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  • Writer's pictureJade Langridge

Lyra’s Birth Story (2 of 3): A Tale of Modern Medicine and Ancient Wisdom

I share this for several reasons. Firstly, it has been a cathartic process of understanding, letting go, and finding peace by reflecting and writing about it. 


Secondly, I hope it may be of help for someone who goes through something similar (not least, unexpected breech and a retained placenta), and feels confused and in search of answers at a deeper level.


This is in three Parts:


Complications Arise

I was helped out of the pool and onto the sofa, which was covered in towels. We all just enjoyed the moment and they helped dry me off and held the baby on my chest to do skin on skin. 


I was fed snacks and given drinks. Our baby girl latched a little bit and I felt some more movement in my womb so I stood up over the bowl, thinking I was about to release the placenta.


There was a big gush of blood and some clots. No placenta. 


“Okay,” I thought, “That's alright. We've still got a couple of hours.” 


This happened a couple of times. Still no placenta. I was fed more snacks and drinks and tonics to help with the bleeding.


With the baby still attached to me through the umbilical cord, I hobbled up the stairs to sit on the toilet over a bowl. I sat there on my own for a bit, holding our precious daughter, hoping for a release.


Still no placenta. 


I started to feel faint. I knew that something wasn't right. I stumbled back into the bedroom. 


Quy was changing the waterproof mattress protector as it was soaked in blood. He asked me to give him a minute but before he’d finished the sentence I fainted and fell onto him over the bed, all the while clutching our daughter.


I was helped fully onto the bed and we decided to cut the cord which Quy did with some kitchen scissors, he'd just sterilised. Kathryn helped tie the cord up.


Despite the scariness of passing out, we then had some nice moments on the bed with Starla very excited to come over and sniff the new arrival. 



Me, knackered but happy to be sat with my new baby and fur baby



I still felt really weak, and couldn't relax, knowing there was still work to do, with the placenta still yet to come out.


It was agreed that due to the fact I've lost a lot of blood and these clots were potentially the placenta coming away in pieces we should call an ambulance and get to the hospital for medical assistance.


And as Quy stepped out to call an ambulance, Kathryn helped pack my hospital bag. The one thing I had not done! I’d left a bag out with only some socks on top, convinced I wouldn't need it.


Where I didn’t want to be - hospital

We'd prepared a list of what to put in an overnight bag but had not actually packed it. Out of all the checklists and online recommendations we’d researched, the one thing I hadn't done was the one thing I needed most.


My bag of goodies for birth - essential oils and crystals and birthing comb - lay untouched as everything happened so quickly in another room.


I just wanted everything to be okay, but it all felt a bit surreal at this point. I don't really remember any emotions. Just tried to stay calm and focus on the next thing to do.


Within minutes of Quy calling an ambulance, several men were in my bedroom with their big clumpy boots. They started taking readings from me and the baby. And then more paramedics arrived.

Apparently, it's normal for two ambulances to go when there has been a birth.


So there were five or six strangers in my bedroom. Naturally Starla started growling and barking. I don't blame her - she'd been as good as gold, calm throughout the whole birth just watching and supporting me.


I was asked by a paramedic if I could walk downstairs and if I wanted to carry the baby. 


I said no to carrying the baby and passed her to Quy, but thought I could walk downstairs.


Good job Quy took the baby, as I stood up and promptly passed out again. 


I remember being in this inky black place with swirly colours, thinking that I felt so nice and restful. 

And then opening my eyes and looking at a strange man's face. Oh yeah, now is not the time for a rest.


They gave me some oxygen and hoisted me onto a chair to be carried down the stairs into the ambulance. 


I remember thinking, "Please don't drop me."


Quy sat behind me in the ambulance with our daughter doing skin on skin while I was lying down on the stretcher. I didn't panic - I was too tired. I just felt slightly relieved to lie down and close my eyes.


I didn't speak, only to clarify my birthday. Quy was in a semi state of shock and gave his brother’s birthday when asked what mine was. The fight or flight panic response had well and truly kicked in for him, and he was unable to think straight.


We soon arrived at St James's hospital and were taken into Gledhow Wing. This is the hospital where I work, and it felt very strange to be arriving as a patient. The last time I was in these lifts was when I was doing a drop-in session for COVID during the pandemic. 


A male paramedic in the lift unhelpfully informed us that should we have a second child, we should avoid a home birth. I remember thinking, not the time and place for inconsiderate, unsolicited advice! Thankfully we didn’t see him again.


An unavoidable procedure

We were taken to a room where a lovely midwife explained our options. 


I agreed to the dreaded injection of fake oxytocin which helps speed up the release of the placenta. But that didn't work, so I then had to agree to have it manually removed. 


I was taken into the theatre and had an anaesthetic that numbed me from the chest all the way down.


There were several voices all around me doing their thing. I think it helped that with the work I've done in critical incidents in my counselling role in theatres I vaguely understood the different roles as there are so many people moving around you, it could have been very disconcerting.


A very nice lady helped me sit up as I was so weak and tired she held me up and I rested my head on her arms so they could get to my spine.


I was then laid down once I was numb. I could feel people touching me but it wasn't painful. 


Then a doctor did the placenta removal, which involved a hand into my womb to scoop it out, detach it from the lining. Overall, I think I was in there for about an hour.


I was then taken to recovery. I was the only one in there so it was calm and warm. I could hear music, a thumping baseline from the carnival in nearby Chapeltown.


Eventually, the midwife went and got Quy and Lyra (as we would later name her) and brought them in to see me. I was so relieved - she seemed calm and settled, and Quy assured me she had slept the whole time.


We were given a cup of tea and toast which tasted absolutely amazing.


Once I could feel my legs and feet and had received all my fluids and antibiotic drip, I was taken to a ward for mums and babies at about 1 am.


It had been a long day but it wasn’t over yet.


"Why am I in this plastic box?" Baby Lyra was also not amused to be in hospital


It's a bit blurry but then I tried to feed her and have a cuddle. I didn't get any sleep as she wouldn't go in the cot for long so she slept on my chest.



I was kind of expecting to go home that day but it was not to be. I think I had a little cry of overwhelm in the morning triggered by a nice message from my mum.


The aftermath

Because I thought I was going home the next day, Quy left it late to visit me thinking we'd combine it with the parking and leaving the dog. 


I was still bleeding heavily but no clots. I had a catheter in and at first, it was a nice relief to not be up and down for a wee like I’d been the past couple of months.


The food was okay. I think I was just happy to have a hot meal. Things still felt a bit unreal and the next three nights and days are a bit of a blur.


On the second night in the hospital, I got a high temperature and this led to them thinking I had an infection. In came a midwife with a big bag full of all the swabs and little bottles to take all the different swabs and blood samples in.


The bag it all comes in had ‘sepsis’ written on the front. This freaked me out as a DJ who Quy and I knew back in the day had nearly died from sepsis, before having three limbs amputated. 


Overall, I had five antibiotic IV’s every six hours which wasn't easy to hold the baby or get her in and

out of the cot. Just getting in and out of the bed was a challenge. 


By the way, if you have to be pumped with antibiotics, get on the probiotics asap to rebalance your gut, which strongly influences your immune system as well as digestion - took me 5 colds in 5 months to work that out!


My blood iron haemoglobin levels were very low at 80 (120 is the norm) so I was given an iron infusion.


While I was laid there, four women came in and were then discharged before me, which disheartened me somewhat. 


It was so hard to sleep or rest as there were constant checks. IV’s, midwives, doctors, checks on me, checks on the baby. 


All positive on the baby checks though, which was a relief. 


The midwives were very comforting and gave me advice on breastfeeding which I was grateful for.

Mum visited, it was really good to see her and have some vaguely normal conversation. Obviously, watching her meet her granddaughter for the first time was special and emotional.


Coming Home



Quy doing the obligatory going home picture


I was finally discharged three days later with several more antibiotics to take at home, blood thinning injections, and a catheter (my poor tired bladder needed more rest apparently). 


Oh, the relief to come home. To see Starla, have a shower, and get into my bed was so good.


That night was tough. I was on my own, Quy slept in the spare room so at least one of us would be rested.


I was still so sleep-deprived with a massive drop in hormones. I remember just feeling really emotional and having dark, intense thoughts.


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