After what felt like an eternity of midwife appointments, visits to the hospital due to my high blood pressure and the continuing wait after failed sweeps, I can finally announce the birth of our fourth baby boy! This time round I can remember all the events that unfolded, on the actual night I went into labour, as I managed to film snippets and have got the timings from there. I’m super thankful to be able to share my fourth positive, healthy birth story with you!
Following my meeting back in August 2021 with the consultant, it was agreed that a similar action plan as Hamish and Seths birth plans would be used again. The only change was the stretch and sweeps would start from 39 weeks (a week later than usual) to try for a lighter baby, hoping to reduce my chances of tearing again (bearing in mind, I’d sustained a third degree tear with Tobias, a second degree tear with Hamish, but nothing with Seth).
On Monday 28th February 2022, I went to the midwife who performed the first stretch and sweep, which scored a 4 on the bishop scale. The Bishop score is based on how dilated your cervix is, how short your cervix is, how far down in your pelvis your baby’s head is, the position of your cervix and if it’s pointing backwards or forwards. A score of eight or more indicates that your cervix is ripe and ready for labour. So my first sweep wasn’t very favourable. The second time on Friday 4th March 2022, I scored a 7, so it still wasn’t an amazing chance of going into labour. Baby’s due date was on Sunday 6th March 2022 but that day came and went with no twinges at all. I then went for a third sweep on Monday 7th March 2022 which scored 9 on the bishop scale! The head of the baby was fully engaged but the midwife decided to book an induction date with the hospital so I didn’t go to far over my due date. The eviction date was booked for Sunday 13th March 2022!
I woke up at midnight, on Tuesday 8th March 2022, and I thought I was dreaming about contractions, which scared me enough to notes that to fall back asleep. After half an hour I experienced another contraction and realised I wasn’t actually dreaming about them! I waited for another (which took another half hour) and then decided to go to the toilet. After I stood up the contractions started to come a lot quicker, I couldn’t get comfortable lying down so started out by rocking back and forth holding onto the end of the bed and then moved to walking up and down the stairs. By 3am the contractions were coming every 15 minutes, lasting for a minute but I was able to breathe through them.
But things started to get quicker still from here, at 3.20am I called my mum to come and sit in the house with the other boys so Gavin and I could go to hospital. Gavin finally got out of bed and got ready to go too. I also rang the ward to advise I was on my way. At 3.30am we got into the car and set off to the hospital, which took 20 minutes as there wasn’t any traffic and best of all there wasn’t a queue into the hospital car park (all my other labours have been middle of the day, busy hospital vibes so this was a revelation and meant Gavin couldn’t complain for once)! We managed to walk the full way to the labour ward (which was at the other side of the building and up a flight of stairs)!
We got onto delivery ward at 4am and I was shown immediately to our suite, my contractions were now every 5 minutes lasting a minute and a half. I was handed the gas and air, which only seemed to work when I closed my eyes (I like gas and air – that spaced out feeling and the taste will forever remind me of giving birth). At 4.30am my blood pressure was sky high (I blame the automatic machines as when my blood pressure is taken manually, it’s fine) so the decision to put a cannula in as a precautionary was made (they were never used and I’m still suffering with bruises 10 days later). So bearing in mind the midwifes are trying to put a cannula in both of my hands, I feel a pop, it’s my waters going and I could still feel baby moving around inside me. At this point I lost my shit for five seconds and Gavin has voice recordings of this happening. My body then took over and began pushing, the midwife abandoned one of my hands and moved to help with the birthing of the head. I’ve never felt the ring of fire before but it hurt that much I tried closing my legs, to which the midwife gave me a stern word to reopen and give the baby space! From the head being born the midwife had to steadily help me, to allow my body to recover to be able to push the rest of the baby out, Gavin said it looked like the midwife was putting her whole body weight into me! But it wasn’t for long as at 4.59am, on Tuesday (my third Tuesday child) 8th March 2022 our little Jonas Steven William Clarke was born. Gavin has since said that the umbilical cord was born first and appeared to be making his head a funny shape. A 5 hour labour (from first contraction) and a perfect little man to show for it, he came out moving all his limbs around, in fact he was moving throughout the whole labour, just like he had throughout my whole pregnancy!
Jonas was handed straight to me (the midwifes said the cord was as long as a skipping rope) and he immediately wanted to be fed. It didn’t take long for the placenta to come once I had been given the injection. At 5.30am I was checked to see if any stitches were needed and it was found that i only had bruising/grazing and I didn’t need any stitches, which was a huge shock once we found out the weight of Jonas, he was a gigantic 9lb 6oz. My heaviest baby to date! Jonas was given an injection for vitamin k which made him give a little yelp. After that we were left on our own for a little while. Gavin left around 7am to head home, so he could do the school run with the boys and feed the cows.
Around 8am the decision was made to take my bloods to check my stats, following my increased blood pressure, which still hadn’t come down after the birth. I also had a shower around this time and got dressed for the day, I got the compulsory tea and toast and enjoyed (through gritted teeth) my first wee. I was also given some lovely, sexy socks that I then was advised I had to wear for the next 10 days.
At 10am, my blood pressure had finally returned to ‘normal’ and I was moved to the postnatal ward to wait for the blood tests to come back and to get the hearing test for Jonas completed. We had to wait for a paediatrician to check over Jonas before being discharged as well. From then on I didn’t do much at all just lots of soaking up all the newborn gorgeousness and listening to the squeaks and snuffs that newborns make. It was around midday that I was told about needing to self inject myself for 10 days with a blood thinner jab, due to a risk of blood clots as I had more than 3 children, I declined this after reading the blurb that I was handed, I decided that the risk was low and my needle phobia kicked in majorly. If I was sent home with jabs to do myself they wouldn’t be used and that’s a waste of NHS resources.
By midday my blood test results had come back all clear and the hearing test for Jonas had taken place. However we waited till 7pm for the paediatrician to complete a 5 second check (I think it was more like 10 minutes) to find everything was ok and we were finally discharged that night! We stopped off for a kebab takeaway on the way home and walked into our house at 8pm.
Jonas’ birth story is by far my favourite and most positive birth story to date. I’m so relieved and proud that everything went so well and I’ll be forever grateful to the midwifes for helping me on this journey. That feeling you experience of being an ultimate superwoman, its a sense of euphoria for me. I still cant believe it’s all over and he’s here, healthy, strong and just perfect. Keep checking back for Jonas’ monthly updates, I cant wait to share his milestones with you all.
Much love Rebecca