A second time mum’s positive birth – in her car outside the Coombe

On 29th November at 38+6, I went for my weekly reflexology appointment. During the session I could feel the baby really moving around. That night as my husband put our daughter to bed and I was preparing dinner, I had a real sense that it was our ‘last supper’. I’d a lovely relaxing night and a bath before bed. At about 4am on 30th November – I was 39 weeks – I woke with pains, they were about 10 minutes apart and very intense, much more so than when my labour started with my daughter.

At 5am I woke my husband. December is a very busy month for him, so I told him perhaps he should get up and do some work as the baby would be coming that day. By about 5.30am surges were intense so I got up and had a bath. The water really helped. I went downstairs for a while and cleaned the kitchen and used my birthing ball. All the time I was listening to my GentleBirth tracks. My husband thought we should go to the hospital, as he thought things were progressing fast but I ‘knew’ things could take hours so I wanted to wait in the house.

At 7am I phoned my Dad. I told him I had hours to go yet but wanted him and Mum to come and get our daughter. Mum was on night duty so he said they’d be down about 9am. I told him this would be grand. At 7.30am our daughter woke so my husband got her up and brought her downstairs for breakfast. He took my birthing ball upstairs for me. I used the ball during surges and had a shower.

At 7.45am I rang my friend. I couldn’t find my head phones and asked her to bring me hers. She arrived at 8.15am, at this stage I was in the bath. She was fantastic, she poured water on my back, chatted to me etc. I was listening to my GentleBirth affirmations and she tuned into them and when I got out of the bath she repeated several of them to me when I had surges. She also applied pressure to my back; her hands were so cold which felt great.

At 9am my Mum and Dad arrived. My friend started to time surges they were 1 min 20 seconds apart but were only lasting 19-28 seconds. I thought they weren’t lasting long enough to be effective, also I’d had no ‘show’….and “no show, no go”. Mum was very calm but said she really thought it was time to go to the hospital, I was finding surges pretty tough but was very much in control. At about 9.20am I agreed it was time to go to the hospital. I first went to the bathroom and noticed I’d had a show…so I happily shouted ‘we can go…I’ve had a show’.

The midwives insisted that baby was to be brought straight into hospital. My mum and husband were fantastic, said they understood but if all was ok, baby would be staying with me. Liam was born, he cried, it was amazing, I had delayed cord clamping and skin to skin in the back of the car.

Mum grabbed towels and a packet of baby wipes. Into the car about 9.30am and I got into the back of the car, kneeling up in the middle. Mum sat beside me. My poor husband had to drive. In the car less than 30 seconds, he went over the first bump…bang….waters released. Within perhaps 2 mins I knew our little bubs was on the way. My affirmation track was playing and I was adding little ones myself, saying aloud ‘I am so grateful for green lights and clear roads’. My poor husband booted along the hard shoulder on the N7, breaking speed limits and red lights. He was very good and reassuring all the way.

Anyway we reached the Coombe, my Mum told my husband to drive straight in and run into reception and tell them his wife was having a baby in the car. He parked practically in the reception – any nearer and the car would have been in the building. Before he arrived back, Liam’s head was out, I could feel it, I told Mum too and she said no…for infection control reasons…she’s a nurse and terribly hygienic.

It took a few minutes for hospital staff to arrive out. Two midwives opened the back door and opened a sterile pack, they draped this on the back seat, my notes say they arrived at 10.02 and Liam was born at 10.04. The midwife said” one push and your baby will be born”. I said “I will wait for baby to be born…no pushing”. Midwife 2 said when baby is born he will have to be brought straight into hospital. Mum, myself and my husband said if everything is ok with baby I wanted skin to skin and delayed cord clamping. The midwives insisted that baby was to be brought straight into hospital. My mum and husband were fantastic, said they understood but if all was ok, baby would be staying with me. Liam was born, he cried, it was amazing, I had delayed cord clamping and skin to skin in the back of the car. They then wrapped myself and Liam in heated blankets and I was put on a trolley and brought into delivery suite. Mum and hubby came with me.

I had a natural third stage, using jasmine essential oil. Liam fed, latched wonderfully, and for me that was amazing, as I had a very hard time getting my daughter to feed!!! I had a couple of stitches. Liam weighed a whopping 8lbs 10ozs…very glad I didn’t know that as we were ripping up the motorway. My daughter was 6lbs 7ozs full term last year. Liam received oral vitamin k

Then they dropped the bombshell…I wasn’t allowed leave on the early transfer home scheme as Liam was to be brought to special care…given antibiotics for 48 hours, along with a full septic work up, bloods etc as they believed him to be at a higher risk of infection due to being born outside the hospital. My gut said no way; I really didn’t feel it was necessary. My husband felt the same. My mum  – a children’s nurse and a nurse tutor – felt the same. Several midwives and three doctors came to explain the importance of this policy. Eventually I agreed to stay for 48 hours so that they could observe Liam, but not before I actually had to explain to them that some of their other policies are not in line with international best practice and therefore I had no reason to believe their policy of giving IV antibiotics to a baby born outside the hospital was a reasonable one.

In the end staying in the Coombe was great, I had a private room and myself and Liam had skin to skin for 48 hours, he was only dressed for leaving the hospital. We had a fantastic bonding time.

My birth was not what I planned, but it was calm and gentle. Looking back at my birth preferences the birth, although very different to what I imagined, still ticked all the boxes. And my mum of course was thrilled to have ushered her little grandson into the world. Liam is amazing, he’s so good, I’m so proud of our gentlebirth and I feel like my family is complete…for now.

All birth stories and images featured in 42 weeks have been generously shared by members of the public in Ireland. If you would like to take part and share your story, we would love to hear from you. Get in touch through the website http://www.42weeks.ie, through Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/42weeks or follow us on Twitter at @42_weeks.

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