This email is only 4 months late – I realised the other day I hadn’t got around to emailing you after H’s birth on the 17th January and wanted to let you know how we went.
I ended up being induced at 39+3 for reduced foetal movement – although I didn’t want to be induced, I felt happy with the reason for needing to be induced (as opposed to ‘a big baby’ etc) and didn’t feel pressured into the decision.
Once I knew I was getting induced (as it was booked for 2 days time), I wanted to put myself in as positive a mindset as possible, rather than wishing I wasn’t being induced.
I read all the stories about induction on the Hypnobirthing Australia website and wrote down all the benefits of induction I could think of (like not having to be in labour in the car driving to the hospital, being able to set up the hospital room with the LED candles, music playing, etc).
With my induction, I ended up only needing one dose of prostaglandin gel as I started having contractions around midnight (6 hours after I had the gel).
I was really happy with that as if I had needed the Syntocinon and my waters broken the next morning, then the hospital’s policy would have required monitoring such that I wouldn’t have been able to use the bath or shower (despite the obstetrician saying he would have been happy for intermittent monitoring apparently the hospital wouldn’t have allowed this!)
I found the contractions came on really quickly and strongly and I laboured mainly on the fit ball, walking around the room and being in the shower.
I asked to be checked around 6 am (in my birth preferences I said I didn’t want to know how dilated I was, but on the day I actually did). I was about 5cm and the nurse coordinator said that I would probably have the baby around lunchtime.
I felt motivated that I could handle another 6 hours or so, although as you can probably guess he wasn’t born at lunchtime so it wasn’t the most helpful statement!
Earlier on I had asked for a midwife familiar with hypnobirthing so, at the shift changeover around 7 am, I had an amazing midwife called G (I can’t remember if she said she had done training with you or someone else?)
She suggested I hop in the bath which I found really helpful and we set up the room so it was dark and had some nice music on. I stayed there until about lunchtime when I said I felt like I needed to start pushing.
Unfortunately, Mount Lawley doesn’t allow water births so I hopped out and she checked me and I was only 7-8cm which I felt quite disappointed about (thanks to the comments from the earlier midwife about ‘the baby would be here by lunchtime’).
I got back into the bath until around 3 pm when I felt I needed to try something different so hopped out and got into the shower.
G checked me and said I was nearly 10cm but had a cervical lip and the baby was posterior.
She and the obstetrician wanted to give me a bit of time to see if the lip would disappear and see if the baby could change position.
I was physically exhausted (had been nodding off in the bath in between contractions after not sleeping for about 36 hours) and with the intense pressure I had been having for the last few hours, I didn’t feel like I could wait a few hours for the cervical lip to disappear/see if the baby could change positions and then have a few hours of pushing ahead of me. I decided to have an epidural which helped as it allowed me to have a nap for about an hour.
The obstetrician came back in and checked and said the baby was still posterior and I still had the cervical lip.
He said he was happy to let me push for 2 hours but he said with those factors plus we knew he was likely a big baby, there was a good chance I would need an instrumental delivery. However, he said this in a way which was very respectful and actually motivated me to try as hard as I could with the pushing.
I only had a low dose epidural so I could feel the contractions and when to push which was helpful.
I ended up having forceps but the obstetrician knew I would prefer to tear rather than having an episiotomy, so I pushed for a few contractions whilst he used the forceps but he still wasn’t moving.
At this point, he said he would need to do an episiotomy but I was okay with this because I knew I had tried my best and he didn’t automatically do it like some obstetricians do with instrumental deliveries!
H was born at 7.29pm (so much for arriving at lunchtime) weighing 4.32kg.
We were able to do delayed cord clamping and skin to skin for about an hour which was lovely, with a playlist we had picked on in the background.
Despite the interventions, I still felt really empowered by my birth and I think there were a number of factors to that.
One was my obstetrician, who was very respectful of my birth preferences and involved me in the decision making rather than me feeling like things were forced upon me.
Another was my beautiful midwife who was so calm and caring (she stayed with us hours beyond her shift to be there for the birth).
And lastly, I have you and the hypnobirthing course to thank!
It really helped me to be in a good mindset prior to, during and after the birth and for that I am really grateful.
I found affirmations like “I am prepared to calmly meet whatever turn my birthing takes” really helpful and meant that I didn’t feel like I wished I had a different birth which I think is really important.
I also wanted to let you know about a funny coincidence – the other day I was cleaning out my emails and came across one you sent me about another mum’s birth story when I had emailed you before H’s birth saying he was measuring quite large. I recognised the baby’s name in your email and it was one of the mums from my mother’s group – what a small world!
We’ll send you a picture of H and E when we are at mother’s group next – they are both still some of the biggest babies in the group.
Take care and thanks again,