January 29, 2020
In HuffPost Birth Diaries we hear the extraordinary stories of the everyday miracle of birth. This week, Danielle Bodicoat shares her story. If you’d like to share yours, email amy.packham@huffpost.com.I’ve always had large babies, but my third was definitely the biggest of the lot. The older two had weighed 9lb 13oz and 8lb 6oz when they were born – and at the time, I read a lot of scare stories about birthing heavier babies. They were all quite negative, to be honest. But despite the few complications I had, I’d love women to know that it’s not always as bad as those fearful articles portray. 
This Is What Its Like When Your Heavy Baby Gets Stuck During Birth
I didn’t even measure big during the pregnancy with my third child. Ironically, my growth had actually slowed down on the charts, so I went in for a scan two weeks before my due date. That’s when I found out he was already measuring over nine pounds – the first indicator my son was going to be on the larger side. But I wasn’t surprised or concerned at that point. 
Knowing my baby was going to be big, I had a rountine appointment with the consultant. This is where you talk through the risks, one of which is shoulder dystocia, when the baby’s head has been born, but one of the shoulders gets stuck behind the pubic bone. The baby can stop getting oxygen very quickly and, if that happens, I was told, the room would fill up with people to get the baby out – even if that meant breaking a shoulder. I started to worry a bit.Related... Birth Diaries: ‘My Husband Died When I Was 6 Months Pregnant’ My son was 10 days late. I was at home taking my other two to bed around 7pm and as I walked up the stairs, I got what I thought was a contraction, but brushed it off – I’d had Braxton Hicks for weeks beforehand, so assumed it was that. They got strong really quickly, though, and I couldn’t ignore them. I’d had really quick births too, you see, so I knew that was a possibility. 
My partner and I rang my mum to look after the kids and as soon as she arrived, she told us to ring the hospital – my contractions were just two minutes apart.
It was 8pm when we got there. The midwife did an examination and went to read my notes, but I had to call her back in almost immediately as I was already feeling the beginnings of an urge to push. It was really painful – and in hindsight, I know why – but also because it was happening so quickly. Related... What Does Childbirth Really Feel Like? 9 Mums Tell It Like It Is My midwife was pretty old school. Very no-nonsense, quite strict with me and bossy, you could say. But I almost needed that to cut through the fog of what was happening (and she actually apologised after, for being so firm). 
I was just happy to be in the birthing unit I planned to be in, and got into the pool despite being told I’d have to deliver my son outside the water. I never had time to get out the water in the end. As I was labouring, I told my husband I needed to push – he had to quickly grab the midwife who was eating her sandwich outside. She came in as the head pushed out really easily. 
But then the shoulders got stuck. It was terrifying, everything the consultants had told me about, but it had never happened with the earlier births, which is why I thought I’d be okay. “I dunno if it helps, but he’s got black hair,” my husband said. Our first two are redheads. 
The midwife told him to hit the emergency button, and the room quickly filled with the resuscitation team. I was so glad I was warned about this – it kept me calm. “We need to get this baby out now,” the midwife kept telling me. But they couldn’t get me out the pool at this point. I was being held up and out as they tried to keep my son’s head out of the water – or he would have drowned.
My head was all over the place, and the midwife was getting firm. I didn’t think I had the energy left, but I was so scared of what would happen if I didn’t push him out – I really didn’t want intervention. I rested my elbows on the back of the pool and pushed down with everything I had. The shoulders eased. Behind me, the team were prepping everything for my son’s arrival. 
As soon as his shoulders slid out, the rest of him followed – but he was completely tangled up in his cord. It was really long, around his neck and his shoulders. It was horrible to see. He was blue, his eyes were shut, there was no sound. The whole room fell silent. 
The midwife cut the cord straight away and passed him to the resuscitation team. I remember hearing his cry, a long, loud, angry cry just a few minutes later and it was amazing to hear. I remember hearing the team talking about how big he was! Someone ran off to get the scales to weigh him, and even though I was in a fog I knew, as I heard them laughing, that everything was going to be okay.
I was lifted out the water on to the bed and had my first cuddle with him. It was comforting knowing that even though I had a big baby – he weighed in at 10lb 15oz in the end – and not everything went to plan, I still had the birth I wanted. My birth advice?Having a few mantras in my head really helped! One of the ones my mum told me, which really helped, was: “Every contraction is one step closer to meeting your baby”. She prepped me with a few!Follow Danielle’s blog, Snatched Words, where she shares tips, motivation and inspiration for working mums.Related... Birth Diaries: ‘My Husband Died When I Was 6 Months Pregnant’ What Does Childbirth Really Feel Like? 9 Mums Tell It Like It Is ‘I Felt A Warm Gush, Then Blood Hit The Wall’
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