Lianne's Positive Induction Birth Story
Parto primeriza, en hospital, vaginal, con epidural
I would like to share my positive birth story which was an induction for a first time mum. I had an uncomplicated pregnancy, but baby showed no signs of coming as I patiently waited until 42 weeks! I had done quite a lot of birth prep, reading/listening to various hypnobirthing authors/advocates and Milly Hill’s Positive Birth Book, so I felt quite calm even about being overdue. I also used an Aniball from week 37 on the advice of a gynaecologist friend, a very good decision, more on this later! Between 41 and 42 weeks, I got a bit anxious as I had my pregnancy monitored more intensely. My little girl was always deemed to be doing very well and not in any distress though, so I tried to give her every chance to decide to show without any intervention. By 41+6, I felt it was right to take action and have a sweep as I was concerned over the increasing risk of still birth. I didn’t find this nearly as awful as I expected (think coil placement/smear tests - not pleasant but bearable!). I asked them to tell me my Bishop’s score - this is an assessment of how ‘ripe’ your cervix is for birth and it was starting to shorten and thin which was encouraging. I got some very mild cramps that night but nothing more. The next day we were booked in for the next CTG monitoring and to discuss with the doctor about a possible induction. I never felt pressured by my hospital (St George’s, Tooting) to have an induction, I was always asked ‘what my thoughts were’. I don’t know if this is because of my birth plan (fairly anti-intervention) or if it was their style. But when I asked the doctor if she would now recommend it, she said yes, definitely. I felt ready to accept it. It was morning and as my baby was happy, she said go home, get some food and rest and come back to be admitted this afternoon. I tried to negotiate an outpatient induction, but as I was 42 weeks now, it was not permitted as I was deemed ‘high risk’. This was frustrating as what really had changed overnight? But it was their policy. The doctor also said that I could not give birth on the midwife led unit as per my birth plan, also due to this ‘high risk’ label.
I was admitted at 4pm on the MLU, and the plan was to start my induction there and move me down to labour ward once I was in active labour. I mentioned to my midwife again that I had really wanted to give birth in the MLU, but that the doctor had said no. She offered to get the Head Midwife to chat to me to see if this could be negotiated. To my delight, the Head Midwife agreed to let me have an MLU based birth as long as baby was happy - which meant consenting to doppler monitoring after every contraction, and transfer to labour ward for continuous monitoring in case of any concerns. This highlights the importance and possibility of negotiation!
They repeated CTG and then a long-acting pessary was placed as my induction. There had been some further ‘ripening’ of the cervix overnight, which was also encouraging. After an hour baby was still happy, so they stopped the CTG with a plan to repeat at midnight. I had been looking at my happy pictures/reading my positive affirmations and statements during this time, to try and get that oxytocin flowing. I wasn’t feeling any contractions yet, and as it can take up to 24 hours to work, we decided to go home for a few hours as we live very close to the hospital. Maybe the walk would help! At home I sat on my birth ball and got the lavender oil going in the diffuser. I started to get period like cramps so I went upstairs to lie on the bed and listen to my positive affirmations. Within two hours at home, I was having strong regular contractions and my Freya app told me to go back to the hospital! I think the midwives were surprised that things were moving so quickly, and were quite busy so it was a while before they checked me, by which time I felt a 'bearing down’ sensation. The CTG was still good and on vaginal exam I was 6cm dilated… they were happy for me to stay on the MLU and asked if I wanted the pool - yes please! I used the pool and gas and air for the next three hours (seemed much shorter) which basically was my entire transition. It was tough, but my hypnobirthing techniques definitely helped, as did the encouragement and support from my husband and midwives (I had two - one student, who was excellent) - they were brilliant.
At this point I was in quite a lot of discomfort with my bladder and the midwife encouraged me to let her place a temporary urinary catheter to empty my bladder, to let the baby’s head descend. Although I didn’t like the sound of it at all his really did help relieve some pressure. She examined me afterwards and I was 10cm - ready to push! I wanted guidance with pushing so I stayed out of the pool. I asked for a perineal compress - to help warm and soften the perineum and reduce tearing. It felt a little intrusive but also provided some relief. The prep with the Aniball was invaluable here - it was hugely confidence giving in the pushing phase and I am sure is the reason why I didn’t tear. With my midwife’s encouragement my baby was out and into my arms after half an hour of pushing. The whole labour had been just 7 hours. The relief was immediate, and it was the best feeling to hold my daughter close to me. I cut the cord myself and then passed the placenta without needing any injections, but this part felt like a real evolutionary kick in the teeth on top of the preceding events! Finally I could then lie with my baby in my arms and hold her close. My husband and I then got to spend a blissful few hours in the birth room with our daughter marvelling at all her little features - she was here!