Since I was a little girl, I have been awestruck and intrigued with pregnancy, babies and motherhood. I can't remember when exactly I learned how babies come into the world but needless to say, my levels of fascination soared. Fast forward to pregnancy, complete with rollercoaster hormones and necessary box of tissues, along with an endless streaming of the UK's 'One Born Every Minute'. I was HOOKED. This addiction to the creation and birth of human life had me hours deep into not only videos but also published blog articles told by many women, worldwide of the minute their bodies separated to form two (or sometimes three or four!) human beings.
I know I am not alone in this obsession - right mamas? - so I have decided to include a regular blog, highlighting the journey of women as they are born into motherhood. Home births, hospital births, high risk births, vaginal births, car births, water births, VBAC's, caesarian and every other possible memoir of how people become parents. I hope you enjoy!
For our first feature, we have the beautiful Sarah Richards, and her story of the birth of her second child, Jude. After a streamlined birth with her daughter Ava, Sarah was in for a shock after delivery. Read ahead for more! * the following story contains graphic images, read at your own discretion.
|| When I went into labour with my daughter Ava 2.5 years earlier; my water broke, we drove to the hospital and I had her naturally, no complications - it was what you would call a "textbook birth" - talk about false advertising! When it came time to have Jude, I was shocked at just how different it was from the first time. Jude was always measuring "big" and was head down and engaged from 37- ish weeks, so literally everyone including my midwives and obstetrics team, and even that stranger in the fruit shop were convinced he would come early or at least on time. Way to get my hopes up guys! He proved them all wrong by coming 5 days after my due date. Not only that, I was 3cm dilated for weeks leading up to the birth which meant I was also contracting every night just like you would in labour.
There were a few false starts along the way...
"Adam this is it let's go to the hospital they are three minutes apart!"
We would drive to the hospital, only to be sent home again. This happened twice in the weeks leading up to his arrival. Luckily, I was in that much pain the third time around I had convinced them to keep me there long enough to see I was progressing, mother's intuition kicked in and I stayed put. A mere five hours later Jude was snuggled against my chest.
It was a pretty amazing birth experience. There was a very happy, relaxed atmosphere in the birthing room. I had some essential oil burning and all my favourite songs playing in the background, an amazing distraction from the pain. In between contractions, Adam and I were laughing and talking to the midwives. I'm pretty sure I even busted a few dance moves, because YOLO. As the pain skyrocketed to a crazy new level I moved into the shower, where I basically let my body lead me to start pushing, all the while forgetting to announce the transition to my midwives. I shouted: "Sorry ladies! His head is out!", resulting in a mad dash from the midwife team to glove up and get ready to catch Jude from behind.
It resembled something of a rugby league scrum for a second there, with the flurry of activity going on around me. I pushed once more and he was caught by one of the midwives, who passed him through my legs, back to my arms. He looked like a wrinkly, cranky old man. Nothing much has changed really, he's still pretty cranky sometimes but it was love at first sight. He came out fast, purple and bruised all over. Screaming, apparently unhappy with his whole birth experience - sorry Jude! As magical as that whole experience was, I was blissfully unaware that the real drama was yet to begin.
We were getting to know Jude, having some skin to skin cuddles and trying to feed, after he had been weighed and measured. I was gearing up to give birth to the placenta when I could tell things started to go awry. The midwives seemed very concerned and next thing I knew there were more doctors flooding the room. Panicked, I looked down to see blood everywhere. It looked like something from the crime channel, not cool when you realise:
1. That's a lot of blood.
2. That blood is coming from your nether regions.
To be honest, I don't remember every detail of what happened next because I had just given birth with little to no pain relief to a 9pound 6 baby and my brain was resembling a side of scrambled eggs by this point; but I've learnt that when you lose a bucket load of blood, you essentially start shaking and go into shock.
I remember being asked several times by different people to sign a form to consent for a blood transfusion and a possible hysterectomy. The words stung as I read them. Was I really ready to lose my "womanhood"? It was a huge call - I was only 28 years old and in the prime childbearing years - was I ready for medically induced menopause and no more children, ever?
I was told that I had lost around 2 litres of blood and if I lost any more, a hysterectomy and blood transfusion would be necessary to save my life. I signed the paperwork and they wheeled me into theatre for my emergency surgery. I distinctly remember worrying about surviving, so I could feed my baby - luckily I had time to hand express colostrum into syringes for Ad to feed to Jude while I was in surgery. It really is amazing how your instinct to worry about your kids wellbeing over your own takes over -That's #mumlife in a nutshell - It never stops.
Fortunately, the amazing surgeons were able to stop the bleeding in time for me to not have to go through any of the scary stuff (and obviously no hysterectomy) and now I'm almost 7 months pregnant with our third baby! (yep I'm a glutton for punishment).Turns out the cause of the bleeding, was a retained placenta. Part of my placenta was left behind and as a result, I haemorrhaged to try and expel it from my body. I did require iron infusions post birth and I was closely monitored for months after. Interestingly enough, this wasn't the first time I had suffered through this ordeal as prior to Ava, we suffered a devastating miscarriage (and sadly, another again before Jude), at 13 weeks gestation. I was rushed to emergency for surgery after haemorrhaging - you guessed it - from a retained placenta. Now, it's become something we expect to endure, approaching our next birth. This time around though, my team are ready and waiting. To be completely honest, I'm not scared or concerned - in fact I have an amazing feeling this birth will be another "textbook birth" - just like Ava's.
To gain inspiration from Sarah, soon to be mama-of-three, follow her: @fullhouse.fullhands.fuTo gain inspiration from Sarah, soon to be mama-of-three, follow her: llheart on Instagram
For more information about Retained Placenta, click here.
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