Birth story - Lee and baby Leonard

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My whole pregnancy I was so focused on induction being a bit of a fear. I kept saying ‘I don’t care what happens in labour as long as I’m not induced’. However, after 14 days of being overdue, trying every single trick in the book and 5 sweeps to try and get things moving, baby’s head was still very high and I accepted induction (there was talk of going straight to a c section as induction could’ve been dangerous but thankfully after seeing doctor, it was decided it was safe).

At 10:50am the pessary was inserted and we were in for a 24 hour wait on an anti-natal ward. My mum and husband took it in shifts to walk around the hospital, up and down all stairs I could find and at 5:30pm whilst watching The Chase 😂 surges began. They came thick and fast at 6 every 10 minutes lasting 1 minute each but I was managing them well with up breathing, swaying and finding good comfortable UFO positions. At 7pm they put me on a monitor for half hour to check how baby was coping with the induction. This made it slightly more difficult to manage the surges but I still felt in control and with the support of my husband we were getting through them together. At 9:30pm I was examined and although only 1.5cm, baby’s head was really low so the induction had served its purpose and the pessary was removed. The surges weren’t slowing down (which they’re meant to once pessary is removed) and I was getting quite exhausted with only around 20-30 seconds rest in between so I began on gas and air (which I was using incorrectly for the next 5 hours, make sure you ask them to show you how to use it if it’s your first time!) and requested pethidine as this would almost certainly space them out a bit. The pethidine worked well and for 2 hours I got much more of a break in between and this made me feel more in control and like I was managing the surges well again. I also got some needed rest in between surges.

Unfortunately, as there was no space on labour ward, I was still on an anti-natal ward at this point with 3 other women who were trying to get some rest. Good job the hypnobirthing had given me so many skills and I was labouring in a calm and quiet way! I also thank hypnobirthing for enabling me to ‘block’ out my surroundings and use my small curtained space as my own little zone.

I was examined again at 2am and was 6cms at this point with bulging waters. They could not break my waters as they can only do that on labour ward and there was still no space eek. However, as the midwife left, my waters popped and burst (all over my husband oops) and the midwife examined me again to find I was 8cms! I was so happy to hear that news and so pleased I had come so far and stayed focused and in control in such odd surroundings.

I had always imagined a birthing center, water birth with my fairy lights etc and this shared anti-natal ward was the opposite of that, however, it was still MY space and it was all I needed to labour successfully and calmly.

At this point I was rushed to labour ward (apparently there was suddenly space!) I was hooked up to monitor baby’s heart rate as I had progressed so quickly but I was still mobile and was able to be in any position I wanted so the monitors were not an issue at all. I had a wobble at this point and requested an epidural, since the pethidine had worn off the surges were very close together again. However, the midwives assured me I didn’t need one as baby would be here soon! That was all I needed to hear to continue through them, as well as my husband (and my hero) who kept reminding me about the labour I wanted and keeping me focused. Mum was also spraying liquid yoga around me at this point which was bliss.

Unfortunately, over the next 3 hours I did not progress from 8cms and baby’s heart rate dropped dangerously low 3 times (emergency cord was pulled all 3 times). Baby was not recovering well from my surges as they were so intense and close together. On the third episode it was decided that a c-section would be the safest and best option. I was having an epidural put in at this stage and had time to discuss how I wanted my c-section to be with the surgeon. I requested a gentle c-section with delayed cord clamping, for my husband to tell me the gender and for the curtain to be lowered so I could see him being born. She agreed to all of this as long as it was safe for baby.

My husband got scrubbed up while they prepared me and we had the most peaceful, beautiful and special c-section experience. Baby was healthy so he got delayed cord clamping. Although my husband was meant to tell me the gender, he did not require words, I knew from his face it was a boy! Although it was confirmed when I saw him! My husband cut the cord and stayed with him until he was brought over to me and we had our very special first meet 💙

Leonard weighing 7lbs 4oz.

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I feel my story proves that although environment and scenario are important, if all of that goes wrong, all you need is a supportive birth partner and the inner strength that hypnobirthing gives you to have a positive labour and birth.

Also, I know everyone says this but it’s SO WORTH IT! As someone who has struggled with anxiety for a few years, I have never felt such inner peace that being a mum has given me ❤️

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