Birth story - Hannah and baby Seth

I bought the digital pack at around 23 weeks and my fiancé and I worked through the course together. We planned a home birth and had everything set up ready for our sons arrival, but this didn’t go to plan as he wasn’t showing any signs of arriving on his own. We declined induction at 41 weeks as we wanted to give him every opportunity to arrive without medical intervention, but come 42 weeks we didn’t want to delay it any more and both agreed that induction was in mine and babies best interests. I was 3cm dilated and had received 4 sweeps at this point, so we were sure that labour was not going to start spontaneously.

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13:00 waters broken, 3cm dilated with a thin cervix except a thick rim of scar tissue from previous loop excision treatment. I’m allowed to be left 4 hours for labour to progress naturally, usually they offer 2 hours as standard but I requested that I was left the maximum amount of time that they would allow. We walked up and down the 6 flights of stairs and I bounced on the ball over the next 4 hours trying to help move things along.

17:00 I’m examined again and sweep completed. This sweep was conducted by a male Dr and was very intense and uncomfortable. I had a good cry afterwards, this sounds negative but it was quite cathartic and allowed me to get all of my weepiness out before labour began. I used this temporary emotional state to mourn the loss of the birth I had planned and open myself up to allow for a positive induction. I was still 3cm dilated so I agreed to begin the hormone drip to help labour progress.

17:15 straight after the examination I begin contracting on my own before the drip has been started. The surges don’t feel like textbook (period pains) but as waves of pressure. I couldn’t feel my stomach tightening at all. I use BRAIN and decide I don’t want to go ahead with the drip as I have started to make progress on my own. I ask to be left to labour naturally for a little longer. We agree that I can be left until around 21:00.

17:30 myself and my birth partners played Harry Potter trivial per suit to pass the time and get those happy hormones going. My mood is visibly lifted with the natural progression of the surges and because I felt empowered in my choices. My birth partners were being my biggest cheerleaders and supported every decision I had made so far which also massively helped my mood.

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20:00 midwife changes over to night shift and I started using the Freya app to assist with up breathing and listening to positive affirmations. We set up battery operated tea lights and sprayed calming room spray to help make the delivery space more homely and relaxing. I spent the whole of this time on the birth ball as this was the most comfortable position for me. Freya confirmed that I was in established labour, so we agree with Dr and Midwife that if there was no progress after another examination at 21:00 then we would proceed with the drip.

22:15 The Dr is busy elsewhere so my examination had been quite delayed, the Midwife examined me instead and my cervix is totally soft and the scar tissue/lip has gone but still only 3cm dilated. We all agreed to go ahead with the hormone drip to help move things along at this point. As soon as I got off the bed after the examination I starting to shake and I could tell that adrenaline was taking over despite using up breathing. My surges felt as though they were on top of each other so I asked for gas and air, which I was given as the drip was being set up. I had a moment of feeling like I was losing control as I struggled to maintain up breathing with the gas and air, so I decided to stop trying to count my breaths and just used the gas and do what came naturally. My birth partners continued to read positive affirmations to me and remind me to keep my breathing deep and slow while using the gas.

22:30 Drip is started and immediately I have back to back surges, I manage to keep my breathing under control and although I can feel the pressure/power of each surge, the gas and air keeps me calm and gives me something to focus on. At this point I also took a lot of comfort in hanging on to my fiancé and rubbing/scratching his back. As I’m rolling on the exercise ball so vigorously the telephony monitoring of baby starts to fail so the midwife asks me to change position and get on to the bed, on my side.

23:20 (approx) I didn’t realise but have been told by my birth partner that when I got up off the ball I had a bloody show, the midwife said this was a positive sign of things moving along. I got on the bed as requested and I immediately start grunting and indicating in a bit of a panic that I need to push (too attached to the gas and air mouth piece it took a while for people to work out what I was saying) You read all about it feeling like an overwhelming need to poo but until you experience it you can’t really imagine what it feels like, it’s true though, you just KNOW. I had only been on the drip an hour (ish) so midwife checked me and sure enough I had gone from 3-10 cm in one hour. She gave me a final sweep to clear any remaining lip of cervix and gave me the go ahead to start pushing.

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At this point I advised that I didn’t want to labour on my back or side, and asked to be changed to facing backwards on the bed in a kneeling position. This was very tiring on my legs but I knew I wanted to be UFO and give baby the best chance of a stress free delivery. I gripped onto the bed and the gas and air, but I felt that I pushed more effectively without using the gas. I vaguely feel like I pushed through 5 surges, give or take. I could feel baby bobbing up and down and everyone screaming positive things and telling me how great I was doing. I think I had one little ‘I can’t do it, it’s too hard!’ wobble but soon got over it after my fiancé reminded me that I WAS doing it, and carried on pushing, making very little noise and focusing on my breathing. I didn’t practice down breathing, as in the moment I just thought imagine it’s a massive poo Hannah, just push like you’re having the worst poo of your life!

23:42 after what felt like a life time of kneeling in position with a head hanging between my legs, my sons body was born. He let out a lovely cry and was passed between my legs. We had delayed cord clamping/cutting until it was not pulsing, and I had the injection to help deliver my placenta. I needed two small stitches for a tear on my perineum, and some internal grazes that were ok to be left alone. Both my fiancé and I had lots of lovely skin to skin and were discharged for home the next morning.

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Despite planning a home birth, and going to full term at 42 weeks, I consider this to be an extremely positive induction story and I am so so so happy that I went into childbirth second time around older, wiser and more educated of my choices, and that’s largely thanks to Siobhan and TPBC 💕

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