Beautiful Births #10 - Kerrie's Home Birth & Hospital Transfer

I love reading birth stories! After sharing my own two very different birth experiences [emergency c-section and natural VBAC] I decided to ask other mums and dads to share their wonderful birth stories with me too. I’m absolutely delighted that so many people want to share with me! If you’d like to share your birth story, send me an email or get in touch via Twitter or Facebook.
 
This week the very lovely Kerrie is sharing the birth story of her gorgeous second daughter, Poppy, who was born at home weighing an impressive 10lb! Kerrie and Poppy were transferred to hospital soon after birth - read her story to find out what happened.
 
baby-in-neonatal-intensive-care

Tell me your beautiful birth story…


My first daughter was born in a midwife led unit. It was pretty quick and straightforward and we were home a few hours later, so when I got pregnant 2nd time I knew I wanted a homebirth. My pregnancy was straight forward enough (bar bad morning sickness/ hyperemesis but I was expecting that!) My bump got pretty big but I never measured over dates...
 
The day before my due date I had a check with my midwife and she was happy to go ahead and do a stretch and sweep as I was already having mild niggley contractions. That night I couldn't settle very much and knew it was starting to happen. At 5am the next day I started having regular contractions so phoned my mum to pick up my eldest daughter once she woke and phoned the midwife. I was happy and managing well on my birth ball, rocking and using my tens machine.
 
By the time the midwife got to us it was getting more intense, she examined me and I was 6cm, I was so impressed as I had only managed to 3cm in my first labour without needing gas and air. She got all her stuff in and I started on gas and air. I quickly progressed to 9cm but stuck there for quite a while, it was then decided they were going to break my waters and as they did my cervix popped to 10 and it was time to push!
 
I was on my knees leant against the sofa and everything was going perfectly, until her head was born. The midwife quickly realised Poppy hadn't turned herself and was shoulder dystocia, (where the baby's anterior shoulder gets stuck under the pubic bone, a dangerous condition as it compresses the umbilical cord). An ambulance was called immediately and the midwives and my husband dragged me across the room to get me into a position where my legs were bent upwards and outwards to open my pelvis to try and free Poppy.
 
They had to do an episiotomy (with no pain relief..!) Luckily it worked and nearly 4 minutes after her head was born the rest of her came out. She was blue, floppy and unresponsive but had a strong heart rate. The midwives started bagging her to try and get her breathing. The ambulances and crew were already with us and they took her and blue lighted her to the John Radcliffe, the second ambulance waited for my placenta to deliver and then I was taken into hospital too.
 
Poppy suffered birth asphyxiation and HIE (Hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy) she was taken to neonatal intensive care where she was placed onto a 72 hour cooling treatment where they wrap a fluid filled mat around the baby and keep them at 34 degrees to give the brain and organs time to repair themselves after being starved of oxygen. She had probes and wires just about everywhere monitoring every aspect of her. Once she was warmed up again they took most of these away and she was allowed home on day 5 after they were confident she was doing okay.
 
She has since had a brain MRI, additional hearing tests and check ups with her consultant at the JR, all have come back fine and she's doing everything she should be and more at nearly 1 year old. They thought she could have some brain or organ damage, cerebral palsy or hearing loss… yet so far she has no ill effects.
 
People often ask me if I regret my homebirth because of the circumstances but it has only made me feel like the homebirth was even more right for us. I laboured well at home and was relaxed and in my own environment, I think the panic that would have happened at the hospital would have freaked me out and I'd not have been so productive in pushing. The shoulder dystocia could have happened anywhere and the outcome of treatment would have been the same. The birth has left its mark on with a touch of PTSD but for my happy healthy little girl it's so so worth it.
 
I am so glad to hear that little Poppy is doing so well after such a dramatic entry into the world. I can’t imagine how worried Kerrie must have been but it sounds like she was so calm throughout. Kerrie also mentioned that Poppy had donor milk during her stay in NICU which as readers know is something close to my heart. Thank you, Kerrie, for sharing your beautiful birth story!

You can read more beautiful birth stories here.
 
Quite Frankly She Said
 


12 comments

  1. That's the farthest thing from beautiful that I can imagine. The mother turning it into HER event instead of a healthy welcome into the world nearly killed her baby. "Even more right..."? What a selfish piece of crap.

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    1. It would serve you well to check your facts before hurling insults. This is a birth story from a British mother. In December 2014 the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence updated its guidance regarding where women should give birth. The new guidance states that midwife-led units are safer than hospitals for women having straightforward (low risk) pregnancies. Its updated guidance also confirms that home birth is as safe as birth in a midwife-led unit or a traditional labour ward for the babies of low-risk pregnant women who have already had at least one child previously. This mother followed the guidance given by her healthcare professionals.

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  2. "The shoulder dystocia could have happened anywhere and the outcome of treatment would have been the same.".

    No it wouldn`t, because your undertrained homebirth midwife was grossly incompetent, as opposed to hospital staff. In a hospital protocols are in place and staff are being drilled regularly about management of shoulder dystocia. A skilled team trained and experienced in neonatal resuscitation are standing by with all the proper equipment. You didn`t have anything like that available at home and your baby paid the price for your decision. A healthy baby sustaining this amount of brain damage during birth is almost unheard of in a hospital, no matter what your homebirth midwife may claim. And good luck taking her to court to obtain the financial compensation your baby will need to pay for future care. These midwives don`t carry malpractice insurance (unlike real healthcare providers), file for bankrupcy and walk away to start over again elsewhere.

    I`m sorry to put it this bluntly but pregnant women reading this deserve a less rose-tinted view of the reality of homebirth and its risks..

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    1. From the mention of a midwife lead unit, some of the phrasing, and the hospital named, this appears to have happen in the UK, thus your comments about malpractice insurance and such do not apply. Midwives in the UK are real midwives with proper education and medical training and integretated into the hospital system. It's not like the US where it takes minimal education/training to be a cpm.

      That said, there seems to be a trend with British midwives pushing natural birth to the point it has caused deaths that could have been prevented. Did that play a part here? Did the midwife miss signs impending dyslexia (they usually see it coming in hospitals)? Could more experienced caregivers helping instead of the husband have gotten baby out faster? Should she have been offered a csection to begin with?

      There is no way to answer any of those questions with info given. Maybe she's right and it would have taken the same four minutes to get the baby out in the hospital. Maybe not.

      Speculation aside, this just shows how quickly birth can turn on a dime from everything seemingly okay to disaster that nearly resulted in death. This can happen in any birth, and when it does, you want experts who can rush in and help if the first midwife can't get the baby out. You want the nicu team to rush into your room to care for baby instead of having to wait for the ambulance and then the time of the ride to get to the people with that level of expertise.

      I'm glad this baby seems mostly fine. It would not be surprising to find some learning delays at school from the brain injury, but she seems to have avoided major disability. Others in similar situations are not so fortunate. Best wishes for her future.

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    2. Actually Anonymous, British midwives are highly trained and at a home birth you have two present instead of the one that would be present in hospital. I think you, like the previous anon commenter, have assumed this is a US birth story. Also, I'm not sure what brain damage you're referring to as Kerrie states that her baby has no signs thus far.

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    3. I had the exact same birth at a hospital, and actually they were no where near as competent as the midwives sounds in this birth. My midwife had no idea what was happening because she had never witnessed a shoulder dystocia. She allowed me to keep trying and pushing with my sons shoulder trapped and his umbilical cord squashed for far too long. The crash team saved him but he is severely disabled now. The home midwives have to be extremely experienced to have the confidence to deliver at home, midwives on the ward can be brand new! So I fully support this woman's decision!! Having my son on the labour ward that I did, has changed his and our life forever!

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  3. *dystocia, not dyslexia. Thanks, autocorrect.

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    1. Judging by the picture that is no small baby. But as you say, these natural birth extremists really believe that elective cesarean is a fate worse than death. The baby's, that is.

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    2. No Anon, simply following the advice given by our doctors and midwives

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    3. No. Dystocia cannot be predicted.. yes they expected her to be bigger than my 1st baby but no one even the sonographers did not predict her size.

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  4. This is my birth story. My midwives were highly trained midwives of 20 years, the lne who delivered is one of the highest regarded midwives I have ever had the pleasure of meeting.. she done everything correctly and got my baby out quickly and safely... The treatment would have been EXACTLY the same had I had the baby in hospital, except It would have probably taken longer as I had been stressed and anxious.. i really don't see how my baby has paid any price to be honest? She is a wonderful healthy 1 year old now with absolutely no effects.. so kindly get your facts straight before you 1) hurl abuse at me, and 2) hurl abuse at the wonderful midwives.

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  5. So angry at the anon posters!
    British midwives are highly trained medical professionals, who go through years and years of medical school to be able to care for mums and babies before, during and after birth.
    We have an AMAZING national health service, regardless of where we have our babies home hospital or midwife led unit they are given the highest standard of care available.
    Unnecessary medical intervention cause more stress and complications than home births ever has!
    Cost has nothing to do with giving birth in the UK so how dare you say kerrie has put her birth experience above her child's safety. You are obviously uneducated Internet trolls who reside in countries without high standards of pre and postnatal care we have in Britain.
    And why would anyone choose to have a c - section when not medically necessary is beyond me, the recovery time is longer, more painful and can be so much more traumatic than a natural birth.

    Kerrie birth story is beautiful, as is her perfect daughter who was brought safely into this world by amazing british trained expert REAL MIDWIVES. You on the other hand anon have a black soul, ugly attitude and a pitifull life to be so hurtful to someone you know nothing about.

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