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Hayley's Story

Updated: Dec 15, 2021

A fast and positive induction story involving obstetric cholestasis.

I found out at 31 weeks that I had obstetric cholestasis and was told I'd be induced between 37 and 38 weeks. I'd been induced 6 years previously when I'd had my son so at first, I felt ok about it but then the anxiety started to creep in. I decided to do whatever I could to help prepare myself for labour and induction.

I was lucky and won an Instagram competition to complete a pregnancy yoga and hypnobirthing course with Amy. I started when I was about 31 weeks pregnant and it was just what I needed to get my head in the right mindset. Every week, my mum would come over to put our son to bed and my husband and I would settle down on the sofa (we did our course via zoom due to lockdown restrictions) and spend a couple of hours learning all about pregnancy, labour and hypnobirthing. I was glad we did this together.

As well as hypnobirthing, I decided to do anything else I could to get myself mentally prepared. Even things that I would previously think were 'silly' I decided to give a go! I'm glad I did because if nothing else, they all helped me feel more prepared. Amy mentoned a study that said that eating 6 dates a day in the lead up to labour can help, so started that a few weeks before I was due to be induced. Amy also recommended acupuncture and so I decided to give that a go too! I had a few sessions that were to help relax me and then when I was 37 weeks, I could have the treatment to help induce labour. I also bought Clary sage, lots of snacks and new pads for my tens machine. I packed my hospital bag and typed up my birth preferences. I used my hypnobirthing book to type up birth affirmations and a reminder on up breathing and down breathing. I listened to the hypnobirthing tracks and read positive induction stories online. I bounced on my birthing ball and practised the yoga positions that I had been learning in my weekly classes with Amy. All these things helped ease my anxieties and get me in the right headspace.

At 37 weeks I went to hospital for a scan and consultant appointment. All was looking well, and the consultant asked when I'd like to be booked in for induction. This was a major bonus of being induced, we could plan when to go in! We asked to be booked in for the following Monday, which again helped ease my anxiety because I had a plan in place and knew childcare for our son could be organised.

I went in on Monday to be induced. At about 12pm, they put in a pessary that releases hormones to see if it will start labour. It didn't really do much apart from give me period pain/back ache and made me feel sore and uncomfortable. So, they left me with it in and then said they'd check it after 24 hours if labour hadn't started. Nothing really happened. My husband and I played card games, watched Task Master on the iPad and ate snacks, trying to get the oxytocin flowing! I spent all this time bouncing on my birthing ball.

Tuesday morning, I had a couple of hours of contractions. These felt like period cramps, I was fine and could breathe through them, with the help of my tens machine. I also used a photo of our son when he was a newborn to fan myself when I felt hot, looking at him helped me remember the aim of the day, another beautiful baby! After about 2 hours, the contractions just disappeared, and nothing happened.

They checked me about 12pm on the Tuesday and said that if I was dilated enough then they could break my waters but if not then they'd leave the pessary for another 6 hours and then maybe put another one in, which I really didn't want because it just made me feel really sore and miserable!

The midwife said I was 2cm so they could take me to labour ward and break my waters and see if that started labour but told me to chill and eat lunch first, so I did! After lunch they took me to labour ward and put me on the monitor and said they'd get a midwife to come and break my waters in a minute (this was a student midwife).

The monitor couldn't pick up the baby unless I was on the bed, but she was trying to get it to work with me standing up or on the birth ball to try and get labour to start. So, I had to get on and off a few times, then I got back on the bed and felt some fluid and told her that either my waters had broken themselves or I'd wet myself! As soon as my waters had broken themselves (we still weren't sure at this point if it was my waters) I felt like I needed a poo and told her that. She said to go to the toilet, and she'd come and check if the fluid was clear and if it might be my waters. Then I stood up and immediately everything felt different.

Contractions started but they were nothing like the ones before. These came quick and were a horrible overwhelming feeling over my whole body and I went hot and said I felt faint and immediately asked for gas and air. Because it was literally my first couple of contractions, she said she'd have to go and check if I could have it because it was so early in labour! When she was out of the room, the contractions kept coming and were insane and I panicked and told my husband that I couldn't do it and needed an epidural (I'd had about 4 contractions at this point but couldn't believe how intense they were). He reminded me that I could do it and we were soon to meet our new baby.

The midwife came back in to say it was still quite early for gas and air and I said I needed an epidural because the contractions were so bad!! Then I said I needed a poo again, then quickly it changed to "pressure" and the midwife stopped and said... "Do you need to push?" This was literally after a tiny amount of time and I said "no... Maybe... YES", she quickly got me up on the bed (on my knees, holding onto the upright headrest) and ran to get the senior midwife.

I had the gas and air and my body started pushing my baby down, the gas and air was amazing and helped me stay calm and focus on pushing with each contraction. I held onto it so tightly that I broke its handle! It was quite incredible, feeling my body take over, it was in complete control! 40 minutes after my waters breaking, our baby girl was born! I could feel her moving down and then the midwives said her head was there, I then waited until my body had another urge to push to birth her.

When she was born, they put her straight onto my chest and I couldn't believe it! I burst into tears and kept crying out "I did it! I did it!" I was so proud of myself and amazed she was here!

The midwives told me I was bleeding and asked if they could give me an injection to try and stop it, which I said was fine. They also asked if they could manage the delivery of the placenta to help slow the bleeding, again I agreed. I was so happy to have my baby that I wasn't worried at all! Luckily the bleeding stopped, and I felt the urge to push and my placenta was delivered quickly too. I was expecting the midwives to say that I'd need stitches but was absolutely thrilled when they said that although I had a small tear, it would heal by itself and didn't need any stitches!

After everything was done, the lovely midwife helped clean me up and get back into the freshly made bed. I felt lucky, the postnatal ward was busy, but they didn't need my labour room back yet, so we could stay for hours, just the 3 of us. We had time to cuddles take photos and get our little lady dressed in her first outfit. We even had time to let all our friends and family know she was here, and face timed a few loved ones! I was so excited to share our news.

Afterwards I was in a bit if shock at how quickly it had all happened so my husband fed me jelly babies and we just kept saying repeatedly "I can't believe it was so quick! I can't believe she's here!". It was an amazing feeling! I was on cloud nine after such an amazing birth and look back on it as an amazing experience.


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