Birth Story – Amelie

Quick history…. Frances was born following a horrible 20 hour labour by emergency c-section – it left me very traumatised… ho hum… I’m going to have to try and remember it to write it up, but to be honest, I would rather forget it all.

Maddy was born following a normal if not desperately well managed or calm labour and i had a natural delivery, narrowily escaping forceps by pushing very very hard and getting her out in 3 pushes!!!

So… this time i wanted a homebirth…. i planned it, controlled the midwives (!) stayed out of the consultants way… etc but here is where the best laid plans and all that….

Baby never really engaged… was breech, cephalic, oblique, transverse… anywhere really from week to week!

I went 5 days overdue and finally woke up on wednesday morning knowing it was all about to start. we faffed about trying to decide what to do with the other two… husband convinced we had hours… and suddenly i said “we are fiddling while Rome burns here – take them downstairs!!!” As he left the room my waters popped – i heard them! i knew this was likely to be a problem as although she had had her head in the right place the night before i was fairly sure it was not right at that time. So i lay in a puddle, Max packed the girls bags and i called people on my mobile to arrange childcare… my dad, bless him, was whittling that he had to go to work the next day and what would we do if i hadn’t had it by then!!!!

By the time the midwife arrived i had bad feelings… she said we would be safer in hospital without a head in the pelvis but i didn’t want to go. Max’s aunt arrived and started going on about how her son had not been engaged and she had a section – it was not really what i needed to hear – don’t people react oddly at times of stress!!! She was great and whisked the girls away thank goodness. Fran had got very upset and refused to come near me although she did say goodbye. Then my waters went green.. .at which point even i knew the homebirth had dissolved on me. I shed a few tears but got over it, probably because Max was busy with the girls so i couldn’t throw a tantrum on him!

The girls left, the midwife dialled 999, having waited till the girls were gone so they didn’t see me leave by ambulance… and off i went…. It didn’t wait for Max, which is probably the only clue i got that things were serious. At the mat unit they put me in a nice room, respected all my wishes about keeping people out, my midwife was a veritable bulldog if anyone tried to muscle in, and even took the monitor off after 20 mins, despite it not being a particularly good trace. After that she used a handheld one. The trace was not ideal and by now i was having reasonably strong contractions, but with no head to help me dilate. The registrar was invited in and suggested that the consultant try and nudge the baby over my pelvis. she asked to do an internal first and discovered that although i was only 2cm dilated, she could already feel the cord prolapsing and the babys heartbeat was now dropping with every contraction to a fairly significant degree.

I can honestly say that every face fell in the room – i really think they would have liked it to work out for me but it was becoming clear that we were facing an emergency. the reg said if i had been 8-9cm dilated thay could have got her out safely but we really risked losing the baby if we continued… she only needed to move her head back and engage and it would have all been over. so they gently suggested we move for a section and both of us agreed. It made a fairly big difference to me that a baby had been lost on the home birth list only a few weeks before when his cord had become trapped between her pelvis and his head pre labour. I knew what COULD happen

I don’t quite know how they created a homebirth in an operating theatre but they did. The anesthetist was wonderful (and looked like Jeremy Irons!) my midwife, who had cancelled all her visits and clinics to stay with me, looked after me while the spinal was set up and negotiated to be baby catcher even though her O.R. skills were too out of date for her to be the operating midwife. We even managed a laugh about the fact that the radio was playing “Living on a Prayer” which was possibly slightly inappropriate!!!! The only bad moment was the spinal making me feel really sick which they dealt with quickly and my poor husband who was gripped with absolute terror that we were about to produce another baby with a problem (our first had a cleft lip and palate) but apart from looking green and shaking nearly as much as me, he did really well – i had no idea how frightened he was.

Amelie cried as her head was pulled out, scored 9 and the 10, pooed all over the operating theatre and apart from being a bit grunty – was absolutely fine. I was told later that my scar, despite holding up during Maddy’s birth had opened up a gap of 3cm where amelies head was pressing on it so i am in no doubt that this time i really did have an emergency c-section and that without it we really might both have been in terrible danger. Oddly, it was possibly the most positive birth i have had and though i am sad that it probably knocks out any chance of a normal delivery if we do go for a 4th and final baby, i think that it all went as well as it possibly could have on this occasion.

So, Amelie , who weighed 7lb 11 at birth and 12 days later is 8lb 6 (so i must be doing something right!) was born on the 8th may and eats, sleeps and looks a dream!

I hope this is useful – i never thought i could talk positively about a section – i never envisaged having one again – but its not all bad. i will also say that there is a world of difference between a section after 20 hours of being beaten to a pulp and one done early on when you have energy, dignity and a few muscles left. i so vividly remember staggering down the corridor the morning after dd1’s section clutching my tummy and in awful pain – it took me ages to recover. this time i was able to move about my bed by the afternoon and was walking upright and able first thing the next morning. A different world! I went home after just after 36 hours and although the feelings of having had major emergency surgery when i had 2 girls already left me pretty raw, i was able to overcome it.


In some ways i just chose not to be saddened by this section; i don’t have time for emotional trauma anymore and i had no desire to feel as rotten as i had after Fran. Finding my homebirth kit in the bedroom at home was a very tough time and took me a little while to cope with. I did that by sitting very quietly and focusing on what might have been and how lucky we were that things had gone safely. I had one exceptionally bad weekend when my cousin had an almost repeat experience of my first section in the same hospital – i went to pieces – but by and large this was an okay experience.

2 months later i saw the consultant. To my surprise she was excellent about the whole thing – we knew we still wanted a 4th and she felt the circumstances had been so unusual that she would support me in having a 4th baby and having a vbac. Well, that baby is now a “work in progress” so we shall have to see!!!!