Megan Catherine Monaghan was born at 10:22am on Wednesday 6th September 2017. Here’s Megan’s birth story.
It wasn’t the birth we had planned but it was perfect and her safe arrival was everything we could’ve hoped for. As I’ve shared over the past few months I really wanted a home birth. We’d done our research and got everything we could need for the birth, including hiring a birthing pool, but it just wasn’t meant to be. You can read more about our home birth plans here.
I’ve had several episodes of reduced movements and on Friday 1st September I was advised that, although the risk of something being wrong was still low, they felt it was safer for me to be induced and for baby to arrive sooner rather than later. They booked me in for an induction on Tuesday and I had to visit the hospital for daily monitoring until then.
We were advised to ring the delivery suite at 8am on Tuesday morning to check what time they wanted us and were pretty much told to go straight in. My mum came to look after Harry for us and we headed over to the hospital. We got there at about 9am and spent the first few hours on the monitoring machine to check baby was ok before they continued with the induction. At about 12:00 I was examined and was in a really positive position for induction apparently! I was a whole 1cm dilated already on my own and was given the gel to get things going.
Over the course of the afternoon Alistair and I chatted, watched rubbish on our phones, read books and played scrabble. I started to get contractions and was excited and nervous as it finally hit me, we were going to meet our baby soon. The midwife came back at 6pm to see how I was getting on and I was 2cm and ready to have my waters broken. Unfortunately the hospital had become really busy in this time (apparently September is always a busy month for babies) and they said we would have to wait. They were aiming to try and start things off at 11pm but couldn’t promise anything. I told Alistair to go home and get some tea/have a nap and that I’d call him later when I had any news.
It was the next morning before anything else happened and I was feeling really deflated. Any contractions I’d been feeling had stopped and I was working myself up thinking I was going backwards and we were going to have to start from step 1 again. I was put on the machine for a few hours to monitor baby and told they wanted to break my waters at 8:00 am if everything was ok.
I called Alistair and he came back to the hospital. I was examined again and told I was 3cm. The midwife broke my waters and, after I’d been monitored on the machine for half an hour, I tried to stay as active as possible, bouncing on the ball and pacing the room. The contractions came back thick and fast pretty much straight away once my waters had broken and I could tell that I was going to meet my baby soon.
During our time at the hospital I was given conflicting advice about whether or not I would be able to give birth in the pool. Because of one dip in heart rate on the monitor and the reduced movements I was told that I could use the pool if I wanted to but I would be putting my baby at risk as she couldn’t be monitored constantly so would have to sign some forms to say that I had been advised against it. I was absolutely gutted as I remember the pain relief I got from the water with Harry’s birth and I was terrified of going without. I knew though that if my choice caused harm to my baby I would never be able to forgive myself so reluctantly and fighting back the tears I said I’d go without.
It was 9am by this point and I was 5cm so was taken round to the delivery room and given gas and air. It sounds so silly but seeing the room with a bed in it instead of a pool made me really scared and emotional but the contractions were coming thick and fast and I didn’t really have much option other than to just go with it.
The next hour and 20 minutes is a bit of a gas and air filled blur but I remember feeling a lot more pain and discomfort than I had with Harry’s labour and birth. I don’t know if it’s because I was induced or because I wasn’t in the pool but it definitely hurt more! One of my main memories of the birth is saying, “Oh no, I’m going to poo!” which, lets face it, is fairly standard during child birth. The midwife laughed when I said it and said, “That’s not a poo, it’s your baby!” She was right there and ready to be born (and I’m amazed to say there was no pooing of any kind.)
Megan was born with one push a few contractions later and delivered straight on to my chest, a perfectly healthy baby girl.
I opted to deliver the placenta naturally which seemed to shock the midwives, (The student midwife who was amazing and I can’t thank enough for how lovely she was throughout) was really exited as she had never seen a placenta delivered without the injection and midwife help before. I just thought that it was normal! It came out on it’s own when Harry was born and I wanted delayed cord clamping anyway so why interfere with what nature would just sort on it’s own? I think it was about 20-30 minutes later when I birthed the placenta. They later decided to give me the injection anyway as I was bleeding quite a lot but it was after the placenta had delivered.
After the birth came the worst bit… the stitches. They needed to be done by a doctor as I tore front and back. He was also teaching a colleague how to do them so I felt very exposed while 4 medical professionals peered at my poor bits and discussed them at length.
Once I was stitched up I fed Megan. She’d been rooting whilst having cuddles with Daddy and, in spite of my struggles to feed Harry initially, Megan latched on instantly like a pro and fed.
Over the next few hours we enjoyed cuddles, I had a shower and Megan had her newborn checks. We left the hospital just before 6pm and were so excited to get home and see Harry. We bumped into the student midwife outside the hospital who gave us big hugs. She was amazing and I’m so lucky I had her to look after us. I’d really missed Harry and couldn’t wait for him to meet his little sister. When he did I melted. He was so gentle with her and affectionate. I’ve never been prouder him.
We’re now settling in to life as a family of 4 and learning to run around after a toddler after very little sleep. It’s tough but my goodness it’s so worth it.
We may not have got the birth we hoped for but we have a perfect daughter to make our family complete and for that we are truly grateful.
Welcome to the world baby Megan. You are already so loved, we can’t wait to get to know you and watch you grow.