An Induction Story.
Joss’ birth was not what I wanted or planned. It wasn’t a ‘classic hypnobirth’ with a lovely dimmed room, fairy lights, soft music and birthing pools, the whole thing was a curve ball, completely unexpected with a new surprise at every turn. Yet it is the birth I learned the most from, about myself and about giving birth.
This was my third baby and I honestly thought I had it pegged. Birth one, no birth preparation, no idea what to expect, took 18 hours and ended in an epidural and forceps. Birth two (following a fabulous private course with Kent Hypnobirthing) was 8 hours, from first contraction to holding baby in my arms and required no intervention and no pain relief. It was awesome and liberating and life affirming. Yep, super proud. Baby number three, I had my birth pool up in my living room from 37 weeks, Doula on standby, fairy lights and affirmations up, this time I was going to do it the way I wanted, no question, and probably in 4 hours. This is how is went…
At 41 +5 weeks, I had refused all interventions including sweeps as I was adamant that labour would start spontaneously when baby was ready, and both previous labours had started at 39 weeks and 41 weeks. I went for a welfare scan at 41+5, expecting them to try and induce me and I again intended to refuse and come home. When I had the scan, I got the shocking news that baby was suddenly breech – feet down. This scuppered my plan! Although knowing I have the right to opt to birth vaginally with a breech baby, the staff at my local hospital are lacking in experience (not training) and did not feel confident supporting with this option and I was in agreement, it wasn’t the choice for me! This left me with two options, a caesarean section or an ECV. I took some time to really weigh up the options and after discussion with my Doctor, my Husband and my Doula, I decided to try the ECV and hope it was successful.
Day one in hospital, consisted of a scan, discussion about the ECV with the Doctor and having the procedure done. They first give a small injection to relax the muscles of the uterus and then manually turn the baby by manipulating the abdomen. The leaflet stated the procedure isn’t painful and in my experience, that is accurate. The leaflet also said it would be uncomfortable, in my experience, that was playing it down. It is an extremely uncomfortable procedure however the breathing techniques were fabulous in keeping my body relaxed and pliable. The procedure was successful, and I went home, prepared to return in the morning ready for induction. I agreed to the induction providing baby hadn’t returned to the breech position overnight.
The following morning I was admitted to the hospital and got settled into the antenatal ward. I was scanned, the baby was still head down. I was examined, my cervix was completely closed and as such, they were unable to break my waters to encourage labour to start. That evening I had the prostaglandin pessary inserted internally, the purpose not to start labour but to ‘ripen’ or open the cervix enough to enable my waters to be broken. I found the pessary to induce mild contractions which I experienced that night and the following day (24 hours). I say mild, they were fairly strong at times but I managed to get some sleep using my hypnobirthing relaxation mp3s. The more relaxed I felt, the more the sensations eased.
After 24 hours with the pessary I was examined again and was 3cm dilated. Fabulous! Then I was met with the news that the labour ward had shut as it was so busy and there were no beds, so I needed to wait until there was space before my induction could continue! I waited until the following morning and was moved to the delivery suite, a room with a fabulous view over the city and a wonderful supportive midwife waiting for me. She examined me and found I was still 3cms dilated and she broke my waters. The Doctors told me they’d be back in 2 hours to start me on the syntocinon drip if my contractions were not yet 3 in every 10 minutes. I felt very pitted against the clock. I did not want the drip, I knew it meant I wouldn’t be able to labour in the pool (just across from my room), that they would want to monitor me constantly (restricting my movement), not to mention being hooked up to the drip. I also knew syntocinon is notorious for stimulating the uterus muscles so that it’s stronger, more intense and possibly more overwhelming that spontaneous labour. Yep, I really wasn’t up for it. With the help of my Doula and my Husband we tried all the ways we knew of to get labour started, and it did, but SLOWLY. Very slowly. My fabulous midwife held off the Doctors and between us we lasted 6 more hours, before I conceded I wasn’t yet in established labour and I would accept the drip in the hope we could finally get this show on the road.
The drip went in, the monitor belt was firmly round the baby bump and I was parked on my birth ball. It was 5pm on 5th November and as labour began, I watched an awesome firework show over the city.
Two hours later, it was a different story. We’d only been going two hours and the surges were getting so intense, I wasn’t sure how I was going to make it to the end. I looked at the clock, it was 7:30pm, I knew labour, I expected to go until midnight at the earliest. My midwife commented that I was doing really well and I told her I couldn’t go on anymore. My words were along the lines of, “I can’t do this, I can’t go on any longer, I need an epidural, I know this sounds like transition and I promise you, it really isn’t, I need you to take me seriously, I am done and want an epidural”. She gave me a leaflet to read and went out muttering about looking for the anethetist. The surges were coming so thick and fast now there was no rest in between them, they faded slightly and came back stronger. The midwife returned saying the anethetist was busy with another lady but would come to me afterwards. I looked at the clock, 7:50pm.
Soon after that I began rocking on my ball and pushing away from the bed in front of me, my Doula said I looked like I was pushing and a moment later I felt I needed the toilet and stood up, resting forwards on the bed. Everything stopped. The intensity, the world. Silently I knew my baby was coming and I let everyone else figure it out for themselves. Those few minutes, standing and easing my descending baby down was delicious. The most amazing, satisfying feeling mixed with a whole lot of relief, to know I wasn’t going to have to hang out until midnight or beyond, and that calling for the epidural was exactly transition!
She was born at 8pm on bonfire night. Did it look like a hypnobirth? Not really, it looked loud and wild. Was it a hypnobirth then? Absolutely. I used my hypnosis mp3s, relaxation techniques (and quite a bit of sacral counter pressure) to labour through my most challenging birth. It was fast (3 hours from 3cms to birth) and it was seriously hard work but my baby daughter was worth every second and I’d do it again in an instant, for her.