Birth story - Rachel and baby Harry

I just wanted to thank Siobhan for making such a fantastic resource available for expectant mums. As a second time mum with an uncomplicated first birth and a straightforward pregnancy, I guess people might assume I wouldn’t benefit from this course, but it ended up being absolutely key to my very positive second birth when I would have otherwise struggled with the turn of events.

I’d been having some symptoms of early labour on and off for a few weeks and had started to get a bit frustrated as to when things were going to get going for real. Last Thursday I had a significant bloody show after a few days of being unsure if it was plug or discharge, and soon after that started to have regular surges every 10 minutes. I’d been having Braxton Hicks for months so I thought these were more of the same, but they didn’t subside and after a few hours were getting stronger. I called my mum over to look after my daughter thinking this was it. During some of the stronger contractions I thought I felt a trickle of waters, but couldn’t be sure. At around 9pm, the contractions stopped and everything had fizzled out. I thought perhaps labour might start that evening so my mum stayed overnight in anticipation, but alas, I woke up in the morning with no signs of labour.

Because I wasn’t sure if my waters had broken the day before, I called Midwife led unit and explained what had happened. They said if it was waters, I’d be at an increased risk of infection so I needed to be checked. My husband and I went up to the delivery suite and after a test, it was confirmed that it was my waters. Because it was so minimal, they explained it was probably a hindwater leak, but that the infection risk was the same and so I would need an induction if labour hadn’t spontaneously started within 24 hours of the waters breaking. This news was broken to us at 1pm on Friday, and the 24 hour period was up at 5.30pm that afternoon.

I started to panic, and immediately started thinking the worst about inductions; it would be long, painful, prone to intervention, may end up in a section... We were left alone for a while to make a decision and using our BRAIN decided that it was too risky to baby to decline the induction, but also made a conscious effort to take control of the situation and decide what kind of induction it was going to be for us. We went home and used the rest of the afternoon reading the positive induction stories on this wonderful page, and my fears were immediately calmed. We had time to make arrangements for our daughter in case we had a long stay in hospital, and were able to leave the house feeling organised and prepared.

We got to the hospital at 10.30pm as prior to this time there were no beds available. When we arrived we were shown to our room and had to wait about 45 minutes for a midwife. We used this time to rewatch the videos on induction and were reminded about the importance of setting the right environment. So we set about making the room more homely and listened to our favourite playlist, and tried to relax. When the midwife arrived she explained that she’d read my birth preferences and that due to the situation changing and becoming more high risk, some things would now be out of my control but she would help me try to achieve as many of my preferences as she could.

We accepted continuous monitoring of baby, and I accepted an internal examination. This was to check whether there was any more hind waters that could be ruptured to assist the induction. There weren’t, however the midwife confirmed I was already 2cm dilated. We started the drip at 2.40am and so I was hooked up to both the monitor and the drip, but decided I would remain UFO and as mobile as possible, and so opted to sit on the birth ball leaning over the bed. The lights were dimmed, my husband used the room spray we bought with us and our playlist continued on. The midwife we had was absolutely incredible and gave us brilliant one on one care; her presence both reassured and relaxed us and it was almost like having a good friend with us in the room than a healthcare professional. When the surges started they were entirely manageable and I used my up breathing through each one. Between surges we were talking and joking, singing and dancing, before my hind waters went with a whoosh at about 3.30am.

We continued this way until started to feel quite tired and the midwife insisted I lay on the bed to rest between surges. There was a definite step change in the sensation of the surges and I accepted the offer of gas and air. My breathing remained calm and even, and the midwife commented on how in control I was and to just carry on what I was doing. I felt so focused that I didn’t realise that I was actually in transition at this point. The midwife was asking if I felt any pressure and I didn’t, until 2 surges later when I felt the need to push. I used the down breathing, continued with the gas and air and felt baby moving down. After that is a bit of a blur as it happened quite fast, but I just remember listening to the midwife telling me baby’s head was visible (“and he has so much hair!”) and 2 surges later he was born.

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The whole labour was 4 hours 22 minutes from the drip starting to birth. It was so relaxed, controlled, intimate and very fast compared to my first birth, that I was left wondering why I was ever concerned about the prospect of an induction. It was only down to this course and this community that I was able to make the birth as positive as it was and leave my worries at the door. I hope my story gives others the reassurance that induced labours don’t have to be bad labours.

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