The birth of Henry - a positive induction using hypnobirthing
Jade and Andrew attended my online group hypnobirthing course (due to social distancing measures). A couple of weeks before their due date I received an email from Jade explaining that she was having a tough time. Jade had been suffering with hyperemesis gravidarum throughout her pregnancy, now had suspected gestational diabetes and was having growth scans because baby was measuring small, but now seemed to have accelerated growth. She wrote to me explaining:
“ It has been very upsetting as different medical professionals have said different things about his size which was a shock to us as he had been measuring small all throughout my pregnancy. We are back in for a third growth scan on Tuesday and induction has been mentioned and talk of a “plan. Going forward. A midwife who spoke to me in hospital made induction sound horrendous and that chances are it would go on for days, be more painful and end in a c-section. I know they can’t possibly know this but it’s never a good thing to listen to when you feel vulnerable and they are a professional. This has made me very nervous and hoping that he comes before this on his own. I am currently 38+3. With our previous miscarriage, my anxiety makes me want him here now as I’m very fearful of something going wrong this close to the end.”
I wrote back to Jade with some advice, reminders of some stress coping techniques and lots of resources and book suggestions to help her come up with a plan that she felt comfortable with. A few days later I received a reply, with a beautiful birth story. Jade writes:
I just wanted to send you an update of everything that happened regarding our birth of our beautiful baby boy – Henry Andrew at 12:30am on Saturday 12th June and what an utterly amazing experience it was.
It was agreed that I would be induced on the Thursday which as I had expressed before I was extremely worried about following some discussions with a midwife who was very negative about the whole experience.
On Wednesday night we got everything ready and prepared and in the car ready to call the next morning to see what time we could go in. I had already had a sweep on Tuesday when the induction was confirmed and had some small cramps but nothing major.
On Thursday morning, all very relaxed, Andrew took our dogs to daycare in the morning and I did a final hoover and mop of the house! Moved the next to me crib into the bedroom, Moses basket downstairs etc. Then rang hospital who said we could go to the day assessment unit first to monitor baby before moving to the ward for starting induction. As we walked out the door I decided there were some weeds that needed taking out the front garden and I must do them before so came home so Andrew amusingly took them out so I was happy before we left knowing I was coming home to everything done.
We got to hospital and baby was monitored and happy. They decided to insert the pessary on the DAU and then move to the ward. Andrew could stay with me the whole time and it wasn’t painful or distressing at all. Baby was continuously monitored to check all was ok for a while after the pessary at 11:40am. We spent the day walking around the hospital, grabbed a costa for lunch, chatted and generally relaxed waiting for something to kick in. Listened to calming music I had downloaded and reminded myself of my positive affirmations and that the end result would be our baby boy and felt very calm.
00:13 fetal monitoring, contractions started. I felt a pressure down below and in back. Felt like someone was pulling him down, it wasn’t painful just an uncomfortable feeling. The contractions were not going away in between so we continue the monitoring and I talked it through with my midwife who was lovely and calm and reassured me that although the contractions were coming back to back my baby was absolutely not in distress.
2:30am Friday 11th June propess removed because of contractions on top of contractions, this immediately gave me some relief, and time to sleep. Andrew didn’t have a bed so we both squeezed ourselves on to the single bed and had a few hours sleep. Being close together helped me feel very calm and protected.
Examined and 4cm dilated 11:10am so we waited for a bed to move to central delivery suite as was extremely busy and now castle acre was extremely busy. We we’re beginning to feel excited yet still very relaxed. We kept moving, snacking, walking round the car park, chatting, bouncing on the ball.
12:15 lunchtime we moved to central delivery suite and was greeted by an absolutely Lovely midwife. Went out for one more walk while notes being updated as she said this could be our last chance to leave the ward.
My contractions slowed and eventually stopped and so we discussed breaking my waters for which I felt well informed and happy for them to do. This was painless, I was comfortable with my midwife, she spoke to us both throughout the process. This was around 5pm and really speeding things up. Contractions came thick and fast by 6pm and by 7pm they were really challenging but I stayed immensely calm and Andrew helped by pushing my back for me and attending to me as I needed. I was so suprised at how much my waters would continue to leak and I sat on the ball for my contractions trying to ease the tightening. I found this the hardest part of my labour and was the only time I became emotional and the strength it was taking to get through each one. But I reminded myself to stay in the moment and not thing to far ahead. Andrew reassured me just to focus on the now and everything was ok. The midwife kept me updated when she would pop in but also gave us time and space. Fetching us both snacks and hot drinks. By 7pm I was finding it difficult and we had discussed an epidural previously because of my hereditary allergy to general anaesthetic, we knew that in the event of a c-section an epidural would be the safest option for me. Not once did any one make me feel like it was a bad option or not my choice which was incredible. Not long after 7pm I decided this was what I wanted and my midwife explained the process which was re-explained when the anaesthetist came to do the epidural.
Firstly I had to have a cannula in the back of my hand for fluid but also because I had gestational diabetes and they needed to be able
To provide insulin during delivery if needed. This again was explained in a very calmly not frightening way. It took 5 attempts and 4 different midwifes/ doctor/ anaesthesist to get this and my veins were blowing and bruising each time. Again, this usually would have been quite distressing but I felt very calm and in control and the midwifes appeared more upset about this than I could have ever been and were sympathetic and caring.
The one point that I could emotional and had a few tears was just before the epidural when I was scared I couldn’t keep still for the epidural. Which fuelled my concerns that he might not be ok at the realisation that this was going to happen and it was likely going to be early hours or by the end of the night. Andrew and my midwife were amazing, she got down to my level and reassured me that everything was ok, I was doing amazing and showed Andrew how to physically support me as they administered it. And they were right, I held immensely still and let Andrew keep me in place and I felt safe.
It was sad at this point that at 8pm my midwife went home and I was gutted and thought I couldn’t possibly get one as lovely as her. In walk Leonie and Amy and how wrong could I have been. I am so thankful and grateful to these two wonderful women who were utterly incredible. They stayed with us the entire time, never leaving the room in the loveliest way. They brought Andrew hot drinks and joked with us. I felt so tired after the epidural that they encouraged me to rest if I needed. From 8-11pm we generally rested as I was continuously monitored but they encouraged me to keep moving comfortably if I wanted to be on my side etc and whenever I wanted to move I could. They just gently moved the monitors. We even slept for an hour during this time. Epidural worked amazingly I still felt pressure but not pain, I had full use of my legs, I could wee independently as I had feeling. I chose not to top it up so I could remain this way for the birth to get him out as safely as possible. Towards 11pm I felt a contraction down one side very low down and I knew it just be intense to be feeling it so strong. Leonie then examined me and I was 10cm! We were so shocked as we had not murmured in the room since 8pm, we had chatted, slept and over all the whole vibe was so unbelievably calm. It was dimly lit and just fantastic. Leonie and Amy explained that we could rest for another hour and then begin pushing so my body had time to prepare. At this point my body was shaking from what it was doing and the adrenaline and so the hour enabled me and Andrew to chat and be calm and we literally just turned to face each other and we’re calm as the next hour flew by.
They asked me how I would like to position myself to push and we discussed different positions. I reminded myself of the hypnobirthing conversations we had and decided I wanted to be up holding onto the back on the chair in an all fours position. I was able to comfortably and independently put myself in this position. At around 12:20 I did my first push. I had asked the midwifes to coach me when i couldn’t feel a contraction and Leonie would gently feel my stomach to let me know and also the monitor. After my first push I decided it was going to be an uphill battle and so Andrew passed me my lucosade sport and I drank the entire bottle. I then proceeded to push and breath my baby’s head out in small pushes. After his head was out, he followed so quickly. I pushed for a total of 10 minutes and at 00:30am on the 12th June, Henry Andrew Was born. He was passed underneath me and I was supported in turning around to have skin to skin on my chest.
Andrew was next to me with his arms round us by this point and we were in absolute admiration of this gorgeous little boy. I then opted to have the injection for my placenta and this took some time so I was encouraged to go for a wee in a bed pan. I had been sick whilst holding the baby into a bowl (most likely from chugging my drink so quickly!) and so opted to pass our baby to Andrew for skin to skin while I tried to pass Urine. This time I was unable to we decided to insert a catheter to drain my bladder. This became quite amusing to us all as the bed pan filled up to the brim and my midwife joked about how I’d managed to get him out so quick against such a full bladder. I then was assessed and my perinium was completely in tact I had some second degree tears that would need stitches. I didn’t feel upset or worried and was quite happy for this to take place. Andrew held Henry whilst this took place as I was still quite sick at this point. The midwives were able to give him the colostrum I had harvested myself prior to delivery and brought in a cool bag to the hospital to be stored. Andrew was then able to give our little boy his first feed. After this we were left together and I had Henry back onto my chest and We just spent our time together. It was just incredible and unbelievably calm.
At 2:30am we were video calling our parents to show them the safe arrival as we were bursting with excitement and adrenaline. After Andrew helped me shower (which I walked to as I was immediately up and about after labour!) our midwifes walked us back to the main ward with all of our things at about 5am. Visiting hours were 8:30 so Andrew slept in the car for a few hours before coming back for the day. When the next handover started in the morning our midwife who was with us until 8pm came back and gave me a hug and congratulated us both and said she had spoke to Leonie and Amy and how much of a wonderful birth they said it has been and how amazing I had done. We felt so well looked after and content. We were able to be discharged after 24 hour observations and so made our way home exactly 24 hours later at 00:30am Sunday morning.
An all round amazingly positive experience and so in love with our baby boy.