The long story of our induced, somewhat natural hypnobirthing experience.
Well, we both knew this day was coming, even though I had second thoughts about having it I knew I’d have to decide once we got here.
I received a call at 7:30 am from Cley ward and was told that they had a 10 am induction time available, so I went for it.
We arrived (fashionably 10 minutes late) to the hospital on Wednesday morning.
Induction was booked for 10 am, so nice and early ready for the long day ahead.
It was the same ward I was on with my hyperemesis, which was weird and kind of brought back some bad memories of the dark times spent on this ward, but at the same time, I felt a relief/accomplishment that my journey was nearly over and then ending was in sight.
I luckily got a bed near the window, nice views and a breeze (thank god) I’m a very cold person, and I love feeling the wind or some sort of coldness on these hot hospital wards.
As soon as I sat down on the bed the worries left and in filled instantly with excitement. Surrounded by pregnant women it felt like the right time like it was my time for baby.
A lovely student midwife came and greeted me and explained thoroughly the induction process (something my consultant didn’t do) and I was thrown back.
Because of the babies growth I wouldn’t be allowed home after having the 24hr pessary inserted, as there is a risk that a ‘small’ baby won’t cope well with surges (contractions) and also a risk of hypercontractions (really strong surges with no rest gap) This really knocked my confidence as I felt like I didn’t know what to do. Conor was really supportive and helped me stay focused and brought up the things that I had concerns about beforehand as in the heat of the moment I panicked (a little).
I was then put on the fetal heartbeat/contraction monitor before having an examination to see how my cervix is. They monitored baby for roughly half an hour and all was well, then me and Conor were allowed an hour to go to lunch before I had my examination.
This gave me and Conor around an hour and a half to discuss what to do.
I was so torn, I hate staying in hospitals but if I discharged myself I knew deep down it’d send me into panic as id be worrying/stressing about the baby and if it’s okay in there. At least in the hospital, I can be monitored.
It was honestly one of the hardest decisions of my life. We decided to continue with the induction because we felt it was best for us and our situation. This by far wasn’t the ideal natural Hypnobirthing birth that we had planned but as long as the baby is safe we were happy. We hope that the pessary will jump start my surges and my waters will go on their own although as long as I get into labour and the surges start I’ll be able to zone myself out and focus on my hypnobirthing techniques.
It was now 2 pm, we felt bad for being so indecisive as we had such lovely midwives by our side, but we knew we needed time and didn’t want to rush into anything.
I had to be hooked up to the fetal monitor again because the doctor was running late and couldn’t get round to see me before the hour window was up.
Once the monitoring had stopped I went to the toilet and prepared myself for the examination.
The examination felt like a total flop. My cervix was still high and closed, she couldn’t even attempt to break my waters yet. Disappointing news. But she did stretch me out to see if that’ll help the dilation.
At 2:40 pm the midwife then inserted the 10mg pessary tablet. I had to then sit for a further 45minutes/1-hour monitoring to make sure the baby reacts well to the hormones. The examination and pessary insertion was uncomfortable but bearable, nothing like some women make it out to be (and I believe I am the biggest wimp going).
5 pm came and went and still nothing. I really didn’t know what to expect though, – well I did, I wanted the surges to start thick and fast, then my waters to break and baby be here by tomorrow – Ha so unrealistic!
We then went on a walk for about 2 hours, up and down some stairs, round the university rugby pitch next to the hospital but nothing, not even one bloody cramp (as you can tell, patience isn’t my strong point at all).
Dinner time came around and Conor went home for his dinner and to bring me some extra bits up, as I didn’t bring my overnight bag because I didn’t think I would be staying in.
I’m really hoping that I’ll have some cramps or surges soon (although could do with a good night’s sleep).
So, cramps started around 9:30 pm just before Conor was about to leave and go home. They were like period cramps but not the worst I’ve had. These kept me up most of the night, they did get a little stronger but nothing that I needed a paracetamol or whatever.
I must have got about 4/5 hours sleep in total (which to be honest isn’t actually too bad).
So overall, day zero was a bit boring, nothing much happening.
Last night I was having period cramps all night that kept me up for most of the time.
Morning came and the consultant came and said hello and just went over what’s planned for today.
At about 2:30 pm they will take my pessary out and have the doctor examine me to see if my cervix is any different. Hopefully, I’ve made some progress so I’m able to go get my water broken, if not it’ll be the 3mg pessary for 6 hours.
Was put on the monitor at 9:30 am. Baby’s heartbeat is still strong and I’m not sure if any contractions are being picked up from my period cramps but I have no clue.
Around 10:30 am tiny contractions were being picked up by the monitor. Although I didn’t feel anything at this point, not even period cramps anymore. I didn’t ask if they meant anything as I was feeling mega relaxed and positive as I felt like I was somewhat progressing.
2:30 pm the 24hr pessary was taken out, contractions still coming but very light and hardly noticeable.
Just before dinner, at 5 pm the 6hr, 3mg pessary was fitted. The midwife said I was now 1cm dilated but my cervix and baby were still high. I almost I immediately started getting mild contractions that lasted 1 minute and were coming every 2 minutes. I could easily walk and breathe through these. Conor and I went for a little walk, went up and down some stairs to try to keep them from stopping (as we were told that at this point, they could stop and start as they pleased) and we really didn’t want them to stop.
After a while, I had my
gross lovely hospital dinner of lasagna and chocolate mousse, and we sat and started watching the new Independence Day.
Contractions were slowly getting more intense, walking, bouncing on my ball, swaying up get through them. Conor was a star helping me with my hypnobirthing breathing techniques. Once we found what worked for me at the time we continued to use that method through my entire labour. My method was breathing in for 2 seconds and out for 4 seconds whilst being as close to Conor as possible and having him doing the same breaths.
At around 8 pm, the midwives changed to the night crew and we were introduced to Mary. She was lovely, she was calm and spend a little while talking to us, getting to know what we had done and just a general chat, this made us feel comfortable. Towards the end of the conversation, Conor asked some questions about the next stage, this is when Mary informed us that due to staffing issues at the delivery suite, they have to hold off on inductions so if I hadn’t progressed I wouldn’t be getting another pessary. This sucked as we thought it was going to make the process longer.
Shortly after, Mary suggested a bath. This sounded SO good. So we collected our bits and went to the big bathroom. They had lots of lovely fairy lights up so we made the room nice and dark and relaxed in a warm bath with Conor pouring water over my bump every contraction. I listened to my relaxation playlist and completely zoned out for those hours.
At 10 pm I had to get out the bath to be re-examined. As soon as I got back to my bed the contractions felt a lot more intense than in the bath and I asked for some gas & air. The midwife offered me pethidine but I refused as I was still adamant that I would birth as naturally as possible. After a very uncomfortable examination, the midwife said I was at 3cm, my cervix was nice and low and baby’s head was low too! Such a celebration!
So, I took my gas & air and went back into my bath zen zone. The gas & air really helped space me out whilst in the bath and the warm water was heavenly. Every contraction felt like it was gaining more power and intensity but with Conor helping me with my breathing still and the gas & air I was doing great.
I even had time to munch down a doughnut in 90 seconds in between contractions. Now if you’ve never had gas & air before then the only way to describe it is like you’re high or drunk, so whilst munching my doughnut I said to Conor “this doughnut feels like a dirty donner kebab on a night out” No idea what I meant by that because I was high as a kite.
1:30 am rolled around, I mentioned to Conor that I felt a bit of pressure in my bottom, so he let the midwife know and she said she’ll ask me to get out to examine me in a little while. So I carried on labouring in bliss.
2 am hit, Conor noticed my contractions were super close together. They were every 30s lasting about 2 minutes. I didn’t realise they were this close! I could slightly tell that they had got closer, but not to that extreme.
So I got out the bath and boom, another contraction hit. As I stood there I felt like I’d peed myself. After the contraction ended I told Conor and he cleaned me up a bit (to spare my dignity) and stopped because there was blood.
Finally my bloody show! Yay, I didn’t pee myself!
Contractions still coming fast and intense the midwife wheeled me into a private room they had free for me. As I was still on Cley ward (induction ward) at this point due to a shortage of midwives on delivery suite and a very busy baby night.
When I got into the bed the midwife examined me and I was now 5cm dilated, she then went to call up delivery suite and tell them I was coming in no matter what.
Result. Just another 5cm to go. Conor called our birth photographer and gave her the go-ahead to leave.
Moments later my body began to push, I was clinging to the side of the bed doing my breathing with Conor but my body was pushing.
This was one of the weirdest and most amazing experiences in my life. Feeling your body take control over your mind and do what its supposed to do is incredible. Nature at its best.
The midwives were asking me to “try not to push” but it wasn’t me doing it, my body took over. With one of the pushes. I felt a big pop and a gush of warm water. My waters!
This next part was pretty much a blur as it all happened so fast (so Conor filled in the blanks).
As soon as my waters went and my body continued to push, a midwife from the delivery suit came over with a little wheelchair, to move me from Cley ward to the delivery suite. I refused as I was contracting, so I was wheeled on the bed from the ward to delivery suite. This felt like the longest journey of my life, my body still pushing whilst I’m being wheeled about. I bet I was a lovely sight as I was soaked from the bath, probably had blood on the bed form my waters, I had no pants on and just a bra and rolled up vest top. Oh with my legs wide open at this point because I couldn’t physically close them as baby’s head was so low.
Anyway, at around 2:40 am we got the delivery suite after what seemed like an eternity, and we were introduced to the midwife Rachel, she asked me to get off the bed and get onto the other bed to deliver. I said I couldn’t, so they wheeled them together and I rolled myself across.
I ended up on all fours facing the top of the bed, at that moment I caved. I asked for an epidural. As soon as those words left my mouth, I knew deep down that this was a sign of transition stage, so I knew my baby would be here any moment now.
The midwife went outside to ask/check for an anaesthetist and within seconds she returned and after taking a look she said it was too late.
In a very short amount of time, Conor quickly informed Rachel of our birth plan, outlining the most important stuff such as; delayed cord clamping, Conor to reveal the gender and that we wanted him to be the first to touch/catch baby, she said all of that is fine, apart from the “catching” due to the speed things were moving along.
Within minutes baby’s head was crowning, so I quickly flipped over onto my back as that’s where I felt most comfortable to deliver and let my body continue to do its magic.
The midwife asked me to bear down my body just to help move baby along a bit, as I did, the baby’s head was out.
Conor managed to snap some photos for me as he knew that I would be so upset that we didn’t have any like we had planned. With the next contraction, my body pushed so hard and out came baby.
She was here! at 02:53 am our baby girl had arrived.
She was placed straight into my chest. I remember how warm and soft her skin was and how tiny she was. It was unbelievable. I couldn’t believe that I had done it, that my baby was actually here. The seconds that she laid on me felt like an eternity, then Conor announced to me that we have a baby girl which made my heart melt. I didn’t want this moment to ever end. I got such a rush of adrenaline and couldn’t stop shaking, I remember worrying about my bleeding (as this was always at the back of my mind) but the midwife assured me that all was well.
I relaxed with my brand new baby in my arms, still in a state of euphoria.
Baby wanted to latch on my breast and was having a good feed. She was a star, took to me straight away and was very hungry!
The placenta was very easy to deliver, I pushed a little and honestly, after a baby coming out of there, this was a piece of cake. The midwife explained about where the baby had been inside it and I was so interested in all the vessels, veins and how amazing it is that the placenta had grown and nurtured my baby for the past 9 months inside me.
Then our photographer arrived. I was so gutted that she missed the main event but the after photos will hopefully be just as rewarding. The photographer snapped a lovely photo of it that I definitely feel I’ll treasure, after all, it was my baby’s life source throughout my pregnancy.
Once I had my golden hour nursing my precious little girl, I passed her over to Conor for his golden hour of Skin to skin contact whilst I got myself sorted.
He was so nervous bless him, all tense and scared about holding such a tiny human in his 6 ft 4 frame. But after he relaxed he was a natural.
I had a 2nd-degree tear to the inner vagina muscle wall near my perineum and a graze to somewhere up the top, so I needed a few stitches. This ladies hurt a million times more than the actual birth. They did numb me down there and I was cheeky and used the gas & air again but it still killed.
After they were done, the midwife cleaned me up and said that I could have a shower to wash the blood and bits off and to also just freshen up.
That first postpartum shower was amazing. Slightly sore but amazing. Afterwards, Conor helped me get dressed and I put one of my huge knicker pad things on as I was told to expect to bleed heavily. Once I was showered and dressed I actually felt pretty normal, my vagina was still pretty numb, so the pain/bruising hadn’t kicked in but other than that and being a little tired, I felt fine.
Not how I’d expect to feel just after giving birth! Either I had a really easy lucky birth or women tend to exaggerate the amount of pain and distress that they’ve experienced during birth.
We had all the checks done on baby and she fed for what seemed like forever. then we were eventually discharged at midday.
My experience with the induction and birth as a whole is really positive. I would do it a million times over, I actually really enjoyed it, every moment (apart for the stitches).
I want to break the common misconception that birth is painful. I want to help women realise that birth doesn’t have to be painful as mine wasn’t.
I can see how women are more likely to share their birth horror stories than the enjoyable/nice ones because as humans were addicted to drama. I worry that people don’t believe me, as to be honest, I didn’t believe people when they had a pain free birth and that their birth was empowering and amazing. But I feel this is due to the countless years of negative birth stories which have led women to ultimately fear birth.
Everyones is different. Every birth is different.
My birth was great, others who have complications may not have been but at the end of the day, everyone gets their precious little one afterwards and the whole experience bad or good is somewhat forgotten.