Sorry, I haven't been able to log in until today and then had password problems.
I would love to share my story. It will be long. In order to
understand it all I suppose it needs going back. All in all it ended
up a good experience but it involved alot of fighting and some really
not nice bits.
I suppose it starts with the fact that I am in Ireland. My username,
Saoirse, is the Irish word for 'freedom'. I think that is a very
relevant point to make in order to understand where I was coming from
when first joining this site and writing the first post.
All I ever wanted was a homebirth for this baby. I am very well
informed in regards to birth and I felt that midwife led care was the
only option for me and my baby. I had given birth in the local CLU
before and felt that doing so again would put us both at risk due to
their routine policies and medicalised midwives. (I was lucky, despite
being in the CLU I had spontaneous unassisted vaginal births but I was
severely over managed duing a 3rd stage of labour on one pregnancy and
it had played in my mind since. This local CLU has a section rate of
50% some days...) As my edd was so close to Christmas no independent
midwife would take me. I was devastated. I then decided to go to the
local MLU but despite having had 3 previous spontaneous vaginal births
and deemed a perfect candidate/lowest of the low risk they wouldn't
take me as my BMI was off their exclusion criteria by 7 pounds. Yes, 7
pounds. I knew I was overweight as I had put on 2st following a
miscarriage but I am very active and very healthy. So, I lied. And went
to an MLU 1.5hrs away from me to get the MLU scheme. Luckily when
booking in the midwife simply asked me my weight..in which I lied about
in order to get in.
So, this brings us up to my first post on here. About going to a
unit 1.5 hrs away and being worried about not making the unit. I was
secretly hopoing I may not make it, tbh but I also really feared
birthing in the car as the roads are very poor Irish Country roads
(anyone who has been here will know all about that!). My husband is
also not trusting of birth as I am - an unassisted delivery would
really shake him. So, this was my situation...not really sure what was
going to happen or where but preparing for all options.
My pregnancy was brilliant. I remained very active and was
determined to eat only healthy food. With the help of a midwife at the
MLU I ate only nutritionally rich foods and between that and the active
lifestyle I only put on about 10lbs by 30 wks of pregnancy. My baby was
growing well, even measuring big, and I felt amazing; the best I had in
a pregnancy so far!
At 34 wks I was sent for a routine scan to determine the position of
the placenta as it had been somewhat low at 12 weeks. At the scan the
radiologist mentioned that it was a bit low but would probably be
fine..she called in a doctor for a second opinion and the doctor signed
it off and I was back in the MLU. I drove the 1.5hrs home and just as I
was entering our village I got a call asking me to come back. The
radiologist was somewhat unhappy with the first scan and it being
signed off and I was asked to come in for a second scan so a
'specialist' could see it. I drove back to the unit and the
radiologist performed the scan abdominally. The specialist came in and
they spent the next while talking to themselves. I asked them what they
saw, what the problem was - and they continued to talk between
themselves. So much for keeping me part of the decision process.
Finally they did a trans-vaginal scan and again went back and forth
with each other as to if it was considered low lying or placenta
previa. Finally, this specialist simply says "give it grade 2" and I
was told that my placenta was 1cm from the os and that I would be
discharged from the MLU immediately to a consultant team to discuss a
As the unit was so far from our village and as we assumed it was to
be a surgical birth was transferred units to my more local unit (the
one that had the issue with my weight) and I met with the consultant
the following day. We learned that the local unit had a CDiff outbreak
- so I had to attend this meeting alone without my husband or doula.
I attended the meeting and was told that I could expect to bleed
heavily at any time. If I bled heavily I was to come straight into the
unit - if they could stop the bleeding I would be admitted until 38wks.
If they couldn't stop the bleeding I would have emergency section. I
was told it was highly likely I would bleed. I was given a section date
for the 10th of Dec and was told I would not have another scan (depite
this obs not even having a copy of the scan report from the first
unit). I cried the whole meeting and felt so down.
I came home and started doing research - asked on here about trial
of labour with a grade 2. I was encouraged that in the US and UK it
seemed that as long as the placenta was not covering the os that
vaginal birth was possible. I was hoping that I may find a doctor in
Dublin who might give me a trial of labour. In my reading/research I
discovered that most women with grade 2 placenta previa have had some
form of spotting or bleeding in their pregnancy by 30+ weeks. I was 34
wks and baby measuring 35 weeks. I had no bleeding/spotting/cramping at
all during my pregnancy - despite being very active.
So, I decided to go for a second independent opinion in Dublin.
I was recommended an obs who is very open-minded and mother-friendly from AIMS Ireland and my Doula.
I booked in to have a scan with him and his team in a few days time
- it was exactly a week from the first scan at the first unit.
I went in for the scan and met with the obs. His radiographer did an
abdominal scan and said she couldn't see any problem with the placenta.
She then called another radiographer in and they did a trans-vaginal
scan. They spent nearly an hour scanning and discussing the
measurements with themselves, the obs, and my husband and I. Finally,
we were told that at the lowest point the placenta was 3.5cm from the
ob (not the 1cm in the first scan) and that the majority of the
placenta was at least 4.5cm from the os. They wouldn't even consider me
low lying placenta let alone a previa. The obs told us this is not the
first time they have seen a misdiagnosis like this from the unit in
So, we were thrilled and after discussing it decided to book in with
this Dublin unit under the new obs as midwife led was now totally out
of the question. My pregnancy ticked along nicely and I discussed my
birthing preferences with the new obs and midwife team. My main
preferences were spontaneous labour (discuss induction after 14 days
post date), no accellerants, no pain meds, no ARM, stay upright, birth
upright (preference of standing) and physiological 3rd stage - cord
finish pulsating. He was fine with all of it and the birth plan was
signed off as a contract.
Unfortunatley, the labour proved to be as dramatic as the pregnancy!
I had been having show for about a week (38wks) and the thurday it
became quite heavy. I was sure on the friday night I was starting and
went for some reflexology. After the reflexology I had a long bath in
which everything settled down again. I woke on the Sat with a ton of
energy and we had a lovely day - went to see Santa, had lunch out with
the kids, etc. Its funny to think back as getting the kids to meet
Santa was the last thing on my 'list' that I wanted to get done before
the baby arrived!!
Sat night I started getting alot of pressure in my back- around the
coccyx - this was a new sensation for me and it was quite intense. We
went to bed as normal Sat night but I was never really comfortable. I
woke around 4:30 with my husband
snoring so went downstairs, put on the dishwasher, put all the
Christmas lights on, the radio on, did a few chores, went online ect.
Was feeling pretty
good bar the pressure in my coccyx and then around 5:30 got a bit of a
sore back and then had 2 quite
strong contractions a few minutes apart. Had a shower and they kept
up...very close. So woke my husband and he said they were about 4/5 min
I saw a light on next door so neighbor's hubby came over and we headed
to Dublin as last labour was very quick (1.5hrs from first twinge to
still having surges but in the car they became more spaced...every
10 min and other than pressure in my backside felt they had eased in
strength. We were listening to Jane's Addiction's "Jane Says" over and
over..it was the only thing that had the rhythem I liked! Got to Dublin
and the new unit and went to labour ward. My obs was away and when the
Midwife went over
my birthplan and she started saying "No" to nearly everything on it!
She started saying that from late stages of labour that I would not be
allowed to have any part of me on the floor - that I had to give birth
on the bed and could not stand. She also said that should my waters
j"ust happen to break" during a VE that it could not be helped.This was
another huge issue for me as on my first I was given an ARM with an OP
baby and it was sheer Hell - so very against ARM. It was at this point
that my labour completely stalled.
consented to a VE; She
checked me and I was fully effaced but only 2cm - head still high - and
as contractions had
stopped I was considered not in labour. I told my husband I wanted to
go home and that I wasn't coming back. I asked her to give me my chart
with full intentions of not coming back.
We drove the hour from Dublin back home and the second I walked in the door the surges started back up
again; just twinges and faint. It was about 9am. They were about 10 min apart and very
mild.. so I got in the bath and fell asleep in the bath listening to
my hypnobirthing cd.
got out of the bath and came downstairs..it was about 9:45 and my
making breakfast and quite suddenly the surges started fast and
about 90 seconds apart and I felt terrible pressure and pain in my
coccyx. They were not letting up and I could feel the waters bulging
but could tell her head was still quite high. I was standing at the
kitchen table and would stand for the surge and then as it was over
would go to sit for a second but never got the chance as another was
starting back up.
going into hospital or staying at home for an unplanned
homebirth. I really didn't want to go into the local unit as the last
contact I'd had with them was when they refused to give me a second
scan. As far as they were concerned I should be a section. I wanted to
hold on and stay home but at the same time I was finding things very
difficult - it was the most
painful sensations I'd ever had in any of my labours and while I had
pressure I didn't feel her head decending..so got bit nervous as
something didn't feel right. My husband was very nervous and eventually
I decided it was best to go into the unit.
ran to the car - it was Ireland's first snowfall of the year so the
roads were really snowy and icy - I only realised when we were halfway
there that I was
barefoot and without a coat!! We had also forgot our labour bag. We
slid all the way from our village to the hospital.
was brought straight to delivery at 10:30am
and was 9cm, waters intact. I was met by the midwife who told me that
as they had no record of me they needed a baseline of the baby - so
against my better judgement I consented to a CTG for 20 minutes. Being
tied to the bed was horrendous - the pain in my coccyx was so immense.
The waters went while the midwives were taking notes but I
still had tremendous pressure - but no urge to push.
hour was horrendous...I had a desperate midwife who wouldn't take off
the CTG despite the 20 min trace being up. I could not get comfortable
and all I wanted was to get up standing. She kept trying to get me to
despite not being fully dilated or having the urge. She then mentioned
Oxytocin (!) at 11:30am to try to speed things up as the contractions
had become less frequent. FFS, I was only in labour 2hrs and in the
hospital an hour! I told her "NO WAY" and my husband again said that it
had been ages and to get the CTG off me and let me off the bed. We
finally got quite aggressive - started taking the CTG off ourselves and
told her it was coming off and that I wanted off the bed.
A new midwife was
assigned to me at this point and I spent the next while standing at the side of the
bed - this got the contractions back up to less than every minute nearly
was very tough going. The new midwife explained I had a rigid anterior
lip on the cervix which the head was caught on - so the baby stayed
also had a ton of waters...every contraction brought a gush of water
and I would immediately get a small bit of relief. The second midwife
was great - brought in a radio, gave my husband a massager for my back,
and was hands off supporting me while I stood by the bed. She asked me
was I happy to give birth standing as she thought it was close - I told
her that had always been my preference.
after about 2 hrs
of being in the hospital, I got a huge gush of water with a
the head slip down and got a strong urge to push - with one push my
beautiful girl was born while I stood by the bed at 12:30pm. I had no
tears or stitches and had
immediate skin to skin as she fed for the first time. She had a mark
on her head from where she was caught on the cervix, poor pet. She
weighed 8lb 10oz and was 21 inches - born on Dec 20th at 39+2 gestation
a really tough birth - my hardest yet. I cannot believe I had a 2hr
transition; my others were very fast from 5cm. All in all, it was still
relatively short -
about an hour at home and 2 in the hospital but it really took
alot out of me. I am also quite upset still about the first
midwife...but my God was the second brilliant! I would love to know
what the pain in the coccyx was from - 8 weeks on and I still have pain
8 Weeks on and we are all doing great - she is a brilliant breastfeeder and we are all totally in love with her.
I have formally requested all my birth notes and the scan reports
through Freedom of Information Act - I will make a formal complaint
about the scan/placenta previa. I have also put in complaints to the
Dublin hospital regarding my experience and the local unit regarding
the first midwife.
So...that is our story. Nothing like what we planned. Parts of
it horrific. Parts of it a brilliant experience. Too much of it spent
Here's to women-centred care and mother-friendly birth practices
becoming more of a reality in Ireland in the future. If anyone is
interested, AIMS Ireland (Association for Improvemetns in the Maternity
Services - Ireland) are a great Irish birth related organisation who
are working hard to change things for women in Ireland. They have been
a great support to me.
Thanks again for all the advice and support!