Website of Lina Clerke -

Holistic Bowen Therapist,
Midwife &
Childbirth Educator Sussex UK

 


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Magenta's Birth Story
Our BREECH BABY

14th July, 2002

Conception : Divine.
Due date: a mystery.

Working full-time as a weaver.

11 weeks
Bristol England: feeling very bloated and reflecting on the realisation that I hadn't had a period in a long time? Two days later in Goldbourne, UK, tested positive and visited local Doctor to confirm pregnancy. Following days I had an ultrasound to determine age of foetus and number of foetuses! Thank-you to the wonderful Roberts family who nurtured me throughout this initial learning period and helped me feel happy and comfortable with my new circumstances. It was also good that I was free from the worry that I might have had glandular fever and so continued my travels through England, Spain and France.

22 weeks
Returning to home in 'Dec' was dominated by Doctors, ultrasound and resting.
Late planning of birth and education process found us having difficulty in getting into antenatal programs. Our doctor arranged for us to get into a private hospital with an obstetrician. This was a lot easier than we had understood - friends told us it would be very difficult to organise a hospital or doctor so late in the pregnancy. For your own reference you might want to note that travel insurance will only cover your pregnancy up to 24weeks.

29 weeks Started 'Le louvre Project' (full-time working from home)

33 weeks Ultrasound showed Baby in breech position.
Doctor suggested an elective c-section as the best course of action, which we rejected and made very clear this would only be considered if there were complications during birth. Thankfully this was accepted and my Doctor was experienced enough to go ahead with a breech delivery. My understanding is that many obstetricians will only do a breech birth by c-section. For me, I felt that everything was in my favour; being tall thus having a large pelvis, fit and flexible from yoga and having a trouble free pregnancy gave the Doctor confidence to abide by my wishes.
Family History: My Grandmother laboured 48 hours with my father (breech baby) and I was a breech baby until manually turned weeks before due date. The breech presentation promoted personal research and classes with birth educator 'Lina Clerke'. Lina's session focused on the natural birth process and breech babies. Armed with this knowledge Glen and I had confidence to pursue our desire for a natural birth.

36 weeks Finished 'Le Louvre' project.

38 weeks My waters broke at midnight, I'd just retired but it was not long before I was dashing to the toilet with incontinence! The process was beginning, I stood in front of Glen (my partner) sitting on the toilet with a strong trickle of warm clear-white liquid running down my shuddering legs feeling a little scared. I was confused as to "what next" with no contractions or Brackston Hicks practice contractions. My head was in a spin and Glen decided to call the hospital for our next step. Two heads are better than one, and though our plan was to stay at home as long as possible things change. (Because the baby was breech, it was suggested to go to hospital to await contractions once the membranes had ruptured).

Hospital: Arrived 1 AM
Settled into a room, so Glen returned home. About 4 AM I got my first contraction. I was just lying in bed going with the flow of the pain, wiggling and resting when I was over come with nausea and next thing I was in bed with my dinner. It was then that I called the midwife for help. Foetal monitoring she said. What for, I feared, but all was well. About 5 AM I was moved to the birthing suite and Glen was called as my support team (he arrived about 6.30 AM). During this time I "went off the boil". I think because he wasn't there I wasn't ready, therefore the baby and I waited for him. I didn't time any contraction wanting to concentrate on being relaxed, listening and allowing my body to take control. Irregular labour (but pretty constant if you ask me ) started about 6.30 AM. When you are asked how long the labour was the official version is "regular labour" at about 10 AM for me. But I can assure that my 3 ? hours of irregular labour counted too.

Active Labour
Moving around the birth suite on the floor, all fours, leaning against the bed on my knees and making the noises that felt right, Arrrr…..! Offered Hot packs YES, YES, YES hot packs were my best friend. Offered Gas. My contractions were consistent but not regular by the clock, so when Joanna (second member of support team) arrived at about 10.30 I got her to call the naturopath who recommended we massage Neroli aromatherapy oil into my back (but check with your naturopath in advance because that was simply all we had to choose from). Not long after that, regular contractions (about 11 AM) became bigger and it became much more uncomfortable moving around the room. Over the hours I was encouraged to move around, I had a shower, then was on the bed leaning into a beanbag. I had my first show in the birthing chair where I spent most of the time leaning into the end of the bed face buried in the pillow. About 3.00 PM the Doctor examined me, 6cm dilated, this was uncomfortable and showed that this birth was progressing fast.

Transition and Birth
At this stage I listened a lot to the midwives and was guided by their voices. It was on the bed leaning into the beanbag that I had the uncontrollable urge to push and all their encouragement to hold back was ignored. Real descending pains began and real noise. My birth team helped position me and hold the gas mouthpiece when I was relaxed. Throughout I listened to every word they said, but they felt powerless. Their voice's guided me as she traveled into the world. Due to her being breech it was agreed that I would have an episiotomy and give birth in lithotomy position. The pain was so big it wouldn't have mattered what position I was in as I was so focused on pushing, the gas was only an occasional crutch. Throughout, my support team were my 'eyes', I listened to them my eyes closed hard with the force I was exerting. Once the baby was in visual range it seemed to me more and more difficult to push her out and the pressure of the baby bearing down was so great, that my perineum being stretched was a mere tingle. Bottom first she came. Her legs flopped out and I could feel the weight of her body swinging free. I had the episiotomy after she had 'crowned' ( bottom born) this makes the birth a lot faster and she wobbled out without resistance. Birth is like having the biggest shit of your life.

4.20 PM Birth of our wonderful Daughter, Magenta Violet came out eyes open wide, and with her hands in the air opening and closing. She lay on my tummy for a while and then suckled while we experienced the joy and amazement of our baby. The midwife commented on Magenta's alertness and attributed it to my not taking anything other than gas. All up form the waters breaking 14 hours but medically speaking I laboured for 6.5 hours. Magenta's placenta remained attached for about 1.5 hours after the birth, (one surprise at a time for Magenta and for Glen the 'cord cutter'). Third stage went on un-noticed I couldn't even tell it happened.

When did I start gas? I accepted Gas when I wasn't coping with the pain. The use of gas was largely guided by the midwives. Initially it began on a low dose with oxygen but soon I was so into my body I became oblivious to increases until they wanted to turn it down and then I had a word to say. They wanted to turn down the gas because they thought I was too high, this was some time after they had offered pethidine and clearly things were escalating. With a firm grip on my mouthpiece and a clear calm manner of relaxation between contractions my primary midwife listened to me and kept the status quo going. Glen later told me that I was hardly using the gas at all for the final pushing phase; I thought I was but apparently was not properly breathing with the mask.

When was I offered Pethidine? Apparently I had a discussion about having an injection and I felt that the gas was getting me by and I'd stick to it, but I have very little recollection of this or the pain at that time. Glen told me that the midwife was genuinely surprised about my reluctance to use Pethidine; the bonus was an alert Magenta waving hello to everyone.

What did I take in with me? Lovely cloths to make the room homely, my favourite pillow and oils for joy (neroli, jasmine and rose). I wore a t-shirt and had pegs to tuck it up for the massage. I gave birth wearing my favourite jewellery of necklace, earrings and rings.

Post birth comments:
Believe in your body, it will know what to do.
Relax knowing women were designed for pregnancy, birth and motherhood. It was only after the birthing experience and early days with Magenta that the truth of this statement meant a lot to me.
My support team and a primary midwife listened throughout this experience to help me achieve my goal.
Take lots of photos of your baby at birth and over the first 2 weeks of life - they'll never be that small again.
No one ever told me the newborn sleeps through on the first night - I was up all night waiting and watching to nourish her and love her. This is the time to restore your body after its journey.
Freeze 3 loaves of pre-made sandwiches because you get bored of bread and butter.
Breast-feeding requires drinking lots and lots of water for good milk and re-hydration from blood loss.
Menstruation: returned 3 months after birth.

This is the best thing that has ever happened to me. It has been an amazing joy-filled three months with our little girl.

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