Birth of Rupert (induction)

After completing the KG Hypnobirthing course my husband and I had decided to have a home birth to have ultimate control over the environment and birth of our baby. We were all set and ready until I started to have a few minor complications with blood counts and a diagnosis of obstetric cholestasis. When I had a blood test at 38 weeks and 3 days the doctor informed me that he wanted to start the induction process the next day and a home birth was a no go! I broke down instantly in tears as I had been against induction throughout my whole pregnancy with one of my favourite positive affirmations being “baby will come when baby is ready”. The doctor talked us through the whole process which would be;

🔹Foley bulb fitted for 24 hours
🔹If cervix had not dilated enough for
artificial rupture of membranes then the propess pessary would be fitted which would be an admittance to hospital for 24 hours.
🔹If the propess worked and my cervix was dilated enough for ARM then I would be allowed home
🔹There would be up to a 5 day wait at home for a slot on the labour ward
🔹When called for my slot they would ARM and then straight onto Syntocinon hormone drip

After having the whole process explained I immediately said I would want 4 hours post ARM to give my body a chance to labour naturally before receiving the Syntocinon hormone drip. I was told it wasn’t standard practice at the hospital and I would be increasing the risk of infection. I felt the benefits of natural labour post ARM outweighed the risk of infection so stated this is what I would want at that point of induction. We continued to ask the doctor questions to ensure we were fully informed about the process. I asked if I would go into labour naturally with the Foley bulb or propess pessary and he kept insisting that their intention was to make the cervix favourable for ARM and not to trigger labour. I asked for the likelihood of going into labour in the 5 day window whilst waiting for a slot on the labour ward and he said most first time mums will need ARM and Syntocinon. We eventually accepted the induction process as we understood the risks associated with obstetric cholestasis.

I went into hospital first thing the following morning and had the foley bulb fitted, I was 1cm dilated and I was told my cervix was nearly ready but just not shortened or thinned enough. 24 hours later I went back to hospital to have the foley bulb removed and I was told my cervix was favourable but just needed thinning more so the propess pessary had to be fitted. I had this fit at 2:30pm and was admitted to the ward and had fetal Monitoring. I went for a walk around the hospital to get a parking permit and I suddenly had back pain and was leaning over the office desk, the office lady asked if I was in labour and I said no my back just aches! After walking back to the ward I started to question if this back ache and intense pressure on my coccyx was normal. I asked a midwife to come and speak to me about what discomforts I should be expecting with the propess drug. They explained it was normal to have back ache and coccyx pressure as it was my cervix ripening. At 6pm I told my husband to go home to walk the dogs, have dinner and to come back tomorrow lunchtime after his morning work meeting when I was due to have the propess pessary removed and cervix reassessed. I continued to have intense back ache and pressure on my coccyx and I couldn’t walk properly due to numbness in legs. I was laying quietly alone in discomfort and at 8:30pm I text my husband to tell him my back felt like it was seizing up and I couldn’t walk properly. I spoke to a midwife and she said all these aches would disappear once the pessary was removed tomorrow lunchtime as it’s just my cervix ripening. My husband told me he would come back but I said I was fine and didn’t want him sleeping in a hospital chair! At 9pm I waddled to the reception and on the way my legs seized and would not walk so I stood still for a minute in the corridor until I could feel them again, once at reception I requested to go back on fetal monitor so I didn’t have to be disturbed later on as I wanted to go to sleep for the night. I was connected to the fetal monitor in extreme discomfort due to the coccyx pressure for a total of one and a half hours as the babies heart beat was up and down so they could not take it off after the standard twenty minutes. During this time I buzzed to the midwife to explain it felt like I had constant sciatica down my leg and I couldn’t lay on my back anymore so she allowed me to re-adjust my position to lay on my left side and explained that the pain in my legs was due to pelvic girdle pain. At 11pm I buzzed again and said I couldn’t lay on the monitor anymore and I needed it taking off. I then waddled to toilet and could barely stand but I managed to get ready for bed. As soon as I got in bed at 11:10pm I felt a pop sensation and felt I needed another wee so I waddled back to the toilet and my waters flooded everywhere! I found a midwife and said my waters had broken and I was very uncomfortable and she told me to try to get some sleep. I rung my husband to explain my waters had broken and now had constant tightenings across abdomen but explained the midwives told me to go to sleep. Ten minutes later I buzzed the midwife and told her I would not be able to sleep and I’m in a lot of discomfort and I asked if I could be examined to see what was happening with my cervix as I started to think this was labour! She said if I really couldn’t sleep then to start timing my contractions as they will not assess me until I’m in active labour having contractions every 3-5 minutes. I asked if I should get my husband back and she said to see how I went for the next few hours before I got him out of bed. I grabbed my phone as another surge occurred to start timing but the feeling took over my whole body so I could not focus on the timer on my phone. I dropped my phone and focused on up breathing imagining bubbles floating up to the sky until it passed. At this point I now felt I needed my husband here to help me time my surges. He now tells me I rang 4 times but I was not speaking down the phone (obviously more surges occurred whilst trying to ring!) but eventually I spoke to him to ask him to come back. He arrived at 12:10am and I was on my knees leaning over the bed and asked him to time my surges. By 1am I was vomiting with surges as my body seemed to want to empty my stomach and continuing to flood my bed with waters. My husband told the student midwife my surges were 3 minutes apart and she saw the soaking wet bed and bowls of vomit so said she would get the midwife to examine me in 15 minutes. The examination took place in between back to back surges and they said they needed to ring the labour ward as I was 6-7cm dilated. I waited 15 minutes for a wheelchair to be transferred up to the ward and during the journey I remember glancing at the clock at 2am asking the midwife if my baby would be born today and how much longer it would take. She explained it would on average be 1cm per hour so another 3-4 hours. We got into our room on the labour ward and I now was having non stop surges with only time to just about catch my breath in between. I got straight onto the bed on my knees and the labour ward midwife arrived and explained she would be looking after me and told me I needed to go on the fetal monitor. I told her I couldn’t lay on my back and asked for the electrodes on babies head, she got this instantly and hooked the machine up, whilst doing this she laughed and said I was not 6-7cm, I was fully dilated! I remember my husband saying should he get the birth plan to check everything and I told him we were way past that and it was written for a home birth so forget about it! My next surges were the most intense sensations and overpowered my whole body, I could barely catch a breath and a moment of panic set in as I wasn’t sure if I could handle more surges that intense. My husband was rubbing my back with some lavender oil and suddenly the next surge was completely different and my body was uncontrollably pushing. I now realise ten minutes of very intense surges was transition! I told the midwife I was terrified of tearing and it was stinging down below and she got a warm compress and held it on my perineal. The surges were now coming slower and I had time to catch my breath in between. The midwife told me not to fight the pushing, to listen to her and to breathe. I started to focus on breathing down and I had an amazing feeling of control and the next thing I knew the midwife told me the eyes, nose, lips and chin were out. I was in complete shock and instantly had to feel for myself and I could feel a head! I told the midwife I didn’t want her to tell me the sex of the baby and the next surge at 3:06am baby was out and my husband was telling me we had a baby boy! I had done it and it was amazing! I was so proud of myself and experienced a high I’d never felt before!

After thoughts;
🔸I immediately wanted to give birth again to have the high, it’s addictive!
🔸I never felt worried of scared of what was happening and I believe this was due to hypnobirthing
🔸I’m disappointed we never got to decorate my room with my positive affirmations banner and visualisation photos and complete all of our early labour plans of playing my music, relaxation scripts and back massages but I clearly didn’t need any of this to stay calm and relaxed – it had been inbuilt in me with all the prior practice!
🔸I had always visualised in early labour I would lay in a deep state of relaxation like I had seen in so many hypnobirthing videos but I now realise this is exactly what I did on my own for 6 hours with just a small bag of dried lavender for comfort, I just didn’t realise it was labour!
🔸My husband and I laugh so much that he was at home watching TV and eating take away with his friend while I was labouring in hospital! If I had realised it was labour he would of come back but I felt completely in control of everything that was happening and believed the feelings was only due to cervix ripening. I imagined labour “pains” being much worse so I think this is why I never realised it was labour.
🔸 I had an amazing midwife for the delivery of the baby who encouraged me through every surge and even though it wasn’t my planned home birth the experience of birthing my baby was the best feeling I’ve ever experienced
🔸If I had known I would laboured after the propess pessary stage of induction I would not of got myself so upset about the induction process as the main step I did not want was the Syntocinon hormone drip.
🔸I believe all of my knowledge gained from the hypnobirthing course meant that I had total control of my body, with no fear, leading to the most empowering birth which is all I ever wanted, no matter where or how I birthed my baby.

Final thought;
♦️My favourite positive affirmation I told myself everyday was “I have everything it takes to birth my baby” and I also told everyone I would labour without pain relief and I was told by numerous mothers ‘When in labour you will want every drug under the sun!’. However, I absolutely had everything it took to birth my baby, without pain relief, and so does anyone else reading this birth story!

 Christine, Thank you for all your help throughout our pregnancy. We had a perfect birth and it has been the best experience. We couldn’t have done it without you, Natalie and Toby x’