Becky’s Birth Story
Background: Luca is our second babe, first baby is 19mo and was a very quick 3 hour active labour despite being posterior until the very last second, turning on delivery.
Dad works away, he got home from an 8 day swing on Thursday night the 11th. Baby was sitting very low, feeling ready & I made a comment that if we had sex that night I wouldn’t be surprised if we’d have a baby before morning ?
Friday morning I had trickles of fluid, wasn’t convinced but spoke to maternity & watched throughout the day. Went for a pedicure & popped into hospital to be assessed. Confirmed after speculum examination that waters had broken, only the faintest blue line on the test (like her pregnancy test! ?). Midwives let me go home so I could make my all important facial appointment ? and started the clock for 18 hours til I’d have to start IV antibiotics.
Between my zen time at my pedi and facial where I listened to my hypnobirthing tracks, the mountains of housework I spontaneously achieved and the day of chasing my toddler giggling and dancing with him I was sure we’d be able to establish spontaneous labour. All day we had friends on standby to take our toddler, but it got to bedtime and while disappointed no baby yet, we were relieved we could put Ernie down in his own bed & had a friend stay at our place.
11pm we’re approaching our antibiotics deadline, I’m having mild inconsistent contractions and have been losing mucous plug throughout the day with slow leaks of fluid. We head into hospital and get put on the ward – strange for us as last time we were rushed from assessment to a birth suite and had a baby less than 2 hours later ? I’m experiencing mild to moderate contractions incredibly irregularly, anywhere from every 3 minutes to nothing for 25 minutes. Since I’m contracting I can’t sleep, husband and I are exhausted but we walk the night out pacing the halls trying to avoid antibiotics & even more so avoiding induction.
Cannula inserted – antibiotics started. Honestly cannula was the worst part of the whole thing and my husband still gives me shit about the show I put on having it put in ? We request to move to the birth suite as the sun’s coming up Saturday morning, contractions still irregular but at least something is happening. Walking, leaning, rocking hips from side to side, bouncing on the fit ball and upright in the shower we’re trying so hard to encourage labour.
24 hours after my waters broke, the OB starts her rounds and against my birth preferences I request a VE for some encouragement that all my work is doing something. We’re 4cm, I cried ? labour “starts” now. OB wants constant monitoring with the CTG as we’ve hit 24 hours post membrane rupture, we compromise and have it on for 10mins every hour.
Antibiotics doses continue. We hit shift change 3 times with our midwives, the last of which ended up being a huge hypnobirthing advocate who hadn’t been a part of a committed hypnobirth and was excited with us. I’m playing my meditation & affirmation tracks, rubbing oils, using my breathing & leaning up on my husband to rock through contractions. Despite perfect positioning, head down and low this labour is not progressing quickly.
My back is so inflamed you can no longer see any definition in my spine, a midwife mentions a tens machine and I remember I had one ? oops. Absolute lifesaver! We start at level 9, I ended up at level 48 when baby was born & I couldn’t even feel it anymore. OB comes around again at 1pm, offers another exam and I accept as we’re increasing risk factors just on time alone. Against birth preferences, we decide to have membranes ruptured as they still appeared in tact & baby’s head was still high. To get through this I request gas, OB is very competent and efficient however not the gentlest soul ? this was a horrible experience as they struggled to rupture, I screamed and cried and it almost broke my husband, but we got through it.
Once done we’d confirmed 7cm dilation but baby’s head still high, hopeful that now waters were properly broken we’d make progress and not require further intervention. Contractions got intense, I kept gas intermittently but found it interfered with my breathing techniques so only reached for it when I really needed it. We alternated between using the tens and being upright in the birthing suite, to the shower with hot water directly on my back. Using the tens I was able to lay down for a moment and have a rest, we even ate some lunch!
Not long after, contractions really ramped up & I started aggressively vomiting. I knew this was a wonderful sign of transition, contractions started becoming too difficult to stand for on my own and I was pretty much unable to talk from this point. My husband became my mindreader and interpreter, I am honestly in awe at how in tune we were. I couldn’t have gotten through this without him. Due for another VE, I declined and chose to continue to labour until I experienced the urge to push. I once again declined constant CTG monitoring as the band was causing so much discomfort on my back and I couldn’t move – no one liked this but baby was doing well and they obliged with regular doppler checks. I’m constantly moving, standing, leaning and up on tip toes, lunging, squatting & propping my legs up on anything and everything. TENS is amped up and I’m on the gas as much as I can possibly breathe, but I’m at breaking point. I screamed at everyone that I couldn’t do it anymore, climbed up onto the bed and somehow blacked out for about a minute (that was a magical power I’m grateful for). I woke up to more midwives and the OB present, which coincided perfectly with my first involuntarily push.
Maybe I can do this after all. Contractions are bearable as I’m breathing baby down while laying on my side, I wanted to birth upright (first baby birthed standing) but I don’t think I could stand. We started pushing, after only 20 minutes my little girl was born and handed up to my chest. A massive gush of blood meant Dad was advised to hurriedly cut the cord & I was jabbed with syntocinon. We’d hoped for delayed cord clamping & physiological delivery of placenta, but our team was quick to give us options and we consented to their recommendations. It turned out it was not a haemorrhage, but just an inconveniently placed tiny 1st degree tear (1 stitch!) that had just hit a huge blood vessel and caused 1.5L blood loss. Baby came out absolutely perfect, after only a few minutes she was able to establish breastfeeding & we’ve now just completed checks showing no sign of infection despite the extended labour.
We were discharged 18 hours after delivery with a perfect bill of health for Mum & baby. With a lump on her head it’s assumed that the delay in labour was caused by a slightly wonky head position, but that’s only our best guess.
Oh and a final note – my husband mentioned after the birth that he doesn’t feel like it was a “hypnobirth”, it was just how childbirth should be. I didn’t feel like I laboured in a perfect trance like some of the videos depicted, but I definitely had more control of my body and I had worlds more knowledge than I would have otherwise regarding my options & rights. So thank you! Life long hypnobirthing advocate here ?