The night before my induction I remember frantically googling ‘Induction Stories’ in the hope of reading as many as possible. It was difficult to find stories that trod the delicate line of being honest without being a bit frightening too! During my pregnancy I had ‘planned’ to have a lovely water birth in my local midwifery unit with minimal pain relief. I could laugh at my naivety now! The reality was I ended up being induced just over two weeks early at the hospital instead. I had attended hypnobirthing classes by the lovely Bump to Baby Chapter during my last trimester and although I missed the final class due to my early induction, the hypnobirthing techniques and calm, clear advice given by Beth and Kate was invaluable. If you are Gloucestershire based and currently pregnant I highly recommend checking them out! I’m writing this post because I believe knowledge is power and I would have liked to have heard about the process from another Mama at the time. My labour was still an amazing and empowering experience and I hope that sharing this with you helps you to feel more positive about the induction process and a bit less frightened!
My Induction & Hypnobirthing
My induction began at thirty-eight weeks due to yet another visit to triage with reduced movement concerns. I had an anterior placenta which effected my ability to feel Freddie move, but there had also been some (unfounded it turned out!) growth concerns throughout my pregnancy and as I was technically full term the decision was made to induce me. The consultant offered to start it there and then and in my very shocked state I actually agreed until G pulled me aside and reminded me we had two dogs at home alone and no bag!
The next day we had a final breakfast out together (I wish I had savoured eating in peace with two hands!) and headed to the hospital. The first stage of an induction is a twenty-four hour pessary so I had that inserted on Saturday morning before being taken up to the labour ward. This was very uncomfortable and the midwife told me afterwards that you are entitled to ask for gas and air which I did for subsequent pessaries/examinations and it took the edge off. Every woman is different though, you may not find the examinations as uncomfortable as I did! Twenty four hours later, because I hadn’t progressed, I was given a six hour pessary. By this time I had done several laps of the hospital and was trying to stay as active as I could. We were also in a private room which my husband had asked for- always worth asking! I much preferred this and instantly relaxed. We kept it dark and quiet and I had a birthing ball and this hypnobirthing track by Maggie Howell on my Iphone. I had also created a board of positive birth affirmations on Pinterest which I kept scrolling through (link to a board I have created for you here!). I did start to get some contractions and was given some paracetamol to help with the pain. I was also lucky enough to make use of the giant bath on the ward which helped a lot with the pain and does make me even more keen to have a water birth next time if possible!
Down to Delivery Suite
On Sunday evening, my contractions were still not frequent enough so it was decided I would need another six hour pessary. Before this could be done, they needed to monitor Freddie and that’s where everything went a bit nuts. I was on the birthing ball and his heart rate kept dipping which they thought might be because the monitor was slipping. When I was moved onto the bed it kept happening. The room quickly filled with midwives and doctors and I was taken down to the delivery suite. Within minutes I had a cannula in my hand (not ideal for someone who hates needles) and it was decided that they would attempt to break my waters. Although this was very scary, the midwives kept me informed throughout which helped a lot. Having my waters broken was very painful but ultimately necessary and I progressed quickly from there- shout out to Debbie who had this rather difficult task because without her I would have likely needed the hormone drip or a C-section!
By the time I had had my waters broken, I was in need of something stronger than paracetamol. My midwife offered me Diamorphine given via an injection which I agreed to have. It didn’t take the pain away but it did take the edge of and my husband said that he could notice the difference in how I was coping after I was given it. A few hours later, I was desperate for an epidural (which wasn’t what I had planned originally!), after being examined though it turns out this was because I was fully dilated! I think it is really important to add that if you want or need an epidural then have one, it does’t mean that your birth isn’t natural or mean you can’t cope and you can absolutely use hypnobirthing and have pain relief. It’s not about being a martyr. One thing that Bump to Baby Chapter emphasises during their classes is that there is no wrong way to have a baby. You should feel empowered to choose whichever pain relief you want or feel you need. That being said, Freddie was well on his way so I ended up having him with no pain relief apart from gas and air…
It goes without saying that birth is painful but once I stopped panicking and actually breathed like my midwife was telling me too I found it a lot easier. I focused on the contractions and nothing else. I sort of retreated into myself and my midwife helped me to trust my body to do it’s thing. She didn’t tell me when to push or what to do and I’m really glad about that because it helped me to feel that I could do it on my own. Of course it was intense and painful (and I have to admit to stubbornly deciding near the end that I wasn’t going to continue because it hurt and I was tired!) but my body sort of took over and I trusted it to do what it needed to do.
And he was here!
Freddie was born at two-fifty in the morning, six pounds and seven ounces of gorgeous, squishy newborness! I had a couple of stitches but nothing major and an extra go at the gas and air helped me to forget about the pain. We did skin-to-skin straight away which was incredible and I tried to feed him soon after (more about our breastfeeding journey in this post). What I really want to empathise is once he was born, nothing that had happened before mattered anymore. I didn’t remember the panicky moments or the examinations. It was just about him.
My Induction ended with a birth with barely any pain relief (ouch!) and the fact that it wasn’t in a birthing pool in a dimly lit room made absolutely no difference to me. After you grow a baby and give birth (whether that’s vaginally or via a C- Section) you really feel that your body can do anything and that is so empowering. If you are about to be induced, please don’t feel frightened. Trust your body, you can do this! If you don’t feel like you know what is going on, please ask. You have a right to be informed about the process and understand what is going to happen. Focus on the fact that at the end of it you will have your beautiful baby and I promise you that will be all that matters to you!
If you have had an induction please do leave your positive comments or advice in the comments. You never know who is reading and who your words will help!
Thanks for reading,