'My Lockdown Baby Weighed 11 Pounds 8 Ounces. I Didn't Even Have Stitches'

Birth Diaries: Nikkola Wright's planned home birth wasn't possible during a pandemic. Here's why she's grateful for that.
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In HuffPost Birth Diaries we hear the extraordinary stories of the everyday miracle of birth. This week, Nikkola Wright shares her story. If you’d like to share yours, email amy.packham@huffpost.com.

For my fourth child, I really wanted a home birth. But because of lockdown, we were told that wasn’t possible.

I was working from home, finishing off my Masters, and was watching the daily update from the sofa when I found out that pregnant women were at risk. That felt strange – and from then on, appointments were very different. Midwives were suddenly wearing PPE, and it felt like a barrier. I’d had three children before that, but it was an entirely different experience for me this time.

I ended up going a week over my due date. During all my appointments, I was measuring quite big – about 2cm over what I should’ve been. I questioned whether I’d be alright getting the baby out, but they said I’d be fine. I’d had big babies in the past, so no one was worried.

The day everything kicked off, I’d had labour pains since the early hours. I think I’d been in slow labour for a while after I had a sweep, but nothing materialised. Everything was a non-starter. The regular pains stopped around lunchtime, when I went on a long walk up a hill – three miles long – and contractions started up again on the way down. By the time we got home, I was in established labour and it wasn’t long before I was ready to go to hospital.

By the time I got there, I was already 4cm dilated, so was able to go ahead with a water birth. I was progressing quick, only had gas and air, and my partner was amazing. I did hypnobirthing, concentrating hard on what my partner was saying, and it was a really nice experience – painful, but you expect that.

After giving birth to the head, the shoulders got stuck. All of a sudden, I had to get out the pool and I noticed a lot of people in the room. Walking over to the bed was a challenge – once you’ve given birth to a head, it’s not easy to walk!

My partner had to lift me out of the pool, they helped guide me and I was laid down on the bed. I’m not sure how long my son took to come out. My partner said it was a couple of minutes. I was just pushing, pushing, doing what I was told. They had to dislocate his shoulder to get him out, they later told me. Ronnie was born.

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After the drama of that, things weren’t over. The placenta got stuck. I ended up having massive blood loss – I remember lying on the bed and a load of liquid hitting the floor. They’d been tugging on the placenta because they couldn’t get it out, so a consultant had to come in.

When he did the examination, it was so painful that I shot up in bed, grabbed the midwife’s arm and just started crying. It was all so overwhelming. The consultant explained in detail what they needed to do – go to theatre and administer a spinal block to get the placenta out. I just needed it to be over.

Thankfully, everything was fine. Miraculously, I had no stitches, even though my son weighed 11 pounds 8! I healed well, and am grateful I managed to spend that time in the pool before things escalated.

Ronnie was perfect, and there was nothing wrong with me either. In fact, the pandemic meant Ronnie had a positive birth. If we’d had him at home as we’d planned, the midwife said it would’ve been a different story. Babies can suffocate if they get stuck, even for just a couple of minutes.

I’m just so glad everything turned out okay.

My birth advice:

Going through labour, just try and keep as calm and relaxed as possible. Let your body do the work, listen to the midwife, and try and follow what they’re telling you to do.