I felt the top of the baby’s head! Wow!

This week’s birth story comes from one of our very own Instructors Teresa-Katharina Buchan from SONA Mum – Hypnobirthing & Hypnotherapy in Aberdeenshire. Thank you for sharing this wonderful story with us.
Please welcome Keeley Lisa Joyce Buchan into the world!
Keeley was born at home at 2.54 am on the 30th of November. Her birth weight was 3720 g – or 8 lbs and 3 oz – and her length 54 cm.
All in all we had a wonderful birth, a bit longer than I expected just going by birth stories from other people’s second births. It seems I am just a long labourer.
We had the home birth I wished for although in the end I never used our birth pool. The pool was all prepared but unfortunately, we had a wee bit of an issue with the water temperature. Keeley was instead born on the sitting room floor.
We had a long first stage of labour with mild surges which started on Thursday late evening and which were easy to bear. The surges must have either been mild enough for me to sleep through them no problem or perhaps they eased off through the night. Not entirely sure. From around 8 am the mild surges picked up again and became more frequent throughout the day.
Unexpectedly and very last minute we had no childcare available where our older daughter Cora could go to over night. That situation and its unplanned course wasn’t particularly enjoyable for us but three of our close friends had agreed to be ‘on call’ in order to come and stay with Cora during the birth.
Our two friends Angela and Sarah arrived around 7.30/8 pm when the surges had picked up a bit. David and I got Cora ready for bed. I usually nurse Cora to sleep and attempted to feed her one last time whilst pregnant but I was unable to stay in the same position due to the surges. Instead David managed to settle Cora down fine with a bottle and some rocking.
Then the four of us played Cards Against Humanity with interruptions while I continued labouring. I kept in touch with the midwife on call and we played the midwives’ call out by ear.
By half past ten the contractions had increased in both intensity and frequency and the two home birth midwives on call Fiona and Chelsea made their way down to us. They arrived just before midnight.
Fiona checked me over and pulse, temperature and blood pressure were all fine. Upon examining me I had reached 6 cm dilation.
When David loaded our wood burning stove Fiona expressed her concerns about using the gas and air near naked flames. To this point I had used no form of pain relief yet; I have a TENS machine but didn’t feel I needed it. The thought of using gas and air had begun to cross my mind at that point but during Cora’s labour it made me nauseous and sick and I was in two minds about using it. The chance of blowing the house up if we used it helped me make up my mind Sarah and Angela retreated to Cora’s playroom with the baby monitor to keep an eye on Cora.
My contractions continued to increase. Breathing through them became harder to focus on but with reminders from both David and Fiona I did it.
We then checked the water temperature of the birthing pool and I was a bit deflated as we discovered the temperature had gone down to 32°C. It was bad timing and a combination of a few issues; in the midst of the whole birth going on we never checked on the temperature early enough plus we had some problems with our boiler. However, in the end we would not have had enough time anyway to drain enough water from the pool and refill it with hot water to get the desired temperature. That situation threw me off a little and the thought of transfer crossed my mind.
There would never have been enough time though. My concept of time is a bit lost but I ended up clenching to the armrest of our couch during a particularly intense contraction and never left. I was physically unable to move from there and that is where Keeley was born. How long I was down there for in total I don’t know but it cannot have been all that long. I was kneeling on the floor and Fiona and Chelsea helped making me more comfortable by putting a towel under my knees. David sat round the front of the sofa and I held on to him as well as the couch. Fiona massaged my back which helped loads.
My waters released on the floor while I was still on my knees and I experienced the panic moment which happens during the transition phase when you realise your body takes over to push. I don’t quite remember it from Cora’s birth as I had the urge to push before I had fully dilated. This time round, however, the need to bear down and push took over and I begun to feel the stinging sensation when Keeley’s head started to push through. A few more surges and Fiona informed me that I could feel the head. I shouted ‘No!’ but my hand went down regardless and I felt the top of the baby’s head! Wow!
Some more pushes, the stinging continued and with one last contraction the head emerged and the body slid out at 2.54 am.
Fiona laid the baby down between my knees and let me discover our baby’s sex: Another girl!
She was lying in a puddle of blood and her bodyweight in meconium with her cord hanging out of me. She was covered in vernix, blood, slime, pee and poo and screaming her head off with an angry face – yet I have never seen anything so beautiful!
Then David came round to see his newborn daughter. Once we made sure the umbilical cord was white David cut it – he says it was quite tough – and held Keeley for the first time. Everyone helped off my knees to sit down and hold our new daughter and let her have her first feed and skin to skin. I sat down in Keeley’s pee and poo and all the blood but I didn’t really care. I couldn’t have moved an inch further. Keeley then started nursing and we called down Angela and Sarah to meet her!
After a short while everyone helped me up and I put on my dressing gown and sat on the chair to continue feeding Keeley.
I was desperate for a cup of tea with sugar (which I never drink) and toast with margarine.
Then I had some biscuits.
We took some pictures and I then made use of the birth pool with its luke warm water to wash myself while David held Keeley skin to skin.
Keeley then got weighed, measured and checked over and Fiona and Chelsea worked on their notes.
As already mentioned Keeley’s birth weight was a healthy 3720 g (8 lbs 3 oz) and a length of 54 cm. She was ever so slightly heavier and longer than Cora (3440 g/7 lbs 9 oz and 53.5 cm). She has a slight bruise on the top of her head from dancing on my pelvic bone (which today on day 2 has already almost disappeared).
I am myself all fine and only had a small one degree tear. I birthed the placenta naturally and we kept it to make Keeley’s placenta print.
Cora was a wee superstar and actually slept throughout the whole night without even stirring (this never happens!!)!
Fiona and Chelsea left around 6 am (I think) and David went upstairs to try and catch some sleep before Cora woke up.
I sat down with Keeley, Sarah and Angela and they helped drain the water from the pool, tidy up and lit the fire. They left around 7 am and I went upstairs to a woken up Cora and David. David got Cora ready and took her downstairs for breakfast while I tried to catch some sleep with Keeley.
Yesterday Bernie came and checked on us and today Keeley was checked by Lydia who did all the doctor’s tests. Keeley is doing incredibly fine, her skin is great, eyes are clear and her bruise on the head is already getting smaller. Her feeding is fine, she has a good amount of wet and dirty nappies and my milk has already started to come in!
Our thanks go, of course, to our two wonderful midwives Fiona and Chelsea who were a tremendous help during Keeley’s birth! Also many thanks to my community midwife Julie!
And then we cannot thank Sarah and Angela (and also Pat who would also have come if needed) enough without whom we would have been lost! You two pretty much dropped everything to help us and always would! By being there to look after Cora you ensured that David would not miss the birth of his second child. He didn’t have to worry having to go and see to Cora and potentially be occupied with her while I was in the middle of giving birth! Thankfully Cora slept through and never needed any settling but the possibility was there and you took away some big worries by being here! I love that you were there during Keeley’s birth and I just hope I can pay it forward some day and be there for you in the same way you have been for us!
Lastly, of course, my incredible husband David! I know he felt a bit helpless and lost not knowing how he could help me or ease the sensations and pains of childbirth but you couldn’t have done more! My pillar as always and I love you very much!
Thanks for reading.
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