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Abbie Perry: My birth story

“I was so wrapped up in the love I felt for her, that the whole birth seemed like a blur.”

Author Abbie Perry
Categories   Birth Stories

The Edit

My best friend knew I was pregnant before I did!

Weirdly, she had a dream that we were both pregnant together (she had told me at Christmas she was expecting her second baby, just two weeks previous). One day after she had nagged me over and over to take a test – I did just to shut her up. It turned positive instantly! None of this wait three minutes stuff. It knew right away.

It definitely wasn’t a planned pregnancy, but once the shock wore off, we were so excited! I had all my usual appointments and checks - I had my ANTI-D injections booked in (I’m a rhesus negative blood type so this was in case baby’s blood type was different to mine) and was then told I had low growth hormone and baby was a little on the small side. Extra growth scans were scheduled and my growth was monitored at my midwife appointments too. That being said, I tried my best to ignore the outside noise and focus on me and my baby.

Due to the need for my blood type to be on hold in case I needed it (I can’t receive universal blood groups), my partner Jon and I decided against a home birth. I still wanted a calm, natural approach to my water birth with minimal interventions, and ideally in a midwife-led setting. All of this was within reach, and I wrote out my birth plan(s) for all eventualities, did my hypnobirthing course and prepared myself for the laidback birth I’d dreamed of.  

My baby, however, was super comfortable where she was. We arrived, and then passed, 40 weeks without even a hint of labour starting. Imagine my shock, being told my baby was small all along, the prospect of early labour mentioned at most appointments, to then be overdue? 

I must stress that the dates I’d been given by the hospital team didn’t quite match my own. I had been tracking my cycle, so could pinpoint pretty accurately when conception would have been – and the NHS timings put me due an entire week earlier than I think I actually was. Induction was discussed as soon as I hit the 40-week mark. 

I stood my ground, asked for more time and scheduled in sweeps, as I really wanted my body to start the process itself when my baby was ready. Then 41 weeks and 3 days rolled around, and I agreed if baby hadn’t arrived over the weekend, I would be induced on the Monday morning.

Monday morning arrived. You guessed it, still no baby! We went in and the induction process started. After a few hours, the pessary they had used had dislodged and I had to have it inserted again – and I was still only 2cm dilated. For context, I had been 2cm dilated for over a week before my induction day. More hours passed, and walks round the hospital, hot showers, bouncing on the birth ball hadn’t helped one bit. My induction started at 11am on Monday 19th September, and I was finally moved down to the birthing suite at 7am on Tuesday 20th September when I had reached 4cm.

The next 6cm felt like a lifetime. I was labouring completely in my back and hadn’t slept the night before, so I was exhausted. I spent most of my active labour completely naked, aside from my compression socks and heart rate monitor. As I had now been put on the hormone drip to try and progress labour, my dream of a water birth had been completely thrown out of the window.  

I think it was around 6cm that we discussed an epidural. I’d been in some form of labour for over 20 hours at that point and could barely keep my eyes open. We decided to have the epidural, so I could get some sleep and rest before I needed to push. After an hour of them trying to get the epidural needle in (all of which I am told I remained completely still for – the midwives couldn’t believe I didn’t even flinch), I finally got some sleep. I woke up an hour later feeling much better, and somewhat refreshed.

10cm. It was time to push. Even though I couldn’t really feel the contractions due to my epidural, my body instinctively knew when to push, and I had started before my midwife got the chance to say. I pushed for an hour and 20 minutes, but still no baby. She had turned slightly in the birth canal and they thought her shoulder was stuck, which meant no matter how hard I pushed, she wasn’t coming on her own. We discussed all my options, I signed all the papers and we were taken to theatre for a forceps delivery.  

When we were in position, the forceps were placed on baby’s head, and she was born in two pushes. The whole ‘pushing’ time in theatre took around 60 seconds. I ended up losing 1700ml of blood and had to have stitches. But my goodness, it was worth it.

There she was, 35 hours later, my baby girl. She was so perfect, and I was so wrapped up in the love I felt for her, that the whole birth seemed like a blur. I don’t think it was until a few weeks later that I actually thought about my experience. How out of control I felt. How I felt like I had let her down, let myself down. How I wish I had held off on the induction and just given her a chance to come on her own terms. All of those thoughts brought me down and made me feel terrible about my choices.

Hindsight is a wonderful thing. I look back on my experience now and realise I was just trying to do right by my baby and to be fair, I did exactly that. She arrived safe and healthy, and she is blossoming into the most beautiful, kind, intelligent little person. She is here because of the decisions I made during my birth.

It can be such an overwhelming time, and I wish I had been a little gentler on myself. I also wish I had trusted my instinct a little more. I know, should there be a next time, that I definitely will do just that.  

Author Abbie Perry

I'm Abbie, mum to 18 month old Spencer, and wife to Jon. I’m one of four, and myself, my sister and my two brothers all had babies within 10 months of each other! I run a baby shop with my mum (we actually stock Silver Cross in store!) and in my spare time (where I can get it!) I am a listening volunteer for the Samaritans. 


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