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Home / Birth Stories / Birth Stories
29 Feb 2020

Our positive unplanned caesarean

In the last few weeks of my pregnancy I’d been in and out of hospital due to reduced fetal movements (including on Christmas Day!). After several episodes of this, along with 2 sweeps, they offered me an induction whilst I was in the hospital being checked over.

I felt under pressure to do this as they said that they don’t normally have space for people to go straight in but on this occasion they did. After talking things through with my husband and my community midwife I opted to go home and give it some further thought. I felt like our baby wasn’t ready to come yet and mentally I wasn’t prepared myself, as I had never considered induction before and didn’t really know what it involved. At this point I felt so grateful for the one day hypnobirthing course we had attended, as it gave me the courage to come away, ask questions, and make the decision that was right for us as a family.

I waited a few more days and at 40+5 agreed to be induced as the 3rd sweep had not worked and I was getting concerned about the health of the baby, who still was not moving as much as normal. By this point I knew much more about the induction process and having spoken to Anna, I was confident I could still have a positive birth experience despite going down this route.

After I had the pessary inserted my husband and I went for a walk to the nearby woods and had tea and cake at the cafe there. Very civilised! I couldn’t feel anything at this point but wandered back to the hospital as I thought they may be wondering where I was! After 4 hours the midwife on the ward asked if I needed any pain relief, but as I couldn’t feel anything I turned this down. Thirty minutes later I was desperate for some! All of a sudden the pessary kicked in and my uterus hyper stimulated. I was having seven contractions every ten minutes, with no clear break in between. I reached for the birthing ball and employed every technique I could to try to distract myself! At this point I found my visualisation and calm breathing techniques invaluable. I found the more specific I could be with the visualisations the better they worked- my husband helped me through each contraction by talking me through the visualisations and getting me to really imagine them vividly. Whilst I was clearly in agony, these techniques worked amazingly as a distraction.

After many hours of this we spoke to my community midwife, who managed to get a space for me on the delivery ward. I made my way across the corridor, stopping to focus and breathe through each contraction on the way!

I had previously wanted to deliver my baby in the Meadows birthing suite, but having been induced for reduced foetal movement this wasn’t an option- they wanted to make sure they could monitor the baby throughout. However, this didn’t detract from my birthing experience. Once in the delivery ward I had my own room and was able to control the temperature, lighting etc. We made it as comfortable as we could.

The contractions hadn’t eased up so I started on gas and air. I was still able to use a birthing ball despite being hooked up to various monitors and managed to find a comfortable position leaning on the edge of the bed. I stayed there until they broke my waters, at which point I knew I needed more pain relief as I had been in labour for twelve hours. I hadn’t eaten due to the pain and was told that my body had gone into ketosis, so they forced me to nibble a cracker and eat some jelly babies! I wouldn’t have even known what that meant, if it hadn’t been for a fitness fanatic at work undertaking a ketone diet recently and telling me all about it! I talked through my options with the midwife and my husband and opted for an epidural. I had to wait for this whilst they set up the hormone drip but I remained focussed on meeting my baby and knew that every contraction was bringing him closer.

The epidural took some time to kick in and unfortunately had to be topped up several times, as part of it had not quite worked right. The midwives swapped over and the new one monitored me closely throughout the day. Every time the drip was turned up my body went into shock and the baby was very still, so labour did not progress very quickly. My husband and mum were a great support network through this phase. Thank god I had dragged Ed to the hypnobirthing course! He was so calm and never once let me see that he was feeling anxious. Instead he sat patiently passing me my bottle of water after every contraction and pressing my epidural button every 10 minutes on the dot! I knew something else was wrong as the midwives and consultants kept discussing my catheter, but none of them could work out why it was not draining and they looked concerned

By that evening the midwives swapped again and my own community midwife came in. I agreed to be examined as I wanted to know whether there was a problem. It turned out that the baby was facing the wrong way and his head was stuck. A consultant came in and again we talked through our options. I agreed to let him turn the baby and give the drip one more go! After two more hours I couldn’t get past 9.5cm dilated and the baby was still stuck, so I was sent for an emergency caesarean. Despite having been in active labour for 29 hours and having not had any food for 20 hours I felt surprisingly able to understand what was going on and make decisions that I felt were best for both me and my baby. I had desperately wanted to avoid a caesarean due to the additional recovery time but I knew at that stage that it was the safest option.

They removed my epidural and did a new spinal block, to make sure all areas were covered. I have to say the whole surgical procedure was such a positive experience! Not at all what I was expecting. The room was very bright with lots of staff, but they all introduced themselves and we really had a laugh throughout. They did a great job of distracting me from what was going on and the relief I felt that it was finally all over and my baby was on his way was totally overwhelming. It only took 6 minutes to get him out and my husband cut the cord, despite saying previously that he wouldn’t! Our baby didn’t cry but he was very alert so they weren’t worried. After they weighed him they handed him to me for skin to skin. This was quite difficult due to the amount of wires, but smelling his beautiful skin for the first time is something I’ll never forget. Albert James Clinton, the first 2020 leapling baby born at Worcester hospital!