"I have learned to trust my body, my feelings and choices and feel so empowered by that"
Sophie's happy birth story after declining induction for "big baby".
I’m so excited to be able to write my birth story. Although I found it lengthy and mentally challenging, overall it was such a positive experience and I feel incredibly proud to be able to share it. ️ I have learned to trust my body, my feelings and choices and feel so empowered by that 🥳
Lengthy birth story, so grab yourself a cuppa! ️
A happy birth story:
known baby girl - Emilie Olive (7lb)
born 21/12/20 at 7.48pm
hospital birth (midwife led - delivery suite)
tens, paracetamol, codeine, gas & air, epidural, hormonal drip
long but positive natural labour - 46 hours from first surge
induction offered due to “big baby” but strongly declined and had a very positive spontaneous natural birth.
My pregnancy was generally low risk though I was under consultant led care due to low BMI (I’m just really petite). I also had an issue at 20 weeks with what drs thought was pre-term labour and I had glycosuria throughout which led drs to believe I had GD so I did blood sugar monitoring for a short while. I also had growth scans every 2 weeks and was told that I was having a “big baby” which was consistently tracked on the 90th-97th centile which was why I was repeatedly offered induction of labour from 38/39 weeks.
I had braxton hicks contractions for several weeks before birth which became much stronger towards 39/40 weeks. At 39 weeks I was strongly persuaded into accepting an induction due to the reasons above and 1 previous episode of reduced movement. I declined this repeatedly as I trusted that my baby was healthy and my body would be capable. Instead of accepting an induction I had 3 sweeps over the next couple of weeks and was 1cm dialated and favourable by my due date (Wed 16th Dec). Contractions ramped up over the next few days and after my 3rd sweep 3 days later I went for a walk up the Malvern hills to try to get things going. It worked! By 10pm that night contractions started to become more intense and by the Sunday morning I had a strong feeling that I was heading towards established labour so I bounced on my ball and went for another local walk. I used the Freya app to time my surges and by midday on the Sunday 20th I was in established labour. I was thrilled that my labour had started spontaneously without the need for induction. In order to up my oxytocin I decided to go to the pub with my partner for lunch 🤣 We sat happily in front of a roaring fire and shared a hot pork sandwich! It was very empowering to know that we’d soon be meeting our little girl and we really enjoyed our last ‘date’ as a couple! I managed the surges with up breathing in between mouthfuls of hot pork sandwich!
When we returned home I got in a warm bubble bath and as the surges became more intense I felt the need to bite down and so I used a baby teether and found this really helped. After the bath I became a bit anxious as things were really ramping up so we decided to use the tens machine which helped to distract me, however I did feel that it made me tense up rather than relax and I became anxious again so called triage to let them know that I might be seeing them soon! My aim was to stay at home for as long as possible but being a first time mum, I was concerned that things would speed up quickly so we packed up our bags and popped into triage.
By the time we arrived at hospital I started to struggle with the intensity of the contractions and was given codeine and paracetamol. I accepted an examination as I was curious about my own progress and was a bit disappointed to hear that I was still only 1cm, though things were softening up. Suddenly I felt a trickle and realised my waters had broken, the swab test confirmed this and I was immediately offered an augmentation of labour (hormonal drip to speed things up, pethidine or an epidural for pain relief and potentially antibiotics depending on the time it took from waters breaking to birth due to the risk of infection)
I was concerned about whether this kind of intervention was necessary and although I was anxious about coping with the intensity of the surges, I decided to return home to get the oxytocin flowing and keep things progressing naturally which the dr declared was a brave move! I used what I had learned from my antenatal course with Jo and Helen at ‘Becoming Families’ and I set up a calm and relaxing environment at home with battery operated tea lights and music and went to bed. During the night I used up breathing to cope with the surges, drank plenty of water and swayed my hips with each one. I visualised walking up a mountain and as each contraction peaked I imagined pushing a flag into the earth at the peak of the mountain. This continued every 2/3 minutes and contractions were over a minute long. At 4.30am on Monday morning I felt a strong desire to return to hospital for more pain relief.
When I arrived at hospital I was examined again and was still 1cm and was offered the option of going home or staying, I chose to stay in the hope for more pain relief. I was admitted to the antenatal ward alone and was quite sad to say goodbye to my partner but knew that he would be able to return for visiting hours. By 11am things had continued to ramp up and after another examination I was so happy to hear I was 3cm and was finally offered gas and air! I was absolutely overjoyed and although the gas and air didn’t take the pain away, it made me feel lovely and floaty! My partner arrived an hour later and then suddenly a midwife popped by and offered to take me to delivery suite as a room had become available. I was over the moon as I had prepared myself for a lengthy wait and was also high on gas and air!
Upon arriving in my own room I was full of oxytocin and entonox, happily singing along to my birth playlist and bouncing on my ball. The midwife offered to break my second lot of waters which I accepted and I continued to labour quite happily though I was at this point only breathing in the gas and air exclusively and began to experience a bit of a “tripping out” where I felt like I was living everything 3 times over! This made me anxious and I began to overthink what was happening within my body and went to a dark and scary place, knowingly beginning to lose control and beginning to feel disappointed as my expectation of a calm water birth was slipping away. I found the following couple of hours extremely mentally challenging. After so many hours of contractions I began to worry about having the energy to push and at 6/7cm I finally decided to have an epidural so that I could rest and relax. This was the hardest but also the best decision I had made. I’m terrified of needles and especially cannulas, but it wasn’t as bad as I thought and the midwives helped me to relax. I also had a couple of hours on the hormonal drip to help me along as the epidural slowed my progress somewhat. Helen popped in for a visit and some wise words of encouragement in my moment of need. She coached me into a better breathing pattern and I gradually regained control, back to a happy place ️
By 4pm the epidural and hormonal drip worked their magic and I was able to relax, I had some IV antibiotics as it had been 18hours since my waters had broken and by 7pm my midwife announced that I was fully dilated and could start pushing! Thankfully I hadn’t released much of the self-administering epidural and I could feel the pressure to push for myself. Along with some coaching from my amazing midwife, I pushed my baby out myself within 50 minutes, just 10 minutes before her shift ended, which was all the motivation I needed as I was desperate for her to meet my baby!
I touched the head of my baby as I rested between each push and was able to bring her up to my own chest. It was the most incredible feeling. I accepted the injection for 3rd stage whilst having skin to skin for half an hour before handing her to my partner for skin to skin as I was being sick. The anti-sickness injection sorted me out quickly and then I breastfed, completely in awe of my new baby girl and continued to fall in love whilst barely noticing I was being stitched for a second degree tear. My midwife was chatty and just so lovely and my oxytocin continued to flow happily for the night and next day on postnatal ward and the subsequent hazy, loved-up newborn days since 🥰
My wish is that my story will inspire others to trust their own body, feelings and choices 🏻🏻🏻️ You can still have a positive and empowering experience even when things don’t go according to plan. You’ve totally got this mamas!