The Positive Birth of Ivy - PPROM at 31 weeks
This incredible birth story comes from Faye, who took part in my pregnancy yoga classes and then went on to do a group hypnobirthing course as well. I have stayed in touch with Faye throughout her whole pregnancy offering support after she had premature rupture of membranes (PPROM) at 31 weeks. It is not my place to advise what someone should do during their pregnancy, but instead I offered Faye premature birth stories as comfort in case her baby arrived early as well as talking her through her options in case she did not go in to labour. Faye writes:
I came across Colleen after searching high and low for pregnancy yoga classes near me. Luckily my mum found Colleen’s pregnancy yoga classes in Dartford. I joined up and tried to attend as many classes as I could. During the yoga classes I also found out that Colleen also taught hypnobirthing classes, which I had heard good things about and wanted to give a go.
I booked on to a group hypnobirthing course with my partner Jack. We completed the course at 28 weeks pregnant and all of the things we learnt were invaluable. The knowledge and skills that we gained played a massive part in my pregnancy to come. As a low risk first time Mum I had been planning a natural birth, but became high risk after experiencing preterm premature rupture of membranes (PPROM).
My waters had a partial rupture at 31 weeks; It was a small leak like I had peed in my pants. I proceeded to get checked at the maternity unit at darenth valley hospital. The tests came back that it most likely was amniotic fluid (although this test isn’t for the check of amniotic fluid it’s to confirm if you will go into labour) so they use this as a guide. I was admitted into hospital with expectations of going into premature labour… which never happened. I had steroids to mature babies lungs just in case they were born early, and was monitored every six hours. When labour didn’t start after 48 hours in hospital I was discharged. I agreed to go back to hospital twice a week to have checks and to keep an eye on things (blood tests and baby monitoring) . Over the next few weeks every check that I had was fine and baby was healthy. I had a further three scans to check the amniotic fluid amount which was good, as well as babies organs and growth which was doing perfect. If anything had changed in pregnancy eg discharge or pain or lack of movement I would always go straight back up the hospital, as wasn’t worth any risk! All the ladies at tambootie ward were amazing and supportive I really got to know them all going there every week twice a week.
I was having regular checks as when you have PPROM there is an increased risk of infection which can be harmful to the baby. But as I was only 31 weeks I did not want to have an induction and give birth so early as my baby would be very premature and potentially poorly. I was also still keen to try and have a labour that was natural as possible. My care givers agreed that we should leave baby alone for a few more weeks, as long as they remained healthy with no signs of infection.
I had my first consultant appointment at 35 weeks which I left crying. He basically offered me an induction and said I shouldn’t be pregnant past 37 weeks. I declined the induction and he offered a caesarean there and then, which I also declined. He reeled off all the risks which I understood very well I also weighed up the risks of a premature birth and did not want to go ahead. I felt under a lot of pressure to agree to what I was being told, but was luckily supported by my partner Jack. We had learnt how to weight up the risks of our decisions on our hypnobirthing course and felt that baby was safer being left alone, despite the risk of infection.
During this time I was in contact with Colleen who was absolutely amazing and supportive. We discussed on the phone my options, the risks and how to adapt my birth plan. Colleen also explained that at this point there would be very limited research or statistics on what would happen if I continued the pregnancy, as most people would have agreed to an induction by now. She forwarded me more mp3s that I listened to about “change” and how I could still have a positive birth experience, as my birth plan had now completely changed from water birth to delivery suite only. I continued not risking anything with my PPROM (pre rupture of membranes). I had no baths, no intercourse, no vigorous exercise. I saw two more consultants who again pressured me with a plan with induction and cesarean which I declined (much to their differences In opinion but again my body my baby) they told me a few horror stories and it took a strong mind and knowing my body with the back up of my partner to follow this through.
It was scheduled for me to be induced at 38 weeks… I cancelled this as I was apprehensive about induction failure resulting in caesarean. I did not feel that my body was ready or that the induction would work, and I’m glad that I held out a bit longer. I went on until 38 weeks and 4 days where on my checks my blood pressure was elevated. Baby was still fine, so I decided to go home for the night and see how I felt in the morning. The next day I fake tanned, put music on was singing getting ready and having fun with my boyfriend to boost my oxytocin and get me in the mood for birth. I prepped the last few bits in my hospital bag, as I knew due to my high blood pressure it would be likely I would have to have an induction. I had come to terms with this and felt ready as my baby was now full term. In the hospital that night they tested my urine for protein. It was confirmed there was high protein levels and I was developing pre clampsia. With this I decided to be induced as the risk of continuing the pregnancy out weighed waiting for labour to start naturally. I asked the doctors to speak me through my procedure, as it would be a slightly different process due to the PPROM. I agreed that I would go ahead with the prostaglandin gel and the drip to follow. That night I was admitted at 12 and induced at 3am with the gel, by 5.30am my contractions had begun. Throughout this I was listening to my hypnobirthing MP3s.
I did say to the midwifes it’s getting more intense so they put me on the monitor and I was right these were true contractions. I would focus on not tightening my body with the contractions and breathing through them.There wasn’t much break between the contractions as they were one after the other, but my hypnobirthing breathing techniques helped me to manage. At 9am I asked the midwife if I could have gas and air as the contractions were so frequent. The midwife said no! Not until I was at least 4cm and that my contractions probably were not real, they are practice ones, I said they are pretty thick and fast. The monitor confirmed they were real contractions and and at 9.15am they finally checked me, I was already 6cm! I’d had no pain relief up until this point other than my hypnobirthing techniques. My midwife said said it was time to let delivery suite know that I would be going there soon. I said I need to go now as I had a lot of pressure and could feel things progressing quickly. They hurried a little, I got to the delivery suite where I had some gas and air and the rest of my waters flew out!I didn’t need the oxytocin drip as planned as my body took over. The lovely midwife in delivery checked me and said that I was already 10cm. Within the hour our gender surprise Ivy was born! The midwife said she couldn’t believe how in the zone I was and wished everyone birthed like me, and that my pushes were powerful. It was an amazing experience, she was so healthy and weighed 7lb11. All the tears and fighting to keep her inside were worth it. I couldn’t have done this without the support and advice of Colleen throughout 💜