Ryan’s Birth Story
7 weeks old today and I am finally getting Ryan’s birth story finished. I really wanted to write down as much as possible when it was fresh in my head but didn’t get it finished because….. well 2 kids is a juggle and other things take priority.
I do re-live it all often though because it’s just such an amazing thing to give birth and create new life. Something which is not taken for granted at all, we feel so blessed to have two healthy happy boys. After our missed miscarriage last September which I shared about here we felt so lucky to be pregnant again and for my pregnancy to be smooth sailing.
They say no two pregnancies, births or babies are the same and that has been the case for Kerry and I and even comparing Sam and Ryan there are many differences.
I went over by 8days with Sam and practicing hypnobirthing I was happy to go over as was more focused on my due date ‘window’ as opposed to a specific day. This time though I think I was so convinced I would go early I struggled not to focus on my given date.
I was due on Friday the 13th of September and was fine going over by a week but after that stage I was pretty fed up. I had a sweep on the 19th just shy of a week over my due date. I was 3cm and everything was positioned well. I just needed to get rotating on my birthing ball! ‘Rotate to dilate’ as the saying goes!
As I went into labour within 12 hours of my sweep with Sam I was feeling pretty positive that things would happen quickly.
That evening we were at my parents for dinner as Leigh my sister was home from London. I thought all my stars had aligned as she was staying with us and we would have someone there to look after Sam and going into labour that night would be pretty perfect. After dinner I was really uncomfortable with tightening and my maternity jeans were really sore. I ended up getting pj bottoms on at dinner and was swaying about a lot doing my hypnobirthing. My instinct was telling me to go home so we didn’t stay for desert (that’s how sure I was things were happening!).
I got home and Chris got Sam to bed and I got on my birthing ball infront of the tv. I got the app out and every time I felt a tightening I was recording it on the contractions app. It was telling me to pack my hospital bag. Chris’s mum called up (she is a trained midwife) and felt my contractions and timed them and we were all pretty sure things would progress. I had a quick labour and birth with Sam (he was born within an hour of arriving at the hospital after a 5 hour labour at home …. his birth story is here) so Chris got the car seat in the car and put my already packed bags in too.
I could feel the tightening and they were coming consistently but not progressing and were not overly uncomfortable. Faint period style cramping is the only way I can describe it but with a rock hard tummy! I knew it wasn’t the real thing but was hopeful it would progress so decided it best to try to get some sleep and head to bed and hopefully wake with things moving on. Well I was pretty disappointed when I woke at 5am needing to pee and feeling absolutely fine. False alarm!!
The tightening and what I thought was Braxton hicks happened again on the Friday, Saturday and Sunday night. From about 9pm until midnight. I was pretty fed up so decided on the Monday morning I would book another sweep.
On the Sunday night I didn’t sleep well in that I couldn’t get comfortable and was up and down to the loo. I was so fed up I was googling false contractions as they were coming every 5 minutes and lasting 1 min for a few hours every night. I discovered this below and was even texting my friends at 7-8am on the Monday morning saying my tummy is rock hard and I keep getting mini contractions and my self diagnosis on google says I have something called Prodromal Labour.
Prodromal labor is labor that starts and stops before fully active labor begins. It’s often called “false labor,” but this is a poor description. Medical professionals recognize that the contractions are real, but they come and go and labor may not progress.
So, prodromal labor is real in terms of contraction pain and regularity. What makes these contractions different from contractions seen in active labor is that they start and stop.
Prodromal labor contractions will often come and go at the same time each day or at regular intervals. Many mothers, even experienced ones, end up calling their birth team or going to the hospital, thinking labor has begun.
Prodromal labor is really common and can start days, weeks, or even a month or more before active labour begins. (Taken from: https://www.healthline.com/health/pregnancy/prodromal-labor).
Anyway I phoned the hospital and got my sweep booked in for 2pm. I was on the phone to Kerry and had the tightening and was explaining my self diagnosis and that my tummy was rock hard as I was on the phone and I was having these tightenings again but wasn’t taking it seriously as for four days it came to nothing. They were coming every 3 mins now and lasting about 45/50seconds. I decided to head upstairs and Leigh watched Sam so I could time them and get a shower.
I went up and got my lavender essential oil out, my hypnobirthing tracks and was doing my breathing and recording the surges on my app. When Chris came in for tea and toast from being out in the yard I shouted down to ask him where he was working….it was 9.30am at this stage. He joked he was heading to Ballymena (this is at least an hour away) I didn’t find it funny! I just replied I don’t think you should go back out at all.
He came upstairs to me in ‘the zone’ leaning over the bath swaying listening to my hypnobirthing tracks. I told him to get changed while I went for a shower. It was only really in the shower I really took things seriously as I had to brace myself for one of the surges so decided it was time to get ready to go.
Chris had called his mum when I was in the shower and by the time she came up I was dressed and last bits in my bag ready to go. I think she knew just to look at me and feel my tummy that it was the real thing this time so got Chris to phone ahead to the hospital.
It was 10.10am when Chris rang the Down MLU to say we were heading in. It’s our local hospital and a midwifery led unit where I had Sam. Unfortunately it’s is only open 8am-8pm so a small window for most labours/births to take place but I knew this baby was not far away. I also had in my head I wanted the same water birth I had with Sam which was so peaceful and pretty euphoric. Our plan B was to go to Lagan Valley MLU which is about 30/40 mins drive or the Ulster about 40/45mins drive. I really wanted a home from home room and water birth so the Lagan was my plan B as it’s not as busy a hospital and is midwifery led like the Downe.
We had to ensure the staff I was signed off as being allowed to birth in Downpatrick and was low risk. Sarah asked to speak to me and I was a bit rude on the phone with her cutting her short during contractions to be honest! We said we would be on our way.
I said an emotional goodbye to Sam, i was trying to hold back the tears as didn’t want him to see me cry (happiness tears but also tears of how his little world was going to change so quickly).
I text our family what’s app at 10.15 am saying we were heading to the hospital and that I hoped it wasn’t a false alarm. On the way my surges kind of paused for what felt like ages. I was raging I thought it had all stopped. I even said to Chris ‘I am able to talk to you….I couldn’t talk to you on the way to the hospital with Sam it mustn’t be it.’ I was never so pleased for a big surge to come (it was only about 5/6 minutes gap but they were coming every 2mins at this stage).
We parked in the mother and baby bay of the car park as I felt I could manage to walk in… thanks to my breathing and taking it easy… I really tried to hold it together walking into the MLU as there were pregnant patients in the waiting room. I didn’t want to make a scene!
It was just a relief to have made it in and I got brought down to the Quoile suite where I had Sam. I was delighted, this was everything I had been visualising as part of my hypnobirthing. I was apologising to Sarah my midwife about being rude on the phone and was still timing my contractions. Sarah was getting the pool run and prepping the room. Asking the questions on the phone was purely protocol for her but I think she knew when I spoke on the phone I was in the throws of labour!
We arrived into the Quoile suite and I was on the bed for 10.45am as Sarah checked the babies heart rate. I was lying on my side and it felt like everything was in place, I was safe, I was in the hospital and doing my breathing and getting my water birth and it was like my body relaxed and things just ramped up a notch all of a sudden!
Chris had said about running out to the car to get the bag with his shorts in it as it was roasting in the room but he was told he was going nowhere!! It was evident the baby was coming pretty soon!
I asked to get in the pool and get gas and air but as Sarah was checking the temp as it was still running I said actually I need to pee first…. ‘ohh wait I have peed….have I wet myself or have my waters broken?!’ 🤷🏽♀️ My water broke in the water with Sam so I had no idea!
It was my waters… I was in the hypnobirthing zone and eyes shut listening to my music so hadn’t looked but Sarah had seen straight away there was meconium in my waters which meant the baby had pooed already which is a sign of distress! She immediately got assistance from Collette another midwife.
Sarah told me I would no longer be allowed my water-birth for the safety of the baby. I was gutted/raging and wouldn’t give over and kept asking her to just let me in!! With hypnobirthing you try to visualise birth and it’s all about positivity and breathing and I had only ever visualised a water birth, it’s what I had with Sam and what I wanted this time. I didn’t really accept that it was not longer a possibility.
Chris had to tell me off almost and get me to focus on the new plan and that is was no longer an option. I ended up leaning over the head of the bed with gas and air holding his hand and by 11.06 I was crowing…..
Chris had to ask me to let go of his hand to pry his hand away to take his hoody off and I was instantly looking for it again as I was ready to push. My hypnobirthing music had timed out and I had lost my breathing rhythm with all my complaining about not being aloud in the water. I was definitely not as calm and didn’t deal with the change to the plan in my head well but I didn’t have a chance to contemplate much… it was time to push.
I remember Sarah pouring a little water over me down below which was so soothing and Collette getting me a facecloth to cool me down and come up for a breath of fresh air. I asked for my music back on to get in the zone again and began to push. I didn’t tell anyone I was going to push or I felt like I needed to, I just followed my body and my natural instinct and with the help of the gas and air!
Ryan was born at 11.15am just 9minutes later. He had the cord around his neck which Sarah corrected as he came out and I got to lift him up and get instant skin to skin. He was crying which is the best sound, as we knew everything was OK. He was just so like Sam.
I just remember being so proud of myself and apologising lots for not taking no for an answer when it came to the pool! 😂
Ryan was just prefect and all I could see was Sam. It was all over so quickly, intact the aftermath took longer than the birth! I had a second degree tear so was into stirrups and getting stitched up for longer than I was pushing! I was too distracted looking at Ryan to worry about what was going on, well thanks to a bit more gas and air and the numbing injections down below.
My placenta came away very quickly and was birthed just 10 minutes after Ryan. There is definitely a lot more to see having a birth on the bed, in the water it’s much cleaner let’s say and you don’t notice as much of the aftermath as it’s drained away and water topped up before you have even realised but the Gurkhas wee so quick to get things cleared up.
While having skin to skin Ryan pooed all over me which was a delight, I barely noticed tho as there was so much going on. Chris and Colette took him to the side to get weighed and measured, where he pooed AGAIN and I got cleaned up.
We were trying to get him to feed but he didn’t have the same instinct as Sam. He wasn’t rooting for it at all. Once Ryan and I had both been checked and cleaned up we were left briefly to have a moment to oursleves, so we confirmed his name and started to tell our family the good news.
Unfortunately though as there had been meconium in my waters Sarah said for Ryan’s best interest we would be transferred to the Ulster for him to be monitored overnight.
We the were on standby for an ambulance to arrive and transfer us. We had told family the news but had said to Kerry and Leigh who had Sam not to tell him as we wanted to. So we FaceTimed the girls… my biggest regret is not recording my screen. It was just as special as giving birth…. Sams reaction is one I will never stop playing over in my head.
Chris and I were holding Ryan and said Sam look who this is, it’s your baby brother Ryan. And Sam’s face honestly lit up, he put his hands to his heart and said, ‘oh I love him so much’. Well as you can imagine we were emotional wrecks and just as we were in the moment the ambulance team arrived to transport us. It burst the bubble slightly but it was such a lovely moment that I will treasure.
Ryan hadn’t fed off me at this stage despite several attempts form me and Collette trying to help me and so was given a bottle in the ambulance. By the time we got into my room at the hospital (so lucky to get my own room!) he had pooed AGAIN but in another level this time, it had filled his whole babygrow and puddled in the foot of it. So much so I said to Katie my assigned midwife in the Ulster the cotton wool isn’t going to cut it and lifted the wipes, to which she replied how do you feel about a bath 😂! I agreed the wipes were not going to cut it either!! (I think I owe Katie a large Gin for that one!).
Just as we were getting Ryan all cleaned up, Chris arrived in with Sam. (Leigh had brought him up) and Chris had followed us in the ambulance (after a stop at McDonald’s- I told him to to be fair!). It was so cute and Sam was brilliant with him. Aunty Leigh the emotional wreck let us have a wee moment just the four of us and then came in, I was so pleased she had been at home to meet him.
Our family all called up that evening and it was so so lovely to have everyone there and finally have our little bundle safe and sound with us.
The Ulster staff were great too, Ryan was getting observations every 2 hours and that night about 2/3am we had to get an x ray as they were concerned they was fluid in his lungs. He then was taken away for bloods and to get antibiotics.
I didn’t get much sleep that first night or the second night to be fair as it felt like as soon as he was fed and settled he was getting checked again. It was all for his best interest though.
I didn’t have any stitches with Sam so I was sore this time around, I also had the glamorous aftermath of piles which no one really tells you about but I think it was because I had pushed so hard and it was a fast birth. Sorry if that’s too much information but it’s real and so many friends I have spoken to after said they had them too! Thankfully a little cream and time was the ticket. (Ohh and witch hazel on gauze kept in the fridge and put on a pad is the best thing ever to help the healing and soothe everything! )
On the Wednesday afternoon after 2 nights we were told that we would be getting home, I was delighted and it was the fastest I had moved the whole time I had been there. I was showered and packed ready to go before Chris had even got to the hospital with Sam to bring us all home.
It wasn’t as tranquil a birth as Sam’s butit was equally as amazing. I still cannot get over what our bodies can do. Hypnobirthing still played a huge part for me. It got me through those days of false labour, that morning of surges and although I lost my zone and wasn’t as open to change in the end as I thought I would be, getting the music back on for those final surges really did help.
Ultimately I had a positive birth and a healthy happy baby which is the main thing. Initially we thought it was about 45mins if arriving at hospital that Ryan was born but fro my notes it was only 30 minuets! We cannot thank Sarah and Collete enough for their help and reacting as quickly as they did.
I cannot believe Ryan is 7 weeks already. The newborn bubble definitely does not last as long the second time around but he has fitted into life with us as if he has always been here and is a total dream. (A few bad nights so I am hoping the injections don’t mess up the good sleep we are getting!) Sam is so good with him and we couldn’t be happier to have our wee rainbow baby home safe and well.