I had a relatively easy pregnancy and started looking at hypnobirthing early on. Luke and I completed Amy’s hypnobirthing course as well as the TBU online course which were invaluable for both of us, especially Luke as he gained a good understanding of what to expect during labour.
We were under the care of Oxford/Banbury and were lucky enough to have a lovely midwife throughout pregnancy. I was due mid December, which came and went. As did Christmas and New Year…. In that time our midwife went on maternity leave and we weren’t assigned another one. Once 40 weeks passed I started to feel like a hot potato, being passed from midwife to obstetrician, and back again.
I made it clear that I didn’t want to be induced as I really wanted a water birth at home and was happy to wait for little man to be ready. We were spoken to by 2 consultants and declined daily monitoring at the John Radcliffe Hospital (which is an hour each way for us) and agreed monitoring 3 x a week at the Horton Midwife Led Unit. However, the first day we called in to let them know we were coming, they told us there had been a change in rules and monitoring was no longer allowed.
I spoke to Amy about what was going on and she suggested looking at Warwick hospital. We called Warwick maternity triage, at which point I was 43 weeks and not very optimistic about them taking me. Within an hour the Matron, Sarah, called us back and took the time to walk us through their procedures, including types of induction, what to expect, what their procedures are, all the while reiterating that what I chose to do was my choice. They were happy to transfer our care and asked if we could come in the next day for initial bloods and monitoring before the weekend.
We gladly accepted and headed in Friday morning for the usual and a membrane sweep, at which point I was 2cm dilated (which I had been since 41 weeks). Sarah came down to meet us in person and we were given a tour of the Labour Ward and pool room.
I also decided to schedule induction for the Monday (I was done being pregnant and instantly felt comfortable enough to be induced at Warwick) and went in for daily monitoring over the weekend. On Sunday they detected drops in baby’s heartbeat and asked if we would consider being induced earlier. So we nipped home to shower and check on the dogs before they got picked up and headed back to Warwick, feeling excited.
We went to Swan ward for another CTG and exam. Still at 2cm, we went straight to labour ward, into our own room to have waters broken at 5pm. I wanted to avoid synthetic oxytocin so we went for a walk in the car park an hour later and thankfully I started getting contractions. By 8pm they were regular and I started using the tens machine. The midwife and consultants all came in to introduce themselves after the evening shift change.
We were using wireless monitoring but kept losing baby’s heartbeat as he was so low down. At 11:30 the midwives tried to connect an internal monitor to his head but all the devices they tried weren’t working and lying on my back was so painful, I had no energy by the time I got back up. I tried gas and air and wish I asked for it earlier, it was lovely.
By now contractions were coming thick and fast and a Midwife was sat with us to constantly hold the heart monitor in place. The consultant came in to ask if I would consider an epidural to allow me to lie down and leave monitoring on without the midwife needing to be there. I agreed and Luke had to triple check as I went in adamant I wasn’t going to have an epidural or any interventions if possible but it was right for me at the time and I’m so glad I did. Within 30 minutes it was done and we were both able to snooze, it was bliss. At 2:30am I had another exam and surprisingly was fully dilated, which would explain the sudden peak in contractions. An hour later I started pushing, which is harder than it looks when you can’t feel! After an hour nothing was happening and the midwives called in the consultant who confirmed that baby was facing sideways and not budging.
From here it all escalated pretty quickly as they didn’t want me to keep pushing. We signed forms for a C Section with the agreement to try one last attempt to get baby out via forceps first. I was wheeled into theatre while Luke got changed into scrubs. It was a fast change in environment and activity and I got quite emotional. Once Luke was back by my side I shut my eyes for the foreseeable and asked the consultant to explain everything he was doing. After one big push baby’s head was born, and the rest of him came with another small push. I heard a big cry and the sound of Luke laughing in relief and only opened my eyes once he was placed in my chest.
Jack was born with bright eyes and strong lungs. At 43+3 weeks he came out perfectly formed and chunky, weighing 9lbs & 2oz.
Overall it was a positive experience. I’m glad we were both informed on what to expect. I would encourage anyone to do the same, and even look further into the deliveries and interventions you don’t think you’ll need or want. Interventions aren’t always negative, and you’re not failing at birth by doing what’s right for you and your baby. I would do it all again for him.