And here is the moment I did it myself!
Of all the 1:1 clients I have supported, this was definitely the closest to a due date (or in this case induction date) I have ever worked with. With just 6 days to go until her induction, and having a last minute panic, we met to discuss her mindset for the induction and plan her positive birth. Read her beautiful story below:
Due to a few complications in third trimester, we were offered an induction at 38 weeks. We felt confident that this was the right decision for us based on what the previous weeks had indicated.
Having prepared for a spontaneous labour and natural delivery, I found this quite difficult to process. I felt quite stressed as I had read all of the statistics around intervention levels and knew the likelihood of requiring assistance or an emergency c-section increased with induction. Despite this, we still felt this was the best option for both mum and baby at that time.
In contrast to how I thought our induction would go, it went amazingly well and I feel we had the most positive and magical birth experience, where our wishes were respected throughout.
We were booked for 4pm on a Sunday, at 37+6 days. It was great being booked in as we knew this was the start of the next step and felt we had a deadline to be prepared for. As this was earlier than anticipated, it allowed me to finalise details within my birth plan, my partner to take additional time off at work and to make arrangements for our dog.
The first thing to happen was an examination around 5:30, where the midwife expressed I was already 1cm dilated and performed a membrane sweep at the same time. This meant we were already in the early stages of labour and that we got to skip other elements of an induction like pessaries and gels. I was given a ball and tried to be as active as possible until we could move to the labour ward.
I remembered my antenatal education and that I could leave the ward and move around, so my partner and I went a walk round the hospital grounds and got something to eat.
We were moved to the labour ward around 21:55 and had a good discussion with our midwife before any decisions were made. It was clear they had read our birth plan and had prepared the environment to suit. I felt really comfortable to make the space my own with music etc and was prepared to be in the space for quite some time. During our discussion with the midwife, she expressed what she thought would be the best course of action and there was lots of time for questions so I felt comfortable.
I was able to be in my own clothes rather than a hospital gown, had my affirmation cards and other hypnobirthing tools within reach. My partner and I also had some time to ourselves in the room before anything started which allowed me to reiterate my wishes to him based on what we’d learned in antenatal classes.
Despite being booked in for 4pm, our induction didn’t start until 10:30pm. The midwife “broke” my waters at this time. Almost immediately after, I felt I needed the toilet and started experiencing period style cramps and pains. At 10:45pm I started on the hormone drip. I had been worried about not being able to have an active birth due to CTG monitoring that was required however I had discussed this with our midwife and she was very supportive. I hadn’t wanted CTG monitoring throughout my labour however I found it reassuring in the moment.
The drip was quite intense from quite early on however it was manageable. I bounced on the birthing ball and used the wave comb and found I was able to speak to my partner and midwife between contractions. I wasn’t actually sure if I was experiencing contractions until I saw the difference on the numbers on the monitor. After a short time, the contractions became more intense and I was struggling to continue on the birthing ball. My partner sat behind me which enabled me to stay on the ball and active a good while longer. I had asked him to keep me hydrated so he made sure I was drinking and helped me keep cool by waving a fan.
When the contractions became too much, I chose to lie down on the bed. I was keen to avoid being on my back and so the midwife supported me to find a relatively comfortable position. Eventually, I felt that everything was getting a bit overwhelming and I was struggling to manage. There was almost no time between contractions. I remembered my antenatal education again and knew that I could ask things to be slowed down. The midwife respected my request and turned down the hormone drip slightly. This instantly made a difference and allowed me to have a short break between contractions. I felt much calmer after this and could focus on breathing through the contractions more easily.
At around 1:30am, the midwife examined me and was surprised to announce we were fully dilated and that if I felt the urge to push, just to go with it. This was really exciting as it was much quicker than myself, my partner or the midwife had anticipated. My body began to take over, and the midwife explained I was experiencing the fetal ejection reflex. At this point the midwife asked if I’d like to try some gas and air to ease this reflex. Once using the gas and air, I felt again more aware and more in control and could focus more clearly. Due to the ejection reflex and the CTG monitoring, it seemed that baby’s heart rate was dropping slightly and so I was offered “the clip” to monitor this more closely. This was something I’d learnt about and that had concerned me before, however at the time I found this reassuring. This gave me more freedom to move around again.
Soon after, the midwife supported me to find a comfortable position (leaning over the back of the bed) and I was able to start pushing. This last stage of labour is a bit of a blur however it wasn’t long before the midwife encouraged me to feel for babies head. She was really encouraging and supportive at this point as was my husband and she explained that with the next couple of contractions and pushes, baby would be here. I feel at this stage, the rest was instinctual and with another few contractions and pushes, I gave birth to our baby and brought him to my chest at 3:37am. This was a pretty amazing experience as I feel I really did bring him into the world myself!
After this, we had uninterrupted skin to skin with the midwife respected my wishes of delayed cord clamping until the cord was completely white. There was a complication with my placenta, as it wouldn’t detach as easily as hoped. I then had a relatively large bleed which seemed to be exacerbated with baby’s cries and so baby went to my husband for skin to skin while this issue was worked through. I then got to have skin to skin again whilst I had a tear stitched.
Overall, I couldn’t have asked for a better birth experience! I felt empowered and confident to express my wishes. I feel I had prepared and learnt as much as I could so felt I knew what I could ask for, the pros and cons of each element too. I’m proud that I managed the induction process with minimal pain relief, I was pleasantly surprised at how quickly it went for us and I’m so proud of how I brought our little one into the world.
And here is the moment I did it myself! Ha ha! 🤍
Congratulations on the birth of your beautiful baby boy! And thank you for sharing your birth story with The Stirling Birth School community.
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