I want to be that mother who can stand up and say I am a strong confident mother and I know what is best for my children. We breastfeed and co sleep, We listen, We include, We eat chocolate and snot smoothies, we trampoline and grow frogs, we sling, we carry and we try and understand and work with our children without resorting to punishments, threats or coercion.

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Millie Zahar Red's (Euphegenia Willis Sugar) Birth Story with some lovely (graphic) pictures

I awoke at 12.27am with a strange pop feeling and the moment I had been waiting weeks for and expecting to happen every time I got out of bed had arrived, my waters were breaking!  I was 39weeks of what had been a really hard and emotionally fraught pregnancy

I woke up Barry to let him know and took myself to the bathroom.  I called my sister to let her know whilst Barry looked for the instructions from the midwife of 'when to call'.  The sheet said to call if my waters broke first and they were anything but clear. 

My heart sank.

meconium in waters
My waters were anything but clear.

Alison, my midwife arrived at 1.10am.  I was upstairs having a shower and willing my waters to turn clear.  She looked at the waters I had collected and saw that they were murky and had particles in them.  She confirmed what I already knew, that there was meconium in them.  She suggested that we would probably need to go into hospital but she would monitor me at regulalr intervals at home for the time being. 

I started to organise my birthing space, making the bed a bit more and sorting my music and setting up the web cam!  I was excited to show my birth live to my sister and some friends.     I thought I had plenty of time since my last two births lasted 12-14hours.  I didn't even think about filling the pool yet which had been up and ready for the last 3weeks!

I agreed to a VE at 2.30am.which showed I was only 1-2cm dilated, fully effaced but head not in pelvis.  I am not in established labour yet.  My blood pressure was perfect but Alison noted the baby's heartrate was higher than it usually was and showed shallow late decelarations which was a possible sign of distress.  She was clear she thought hospital was the best option since meconium at 39 weeks without labour is not normal.   She started calling the hospital to let them know what was happening.  I chatted to my friends on line and my sister on the phone.

My contractions were ramping up and I was not in any way feeling relaxed and joyful or wonderful or blooming or any of the ways I had been imagining and visualsing my labour to be.  I felt anxious, the atmosphere was one of worry and fear and I basically felt really really upset that I was not going to have my home birth again.  I felt seriously cheated. Alison wanted me to go into hospital and I was kind of hoping for some kind of miracle whereby my baby would decide to be even faster and just suddenly pop out.  I decided to try to remain as calm as possible. The web cam started working about 3am but by half past I had resigned myself to going in and called my mum.

Practicing birth noises and faces by pushing the sofa
 so girls would understand what was happening
when the time came
Around this time, Ellie (my calmness teacher), woke up and came downstairs to see what was going on, she sat with me on the sofa and so I got to spend some time with her before I left.  I explained that I was having the baby now and that I was going to have to go into hospital now and everything was ok and that Grandma was coming over and they'd all fall back to sleep and that I would be home as soon as possible.  She wanted me to come upstairs to lie with her in bed and I remember having a massive contraction on the stairs on the way up and having to stop for a while there.  "Half way down the stairs is a stair where I sit, there isn't any other stair quite like it"!.

My mother arrived at 4am whilst I was lying with the girls who had both woken up.  I was explaining to them what was happening.  We had been preparing for my labour and birth since the beginning and I was so disappointed they would now not be there.

15mins later and I couldn't hold off any longer, it was time to go.  Alison wanted to call an ambulance to take us in but I refused.  The ride for my last birth was truly awful and there was NO way I was putting myself through that again, so Barry drove.  It was marginally better than the ambulance,  in that I didn't have to stay lying down!! I sat in the back on my knees leaning over the back seat looking out the rear window swearing randomly at the CD I chose for the journey.  Why? Why did I think that one would help?  I listened to this one daily in the car.  Mainly on the way to school, with the girls talking/arguing/shouting/crying/laughing/ and the dog crying whining  in my already addled pregnant brain.......I was secretly hoping it would infiltrate into my brain subconsciously...you know multi tasking.  Who know's maybe it worked!

"As my labour advances I go deeper into relaxation" Birth Affirmations that I was supposed to repeat.

Whatever my response, which was along the lines of "As my labour advances you can all go to fuckland", I remember Alison asking if I was talking to her. I also remember cursing the speed bumps...hadn't thought about them either.

As we hurtled down the road at 70mph, going through every red light, I was desperately trying not to push and deliver in the back seat. My contractions were now 4 minutes apart and very strong! My midwife will swear blind she didn't think I was going to give birth in the back of the car but something in the way she shouted 'Are you pushing there Miriam?' made me think otherwise!

We arrived at the hospital 6miles away in a record 12mins, at 4.25am. I vaguely remember having a really strong contraction at the front desk and a bloke behind the glass asked 'Can I help you?'.  I resisted the urge to let loose on him.  Of course the first thing they wanted to do was attach electrodes to my baby's head. What she actually meant was screw a wire into my baby's head. I declined.  They insisted on putting a monitoring belt on me though.  All the while I am having major contractions and trying not to push.  The midwives could see I was uncomfortable and having difficulty moving so they asked if I wanted to go on the floor.  Definitely I said.  A few minutes later and they were back with a massive mattress and a bean bag. Perfect.

Once on the floor, the midwife wanted to do a VE.  I agreed because I was worried I was pushing too early.  She reckoned I was 8cm but was unable to feel the head as it was too high. I told her (maybe loudly!) to stop trying and wouldn't let her do it again.   I felt despondent.  I thought that meant the baby hadn't come down and it would be a long time pushing.  I decided to get on all fours with bum in air, a complicated move with lots of wires attached to me but I managed.

This is when things started to get crazy.  Every time I had a contraction, I felt the urge to push.  Every time I pushed, a bit of poop came out.  I was really upset by this and kind of freaked out.  Thinking about it afterwards, I realise I was scared the same thing was happening here as with Maia.  She had got stuck, kept going back in and then stayed on my perineum for 10mins whilst I pushed my insides out (literally).  This really did a number on my back passage.  So this time, I thought I shouldn't be pushing, it was too early and I would do damage again.  Also poop, eeuw, that grossed me out  I know it shouldn't.  But it did.  I wish now that someone behind me would have tried to calm me down more, told me it was ok, told me not to worry about pushing or pooping!! Told me to just do what I needed to do.

Suddenly I felt a massive bulge, the head was almost out and then some tickling.  I kept asking who was touching me, then I thought maybe her fingers were tickling me inside.  One more push and her head came out.   Then she started moving herself out. I again thought the midwives were doing something but they assured me she was doing it, which was so amazingly weird to realise.   With Maia we were at the half in half out stage for a long time and they were 'encouraging' me to push, this time I now realise, it all happened as it was meant to.  Looking at the video though, I am annoyed at how 'handsy' the midwife was.  A few minutes later  and woosh................!!

At 5.17am, an hour after arriving at the hospital, 5hrs after labour started, Little Red weighing 7lbs14oz, came into the world.

It turned out that one of the midwives was a member of the ARM, so she was all on board with our third stage management plan and was really excited to be at a natural labour.  The staff were really supportive and I'm happy I could provide that kind of birth for her but it still sucked to be in hospital instead of in my pool at home with my girls.  

Of course the fun didn't end there.  The cord was really short, hence meconium, she must have pulled too hard on the cord coming down and pooped herself, poor baby.  It meant that I was unable to turn over easily for her to be put on my tummy.  I had to do some kind of gymnastic movement to hoik myself over whilst they passed Little Red through my legs at the same time.  I was quite disorientated from the fast birth and wasn't sure what to do with myself!  A midwife and Barry held Little Red close to my chest, skin to skin, to keep her calm till we worked out where and how I could lie down so she was finally able to reach my chest.

Daddy Barry cutting cord
Once the cord stopped pulsing, Barry cut it and I moved to the bed to feed Little Red and deliver her placenta.  It was so great, not to have to explain ourselves and our placental needs. The midwife understood our placenta plans completely and even helped do a few prints for us before putting it in their fridge to stay fresh for encapsulation.

Daddy Barry calming Millie 

Happy to be home

Meltdowns - calm and sleepy big sisters
Losing the Plot - a few times i think!
Breastfeeding - start at the very beginning....

Below is a Naked Birth Video (close up!)


  1. That's a beautiful birth Miri :)
    It brought tears to my eyes to watch Red pop out into the world!

  2. That was THE MOST AWESOMELY BEAUTIFUL birth! A homebirth in a hospital, cant do much better than that under the circumstances! Made me cry...and gave me baby rabies, lol.

  3. Thank you for sharing that. Beautiful! I learnt a few things (at 66!) and was so pleased to see the whole birth - as, you know, I had never given birth myself. I had been with 3 girls (in my care) who had given birth and can see the vast difference in this more natural birth. Well Done You, Barry, and all the girls! xx