On Induction Of Labour

Being induced was never in my birth plan. But then again, I don’t suppose any woman plans to have an induction.

Despite this, that’s how my baby girl came into the world.

On paper, my labour probably looks horrendous. It really wasn’t. Yes, it was pretty much everything I didn’t want, but it was really fine. 

I was lucky enough to meet some amazing midwives and the level of care I received while in hospital was fantastic. What’s more, it was nowhere near as awful as I thought it would be.

I spent a lot of my pregnancy scared about labour. Fearful of the pain more than anything else.

For me though, the morning sickness was far worse. The labour, while not easy, was perfectly manageable.

So I’ve written this post to show that you can have a positive labour, even if it doesn’t go to plan.

I was a week overdue and couldn’t sleep. I was uncomfortable and fed up. Where was my baby?
After a few weeks of Braxton Hicks, my contractions had all but disappeared and it didn’t look like she’d be here anytime soon.

Around 4am I started to worry. I was used to not sleeping well as Alice used to spend most of the night kicking me. 

That night though, I couldn’t remember the last time I had felt her kick. 

When you’re pregnant, you’re continually told to get in touch with triage if you’re even slightly worried about something.

I rang the hospital and they told me to come in to be assessed for reduced movements.

When I got there, they hooked me up to a monitor which showed both mine and Alice’s heartbeats. 

After an hour of constant monitoring, I was examined by a doctor who concluded that while baby seemed perfectly fine, they might as well kick-start my labour.

Luckily, there had been a few cancellations so my induction was booked for 10.30 that morning.

Greg and I went home to re-pack our hospital bags, excited that we were finally going to meet our baby.

While we waited to go back to the hospital, we rang our families to tell them the news. Then before we knew it, it was time to get back in the car.

Despite always fearing an induction, all I felt on the drive back to the hospital was calm. I knew this was the right thing to happen.

I think all women get to a point in their pregnancy when you just want to meet your baby. And no matter what happens in the meantime, knowing that moment is going to happen any day is all you need to get you through.

After a few delays, I was finally induced around 1.30pm. My contractions started an hour later, and they came thick and fast.

I’m not sure how long it was until they next examined me but I’d gone from 1cm to 4cm dilated. Finally, I was given gas and air to manage the pain.

Those first few hours of contractions were definitely the worst. The amazing thing is, you soon get used to the pain and it becomes bearable. Especially with gas and air.

The rest of my labour moved slowly. Around 6am on the Tuesday, my waters broke. Another check confirmed I was 8cm dilated. Almost on the home stretch!

Then I suddenly got an overwhelming urge to push. I couldn’t hang on, despite what the midwife said.

Greg was amazing from start to finish. He gave me the calm and quiet I needed to focus. He talked when I wanted to chat. He held my hand and rubbed my back when I was in pain. He was the perfect birth partner, just as I knew he would be.

Eventually, I was told to go with my body. After an hour or so of pushing though, my cervix became inflamed. I went from 8cm to 6cm dilated.

If I’d been able to hang on, Alice would have come out in a few pushes, I’m certain.

Because my cervix was inflamed, they told me I’d need to have an epidural and just wait it out until I was 10cm dilated and could push again.

It was just my luck that the epidural wore off after a few hours, and needed to be topped up twice before I was ready to push again.

At 9pm, I was 9.5cm dilated. I was told they’d give me an hour of pushing. If she didn’t come in that time, they’d take me to theatre.

45 minutes later, she still hadn’t budged. The little monkey had turned her head to the side so it was going to be impossible to get her out with pushing alone.

I was prepped for theatre. If they couldn’t coax her out with forceps, they were going to give me a general anaesthetic and perform a C-section.

It didn’t come to that. The anaesthetic I was given to numb the area didn’t kick in until Alice was out of me. 

After over 33 hours of labour, Alice was delivered by forceps at 10.56pm on Tuesday 22nd November.

She was placed on my chest before being taken away to be cleaned and weighed. 
She was 7lbs 11oz of perfection. We were finally parents!


Last Few Weeks Of Being Pregnant…

Plenty happened in those final few weeks before Alice was born.

Greg and I attended Parentcraft classes, giving us the chance to meet other expectant parents in our area.

There were four sessions overall, covering everything from what to expect during labour, what might go wrong, pain relief options, and baby feeding.

Some sessions were helpful and others less so. It was at these sessions we met Izzie and Sean, who were expecting little Theo just two days after Alice’s due date.

Once we began our maternity leave, Izzie and I met up a few times. We tried an Aquanatal class but found it a bit odd. So we stuck to cake instead, sharing our fears and excitement about our impending labours. And we’re still meeting up to this day, only this time with both babes too!

I still had a few antenatal appointments with my midwife, Annie. I wrote my birth plan with her help. I knew that every labour was different and that it was all too common for your birth plan to go out of the window.

Despite this, I planned to have a water birth in Stepping Hill’s Birth Centre.

Having completed a tour of the hospital a few weeks earlier, there was no way I wanted to give birth in a delivery room. They seemed sterile and cold in contrast to the spa-like calmness of the rooms in the Birth Centre.

As for pain relief, I was open to options but prepared to go as far as I could on gas and air. I’d read up about epidurals and one of them was the last thing I wanted.

Given the choice, I wanted to have a natural birth, with as little medical intervention as possible.

Yes it would be painful, but I wanted to see what my body was capable of.

My birth plan was signed off. I was healthy, baby was healthy, and as long as nothing major happened in the meantime, it looked probable that my labour would take place in the Birth Centre.

Then I hit the 36 week mark and things changed slightly.

I went to my antenatal appointment as usual, handing over my urine sample for testing. This time though, there were traces of protein which can be a sign of pre-eclampsia.

What’s more, when Annie felt my stomach, she told me she thought Alice had gone breech. After weeks of being head down, this was the last thing I needed to hear.

She made me an appointment for an ultrasound scan the next day at the hospital and told me if her fears were confirmed, I’d be booked in for a caesarean section.

I knew it wasn’t the end of the world if I did have pre-eclampsia or if Alice was breech, but at the time it felt like everything was going wrong.

However, the scan confirmed Alice was still head down and healthy. A second urine sample showed no signs of protein and all was well again.

I breathed a sigh of relief and went back to enjoying my pregnancy.

Over the next few weeks I had several signs that labour was close, feeling powerful contractions over and over again.

They were all false starts though and before I knew it, my due date came and went and Alice still hadn’t made an appearance.

It wasn’t until my 39th week that I started to get impatient. Where was she? I’d gone all through pregnancy convinced she was going to arrive early.

I’d had our hospital bags packed and ready by week 32, I’d finished work, I’d cleaned the house from top to bottom everyday for the past few weeks.

I’d had a membrane sweep on my due date and gone home with a little spring in my step, certain that I’d go into labour that night.

Nothing happened. I tried eating curry, several times, to kick-start labour. Nothing apart from some painful Braxton Hicks. Pineapple? Still nothing. There’s a whole list of things to try which are supposed to speed labour along, and we tried them all.

My bump was getting bigger by the day, I was barely sleeping, getting up to go to the toilet every 15 minutes, and just generally feeling uncomfortable.

I was getting texts and phone calls daily asking if I’d given birth yet. Every time I ventured out of the house, strangers would ask how long I had left, then look at me in panic when I told them I was already overdue.

Eventually we realised we were just going to have to wait. Alice would come in her own time, when she was ready.

And eight days later, at 41 weeks and one day, she was born.