He’s here! Induction birth story

Jenny • Married mum of 1 <3 🌈


Elliot Louis - 8lb 4oz.

Hi All, I have enjoyed being a member of this group and found it so helpful during my pregnancy. I particularly enjoyed reading the birth stories and thought now that I am 18 days postpartum, it's time to share mine!

At a growth scan at 37 weeks, they decided to induce me at 39 weeks as baby was looking on the bigger side and because my blood pressure had been borderline-high for a while.

We were disappointed to be booked in for induction (despite realising its medical necessity) because we had heard so many horror stories. Also I knew that in these Covid times my husband wouldn’t be able to join me until I was in active labour. Therefore, I did everything I could to try and bring on labour naturally, or at least to ‘ripen’ my cervix. I bounced on a ball, drank raspberry leaf tea, had sex, ate hot curry, and went walking. Here are the possible early labour signs I experienced in the run up to the birth which was on 5th June:

24-26th May - Had large bloody shows (according to the midwife even though they were so big they were all parts of the show)

26th May - Had first stretch and sweep (very painful. Doctor said I was 1cm dilated and cervix soft)

Had second stretch and sweep on 28th May. Cramps intensified after and had another show.

I had hot flashes, headache, nausea, backache, urge to do number 2, and increased heartburn over the next few days. Was having period cramps in the evenings but nothing consistent enough to time.

29th May- by now I was really fed up of the false starts. I went on a walk and then had really intense contractions when we got back which hurt. They turned into more regular, weaker ones, which disappeared by bed time.

30th June - bloody show all day

2nd June- final stretch and sweep

3rd June - Big bloody show and painful cramps.

I went in to be induced on 3rd June at 4pm. I was still only 1cm dilated and my cervix was stretchy. Had the pessary inserted at 6pm. At 8:30pm I feel a trickle down there- I’d been DREAMING of this happening for ages so at first I can’t believe it’s the waters and assume it’s discharge but my underwear is really wet. I get really excited and the midwife asks me to go for a walk with a big pad on so we can check to see if it’s actually my waters. Next time I check there’s pink water on it! They confirm it’s waters and monitor baby’s heart for a while. Then I have a huge gush around 11 which lasted a long time. It shocked me how much there was! It soaked multiple pairs of underwear and the bed. I go to the loo to wait for more water to come out before I go back to my (now freshly remade) bed and the pessary falls out.

Since my waters have broken they have notified the delivery suite but they don’t have a room yet. Throughout the night contractions intensify and I time them until they are 5 mins apart. I can’t sleep because I’m breathing through them. I have some codeine which works for a while early on. I labour in the pitch black, breathing, feeling like a cat giving birth in the shed and worried that the midwives aren’t taking me seriously (it’s funny looking back and remembering I was worried the baby might just pop out already haha). I really wished my partner could be there with me but also it felt quite special to be finally experiencing this on my own. Baby and me, breathing in the dark. I would rate the pain 5-6 out of 10- enough to make me groan a little but I can breathe through them. I doze off for a little bit and at 6am finally there’s room for me on the delivery suite. I’m taken down and my husband arrives.

4th June

6:30 am - We meet our midwives in our birthing room, who check my cervix. I’m at 3cm! Despite contracting naturally I have to have the oxytocin drip (starts 8:30) which intensifies contractions. I get really woozy when it is plugged into my cannula, but this could just be because I’m not good with needles etc!

Because I keep moving (to go to the loo), and baby keeps moving, the heartbeat monitors won’t stay on my belly so we have to have a monitor clipped to baby’s head. I was not happy about this- it is one of the only things I said I didn’t want in my birth preferences. However, we understand that they need to be able to monitor baby. I found it quite uncomfortable having that wire ‘hanging’ out of me, and by the end of the labour it had become sore. It also kept coming unstuck from my leg and hanging down, which was annoying.

12pm - I have many urges to go to the loo still and they are concerned because I’m hardly passing any urine even though I need to go. It turns out that baby’s head is covering the urethra and preventing me from weeing, so I had a catheter put in (something else I felt really squeamish about and wanted to avoid), which took several attempts and wasn’t the nicest experience! When it was in, it was a relief not to have to get up to go to the loo, and to know my bladder was actually emptying.

Throughout this early stage of labour my temperature is taken often and I end up having multiple blood tests because I have a slight temperature. We try to bring it down with paracetamol but it doesn’t work so they tell me that both myself and the baby will have to have antibiotics after the birth and stay in hospital a bit longer (this made me really sad at the time).

The oxytocin drip is turned up and down according to how many contractions I have and how intense they are. They are getting harder to breathe through but I turn down pain relief (thinking I’ll need these options more later). Eventually they are so intense that I start the gas and air. It doesn’t help the pain but does make me feel drunk and forgetful, and it’s nice to feel like I’m doing something. We try different positions- I liked standing and holding the bed. Lying on my side was excruciating at this stage. A lot of this stage I don’t remember very well because of the gas and air. The midwife urges us to put music on, we choose a happy hits playlist on Spotify. I don’t remember the music and hardly register the songs because the pain is so intense.

At this point I’m crying through the contractions and there’s not much break in between them. I’m now contracting in the front and back like a vice and it feels like there’s no room to breathe. I remember joking about how I always wanted to know how a contraction felt. For me it started like bad period pains under my belly, then became more of a squeeze-tightening pain under my belly, which gradually spread to squeezing in the back as well.

3pm - I vaguely remember them checking my cervix at this point (it’s super painful and I’m screaming) and I’m only 5cm. At some point the midwife tells me my ‘rectum is full’ - still don’t know why she told me that?!

4pm - My husband can see how much I’m struggling and knows I won’t bring up pain relief myself (I’m stubborn!) He urges me to get the epidural and I don’t need convincing. The anaesthetist arrives quickly but the contractions make it hard to keep still when they put it in. It takes two attempts and it’s really painful despite her injecting pain relief first. The midwife has to pause the oxytocin while they put it in because I can’t keep still. The anaesthetist puts in an extra spinal blocker while she inserts it because I’m really struggling. It gives me some relief and the epidural makes me instantly super drowsy (my eyes start to close) and woozy. She’s concerned that this reaction could be more than my usual wooziness which could suggest my blood pressure is falling. She tells me she is worried that the epidural was put in the wrong place- luckily I’m too drowsy to panic about this. After a while we decide the wooziness was just me and I doze off for a little while.

At one point my blood pressure drops dramatically and several doctors come in, concerned. Then it spikes high, cue more panic. I am given medicine to lower it. We realise at this point that the epidural hasn’t worked properly because parts of me are not numb and I can feel some contractions with some pain, enough to make me moan a little. I press on the pump they gave me (to add more numbness) but it doesn’t really help.

1 hour later I’m at 7cm.

My consultant obstetrician comes in concerned and says we will check at 7:30pm and if there’s no progress by then we may have to have a caesarean. I reaaaaallllly don’t want this. We increase the oxytocin drip to try and help.

7:45pm - I am 9cm dilated. There is a ‘lip’ of cervix left in the way. They try to push it out of the way with their hands.

The midwives change shift.

9pm last check of cervix- the lip is still there. They give me one more hour to try and get to 10cm and avoid a c-section. They turn me on the side and one hour later, I’m at 10cm.

11pm I started to feel uncomfortable down below. Lots of pressure and I could feel the foetal heartbeat monitor moving further out of my vagina when I pushed. I said I wanted to push (partly because I’m uncomfortable and partly because I want to avoid a c-section) and start pushing. I push for 40 minutes. The doctor checks me and the baby isn’t in the right position to be pushed out of the birth canal, so needs to be turned. Also, his heart rate was up.

Continued in comments (it was too long!)