My name is
Debbie Dooley and I am a 39 yr old, Type II Insulin
Dependant Diabetic, Mum of 5. I have hypothyroidism and in my 2 last
pregnancies my dosages have always had to go up significantly. I was on
200mg of Thyroxine, which worked pretty well.
was Friday 7th July and I had reached the magic stage of 37 weeks.
This meant it was all systems go for my Home Birth. Everyone was
very excited as I was breaking new ground for Diabetic women in the UK
with one of the first ever planned Diabetic Home Births.
It was vitally important that I didn't go
over 38/9 weeks otherwise my homebirth was in jeopardy and an induction
would be more likely.
Anyway, we had looked into various
self-induction techniques to be started at 37 weeks, so I had everything
planned for Friday night. A nice hot curry, followed by a massage
with Clary Sage oil and then lots of sex. (If practical LOL)
The curry went according to plan, but
then we were both so tired we just went to bed and zonked. DOH!! LOL
On the Saturday morning we decided to do the massage with Cassie's
(our 2yr old) help. My partner, Ian and Cassie spent about half an hour
just massaging my bump with the oil. We then tried to go Asda
shopping, but my hips and back were just so painful, I couldn't walk
very far, but I did walk much further than I had for a while.
We got back home and I was shattered so I
sat on the sofa and had a chat with my best friend, Trudy on the phone.
As I was laughing at something her little one, Livvy, had said, I
suddenly felt a warm 'bubble' come up between my legs. My first
thought was I had peed myself LOL, but then suddenly there was much more
of a gush! My waters had broken!!! I looked at the time, it
Excitedly I said to Ian, "Ermmm...Ian,
my waters have broken!" I heard Trudy stop talking on the other end
of the phone and it was all silent for a minute, so I repeated myself
and Ian jumped up off the sofa and I laughed nervously. Trudy
carried on talking and Ian ran around looking for towels to soak up the
rapidly expanding puddle on the sofa and floor. I'm not really
sure what we said to each other, but I know I was still talking to Trudy
LOL, when I suddenly realised that this was *IT* and the time had come
to have my baby at home and prove to everyone that Diabetic women could
have normal uncomplicated births without interventions and hi-tech
medical procedures. I was very nervous, I DID believe in myself
and my body, but even after all the months of planning and research,
there was bound to be still a little niggle.
Sooo, I bid goodbye to Trudy and promised
to keep her informed of developments, then I rang the labour ward and
asked for the Community Midwife to pop round. Then I rang my Mum
and told her to come up as labour was imminent. In all 4 of my
previous births, my babies have all been born within 4 hours of my
waters breaking, so I didn't anticipate this one to be any different.
My Mum and Sister arrived very soon, at
the same time as the older kids arrived home from seeing their Dad.
Everyone was very excited and they all rushed around tidying up
and getting bedding and clean towels whilst I sat and leaked.
My Midwife, the wonderful Therese,
arrived at 6pm and told me my waters had indeed gone. She did my
BP and temps and had a listen to baby's heart and all was well. So
she told me to get some rest whilst I could and she would come back at
around 9.30pm to see if anything had happened.
I sent my Mum home too and we all sat
around just watching TV until Therese came back. She arrived
promptly at 9.30pm and did my checks again, all well, but still no
contractions. She then said she would leave me overnight and I was
to ring her if anything 'kicked off'. If not, then I was to go up
to labour ward to be monitored for half an hour the following morning as
my waters had broken and she would see me there.
I started to get slightly nervous at this
point, thinking that I once I got up there they wouldn't let me back
home and I was also a little confused about why I was having no
contractions. So, at 11pm we all went up to bed and I hoped for
something to happen.
I had just dozed off and at 11:55pm I was
woken by a strong contraction and I heaved a sigh of relief! I
woke Ian and told him my contractions had started and he said "Oh
ok!" then snored! I lay there for around 2 hours having
contractions in varying strength until I felt I needed to get up and
walk around. I woke Ian again and told him I was going downstairs
and for him to stay in bed, but he wouldn't and got up with me.
On my Mum's orders, I rang her at around
3am and she said she was coming up. She arrived shortly after with
my sis and we all sat and drank coffee and ate buttery toast. Ian
went back to sleep on the sofa in the back room! By about 5am my
Mum thought I should ring Therese, although I wasn't convinced as the
pain wasn't very bad, but definitely there. But I gave in and rang
her. She arrived with the 2nd midwife´ Kate, in tow at around
6am. After examining me, she said I was effacing slowly but
definitely progressing and they would hang around for a while. Ian
and the older kids were kept busy by filling up the birth pool in the
Things started hotting up at around 11am
when the 'real' contractions started to kick in, I had been wandering
around the house, sitting on my computer chair, kneeling on the sofa,
kneeling on the floor and sprawling all over my white leather sofa in
the front room. I was reluctant to use the birth pool as I was
worried about infection as my waters had broken, so after everything I
didn't use it in the end!
My Mum was fab at rubbing my back during
the contractions and Therese was so wonderful, she talked so calmly to
me, telling me to relax my body from the top down as each contraction
hit me. It was almost hypnotic how she did it and one of my most
vivid memories is of standing in the front room with her in front of me,
holding my hands and telling me to breathe in deeply then let my whole
body sag with the breath out. Ian was my rock; he was everywhere. If I
wanted to lean on him he was there, if I needed to get up he was lifting
me, if I needed to sit down he lowered me down, and all the time he held
my hands and was always with me.
My girls were wonderful, they took over
if Ian had to do anything and they fetched and carried, but mostly they
talked to me and tried to help wherever they could. Chloe was fab
as the videographer and got the whole birth on video and took pictures
despite shaking and trembling and crying for most of the time!
My sister was wonderful with Cassie and
kept her amused all the time it was going on, if she wanted to be with
me she was and if not then she took her into the other room or outside.
By the time I started to push I had
decided I was sitting on the sofa in the front room and no one was going
to move me LOL. I asked for gas and air at around 11.30am and then
the contractions hit me in big style!!
I remember becoming a bit panicked as the
pains were very intense and the pushing urge was so strong, I seemed to
be pushing for a long time, but Therese was saying that baby wasn't
coming down. I began to think about shoulder dystocia and I
started to feel out of control and worried. Therese was so calm
though, she soon had me back in check and I realised that Caiden
couldn't move down as I was sitting in the wrong position, in fact, I
was sitting on his head! With a massive effort, as the
contractions were coming back-to-back now, I bumped my bum down the sofa
until I was half on and half off it, with one leg up on the sofa one leg
on Ian's thigh. I pushed about three times and the head crowned,
then Therese told me to pant, which I did and I felt the rest of his
head come out. I heard Cassie say, "What's that?",
and I realised she was actually standing behind Therese with her
hand on her shoulder in prime position. With the next contraction
his body slithered out and Therese lifted him up onto my chest. He
was so warm and beautiful, I just kept saying hello baby, hello baby. At
this point, Cassie said "It's a baby!!!" with such wonder in
her voice; I knew it was the right thing for her to be there.
Everyone was crying, My Mum, my sister,
my two girls and Ian, it was such a beautiful moment. I am so glad
I had so many of the people I love around me. I just wish my other
little boy had been there too. :-(
Caiden didn't cry at all and just lay
there pursing his lips, Kate, the 2nd midwife passed me the oxygen and I
held it to his face for a few minutes and rubbed his back, although
there was no worry as he was still attached to his cord. He was so
calm and quiet and soon began to pink up so we knew there was no
problem. He never cried at all and has remained a very placid and
laid back little guy.
We left his cord to stop pulsing and he
had his first feed whilst he was still attached to me. Daddy cut
his cord around 15 minutes later and had his first cuddle whilst I
started pushing again to deliver the placenta.
It took about an hour for the placenta to
come out naturally, and Caiden fed wonderfully and helped it to detach.
Kate finally got to weigh him and he came
in at a lovely 9lbs 5oz, not my biggest baby, but also not my smallest.
Although I must admit he did feel bigger at some points!
I felt so comfortable in my own
surroundings and Therese was the most wonderful midwife, she made the
whole experience mine from start to finish. Even down to
monitoring Caiden´s heartbeat during the labour was left to me to say
when and where.
Most importantly, my Blood Sugars
remained within normal range and I have proven for Diabetic Mums
everywhere that it can be done without the intervention and you CAN have
the type of birth you want to have.
Sorry for the great length, if you got to
the end then you deserve a medal, but it feels so important to me to
have an accurate record of this birth. I have been asked to write
it up for the Radical Midwives Association and also for the Homebirth UK
Group. I really do want to try to help move things forward for
Diabetic Home Birth.
I did this for ME and for Caiden, but if
it can help other women experience the wonderful birth I did, then I
will do my best to help them.
Debbie Dooley and Caiden Lewis
when Caiden was 9 Days Old)