Birth story - Jessica and baby Freya

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🙌🏻Positive Induction story 🙌🏻

Thanks to Siobhan and the PBC for such an excellent preparation for birth.

My take away message: Trust your instincts, trust your body 💪🏻

Short version 👇🏻

Positive induction story (despite a few hiccups!)
Pessary + Prostin tablet only (No ARM, no Syntocinon drip)
FTM
Freya
11/01/2019 (40 weeks + 13 days)
8lb 5oz

Long version 👇🏻

On Thursday 10th January 2019 (40+12) we went to the Maternity Day Assessment Unit to begin the induction process. During pregnancy, I was dreading the thought of an induction, once the time had come however, I felt empowered and ready to meet our baby (largely due to the PBC Digital Pack). The Midwife inserted a Pessary, we left the department and headed out for lunch. Unfortunately, the first Pessary attempt was unsuccessful. I contacted the department for advice, the midwife invited us back to the ward that evening to reinsert the Pessary. Despite her best attempt, this too was unsuccessful. Prior to any intervention, we had to be continuously monitored for 45 minutes to check for any signs of distress via a Cardiotocograph (CTG). During the monitoring, the midwife noticed that the baby’s heart rate was a little elevated. Our tiny dancer was particularly active that evening! The Doctor decided to admit me onto the ward overnight so that they could keep an eye on us both. I sent my husband home so that he could get some sleep.

The following morning the midwife attempted an alternative induction method, a Prostin tablet. This method required regular monitoring and therefore I remained on the ward as an inpatient. The Prostin was successful (albeit too successful!) I had some surges overnight but they had certainly increased in both intensity and occurrence. I suffered some of the side effects (nausea, dizziness, fatigue and difficulty walking). I did not feel very well at all! The midwife wanted to administer a second dose of Prostin later that evening (as per standard procedure) but I was reluctant to accept. I did not want to feel unwell overnight. Instead, I asked for an examination to assess my progress. To our suprise, I had reached 3cm dilation. The Doctor agreed to consider an Artificial Rupture of Membranes (breaking my waters) rather than to persist with the second dose of Prostin. It was likely that they would wait until morning before they made a decision. I welcomed the good news and was glad to have made some progress.

Despite the intitial Prostin dose wearing off, within an hour or so the intensity of my surges had increased significantly. I felt each surge in my back and therefore they were particularly unpleasant. I used up-breathing to get me through each one. Eventually it became too much and I began to vomit (later we learnt that my waters had naturally broke at this point too!) I remember asking the midwife if I was in labour, she did not think I was quite there yet. My confidence had been knocked and I wasn’t sure if I would be able to continue for much longer. Fortunately, my husband recognised the change, reminded me of my positive affirmations and supported me through each surge ‘’You can do anything for a minute’’.

I began kneeling on all fours with my arms leant over the bed. My husband rubbed my back in between each surge. Eventually I felt an urge to push. The midwife strongly discouraged me from pushing as at only 3cm dilation, my body was not ready to deliver. Pushing too soon could ultimately lead to trauma or distress. Standard procedure is to exam every 4 hours and I was not due another examination for some time. I used my Hypnobirthing techniques to assess the situation (I used my BRAIN) and requested an additional examination. The midwife agreed and to her surprise discovered that I was 7cm dilated. I had made quick progression and I was in active labour! TRUST YOUR INSTINCTS, TRUST YOUR BODY 💪🏻

The midwife telephoned the labour suite to arrange immediate transfer. I was in active labour and ready to deliver. My husband and another midwife used the palms of their hands to apply heavy pressure to the lower part of my back during each surge. This helped to counteract the discomfort I felt. Once the labour suite was ready for us we gathered our belongings and travelled to our room. It was lovely to have our own private room (we had originally hoped to give birth in a birthing unit!)

I had hoped to deliver in an upright, forward and open position, but due to the events that had unfolded I ended up lying on my back. I was still hooked up to the CTG. My blood pressure and pulse was also continuously monitored and I had received anti-sickness medication and a saline drip for rehydration. At this point I had received no pain relief. My surges were ever present and the urge to push had strengthened. I used Gas & Air to help me through each surge. The team of midwives were brilliant, they did not coach me to push, but instead asked me to follow my body’s cues. They were aware my labour had not quite met my birth preferences thus far, but tried to incorporate as much Hypnobirthing as possible. I regularly asked the midwives how long I had left to go ‘’minutes or hours’’. At first, they weren’t sure which side of midnight our baby would arrive. I found this difficult to hear as I didn’t think I had the strength to last that long. Due to the earlier sickness, I felt rather weak. The midwives prepared me a mug of hot water with honey at regular intervals to keep up my strength. With each sip I felt the sugar rush and it empowered me to continue. I reminded myself that every surge brought me closer to meeting my baby.

Once the monitoring and my surges had settled, the midwife attempted to break my waters to ultimately kick start the next phase of labour. To her surprise, they had already broken! We had suspected they had gone during my sickness spell but we couldn’t be sure. My body was ready!

Transition happened rather quickly. My surges shortened in duration and I temporarily had some respite (albeit a few minutes). They returned with a new sense of pressure. The room could sense we were close! I learnt how to down-breathe through each surge and to ‘push into my bottom’. At times the CTG graph was struggling to detect the baby’s heart rate in between surges. The Doctor attempted to insert a Fetal Scalp Electrode to accurately monitor fetal heart rate. This too was unsuccessful so we persevered with the CTG. The Doctor opted for an episiotomy in favour of a natural tear. She did not think that intervention (forceps / ventouse etc) were necessary at this stage as birth was imminent. The baby began to crown, it took me a minute or so to gather enough strength for the final push. It took everything I had. I held on to my husband’s hand tightly.

At 22:40 on Friday 11th January our baby girl was born. After the gender announcement, she was placed straight onto my chest for immediate skin-to-skin contact. She was alert and healthy, she was perfect. After a couple of minutes (delayed cord clamping), my husband cut the cord. I held our baby in my arms whilst the midwives delivered the placenta and stitched me up. She quickly rooted and attempted to feed. Shortly after, my husband had his first cuddle (also skin-to-skin). We spent a couple of hours alone as a family of 3, completely in awe of our beautiful baby girl.

It wasn’t the birth I had hoped for but it was a positive experience none the less. I will look back at it with fond memories 💜

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