Verity tells us her story

Verity had a positive birth experience recently at the Bronte Birth Centre at Dewsbury and District Hospital where she had her third child baby Jack who was born on 1 May 2020 weighing 8lb 3oz.

Verity tells us about her previous birth experiences and her most recent one during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Photo of Verity with baby Jack in a sling and midwife Racheal

Previous birth experiences 

For my first birth (daughter), I went in to spontaneous labour at 37+3 with my waters going. I initially thought I was wetting myself in my sleep and decided to ignore it as I was having a good sleep, but then got up and went to the bathroom and they gushed everywhere (like in the movies). I called through to the birth centre at Bradford Royal Infirmary and went in so they could check it was my waters. I was advised to go home and labour there (7am) and if nothing happened to call back around 3/4pm to discuss next steps. Contractions started regularly and I was back in the unit by 9.30am and got straight into the pool. Baby girl born at 1:19 with a very strong fetal ejection reflex, it felt like an out of body experience and I moo’d like a cow.

For my second birth (son) had a planned homebirth. After a few weeks of stop-start mild contractions every night they started to become regular and stronger around 3am Thursday morning, I called my midwifery team and they came to check me at 9am by which time all contractions had completely stopped. I rested all day and didn’t have any further contractions but had previously lost my mucus plug and had a show. About 5pm started to get twinges so we got my daughter from nursery and went home and ordered a pizza. By 7pm contractions were stronger and close together so called for a midwife who arrived about 7.30/8pm. I continued to labour using my birth ball then had a bath, my waters hadn’t gone but I was feeling stronger more pushy urges so got out the bath, whilst on all fours I had a pushy urge and my waters exploded all over the bathroom, then contractions stopped. Heartbeat monitoring showed the babies heartbeat was dropping very low so I was moved onto my left side and an ambulance was called. Contractions started again and the ambulance arrived, I was 9cm and we decided to try and push – baby born in about 3 pushes less than 10 mins and he was completely fine and born at 10.46pm. My daughter was there and cut his cord. We were tucked into bed had some tea and biscuits then went to sleep. Midwives were amazing getting us comfortable and cleaning up.

Pregnancy

I don’t do well in pregnancy and this was by far the worst. I suffered with bad SPD and sciatica as well as bad sleep deprivation. I always feel so much pain and weakness in pregnancy which was harder with having a one year old and four year old to look after. I was very eager to have it over with however I was lucky that there were no complications or concerns.

Birth of her third baby

Verity tells us about the birth of baby Jack who is the final puzzle piece in their family.

“I’d initially planned to have a homebirth in water led by the home birth team, and was looked after by looked after by midwife Rachael all the way through. I’d planned to have my partner and daughter present, however this was uncertain due to Covid-19. I wanted a home birth as I had one with my second child and found it to be such an amazing relaxing experience.

“After weeks of strong stop-start contractions every evening, baby decided to make an appearance at 39+5.

“The homebirth midwife on duty was at another birth and there was no one else they could send for my home birth, I decided to go to the Bronte Birth Centre straight away.

“When I arrived I was shown to a dark room with mood lighting and a lovely warm birth pool which had just been filled ready for me. My partner and I were left alone to labour on the birth ball and we listened to my birthing playlist. My partner helped me to relax by rubbing my back and giving reassurance. I got into the pool at about 9pm when the pain was getting intense - this really helped to relax me.

“I had an urge to push so I just went with it, the midwives were great at letting me go with my body and not intervening or assessing me, I was holding my partner’s hands tight and using him to push down on alternating positions to whatever felt best. The pain got quite intense whilst the baby was moving down the birth canal, and when the time came to push, our baby boy came straight out in about 1 minute, I was able to catch him and pull him onto me for immediate skin-to-skin whilst the cord emptied and we were given plenty of time to bond before being moved.

“We were told we could go home as soon as we felt ready and were back home by midnight (almost the same timings as the previous homebirth experience).

“Although I didn’t get to have the home birth I planned for, our experience was a calming, trusting and natural experience and we wouldn’t have known that the country were in lockdown due to Covid-19. It was a very relaxing/at home almost romantic atmosphere. We joke that it’s the closest we’ve got to a date night for years.

Racheal Cooper was my midwife throughout and I had all my home visits with her. We built a great rapport and she gave me great confidence, although my anxiety was high due to Covid-19 and not knowing what would happen she reassured me. It’s clear the homebirth team really care and you could see the sadness felt when homebirths were initially cancelled. 

My daughter loves watching programmes such as one born every minute and Emma Willis delivering babies so was thrilled to be there at the birth of my first son. She was aged 3 at the time but wanted to be involved asking for some gloves and to help catch the baby so was excited that she was able to help daddy cut the cord. I’d discussed my previous birth and daughter’s involvement/interest in birth and babies with Racheal at one of my appointments and she said that she’d make sure she could be fully involved during my appointments at home and during the birth if it all went to plan, she didn’t disappoint, Racheal helped her take my blood pressure, dip my urine samples and use the Doppler to hear baby she always watched avidly when I had my blood taken."

Midwife Racheal says:

“It was a pleasure to look after Verity and her family again, we had met in her previous pregnancy.  Being under the care of the homebirth team meant all care was undertaken at Verity’s home where all the family could be included in the antenatal checks, helping with bonding for the younger siblings. I do hope her daughter goes on to become a fantastic midwife after all I taught her, she was a fabulous little assistant.”

Verity sends a message to women who are due to give birth during Covid-19 and says:

“it’s not ideal and it is strange giving birth during this time with restrictions in place but the care you receive will be no different, you won’t be put at risk, your caregivers know the precautions they need to take and will do so. Other than the face masks it didn’t seem all that different to previous births. The safety of you and baby will always be priority and if you want to get home straight away the discharge seems to be a lot quicker which is great.”

Thank you for sharing your experience with us and huge congratulations to Verity and her family from all of us at the Trust.