Almost 3 weeks since Otis saw the outside world for the very first time and my memories of how it all happened are fast slipping away! Mother Nature is very cunning! So this is how she tricks us all into doing it again.. Time to write it down before my mind loses it completely!
I suppose it all started on Tuesday 8th November, when Potato- as he was then known, decided to go into hibernation for the winter and take a break from his usual dancing around, leaving his poor mama and daddy wondering where on earth he had got to! He’d done this a few times now, but at almost 39 weeks we popped along to the hospital to check in on him.. Hooked up to the CTG machine, there he was, heart racing along like a steam train, but still no wriggling. Then came the first option- it’s happened one time too many, would we like an induction?? No thank you very much! Was my first thought! Pumped full of fake hormones? Increased risk of interventions? Bye bye home birth? We will be going home now please! He’ll probably wake up in an hour or so and we can carry on patiently waiting for his arrival.
Happy with our decision, we came back the following day for a scan and further monitoring. Growth all fine, but still no wriggling, even on the scan. We were offered the induction again, but this time they sounded a lot more serious… It was so NOT what we were hoping for. My visions of curling up together in our cosy bed at home with our brand new baby, midwives bringing me a cup of tea and telling me how wonderful I was for managing to birth at home, were fast flying out of reach. Cue entry of one of the brilliant home birth midwives to talk me down and knock some sense back into me. It doesn’t matter where we birth, we can still have that experience, that support and everything we had planned for- just in the hospital. For once I wasn’t the one being strong and thinking practically, she made me realise how much of an affect a brilliant midwife can have on a woman, she totally changed our birth experience for the better and for this I will be eternally grateful!
We we took some time, headed home for a few hours to sort out the house, and our heads (!), read as much research as we could on inductions for reduced movement and returned that evening Confident we’d made the right choice to be induced. Labour ward super busy, we weren’t able to have the induction that night, instead had a sweep and awaited the induction the following morning. 3am, think this sweep might have helped.. Up and down to the bathroom with cramps, could feel regular tightenings, but no pain.. 6am, Contractions appearing on the monitor regularly, still no pain.. Maybe I’m magic, I thought! Maybe this is secretly it and he’ll just pop out! Or maybe we won’t even need to be induced, maybe this is just it?
11am, still ‘contracting’ according to the monitor, but couldn’t have told you when, so its a choice of the propess or breaking my waters.. Keen to take things as slow as possible, we opted for the propess. We sneaked off for a bite of lunch, we’ve surely got somewhere between 24-72 hours ahead of us now? No point in sticking around! Plus a walk’s got to help right? Half way through lunch, (a delicious bowl of pasta!), I couldn’t sit down any longer. Ok! I think we should head back towards the hospital!
TENS machine on, a few laps of the hospital, a run back inside when caught out in the rain and lots of up and down stairs, my ‘trying to ignore it and pretend nothing’s happening’ approach had been exhausted. We headed back to the ward and it was hypnobirthing a-go-go. We had taken hypnobirthing classes in the lead up to our birth, and though initially skeptical, I owe so much of our positive experience to how well this prepared us. I plugged in to my ‘meditation and relaxation’ playlist, thank you very much spotify, closed my eyes and was transported to a host of beautiful places! I walked in Esher Woods, sunbathed in The Costa Brava and sat in the rain in Bushy Park! It was actually working, I couldn’t quite believe it.
This is is when things become a little hazy. Propess came out after 4 hours, maybe this induction was going to be ok after all! I remember things cranked up a notch or two, gas and air was gratefully received. I remember claiming it did ‘NOTHING’ and swiftly retracting that statement after having a rather powerful surge on the loo without it. I lost focus for a while, asked in desperation for an epidural and after being examined (only 3cm!) settled for pethedine. Leon continued to refocus me, reading me scripts, stroking my back and helping me breathe through. My mum arrived with food, and I asked her to stay. Eventually got the pethedine, quickly moved to the labour ward, (I actually ran there, literally, don’t know what came over me!), re-examined, 8cm now! So the pethedine didn’t help, the announcement of ‘you’re 8cm’ did though!! Examinations weren’t in the original plan and ended up being both the most disheartening and motivational part of this experience- so I have no idea if I would recommend them or not! In the next half an hour I was pushing! Oh the relief! This part was wonderful. Can you call it wonderful? The power and control I had, the closeness to meeting our baby, the realisation we had nearly made it; was brilliant, really brilliant. There was meconium in the waters and baby was getting a little distressed- so I found out after he arrived. I was so focussed and so involved in what I was doing, a herd of elephants could have stampeded through and I wouldn’t have noticed. Then, we’d done it. He was on my chest. Out. Here. Done. Did it. No epidural, no pulling him out, we did it. I did it.
I wasn’t at home. I wasn’t stood up. I wasn’t on all fours. I wasn’t burning candles. I wasn’t in the pool. I wasn’t doing so much of what we had ‘planned’, but it was amazing. I was present, I was calm, I was in control and I was happy! The tangible things didn’t matter, I wouldn’t have noticed them anyway. My mind was in the right place and that’s what gave us the positive birth we had always hoped for! Preparation is key, belief is key, support is key!
It’s the most brilliant thing I’ve ever done in my whole life. To all the mamas out there, however your little one made it into the world, I salute you!