Cat's story - Wyatt's birth

"He has a huge head," were the words that set the tone for the second half of my easy low-risk pregnancy. The sonographer who said this hadn't meant to cause alarm and who knows how much alarm was appropriate from this measurement of a scan that are notorious for being wildly out of whack with what is actually going on inside the womb. 
Still the threat of a big baby started there, when I was barely showing, and grew in tandem with my belly for the twenty two more weeks of my pregnancy. I dealt with this fear by educating myself on the possibilities, building a positive attitude and training for labour like it were a marathon. 

By the time my due date had been and gone and the lady ahead of me in the queue at Lidl had asked when my babies - plural - were coming, it was clear to anyone that I had a larger than average bump. Whether this was big baby, amniotic fluid or too many mince pies remained to be seen. I had surrounded myself with so many positive people and stories that as his arrival became imminent my baby's size was far from my mind. 

I had always dreamed of a home birth, having a desire to keep things as natural as possible and this was what I carefully planned with my partner. We rented a pool, he'd practiced inflating it, stocked up on towels, got to know our lovely local midwifery home birth team. I had no intention of leaving the house after my waters broke on the kitchen floor. I laboured there for 12 hours through a night before my blood pressure became dangerously high and an ambulance was called to take me to hospital. 

This wasn't how I'd pictured my labour. It hadn't been what I wanted, but I was immediately made at ease by two wonderful women whose faces I'll never forget, my doctor Rosie and my midwife Sophie. I arrived near the start of their shift that day and they supported me through those twelveish more hours of labour when my contractions progressed in frequency and intensity but my dilation did not. 

As I hit a full night and day of labour on a bit of gas and air and a shot of pethidine, Rosie put her face level with mine and told me that me and my body couldn't be working harder. I couldn't be contracting more. She said that they would support my choice if I wanted to continue but in her opinion something seemed to be amiss and clinically there was a suggestion that this could be a big baby, they could do a c-section to get him out if that was what I wanted. 

Through the course of my labour I had become calmer and better able to manage my pain. I wasn't desperate for the end to it. I felt safe to continue and I had so badly wanted a natural birth. I had worked hard for one by then. But I thought through Rosie's words without panic or pressure. I thought about my mother and sisters famously short labours, and I agreed that something wasn't right. 

I chose the c-section and Wyatt was born abdominally within the hour and weighed in at 11lbs. The next morning the doctor examining him said he was the 100th percentile in everything and had been so stuck that his head never got into position. We were both lucky that neither of us had panicked. With my big baby in my arms, I felt overwhelmingly proud of my labour and so grateful to have had the support system and team who arrived into our life to give us the very medical birth I hadn't wanted but almost certainly needed.