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Tammy Halliday
Experienced Doula / Birth Assistant Certificate 4 in Doula Support Services

all Melbourne areas

Australian Doula College Member

 

Baby Lachlanbaby Lachlan

(A Natural Delivery despite Placenta Praevia)

My husband and I decided that we wanted to try for a natural, intervention free birth in the birth centre of the local hospital. Being our first child, I really felt that we had no idea what we were doing and so enlisted the help of our gorgeous doula Tammy, to guide us through the journey.

I had a cruisey pregnancy, except that our 20 week scan showed, (and then our 34 week scan re-confirmed) the placenta was lying very close to, and possibly now covered, the cervix. We were told to expect to have a caesarean at 37-38 weeks. Devastated at this news, we now thought about what this meant to the birth that we had hoped for.

It was great to have Tammy there to discuss what was happening and reassure us that whilst things were not going as we wanted, we could still remain in control and make choices regarding the birth. It did mean however, that we could no longer be under the care of the birth centre and had been transferred to the dreaded labour ward of the hospital.

At this point I really began researching any studies and journal articles that had been published on placenta praevia. I found a few studies showing that depending on the distance of the placenta to cervix, that there had been some positive outcomes for vaginal birth. Prior to our first obstetric appointment, my husband, Tammy and I discussed our options and put a plan in place of how we wanted to proceed. We decided to take the information I had found to the Ob and request that if I was to have a C.S., I did not want it done before 40 weeks, as I had not at any point, had any bleeding.

Our first appointment with the Ob. and I couldn’t believe our luck. She was lovely, listened and took on board all our requests- agreeing to a further ultrasound and wanted to take home the research I had prepared to investigate it further. She requested that we continue to see her for our appointments (unusual for the hospital) and would meet again after the ultrasound.

After the next ultrasound, where we were told that the placenta was 11mm away from the cervix, Yay! (The sonographer was confused by our elation as the typical minimum requirement is 20mm and we were a long way from this.) Our Ob said she was as happy as we were with the news and agreed to trial a vaginal birth. She also told us we could continue with our original birth plans albeit no longer in the birth centre as we were too high risk.

At 41 + 4 weeks we were told that the amniotic fluid levels were dropping and they wanted to induce us prior to the 42 weeks we had initially agreed on. As we had tried absolutely every type of natural induction we agreed to be induced at 41 + 6.

I had the gel inserted the day before the scheduled induction and was a bit restless until the pain started to get worse about 5am the next day. I got up out of bed to heat up my wheat bag, let the nurses know that I was having pain and started using the TENS machine. They decided to take me down to labour ward, and on the way I sent my husband a text saying that I had a bit of pain and could he come to the hospital now not at 8am as previously arranged. I managed a quick call to Tammy- Come now, Pain, was all that I was able to get in before my phone dropped out. She text back to say she was on the way.

By the time I got down to labour ward, I was having strong contractions and the TENS machine I had been using was no longer working. The contractions just kept on coming, getting stronger and longer with little break in between and often two if not three on top of each other. I got into the shower which helped me cope with them a little better and Tammy arrived whilst I was in there.

Things had been a little out of control up until this point as the doctors and midwives were preoccupied trying to get the monitoring to work, and I was having a lot of trouble dealing with the contractions. Tammy, immediately calmed everything down, encouraging me to make low sounds and to rest as much as I could. She seemed to know exactly what I needed and helped my husband to support me.

After a couple of hours like this, I was told that I needed to have syntocinon as I was not contracting well enough.(What ???) There was no way I could have possibly go any harder, so I requested an epidural at this point. I got this about half an hour later and it was heaven I went from swearing at people around me to spending the rest of the afternoon chatting with Christian and Tammy and listening to music. Bubs remained happy and by 4.30pm I was found to be 10cm dilated.

When I started pushing, it was amazing to watch in the mirror as my little boy made his way to the outside and I could hear the emotion in my husband’s voice as he encouraged me and watched. It was the most amazing thing I have ever experienced. Minutes later a slippery, slimy little baby was put onto my chest and after a bit of rubbing and blowing on his face we heard the cry that we had waited so long for.

I had a quick cuddle for about 10 minutes, then I birthed the placenta. At this point I started to feel very unwell and felt that if I didn’t pass the baby to Christian, that I wouldn’t be able to hold him any longer and might drop him. So our little boy was passed to Christian to be wrapped and have his first cuddle with his dad.

After the placenta was birthed, I started to bleed heavily and did not stop for a very long time. The midwifes kept reassuring us that it was normal, but it got to the point where the sheets had been changed twice and within minutes I was lying in a massive pool of blood again. It was all over the floor and anytime I moved, I would feel huge gushes of blood and clots coming out of me. Tammy decided that enough was enough and asked the midwife to get the Doctor.

After the Dr arrived, I passed another clot the size of the placenta. I was also given lots of drugs to contract the uterus down which seemed to get the bleeding under control at last. Poor Christian was so distraught to watch everything that was going on and in some ways I think it was harder on him than it was on me because I felt so out of it that I didn’t really care what was happening .

Tammy was able to cuddle our little boy while this was happening and it was reassuring to know that he was being snuggled by someone and not just left in his cot alone. Even after the bleeding had slowed I still felt unbelievably horrible. They realized how unwell I was feeling and gave me some anti-nausea medication. After the epidural, this was the best thing I received all day. I finally felt like cuddling my baby again, and even managed to give him a breast feed.

Because earlier on, I hadn’t been able to feed him, Tammy went home and got the colostrum that I had been expressing whilst I was pregnant- just in case. He had been given this but he was still looking like he wanted to be sucking and so we had a feed both lying down in bed together. It was perfect. He was a natural feeder and a big hungry baby!

To add to everything that had happened, the paediatrician told us that Lachlan had high levels of jaundice and would need to be taken to special care and put under double lights. Christian went up to the nursery with him to get him settled in.

The next day much to my surprise I was able to get out of bed and have a shower- Bliss! Christian arrived and we were able to go and visit our little boy in the nursery. He looked so cute all naked except for his little sunglasses and we were able to have a cuddle and give him a feed. By the next afternoon they told us that his jaundice had improved and we were able to take him home. So less than 48 hours after having him we took our little man Lachlan home and became a family of three. And he is just perfect.

Copyright ©2009 Mothering the Mother | Thank you to Greg Beyer for many of the wonderful photographic images on this site
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