The day I found out I was pregnant with William I was already eagerly anticipating my second birth experience. I had been teaching the Hypnobirthing Australia Positive Birth Program for 8 months and could not wait to put the tools and extra knowledge I had gained into preparing for this birth.
The lead up to William's birth was quite interesting, COVID-19 restrictions were in full swing. Our birth photographer was not allowed into the birth, my husband (a nurse) was potentially going to be working on the front line and my pre labour signs began at 36 weeks. By 38 weeks I was going stir crazy with it all. William measured quite small on ultrasound and appeared to be doing little to no growth from 35 weeks, with this and a drop in my amniotic fluid it was advised I be induced. After lengthy informed discussions with my Obstetrician and time to process it all we agreed that this was the best option to bring our baby earth side. I felt well prepared, supported and accepting of another induction.
I arrived at the hospital 8am on Thursday 30th April, 38+2 weeks pregnant, feeling excited to meet my baby. We set ourselves up in the birth suite and I had the CTG monitoring placed on to assess our baby for 20 minutes prior to the induction starting.
My Obstetrician arrived and I had the prostaglandin gel inserted at approx. 8.30am, I was 1cm dilated. I was required to remain lying down for 30 minutes so the gel wouldn’t come out so I took this opportunity to pop in my earphones and listen to the Affirmations for Beautiful birthing track which instantly relaxed me and I felt like I was in dreamy state. During this time, I did notice some mild sensations beginning and I must admit they made me excited even more. After the 30 minutes I decided to get up and keep active to help move things along, I got the birth ball out and sat on this rocking forwards and backwards as well as side to side. My husband and I decided to get out our distraction tools – he did cross words and I had my colouring book, we both sat listening to music (Elton John) chatting away and enjoying the down time before things became active.
As we sat chatting I noticed my surges were increasing in intensity, particularly in my lower back (this felt like period cramping on day 1-2), they had gone from mild to moderate, I was still very comfortable and I began to use my breathing techniques. Using the surge breath during a surge and then returning to my relaxation breath afterwards all the while colouring in.
As they continued to increase in intensity I became a little fidgety and told my husband I was leaving the room to walk the hallways of the birth suite. I did this listening to my relaxation tracks. The birth suite only had one other couple and we were at opposite ends of the ward, so I had a nice long hallway to myself. I noticed my midwife was watching me from the desk as I paced slowly up and down, stopping during the surges to rub my back and sway my hips. After a little while she came up to me and asked how I was feeling, at that point I could feel the deep pelvic pressure so she advised I head back into the room shortly for another quick check on the monitor before my OB was due to arrive and release my membranes. I went back into the room but not long afterwards got fidgety again and was back out walking up and down the hallway.
11.30am came around and my OB arrived, we headed into the room where I had a vaginal examination – I was 4cm dilated. I felt great and excited that my body was doing it’s thing, we decided to release my membranes. Initially I was hesitant as I knew this would really get things going and I was currently loving the relaxed state I was in, but I was also excited and eager to meet my baby and so I agreed.
When I had my membranes released with Theodore I had nothing come out so when my membranes were released this time it was interesting! I could feel my waters releasing with each surge and I laughed away each time there was a gush. I was due for CTG monitoring at that time so on they were placed, as expected my surges really kick started, I was lying in the bed and after 20 minutes said to my husband I needed to get up and move with these as I was feeling a little uncomfortable. The midwife returned and informed me that I had to keep the monitoring on as my surges were coming very frequently and they were a little concerned my uterus was hyper stimulated. I was ok with this but said I really needed to get up and move as I was uncomfortable on the bed.
Once I got up they really came on strong. I was leaning over the bed, surge breathing and really beginning to focus at this point. I used visualisation during a surge of my uterine muscles drawing up over my baby and the circular fibres relaxing allowing my cervix to open and bring my baby down. This was so powerful and I allowed myself to fully surrender and relax to my surges!!
After approx. 30 minutes I put the TENS machine on, and this was AMAZING!!! I loved using the TENS machine, especially using the boost button during a surge. I jumped back on to the bed and got into an all fours forward leaning position and remained this way for 1.5 hours. I loved this position so much and felt very comfortable.
Just before 1.30pm I asked the midwife if I could go to the toilet, conscious that I needed to be emptying my bladder hourly. After going to the toilet I was placed back on the CTG monitoring, I sat on the end of the bed and I really started to feel the intensity of the surges now very strong. They were coming hard and fast and I was only getting approx. 30 seconds break between each one. The midwife remained in the room; she could clearly see I was beginning to transition. I was using my husband as an anchor and would bury my head into his abdomen through each surge. Still when I got a break (30 seconds) I was smiling, talking and laughing, the midwife couldn’t believe it. I caught onto my transition signs and began telling everyone what was happening (they already knew lol) my legs were shaking uncontrollably, my toes were curling, and I needed to do a poo!
I told the midwife I needed to go to the toilet again but she wouldn’t let me, she thought it was my baby (I knew this was not the case) I kept pleading and then in the end I also convinced myself it was just the baby. I was now starting to have a crisis in confidence and got on the bed into my first birthing position, on my knees leaning over the head of the bed. I was using vocalisation during a surge and my OB was called in.
William’s head was sitting in an odd position on examination and so initially I never had an urge to bear down, my OB asked me to anyway with each surge to really help guide him down. This was a really bizarre feeling and as I began to bear down I also felt the need to poo, so I would stop pushing. My legs became fatigued quickly and soon I rolled over onto my back in a semi sitting position.
I began to really bear down now with each surge and yes I did poo, my OB was so lovely and kept cleaning up after each push, I was mortified! But I soon had to block it out and just keep bearing down, bubs was finally coming. I noticed when bearing down how much effort I had to put into it, I was becoming tired quickly and I felt I was getting nowhere. I kept asking how long I had left and kept looking at the clock, I had been pushing for 15-20 minutes and then I felt the sting, I knew at this point I had to fully relax my perineum and control my breathing, my OB then directed my pushes to help avoid any tearing, not long afterwards bubba’s head emerged and there was hair!! Theodore was bald so we were all shocked.
I remember thinking thank goodness I’m nearly done, just one more surge and I will be holding my baby. That surge came and I gave it my everything, but no movement of baby occurred. I remember hearing my OB instructing my husband to pull my leg up to my chest and out as far as it could go, the midwife had my other leg doing the same (this was uncomfortable), my OB then told me to give it everything (little did I know until after the birth that William had mild shoulder dystocia, no wonder it was tough work) a few more pushes and I felt my baby come out, I opened my eyes and my husband was holding our little BOY in the air, I instantly began crying and William was placed onto my chest. The best feeling in the world, I instantly felt so much love for him.
We remained doing skin-skin for 1.5 hours, delayed cord clamping occurred, and my placenta was birthed not using any syntocin injection. I loved looking at my placenta this time. I also had no tearing just a small graze.
William weighed in at 3.24kg, not the little baby we were all expecting! This birth was so different compared to Theodore’s. Both were beautiful births. William’s challenged me in ways I did not expect but overall, it was such a positive and empowering experience. I told my husband only hours later that I wanted to do it all again, total birth junkie!