Saturday 24 November 2018

Surrogacy Update | The Birth

 I can't quite believe that I am sat here writing out my labour story this soon; I was pretty adamant that I would go overdue like my last pregnancy. Although ever since we had the false early labour scare at 37 weeks, we have been on rather high alert in case the little one made an early appearance.
Before I delve straight into it, I just wanted to make a note of saying that I will not be including any photographs or the name of the surrogate baby in this post - that information is not mine to share and I do hope that you are understanding in that.

The Day Before - 39 weeks and 3 days
The day before I gave birth was pretty uneventful; we did our usual Sunday soft play routine and followed up with a Sunday lunch. I had noticed earlier in the day that my bump had dropped dramatically, however knew that this could be nothing. 
I ended up in bed rather early that night - I was extremely tired for no reason at all and was asleep well before 9pm. I woke around 11:30pm when my husband came upstairs to dull back ache, very similar to period cramps but stronger. As the pain wasn't on and off like a contraction, more of a constant ache, I thought nothing of it and tried to sleep it off. After a few hours of tossing and turning I ended up having a hot bath at around 1:30-2:00am to try and ease the pain - this seemed to work and I ended up sleeping rather well afterwards; when I woke up at around 7am the pain had gone.

D Day - 39 weeks and 4 days
I woke on the Monday to find that the pain had pretty much disappeared, so figured it was nothing to worry about. I had a midwife appointment booked in that day for lunch time so I wasn't overly concerned at all. At around 9:30am I noticed that the back ache was back, but again it was a constant pain, not an on off contraction pain. By the time babies mum had arrived at 11am for our appointment, the pain had started to worsen and was now more contraction like. 
We arrived at our midwife appointment and the pain started to get a lot worse, so much so that it stopped me in my tracks a couple of times. When we were called in, I was so relieved to see that it was my regular midwife who I had had through my last pregnancy and who had been with us through the majority of the surrogacy journey. She also had a student midwife with her who we were also familiar with.
As I was so close to my due date I was asked if I had felt any niggles and told her about the pains. Our midwife decided to time them to see if it was worth her examining me, which I practically begged her to do. The pains had ramped up by this point and brought me to tears on at least one occasion. They were currently being timed at 7 minutes apart, so I was offered an examination of which I gladly accepted. 
It was there and then that my midwife confirmed that I was 3cm dilated; of course I knew that this was not established labour and the likelihood was that this could go on through the night. However, our midwife seemed fairly confident that, going by my last labour, she would end up seeing me again later that day.
I was advised to go home, get on the birthing ball and bounce. The midwife advised us that she would be in clinic for another hour or so and if the pain got worse to call the on call midwife who would come out to me.
We arrived back at my house at around 1:30pm where I started to bounce and time the contractions. Within an hour I had a show and my contractions had ramped up to every 4 minutes; by this point we thought it was best to ring the on call midwife to seek further advice.
It seemed as though my midwife had given the on call midwife prior warning as she knew who I was straight away and arrived within 20 minutes. After witnessing a few of my contractions she decided to examine me again and confirmed that I was now 6cm dilated. This resulted in slight panic stations of ringing the babies father and my husband, along with an ambulance (!) along with my own midwife who I had seen earlier that day.
Within the space of 20 minutes, I had 3 midwives and 2 paramedics standing in my living room, alongside the babies parents.
Now, the reasoning for the fairly dramatic ambulance call was due to my previous labour. If you haven't read my previous birth story before, then you can find it here. With my youngest daughter we barely made it to the hospital; I needed to push whilst being around 15 minutes from our destination which resulted in our daughter being in distress - she was born very quickly 7 minutes after arriving at the hospital. Due to this, both midwives felt it safer that I travelled by ambulance in case of a birth before arrival. However, they also were prepared for an unexpected home birth should the ambulance have taken too long in arriving.
After what felt like an eternity, we arrived at the Midwife Led Unit; one of the midwives, along with the student, came in the ambulance with me. The babies parents and my other midwife followed the ambulance down to the hospital. We arrived at around 4:15pm and the pool was already filled which I was relived about - a water birth was something that I had wanted with my youngest but didn't get to have.
By this point, my husband still hadn't arrived - he is a HGV driver and when I had initially rang him he was around 2 and a half hours away battling through traffic. However I was so thankful to have some amazing midwives there keeping me calm; my regular midwife and her student were due to finish at 5pm, but they, along with the on call midwife, stayed on an extra 40 minutes - I think deep down they were hoping baby would arrive in that time as they knew that this pregnancy was a rather special one.
Unfortunately, baby didn't arrive that quickly and a new midwife and her student soon came to introduce themselves. Both again were lovely and put me at ease so much. 
At the beginning, the pool definitely helped ease the contractions and I was glad of the minimal checks; a doppler was used every 15 minutes but I didn't have any checks performed on myself which was a lot easier to handle. After about an hour in the pool I decided to take up the offer of gas and air; although, looking back this only made me ill.
 After being in the pool for around an hour and a half, I needed out. Due to construction work, the air conditioning in the Midwife Led Unit was off, so all I had to keep me cool whilst in the birthing pool was a fan; this definitely didn't cut it and I could feel myself starting to not feel too great.
After a lot of moving around (I never knew how deep those birth pools were!), I managed to get myself out of the pool and onto the bed. From there, it seemed to all kick start and ramp up even more.
In what seemed like no time at all, I felt the urge to push. Now by this point, my waters still hadn't broken, which is somewhat usual for me as they don't tend to break until right at the end. I hadn't noticed that the babies mum had come over and was also holding my hand through the contractions; according to her I was hanging off the bed on a couple of occasions due to the pain.
Eventually I felt my waters break, and subsequently heard them land on the floor. What I didn't see was that, due to the dim lighting, my midwife had had her head inches away from my nether regions; she and her student thought they were looking at babies head, but no, it was my bulging waters which ended up covering both midwives from head to foot (literally).
I cringe thinking about this now, but it could have been a lot worse, right? Both of the babies parents told me afterwards that they had to stop themselves from laughing - I think I would have ended up squeezing her hand a bit too tight if I had seen that!
As soon as my waters went, the pushing started; according to my notes this lasted 14 minutes, although looking back it didn't seem that long. With around four to five pushes, the little bundle was born and was passed straight to her mum for skin to skin. The parents had decided on delayed cord clamping, so babies mum was stood next to my bed holding her daughter for this.
I won't go into what happened next in regards to delivering the placenta; let's just say it was a big one!
By this point, I realised that my husband still hadn't turned up and had missed it; he had gotten stuck in traffic and arrived half an hour after the baby was born.
We were all left to relax and recover in the Midwife Led Unit for a couple of hours before we decided to stay a night in the hospital; mainly so that I could get a good nights sleep and the babies mum could obtain support throughout the night with breastfeeding etc.
The hospital were fantastic and so supportive of all of our decisions; we were given two private rooms next to each other and all of the midwives and doctors knew of the surrogacy so there was no awkwardness.
I have to say that the labour itself was the best one that I have ever had. I am truly gutted that it is all over and that, potentially, that was the last labour I would go through. I am keeping everything crossed that maybe, in a few years, I can undertake another surrogacy journey.


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