My Birth Story - Hudson George Smith
On 23rd January 2021 our lives changed forever when the best little human entered the world. Here’s the story of how he arrived. Please be aware that if you have any triggers or are squeamish, you may not want to read. Hudson was born by emergency c-section 💙
Over my final 2 weeks of pregnancy, I was in hospital a couple of times for reduced movement. On Thursday 21st Jan (40+1) I had my routine community midwife appointment, and when listening to baby’s heartbeat, Nicky (my midwife) and I agreed that it was a little “off” and therefore I should pop to Gloucester to be monitored again. So Dave and I headed straight over to the hospital (ensuring all bags etc were in the car!) and honestly at this point I thought this might be it. We got to Gloucester and we’re quickly admitted as Nicky had phoned ahead, and I was put on the monitor for about an hour. Thankfully, all was well.
We already had a growth scan booked in for the next day; so the Dr recommended that they should check my cervix and then make a decision about whether to induce or not. When the midwife checked, my cervix was soft but still not showing signs of labour, so having seen good movements on the monitor we agreed that the best thing was to go home, and make a decision after my growth scan in the morning, as it was possible that an induction wouldn’t work.
That night, I enjoyed a McDonald’s and a warm bath, and snuggled up on the sofa with Dave knowing this may well be the last time before the little one came alone.
On Friday (40+2) we headed over for our scan, knowing not much had changed from the day before, we both thought we maybe sent home again, so Dave told work he’d be back in a couple of hours!
We went in for the scan, and could see that baby didn’t have a lot of room left in there! His heart was beating beautifully, but once again his movements were low, so we were sent back upstairs for monitoring. It was at this point that I was 99% sure we’d be heading in to have a baby*, as with my past few weeks history of low movements, Nicky had told me that they may suggest induction if we went back in. Once again I was monitored for around an hour, at which point a midwife came and told us that they had reviewed my history, and they believed that I should be induced, as we were past full term and simply waiting to go into labour. I agreed and we were collected and taken to the maternity ward.
I was put into a private room and given a Covid test - I was to be kept in there until my results came back, and unless they needed the room would be able to stay in there overnight - lovely!
Around 4pm on Friday 22nd January I was given a pessary induction, and told by the midwives that I could be on the ward a few days, if the pessary didn’t work I would get a second induction 24 hours later (spoiler alert - we didn’t get that far!). Dave was allowed to stay for 2 hours after I was induced, so when it was time for him to go around 6pm the midwife suggested I go for a walk, so I walked him to the exit. Since the induction had started I had had a couple of mild contractions, but nothing to write home about. On my walk back to the ward, I had a few contractions, and was surprised at how quickly they seemed to be coming on. When I got back I told the midwife, so she popped me on the monitor. Sure enough, despite them being mild, I was having 3 contractions in 10 minutes. So she suggested a bath might help move things along, and said to call her back before 8pm if I felt I needed some pain relief. I got into the bath, and the minute I sat down felt 2 big pops inside me and realised my waters had broken - the strangest feeling I’ve ever had! I think I was a little shocked, as I jumped out of the bath, and ran to the call button in the bedroom (not thinking about the fact that there is one in the bathroom!) and my waters went everywhere. I was slightly concerned however, because my waters were bloody, which made me a little concerned, so i was glad the midwife could see it. When she walked in the room, I was standing there stark naked looking at my waters - it must have been quite a sight! And she said she thought I was calling her for pain relief, but clearly that was no longer the case. She agreed that a dr needed to come and check my waters, so I got on the bed and they put a pad underneath.
A little while later the dr checked, and whilst the blood had calmed, my waters were still tinged pink, so around 9.30pm I was taken up to the delivery suite, and told to call Dave - we were going to get this baby out soon! My two lovely midwives explained that whilst it wasn’t an immediate emergency, they wanted to get the baby out sooner rather than later, so I was going to be started on the hormone drip to get things moving quickly. Dave arrived just before 10pm to a scene you would find in a comedy sketch, the student midwife was putting the canula in my arm and I was high on gas & air, and she’d forgotten to put the tube in so I was just bleeding everywhere, and they needed to move onto the other arm. Luckily I’m not squeamish, and honestly found the whole situation hilarious. Once everything was sorted, they started the hormone drip and things started to ramp up pretty quickly.
Throughout the whole process, baby’s heartbeat was being monitored - I get a little hazy on timings because I made them take down the clock - nobody wants to clock watch in labour! His heartbeat was fine, but every now and again dipped a little, so I was regularly checked by the dr. They steadily increased the hormone dosage and the contractions became closer together and far more intense really quickly. I was still using gas and air but it made me feel sick - I kept using it and telling Dave “I don’t like it!” But every time I had a contraction still grabbing for it - purely because I wanted something to bite down on. When the contractions were intense, the gas and air did nothing for me other than having something to bite on. At this point my contractions were pretty close together and really intense, each time I had a contraction I planned whether I needed to pee, and ran to the loo so I could be back at the gas and air for the next one. Around 2am the midwife checked me, and I was extremely disheartened to hear that I was only 2cm dilated (considering the pain I was in), and they realised that my waters weren’t fully broken (who knew there were 2 sets of waters!). The dr broke the rest of my waters and the midwife asked me if I wanted an epidural, to which I answered (knowing I was only 2cm dilated!) is it too early?! Thankfully, she said no, and they arranged the epidural which felt like forever to arrive, but in theory was probably only a few minutes! I was quite nervous about the needle going in, but despite it taking 4 attempts to get it in properly, I was more concerned about the contractions at the time! Once it was in, it took about 15 minutes to kick in, whilst I was still having really painful contractions, but my goodness when it started working it was magic! Suddenly all I could feel was a little bit of tightening around my tummy, and I felt so much more relaxed. Around 4am the dr came back to check me again, and unfortunately the epidural had slowed things down and we had only moved to 3cm, so they ramped up the hormone drip again.
Over the course of the next 2 hours, I had contractions and Hudson’s heart rate was monitored, and there was still concern over the dips, so they put a monitor on his head, and they decided to make another call at 6am.
Around 6 (ish!) my midwives went for a tea break and someone else came to monitor us, and that’s when it all kicked off. The heart rate dipped again, and then I felt that I was bleeding, quite heavily. The midwife checked, agreed that I was bleeding and called the dr in. She told us that it was time to get the baby out, and that we should head to theatre for a c-section, to which I immediately agreed. All I wanted was Hudson out as quickly and as safely as possible, and at this point I was honestly relieved that the drs were going to do the final “push” for me! Within the next few minutes a lot of people came in the room, I signed a consent form, Dave popped his scrubs on and we were swiftly taken to the theatre.
Going to theatre whilst awake is one of the strangest experiences, I felt like we were on greys anatomy! I was feeling quite nervous, but excited to know that our baby was on his way! There are so many people in the theatre when you give birth, there must have been 10-15 people in the room. But I was very focussed on the area around me. Our anaesthetist, Ollie, was incredible, he spent the whole time talking to us, (just random chit chat!) which kept me calm, whilst letting us know what was going on. I was given the spinal block through where the epidural went in, so it kicked in pretty swiftly. Ollie checked that I couldn’t feel properly by rubbing an ice cube on me - it wasn’t until it got to my collar bone that I could feel the cold. Seconds later he asked me “what can you feel now” to which I answered “it feels like someone is poking my tummy” and he replied “that’s great - they’re through the first couple of layers!” Throughout the process our drs - Georgia and Sarah - were chatting and laughing, which meant that Dave and I felt totally safe and like everything was under control. The feeling of a caesarean is strange, there is absolutely no pain, but you can still feel someone inside your stomach, it feels like someone is doing the washing up inside you.
Minutes later the dr told Dave to get his phone ready as Hudson was about to be born, and they were going to drop the screen. And at 6.17am - out he came, and they dropped the screen so that we could see him. My first reaction was to ask “is he okay?”. I was very dazed at that moment and feeling quite queasy, but they took him over to the drs and Dave went with him to kick start his breathing (common in c-sections because they don’t get the force and rush of air from a vaginal birth) and get him checked over (Dave walked past me open on the table and saw inside me, luckily he’s not squeamish!) and they continued to stitch me up, and the anaesthetist balanced my medication as I was feeling a little sick and dizzy. They brought Hudson over and popped him on me and we had our first cuddle. All of the medical staff had been asking what his name was, throughout the process and we told them we were keeping it a secret, so they were all asking his name and the chorus of “ahhh” when I announced him as Hudson George was lovely. I immediately noticed how tiny he was, and I was proven right when they popped him on the scales and he weighed in at a tiny 5lb12oz. But most importantly, perfectly healthy - and the most beautiful and incredible little human we could ever have wished for.
Once it was all over the doctors explained two things, firstly, the reason for the dipping in heart rate was that Hudson’s chord was wrapped around his neck, so every time I had a contraction it tightened. The second thing was that the bleeding I had experienced before we headed to surgery, was the fact that my placenta had started to come away from my wall - which is incredibly dangerous for both me and the baby. Throughout this whole process I had no idea how much of an emergency it was, and that there was a risk to our lives, and for that I am in awe of what the dr’s and midwives are able to do for you - not just on the medical side of things, but also on the mental side of things - they kept us ready for anything that could possibly happen.
This is a very different and personal experience for me to write about, but I’ve really enjoyed documenting it, and hope you've enjoyed reading it. Over the coming months I am hoping to write more about my experiences of pregnancy, breastfeeding and being a first-time mum. I hope you enjoy 💙
*when it comes to birth plans, my birth plan was always to trust the drs with their recommendations, as that is what makes me most comfortable. I was always ready to put myself in their hands and do what they believed was best.