Blogger and mum-of-four Kellie Kearney’s third child Kadie’s birth ended up being an unintentional homebirth – she takes us back to her dramatic arrival with her hallway homebirth story.
Before I even start, I should mention that I have a high pain threshold, I always have. Last year, when my son Frankie was a few weeks old I broke my foot and walked on it for three days before going to the hospital. So whatever you do, don’t do what I did and wait until the very last minute to go to the hospital unless you want to deliver your baby in your hallway with 11 birthing partners. Yes, I said 11!
I went for my weekly check-up on Wednesday 19th of August thinking I’d be kept in for an induction. My obstetrician kindly listened to my plea of wanting to labour spontaneously and gave me a couple of days grace under conditions of returning on the Friday to have another blood test to monitor my platelets. She gave me a sweep as requested and I was on my way.
That afternoon, I started to get some irregular contractions but nothing to get excited over as it had happened a few weeks earlier. Then, that night about 2am as I was bouncing on my ball, I noticed I had began to haemorrhage. Because I have thrombocytopenia (deficiency of platelets in the blood, which causes bleeding into the tissues, bruising, and slow blood clotting after injury), I rang my maternity hospital who recommended I get checked out immediately. I went in to get checked out and it turned out I was not in labour yet. I was bleeding, but it was nothing overly concerning.
The midwife gave me the option to stay or go home. I went home. The next morning the kids were going wild. Frankie was hopping off the walls and Kayla was running around like a headless chicken, so my partner Joe took them out for pancakes to give me some peace. Again, not one of our bright ideas.
Within minutes of him leaving, I found myself on all fours on the landing breathing through contractions. I had no phone on me to time them but they were pretty close – I knew I wouldn’t make it down the stairs to get my phone … that close!
About five hours later, Joe arrived home. I was still on the landing on all fours. He picked me up brought me downstairs, made me a coffee and put Frankie to bed, while Kayla was bursting with excitement that her little sister was on her way.
I get this strange feeling my bladder was about to explode. So I race to the toilet, with the five-year old shadow following and within seconds of sitting on the toilet, my waters burst. Every last drain of fluid in one big swoosh. It frightened the living daylights out of all of us. I was lifted into the shower and suddenly my contractions became so intense, one after another after another. I was finally in labour.
Joe rang his brother-in-law who lived ten minutes away to ask him to come and mind the kids. A few minutes later, I felt like I needed to push. I laboured for three hours on Kayla and for two on Frankie. I knew that time wasn’t on our side. We needed to leave now. I sent Joe out to find a neighbour to mind the kids. He came back terrified to share the news that nobody was home. I then told him to go find someone, anyone, not to return on his own. He arrives back with a neighbour.
The dispatcher on the phone asks Joe a million questions, I answer in the background. “Is it her first? NO. Where is she? IN THE HALLWAY. Can she move? NOOOOOOO! How far along is she? IN LABOUR!”
“Where is the ambulance? We rang it an hour ago,” I ask. Joe rings, – “It’s on the way.” By now, I knew her head had crowned. Every second contraction I had been trying to resist the urge to push. I was too frightened to deliver her without a doctor, midwife or paramedic there. The next bit is all a blur. I just remember screaming at Joe that her head was out, but he already knew. Everybody could see it. She was just hanging there. Joe then ran for his dear life to the flashing lights that we could see through the glass of the hall door and shouts ‘the head is out,’ just so more neighbours could hear and join in on all the drama.
It’s not an ambulance but the fire brigade. And I see a fire woman running towards me as I’m inches away from my front door. She tells me to flip over onto my back because there is no room in a 6×6 hallway to delivery a baby on all fours. Mid-contraction, I turn over and next thing I knew she was holding her. It was so strange, because I don’t remember pushing her. It was like she just fell out. God forbid the fire woman wasn’t there! She might have just landed on the floor.
The rest of the fire crew are trying to squeeze through the gap between my head and the door to get in, while Kayla who is outside with the whole neighbourhood is trying to get a peek of what is going on inside. She’s already seen too much. She now knows that babies do not in fact come from your belly button…
I told the fire crew that I had low platelets and I asked them to keep an eye on my blood loss. The adrenaline was beginning to wear off. I was beyond terrified because I could feel the gushing yet, I couldn’t see anything. They constantly reassured me I was fine but I was petrified. Kadie’s cord was wrapped around her arm, so the fire crew detangled her and kindly asked Joe to get some towels and blankets.
Next thing I knew he was trying to cut the cord with Frankie on his hip. He’d been napping through the whole thing until Joe went bursting into his room looking for some blankets. They suctioned her and held some oxygen in a tube up to her face. Another neighbour arrives. So does the ambulance. Kayla comes back in to meet her sister. That’s when they gave her to me. Straight away, I lifted up my top with the help of one of the fire men and began skin to skin. She was the image of her big sister. She was perfect. She was Kadie – my little miracle.
I was given the option to deliver the placenta or head straight into the hospital, but I was weak and exhausted. I could have laid there all day. My head was pounding looking around at everyone in my tiny hallway and on the stairs, I had eleven people gathered around me or looking over me. From the kids and Joe to the three neighbours, four fire crew and paramedics. It was very overwhelming, it was crazy.
By now I was dying for my tea and toast. They wrapped Kadie and I up, lifted me onto a stretcher and we took a free ride with flashing lights and sirens to the maternity hospital.
Q. I’m would like to start an exercise programme that will benefit my emotional health as much as my physical health, but I don’t know which type of class would be best. Should I consider choosing from yoga, pilates, tai chi, or could you recommend a class, please?
A It’s great that you have decided to get into exercise. The benefits to you are going to be great. You’ll sleep better, have more energy, better skin, reduced stressed, not to mention all the amazing physical benefits of your clothes fitting better, and looking healthy, trim and toned! My advice to you would be to try them all. Even if some don’t offer pay-as-you-go sessions, if you get in touch directly with the instructor, they will almost always let you try it out first to see if it’s for you. All of the above things that you mentioned are great for mental health, so it really will be a personal preference as to which you go for. On top of the classes you mention, all forms of exercise will give you great mental rewards so consider the not so obvious interval training sessions, bootcamp, and circuits too, as you will also feel on top of the world after a class like that.
Q My son is 18 months old and has just started saying his first words. It is an extremely exciting time in our house and my husband and I are eager to encourage his speaking as much possible. What advice would you give us on how we can foster this without bombarding and confusing him?
AThere is nothing better than hearing your baby begin to talk. All the hard work you have put in over the last two years is coming back tenfold.
Toddlers will vary significantly with ability and speed of which they talk however a guide would be about 50 words by 2 years of age. The most important thing to watch for is that your baby/toddler is cooing and babbling and begins to string sounds together like “Mama/Dada” They should have a wide range of speech sounds and like to imitate you and things they hear.
There are many ways that you can promote Speech and Language development at home:
1. Slowing down your own speech and taking time over conversations with your little one. Every day is a new experience when you are 18 months, nappy changes, bath time, baking a cake brings endless opportunity for you to interact and offer new words for them to hear and repeat. Make eye contact, smile and use exaggerated tones to keep things interesting and fun for your tot.
2. Review the toys that you have on offer to your tot and ensure that they give plenty of open ended play opportunities. Role play is a wonderful way to allow children to take the lead. Kitchens with lots of plates, cups and pots. Fill the pots with dry pasta and allow your child to cook and serve you. Playdoh, painting, gardening and sandpits are also great for allowing your child to take the lead and babble about what they are doing. Read plenty of books together and point and allow them time to answer any questions that you ask.
3. Limit screen time. Overuse of televisions and iPads do not give your child opportunity to interact in a two way manner.
4. Ask your child lots of open ended questions “What’s that?” “Where are we?” Point at things they know the answer to for boosting confidence (Car/ Car, etc.) When they don’t know the answer, explain it to them. Limit baby talk and speak clearly with good pronunciation, remember you are the teacher and they will copy you.
If you are concerned about your child’s speech and language development, be sure to speak with your GP or developmental Health Nurse. They are very skilled at understanding the difference between speech delays and spotting something that may require professional attention.
Enjoy watching their little brains absorb the world around them and listen to what they have to say. It won’t be too long before they won’t stop talking to you, asking “Why Mummy/ Daddy?” every 5 minutes….