I’ve spoken a lot about my difficult birth with Noah and the thought of labouring a second time absolutely terrified me. I completed a hypnobirthing course by the positive birth company to try and help my anxiety and became very adamant on certain things I wanted from my birth, however these soon started to fade after my consultant appointments. When I first saw a consultant due to Noah’s larger than average birth weight and a traumatic labour, they suggested sweeps from 38 weeks and a due date induction if I hadn’t gone into spontaneous labour. They reassured me that I would still be able to have my water birth at the midwife led birthing centre attached to the hospital if I went into labour naturally. I was so disheartened when I hadn’t gone into spontaneous labour after 4 sweeps but decided to accept the induction at 39 + 5.
I got my head around an induction and accepted that, although I may not be able to have the birth I originally planned, my baby would be here one way or another! A really positive thing about an induction was I was able to sort out childcare for Noah and the dog, who both went to my mums for the weekend, and I was also able to clean my whole house and change the sheets… so you know every silver lining ey?! I also spent a lot of time googling positive induction stories because all people ever seem to tell you about are horror stories, long labours and intervention!
We arrived at hospital on Saturday 10th August 2019 at 8am and went straight through to the induction room, where we were the only ones in until 10am. Normally they book in 4 woman to be induced, but today was just two so that was a really reassuring start. I was popped on the monitor for an hour and had all the normal observations taken and was told they’d examine me at 9am. Baby was happy and they examined me to check how ‘favourable’ my cervix was to start the induction process. I was 1-2cm dilated but my cervix was still long so they were unable to just pop my waters so decided to apply to gel instead. They applied this at 9.30am and I was monitored for a further 30 minutes to check that baby was ok after this was applied. At 10am, the baby was happy and they told us to go for a walk around the hospital and stay active to try and encourage labour starting. I had period-like cramps throughout this but nothing major so it was hard not to feel disheartened. I was so worried that this wouldn’t work and they just have to apply another in 6 hours but we walked and walked, got a Costa and generally just enjoyed spending a bit of time together without the toddler!
We had to be monitored again 3 hours after the gel was applied and all was well so I was allowed off the monitor again. The monitor was showing regular contractions, which I thought was strange because I wasn’t really feeling anything! I bounced on the ball watching Gordon Ramsey’s Kitchen Nightmares and ate my lunch, it was a pretty relaxed process. At 3pm, I was popped back on the monitor for 20 mins and told they’d re-examine me after to make the next plan. At 3.20pm I was examined and told I was now 2-3cm and they were able to burst my waters. Suddenly it really dawned on me that we were going to have a baby and I struggled to stay calm! Luckily Neil was there supporting me and reminding me about breathing techniques we learnt from our hypnobirthing course. At 3.30pm, my waters were popped and the midwife had said the baby had literally ‘dropped’ onto her fingers… haha! I remember with Noah as soon as my waters had gone, I had a baby a couple of hours after so I was hoping things would be similar. After having your waters broken, the baby has to be monitored for 20-30 minutes which was actually not pleasant at all as within minutes I was regularly contracting but had to be laid down for the monitor… definitely not an ideal position to be in!
When the consultant came around to take me off the monitor, they said that because the induction process had been so straightforward and I’d started regularly contracting without the drip, I was able to go to the birthing centre and have my water birth!!! I literally could have cried, in fact, I think I did a little! After being told that my birthing preferences wouldn’t happen, it was the most amazing surprise to feel like finally my body was doing something right!
At 4pm we were taken to the birthing centre and the contractions had really ramped up! I was still just using my ‘up breathing’ techniques supported by Neil counting for me and really helping me stay focused. I was having around 6 contractions in 10 minutes but they were only lasting around 30 seconds so I remember asking the midwife, ‘am I actually in established labour?!’ To which she replied, ‘well I finish at 8.30pm and you’ll have your baby by then!’ This was literally just what I needed to hear and really helped me stay focused. I wasn’t examined, I was just left to focus on my breathing and wander around the room, which may I add was perfect. Dim lights, smelt amazing with candles and a birthing pool, which was still being filled for me. After around 40 minutes of breathing through my contractions, they were becoming quite overwhelming especially as I didn’t have much of a break in between to help get myself focused again. I asked for gas and air to take the edge off and at 4.50pm, I got into the birthing pool. It was such an amazing feeling and instantly soothed the pain and calmed me down. Within about 5 minutes, I’d demanded Neil to take my pants off as I felt like I was going to poo myself! 😂 He helped me take them off and I said to my midwife I think the baby was coming, confused by how on earth this could all happen so quickly.
Both her and Neil were amazing keeping me focused. I had a couple of wobbles where I lost my focus and the pain was unmanageable until i focused back on Neil and breathed down using my gas and air. I pushed Noah out for 2 long hours which made him so poorly so I was terrified I wouldn’t get this baby out quick enough. This motivation spurred me on and I really focused on my body and what it was telling me. It really is amazing, you can feel exactly when you need to push without even being told. I birthed the babies head, the ‘ring of fire’ pain came flooding back from my first labour, but it’s amazing to know that I was so near to meeting my baby!
She also told me the baby was coming out like superman with their arm up by their head which was the most bizarre feeling ever. Focused completely on Neil, after a few pushes, I bent down and pulled my beautiful baby from the water at 5.12pm. I was so overwhelmed when he didn’t cry and was floppy and Noah’s traumatic birth came flooding back! He was unfortunately born with the cord quite tightly around his neck and I remember I kept saying ‘please breathe!’ There were a few gurgles as the midwife stimulated him to get him started, she said he was just a bit startled from a quick entrance. I instantly saw his willy and declared to Neil ‘it’s a boy!’ The most amazing feeling ever to finally find out what was inside of me after 40 long weeks. We unfortunately weren’t able to have delayed cord clamping as he needed some oxygen, but Neil actually cut the cord and he was taken out for a little bit of help.
I couldn’t believe it! I’d done it with just gas and air for the last 30 minutes. My labour was a total of 1 hour 44 minutes, intense, fast but absolutely perfect! I was helped out of the pool where I delivered the placenta after opting for the injection to help. I laid in the bed and was brought my beautiful boy for a magical golden hour of skin to skin. This was another thing I hadn’t gotten after Noah’s birth so I felt so lucky. I couldn’t stop staring at his beautiful face… another boy and totally outnumbered now! Neil also told me he’d filmed the moment I gave birth which is amazing… I feel so lucky to have this forever!
The biggest shock for me was his weight… a tiny 8lb 2oz which was crazy compared to his big brother being nearly a pound heavier! I honestly believe it was my breathing techniques that helped me have a quick labour and best of all… no tears or stitches required!!! Just a small graze which was a miracle after suffering from 5 different tears during Noah’s birth.
If you had a difficult or traumatic first labour, then please know it doesn’t mean that your second will be the same. I was terrified of labour but I ended up having the most perfect birth that I would actually do again in a heartbeat. Here’s to my gorgeous boy and the bad ass feeling you get from pushing a human out!!
Chester Albert James Thompson born on the 10th August 2019 at 17.12 weighing 8lb 2oz. 💙