Birth story - Abby and baby Oliver

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When I first found out I was pregnant I knew I wanted to use hypnobirthing techniques. I wasn't scared of labour, I was already excited to meet my baby, but little did I know how important the hypnobirthing techniques would be to me throughout the final stages of my pregnancy and labour.

I was told I had low PAPP-A after my 12 week scan and so was immediately put on aspirin and given three growth scan appointments and a consultant appointment. This scared me a lot as I really wanted to give birth at our local birth centre but knew that this might put that in doubt. However, when we met with the consultant she was really positive and said that as long as my blood pressure stayed normal and there were no further complications in the pregnancy then she saw no reason why I wouldn't be accepted for the birth centre.

I had already bought the digital pack and started watching the videos after the consultant appointment. I started practicing the breathing techniques immediately feeling excited again for my birth. The first growth scan at 28 weeks went fine but at my next midwife appointment my fundal height measured low and so I was sent for my next growth scan slightly early at 31 weeks. At this scan it showed that baby was measuring big and very close to being over the 90th centile line, at which point I was almost sent for a gestational diabetes test. They decided to wait and see if anything further happened.

At my 34 week midwife appointment my fundal height was measured again and was found to have jumped well above the 90th centile line! I was immediately sent for the gestational diabetes test and within 3 days told that it had come back positive and that I would no longer be able to use the birth centre. I was devastated but knew that it was best for me and my baby.

At my first diabetes consultant appointment at 36 weeks, I had already had my final growth scan and again he was measuring big, this time slightly above the 90th centile line. I had been trying to control my blood glucose levels for a week but my fasting levels had not changed. The consultant put me on insulin over night to try and bring it down. He also said that as the baby was already big and I was being put on insulin they would like to induce me between 38 and 39 weeks. I was ok with this as I knew the problems with him being inside me for too long if I couldn't bring my sugar levels down.

The next week we were booked in for induction at 38+4. I was given even more insulin for the final week and during this week I started to doubt that induction was the right thing. I didn't think that he was a particularly big baby even though that was their main concern but I was worried that if I couldn't control my sugar levels it could put him at risk of a hypo when he was born.

I was admitted to hospital the night before my induction. All the staff were lovely but I didn't get a huge amount of sleep as I was so nervous. The following morning I was taken to the induction ward at 8am and had the pessary inserted at 10:30am. The midwife said that i was already 1cm dilated and my cervix was in a very favourable position and so she thought i probably would have gone into labour myself relatively soon. We immediately went for a walk around the hospital and I started to have continuous period aching in my lower back. We got back to the ward about 1 hour later and I asked for a birth ball to bounce on. I stayed on here for a while as I ate my lunch and tried to take my mind off the discomfort. Eventually I decided that it was too uncomfortable and as I was tired I got into bed on my side and put on the mp3 tracks to help me relax. Pretty soon I noticed I was having surges quite regularly and so started using up breathing through them. This carried on for a few hours so I ended up trying out the bath which helped for a while and then the tens machine. I was also given paracetamol and dihydrocodine. By 11pm I was struggling as there didn't seem to be any break between surges so I asked to be examined. I had a bit of a wobble at this point as I was only 2-3cm, however my waters were bulging and my surges were so close together they called labour ward to see if I could be moved.

Within minutes a midwife appeared to take me round to labour ward. We got to our room and after having some food I was put on the monitor. Baby had a couple of dips in heart rate so she told me to turn onto my side. From this point I can't remember much, we asked for the lights to be dimmed and I was up breathing throughout with my eyes closed, holding on tightly to my husband's hand, whilst using gas and air during the surges. My waters were broken at 2:30am and from this point my surges ramped up a lot, much more powerful and definitive than before. I completely went in on myself, focusing on my breathing and listening to my husband helping me though each surge. Pretty soon after, in each surge I found myself pushing, I couldn't stop myself and I was worried it was too soon. However I knew that was what my body was doing and I had to go with it. It was recorded that my labour started at 4am and our beautiful baby boy was born at 5:08am. We had delayed cord clamping and I delivered the placenta 20 minutes later.

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The first hour after he was born was amazing but I did need stitches. The midwife quickly realised that I was still bleeding and so she called for a doctor, who also tried to stop it. It wasn't heavy bleeding but they were concerned that it wasn't stopping and so could have been a cervical tear as it all happened so quickly. The decision was made to take me to theatre to investigate as it couldn't be done with me just using gas and air. At this point I was so glad we had used the digital pack as I was able to keep myself calm and at no point did I feel like there was panic in the room. Luckily there was no damage to my cervix my body was just slow to stop bleeding. As soon as it was done I was reunited with my baby and we had skin to skin for the rest of the day, it was bliss!

I am so thankful to the positive birth company as with all the events of my pregnancy and birth I have come out of it feeling amazingly positive and grateful for the experience that I had. I have no doubt that without all the different techniques I would have been much more anxious about the decisions made at the end of my pregnancy and during my induction. I can honestly say that induction was a very positive experience for us.

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