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Home / Birth Stories / Birth Stories
24 Nov 2018

Induced Birth

One week on from the arrival of our perfect little man, Wilf, I feel ready to reflect on our birth story.

Ben and I had attended both Anna’s excellent Hypnobirthing course and an NCT course locally and finally felt prepared and ready to face whatever the birth was going to throw at us. We had armed ourselves with information and made choices about our ‘birth preferences’ stating what we hoped for and what our alternatives were likely to be should we be faced with ‘special circumstances’

I had found Anna’s Hypnobirthing preparation such as the birth affirmations, visualisations and use of essential oils particularly helpful. I would say I came a long way from the slightly sceptical mama-to-be I was earlier in my pregnancy. I was ready to embrace the sensations of birth and was looking forward to using the techniques I’d practised. Ben, my partner, was also feeling very prepared and had enjoyed researching birth; the options, the physical mechanics, the hormones etc. We were finally excited!

As my pregnancy progressed I had been really suffering with itching- I was being monitored but my various levels remained below concerning thresholds. Unfortunately, (or fortunately as it kept our baby safe) after visiting triage with extreme itching at 36 weeks, I was suddenly diagnosed with Obstetric Cholestasis and told that we needed to be induced that week to reduce the risk of still-birth.

This was not what we had wanted. We had read all of the research, I knew that induced births tended to lead to a higher rate of subsequent interventions etc. I had also been told I would need continuous monitoring which meant I could not use a birth pool to support my comfort measures and that I would be limited in my movements, which completely ruined my plan to remain as active and upright as possible! I felt like all our preparation and strategies had been taken from us. It took some serious re-focusing and use of our Hypnobirthing visualisations to get our heads back on track.

We were taken in on a Thurs and a pessary was inserted to try and get the process moving. The midwife could already feel Wilf’s head as I was 3cm dilated- they said he was very, very low in the cervix- so low in fact that it meant the pessary kept falling out! It was decided that as we were 3cm we could skip straight to breaking the waters- great! Except there were no beds in delivery.

Fast forward 4 days of monitoring and moving between wards and we finally made it into the delivery suite. My waters were broken and the hormone drip started. This is where my own recollection gets hazy... according to Ben the contractions began to ramp up and (as we had read) they were far more powerful than the natural contractions we had been experiencing previously. I whacked my headphones in with my affirmations mp3 on and concentrated on deep breathing and ‘getting in the zone’ At this point I was on a birth ball- so far so good!

Clearly the Hypnobirthing strategies were working as 5 hours later, when I was reexamined, I would have told you it had only been an hour or so. Unfortunately, it wasn’t good news. Despite the regular, intense contractions of established labour I hadn’t progressed at all and the monitor was struggling with me moving. They attached a clip to Wilf’s head and asked me to stay on the bed. This made the contractions much stronger and I was offered pethidine to manage the discomfort.

Prior to the birth I would have said I didn’t want this but I was beginning to tire and felt very low after hearing nothing had changed in 5 hours.

Once the pethidine kicked in all I can remember is waking to breathe through contractions then passing out in between. Again, I would have said this lasted only for an hour or so but Ben tells me it was another 5 hours and a flurry of doctors as Wilf’s heart rate started to drop with every contraction. My next memory was another painful examination where I was STILL 4cm and they decided that Wilf was stuck. I had the choice to attempt to continue but we might need rushing for a c-section or to just get on and have a c-section. I was pretty heartbroken and physically felt like I had nothing left. Ben scrubbed up and I was given the spinal block before the surgery got underway. I was slowly starting to come back to reality as the pethidine had begun to wear off and all I could feel was frustration and failure- even though I knew we’d done everything we could. Even the fact that they had to cut his cord quickly was another blow to me. It was everything we didn’t want.

Of course, once we were holding our perfect newborn baby and feeding skin-to-skin in recovery, we did feel wonderfully grateful. It was all over. No more difficult pregnancy, no more waiting, no more contractions!! We’d survived. And there was toast!

For the first few days both Ben and I would have described ourselves as feeling quite ‘traumatised’ and it wasn’t really until I heard Ben describing to various people how well I’d done in spite of everything that I started to repair my thinking. We have both since reflected on the whole process more positively and we know that it would only have been even more scary and challenging had we not prepared and been equipped with our Hypnobirthing strategies. I said it before when I reviewed Anna’s course- the absolute best thing that came out of the course for me was the birth partner it made Ben. He was absolutely incredible- everything I needed and more. I’ve never loved and appreciated him so much as I did during the birth and afterwards. He was my voice, my cheerleader and my best friend. I don’t think he realises how amazing he was!

We also want to thank Anna, who when we messaged to say that our plans had been changed for us- rallied and sent through lots of positive induction stories and videos alongside tons of personalised encouragement. It really made a huge difference in the days running up to the induction- thank you!

I would strongly recommend Anna’s Hypnobirthing classes to anyone - male or female! We are so grateful for how prepared it made us feel, how supported Anna made us feel and how much the practical strategies impacted on our birth story.

I’m not quite ready to talk about a ‘next time’ but if we did get pregnant again Hypnobirthing will definitely feature massively in our preparation!