone I was just sitting on my chair and eventually realised I couldn’t sit there through the contractions. I pulled out the birthing ball and sat on that instead, it was where I had spent most of my labours with Cora and Calvin. I still wasn’t incredibly comfortable, but I wasn’t sure why. I asked Aaron to try lower back pressure during contractions, which again was wonderful during labour with the first two. It really didn’t help, which surprised me, so I asked Aaron to stop.
I decided to get in the shower. With Cora and Calvin’s labours I had taken a shower and the contractions intensified. The contractions were about ten minutes apart. I had the shower and the contractions remained constant. No more intense, but no less either. I decided to try to lay down. If it wasn’t real thing I hoped it would stop so I could sleep, because it was gone 9pm by this time. I laid down and 10 minutes passed, no contraction. Just when I decided they had stopped one began, and I realised I could not lay down through it. As fast as my SPD would let me I rolled over and got up onto my hands and knees. Then I made my way downstairs and told Aaron I couldn’t lay down through a contraction so I thought it might be it, although I was still in denial. I asked him to call Mum and give her a heads up, so he did. Then I called Charlie, I couldn’t talk through contractions this time and she said she would be over in about half an hour.
Aaron and I started to prepare the room for birth, tidying up and moving the table and chairs around. During contractions I leaned forward against something (anything!) and asked Aaron to try hip pressure. The first time it wasn’t really in the right place or hard enough, so before the next contraction I showed Aaron how to apply hip pressure on me. It worked wonderfully on the next contraction. I would lean against the table and sway my hips while Aaron swayed with me and applied the pressure. Hip pressure is not something I ever needed with the other two, but I was glad I knew about it because it felt good.
Just before 10pm I called Mum and said she should head home from my brother’s house, and pack up the car then ring to see how things were – just in case they stalled! I also had Aaron call the midwives to let them know I might be in labour, but that I didn’t want anyone to come out just yet. I think that perplexed them! The midwife at the unit called back shortly and I talked to her and she asked me if I was really sure I didn’t want anyone to come out yet. I said I knew I still had a while to go so I would call back later on. Before too long Charlie arrived. She made herself busy doing dishes and things, and as the next hour or so passed she began to help me through the contractions along with Aaron. Aaron was shattered so I told him to go to bed and that I would wake him up later.
Charlie and I were going to watch some videos online when she got done with the dishes, and in the meantime I kept tracking my contractions on a website made for that. It was a bit distracting trying to remember to hit the button when a contraction started. I was really unsure when to call the midwives, I didn’t want to call them and still have 12 hours to go. I hoped that logging my contractions would help me make the decision. By midnight the contractions were only about 6 minutes apart and much more intense. I decided we should call the midwives, so I asked Charlie to call them. She did, and then we started to sort out the birthing pool. Charlie vacuumed and we laid down the floor sheet. Mum arrived and began to help set up the pool too. We kept having to look at the instructions to check which bit to inflate next!
I went upstairs to wake Aaron up, suspecting he might already be awake because of the noise of the pool pump. He was sitting up in bed, and I walked around to his side of the bed when another contraction hit me. I leaned over the bed and asked Aaron to help but he was so sleepy that by the time he had got up and started to try and help the contraction was over. He got dressed and came downstairs with me. Contractions were still about 4-6 minutes apart and 45 seconds long. Shortly afterwards the first midwife arrived, around 12:30am. It was S from the local maternity unit. She asked me about the contractions a bit and said “We usually do an internal just to assess things, is that OK with you?”. I said I’d rather not have an internal. I was thinking that if I was only 2cm or something I would be discouraged, even if labour was progressing fine. S seemed a little bit unhappy with that but didn’t say anything. We soon noticed that my contractions were about 3 minutes apart now, still 45 seconds long. The pool was inflated and lined, and Aaron sorted out the hose and started filling it. At one point I went to the toilet and decided to check my own cervix, just to feel if it was any different from earlier that day. I was very glad to feel that I was definitely somewhat dilated (although I have no idea how much) and I could feel the bag of waters bulging. That made me happy because I was still thinking “what if it’s false labour?”! That’s something that was similar to both of the other labours, I was in a sort of denial until something proved that I was in active labour.
The other midwife T arrived about 1am. She is actually the Consultant Midwife for our trust, and I had met her at our Home Birth Group a few months back. I was glad she was on call because I trusted her judgement, knowing how supportive she was of normal birth and home birth. I was very happy to see that she wasn’t wearing uniform. Another local midwife had called earlier in the day to introduce herself in case she was on call, and one of the things she asked was if it was OK if she didn’t wear uniform. I was thrilled at the thought! Home birth is about being relaxed and comfortable and uniforms don’t really have a place in that in my opinion.
Contractions continued at about 3 minutes apart and 45 seconds long. They were becoming more intense and the pressure I felt during them was increasing. I remember at one point Aaron putting pressure on my hips, Charlie was holding a warm pack against my lower abdomen because that helped too. Aaron and my Mum were talking and laughing and it was so distracting I just blurted out “Shut up please!”. I felt like that was really rude of me but I didn’t care, I just wanted them to not talk during contractions. Eventually the pool was full enough and the right temperature, and I went upstairs to change. I put on my bikini and dressing gown, had a few good contractions while upstairs. I told Aaron I may need him to come into the pool with me if I couldn’t manage as well without the hip pressure, so he put on his trunks and a t-shirt. When we came downstairs they had a quick listen to Maia’s heartrate before I went into the pool. All was fine and I climbed in just before 2am. It felt wonderful! I felt supported by the water and enjoyed having my own space in the pool that no-one could encroach upon really. When contractions came I leaned against the side of the pool while I was on my knees. Between contractions I would sit back against the edge of the pool.
After a few contractions I felt a funny sensation and a gush of water, followed by another gush a few seconds later. I said “My waters just broke!”. Based on my previous labours I expected to feel like pushing on the next contraction, but I didn’t. It was much more intense though. I think at this point I said that someone should go and get the kids, because I expected to give birth soon. Mum went to get them and returned with a sleepy Cora, but Calvin had refused to wake up. Cora was very excited that Maia was on the way and had a huge smile on her face.
I had quite a few more contractions and realised I was in transition because I felt so immensely tired between contractions, just as I had with Calvin. I kept expecting to feel the overwhelming urge to push, like I had before, but it didn’t come and I was slightly confused. I started to feel a little bit like pushing during contractions, and I said I felt “a bit pushy”. With each of the next couple of contractions it got a bit stronger and eventually I just decided to try pushing. I didn’t keep pushing with the first contraction because it didn’t feel like it was doing anything, but the next one was different. I pushed and that made the urge to push stronger, and I felt her moving down. She began to crown and I reached my hand down to touch her head, and it felt odd. It felt soft and there was a dimple. I kept pushing and felt something pop free. I said “Is she breech?”, then I reached my hand further down and ran my hand over her hips. It must have been seconds but it felt like ages. I couldn’t understand. I had been told by so many people that she was head down, and how far engaged she was. I just couldn’t believe she could be breech at all! After I felt her hips I said “She is breech, those are legs!”. In those seconds I felt ignored and like no-one believed me. However I think in reality people were just springing into action. The midwives were looking, Charlie was turning on the light and Mum was grabbing the camera.
T said I was doing great and just to wait for the next contraction and push her head out. It felt like a long time but it came and I pushed. It was odd because it was crowning all over again. I was feeling her head as she crowned and I felt myself stretch beautifully. As she was fully born I turned over and brought her up to the surface with T’s help. The cord was wrapped quite tightly around her neck, twice, and T quickly unwound it. Maia was very blue but wide eyed and looking at me.
I was talking to her and rubbing her to try to get her to breathe, but she wouldn’t. So T called out to S and they quickly clamped her cord and laid her down to give her some oxygen. She started breathing shortly after they cut the cord, and she pinked up very quickly with the oxygen. I wasn’t worried about her at all but I think Aaron was. I knew she was fine.
After she pinked up the midwives said I could get out and sit on the couch so I could hold her again. I stood up to get out and could feel something pulling on the cord. I grabbed the cord and pulled it up and it was the cord clamp! I stood there for a second and felt the placenta moving down so I paused. I had handed the cord clamp to S to hold while I got out and I told her the placenta was coming, as I said that a big clot fell out then the placenta did. I was very glad, less mess and much easier than delivering the placenta on the couch! I walked over to the couch and sat down and Maia was handed to me. I held her skin to skin and had my robe over us. We had lots of skin to skin time. Charlie went to get Calvin and he was thrilled to see his new baby sister, but the first thing he said was “I wanted you to wake me up when she was born!”. I told him we had tried but he wouldn’t wake up, he was very disappointed but still glad to see her.
S went back to the maternity unit to get the scales. When I was ready she weighed Maia and pronounced that she was 2660g. She lifted her off then pressed the button to change it to pounds and ounces, and it read 5lbs 6oz. I was surprised that she was so tiny, she looked about the same as Cora to me and I had guessed maybe 5lbs 13/14 (I can’t remember which I guessed). We later found out that the scales must have malfunctioned because she as definitely 2660g which is actually equivalent to 5lbs 14oz! She was 21” long, compared to Cora’s 20” and Calvin’s 20.5”. The midwives explained that they were going to stick around a little bit longer than normal because she had been breech and had the cord around her neck, just to make sure she was fine. The kids went back to bed very happy. I think Mum and Charlie left at around 4am. T then checked me and I had no tears, not even a graze! After cleaning up and collecting all the stuff, they left at around 4:30am. Aaron and I took Maia upstairs and all got into bed and had a much deserved sleep before Cora and Calvin woke up again the next morning. It was bliss.
The whole labour was really enjoyable for me, I was so excited to finally meet Maia! I can honestly say that my entire labour and birth was pain free as well. The contractions were intense but enjoyable and I would do it all again in a heartbeat. I count my blessings every day that she was an undiagnosed breech, because if they had discovered that prior to birth I would have been pressured to have a caesarean – even vaginal breech hospital birth is rare where we live. Instead I had an amazing home water birth, I couldn’t ask for more.