LUCAS'S BIRTH STORY
A positive induced labour with an instrumental delivery
I had been planning a home birth, I was using hypnobirthing and had been listening to my relaxations, using my anchor scent of lavender on my pillow and felt all set for Lucas’s birth. I was really hoping to go into labour spontaneously, but - it wasn’t to be!
At about 7 days past my due date, I was beginning to feel frustrated that nothing had started happening yet, so I decided to accept a sweep to see if we could get things moving, but upon examination, my midwife found my cervix was firmly shut! My midwife reassured me, saying not to worry and that things could happen in the next few days.
A few days later, a different midwife came to see me but wasn’t quite so positive and said that things should have started happening by now. I felt really disappointed and began to wonder what was wrong. We asked friends and family to give us a bit of space while we prepared for a different type of birth to what we had planned.
By the time I was 2 weeks overdue, we decided to begin the process of inducing labour. We went into the hospital on Tuesday afternoon and I was really happy that we managed to negotiate coming home while we waited for labour to begin. I was offered a pessary that was inserted to try to induce labour. Being at home really helped as it meant we could be in our own environment, we watched The Bake Off, and had a good sleep in our own bed.
Within 24 hours, I began to experience what felt like a really intense onset of labour. I kept active, walking around and also tried having a bath to see if that helped with the intense surges. By Wednesday afternoon, we headed back to into labour ward.
We were given our own room on the Labour ward, as although I was low risk, I would now need extra monitoring since my labour had been induced.
John was amazing, he made the room into a really nice, calming environment with our own battery candles, music and relaxations playing. My surges were now coming about 3 in every 10 minutes, lasting around 45 seconds, but after an examination, it turned out I was only about 1cm dilated. Still, I was relieved to have the pessary removed as it wasn’t the most comfortable of things! I took some paracetamol and I was feeling calm, using my hypnobirthing techniques - all the midwives said how calm and peaceful our room was! I kept using my hypnobirthing breathing and listening to my music and hypnobirthing tracks, which really helped me to stay relaxed.
By Thursday morning, I was experiencing really intense sensations in my lower back, which were likely due to baby being in a back-to-back position. By this time, I was feeling quite tired, I hadn’t slept since Tuesday night and even though John was looking after me, offering me bits of food etc, I could no longer keep anything down. I had anti-sickness injections and was so happy to use the birth pool for a while, which I found gave me instant relief from the intensity of the sensations.
By Thursday evening, after another examination, we found I had progressed to 6-7cm dilated on my own, now that I was in active labour, I had constant monitoring, due to the induction, meaning I had to keep the two belts on, which needed readjusting after every surge. Even with the belts on, I kept active, I kneeled up on the bed which we had in an inclined positon and I hugged it and swayed through each surge, all I could think of at this point were the waves we had talked about in our hypnobirthing sessions.
I just kept swaying, thinking of those waves and breathing. I still felt calm and even though the pain in my lower back was really intense, I knew I could get as far as I possibly could with this birth, and kept my self-belief that I would do everything possible to help things along.
I tried using the gas and air but it just made me feel really woozy, so I tried the birth pool again and continued with my hypnobirthing, and this 100% took away the pain. Even though I was being monitored, I could still use the pool as waterproof CTG monitoring was available, even though these were quite temperamental, it was so good to have been able to use the pool. I think since I was “low risk”, aside from being induced, the midwives were happy to accommodate me using the pool as it helped so much.
After a while, I had to get out of the pool as we needed to have more accurate monitoring, and at this point, instead of paracetamol, I decided to try Oromorph, which doesn’t cross the placenta and has minimal side effects.
I kept upright in bed, with elbows/head on pillow bed at incline and also used side-lying positions with peanut ball to encourage to rotate baby due to back to back positioning. These were also ideal positions for the constant monitoring.
My waters still hadn’t broken and the team were keen to break them to speed things along, but I was in no rush and didn’t want to have the time limit which begins once waters go due to increased risk of infection. I just wanted to be left alone and thankfully, the team agreed to leave my waters intact since they had a lot of other women who were high risk to attend to! And I was quite happy, I wasn’t panicking or in a rush, I felt calm and was just taking everything step by step, hypnobirthing and my environment kept me calm. I was happy to be left alone and to accept regular examinations.
My waters went, naturally, of their own accord and due to the time limit once the waters go, I accepted the Syntocin drip and at this point, the pain in my back was very high, around 8/10 in my own pain tolerance scale and since the drip would increase the intensity of my contractions, I also accepted an Epidural for pain relief for the back to back pain, but also to get some rest. It had been a really long few days of labour by this point!
It really gave me the relief I needed to just get some sleep as we waited for the surges to get us to 10cm dilated. It was at this point, that we had a moment of reflection and realisation – one way or another, that we were going to have a baby very soon!
Once we had reached 10cm, together with some coaching, since I couldn’t feel when to push, I pushed for a few hours and managed to move baby further down the birth canal, but it looked like his position meant he wasn’t turning his head and his shoulders weren’t going to come through easily, so we decided to stop and change plans. Although our baby wasn’t descending, all was well with the monitoring and so I was able to rest for about 4 hours before theatre became available where we would try for an assisted delivery. Poor John had the most awful chairs to sleep on whilst we’d been there, but thankfully, someone kindly found him a comfortable chair for this final stint!
It was Friday morning when we were woken and taken down to theatre where the Epidural was topped up and the staff were so kind “you can do this” they said, as we prepared to work together, with me pushing and the staff guiding baby out. I had an episiotomy and forceps were used to help our baby out. It turned out the cord was also wrapped round the baby’s neck but fortunately the team confirmed all was well after their initial inspections.
Although this wasn’t the kind of birth I had hoped for, the very last thing I had wanted was an emergency Caesarean and I was so happy that I had managed to avoid it. If it wasn’t for hypnobirthing, I’m sure it would have been a different story. I kept that self-belief all the way through, even when I knew baby wasn’t in a good position for birth, I was committed to doing all that I could, for as long as I could.
When our baby was finally born and presented to us for the first time the midwife held him up and we laughed because he was so obviously a boy! We looked at each other and said “It’s definitely Lucas”, and even though I didn’t realise at the time, John told me he cut the cord which was really lovely. He had been such a life-saver all the way through, from making the room nice, keeping me fed and watered, helping me to turn while I had the epidural in, he was such a supportive birth partner, and all on very little sleep!
We were so happy Lucas was finally with us! We couldn’t believe it when the midwife placed him on the scales and he was a whole 8lbs, 13oz and very long! I felt so happy and relieved, I had some cuddles with our beautiful new baby boy and then I happily handed him over to John who enjoyed some lovely bonding time whilst I tried to rest.
Our birth experience was certainly different to what I had planned, but I know without hypnobirthing, I would have panicked and instead, I had self-belief and I knew that I had control over what happened too.
We were so thankful that Lucas’s heart rate stayed steady throughout which really helped in avoiding needing a Caesarean. We were also really thankful of the most amazing supportive midwife at the end, she made such a difference to our experience too.