Dear Kat,

I hope all is well with you?  Sam is 7 weeks old today and totally adorable.  I found all the birth stories on your website really helpful so thought it would be good to share ours in case it is useful to you.

My due date was the 10th January and a week after that, when Sam hadn’t shown any signs of making an appearance, my dr mentioned the possibility of induction.  Based on everything we had learnt with from you in Hypnobirthing I knew that this was a path I strongly wanted to avoid, as I was keen for a totally natural birth, so I said I didn’t want to think about induction until I was 2 weeks overdue.  11 days past my due date I agreed to have a sweep (this after lots of raspberry leaf tea, walking, yoga) but my cervix was so firmly closed it wasn’t even possible to give me one.  Then I got nervous that Sam was moving around less and ended up going into hospital to be monitored.  He was fine but I realised that if I pushed it over 2 weeks, despite knowing that could be perfectly safe, the doubts would niggle me and I would get a bit paranoid, so eventually we decided I would be induced at 14 days over my due date.

So on the Sunday morning – day 14 – I went into hospital to start the induction process.  Initially the Dr had suggested we start late at night, as that would mean the birth would most likely happen during the day, but I had read the AIMS book on induction (on your recommendation) in preparation, and it said a study had shown that although outcomes for the baby are the same no matter what time you start induction, mothers who had began it in the morning reported higher satisfaction with their birth experience.  

We put up all my affirmations next to my bed.  First I was given prostaglandin gel and then told to go for a walk.  We had a lovely walk through Hyde Park in the sunshine and very mild surges started causing little or no discomfort.  After four hours we returned to hospital and I was examined.  My cervix had started to soften and a midwife was now able to give me a sweep to try and move things along more naturally.  Another four hours later surges hadn’t really picked up much – if anything they had slowed down and when a midwife examined me my cervix was still extremely posterior but I was 1cm dilated, so she offered to break my waters.  By this point it was 10pm and I wanted to give the surges a chance to develop on their own so we decided that we would wait overnight and see what happened.  

Monday morning and the surges had really slowed as to be practically non-existent again, so we decided that my waters would be broken.  This process was a little uncomfortable but I used my hypnobirthing breathing and Jeremy was stroking my hair and it was ok.  Then we went for another walk and the surges started to pick up pace and intensity.  At first they were very manageable but they started getting more intense and happening every few minutes.  Each time they reached a peak I would stop moving and try and think of inflating my balloon and let it fly off into the sky.  I was finding them more and more difficult to handle but was managing and after four hours I was examined by a midwife.  As soon as she started I could tell that my cervix was still really far back, as she was struggling to reach it, and she said it had not yet come forward and I was now just 2cm dilated.  This was totally deflating as although I had managed the surges up and to this point I felt I was already reaching the peak of what I could handle and to have made so little ‘progress’ was depressing.  I therefore decided that despite my desire to avoid one I would have an epidural.

The epidural made the surges a lot more manageable and it would keep wearing off and then I could ask for it to be topped up, however it also slowed the surges down and so we decided to accept the syntocinon drip.  Sam was clearly far too comfortable in there!  So by this point I was wired up from every possible place, epidural in my back, drip in one hand to keep up fluids which they had to alternate with antibiotics every four hours as I was also GBS positive, then synto going into the other hand, and a catheter so I didn’t need to go to the loo as after two top ups of the epidural my legs had given way on the way to the toilet and four midwives and Jeremy had to pick me up off the floor back onto the bed!!

The epidural also made me very shaky but I kept concentrating on my breathing to calm my body down and found that if I let out a sort of moan/hum when I breathed out this helped hugely.  Jeremy was stroking my hair throughout which was also amazing and we putting on some of the calming playlist I had downloaded onto my phone.

At 10pm on the Monday night the midwife came to examine me.  The Dr had passed by earlier when I was dozing and had told Jeremy that if nothing had happened by morning we would need to do a Caesarean as I would be too exhausted to push Sam out.  I was glad that I didn’t hear this conversation!  Before the examination they said they would examine me next at 2am so it was clear they didn’t expect me to be very far along, but it turned out that I was now 10cm dilated.  What a relief!

We waited an hour for the epidural to wear off so I would be able to feel Sam as he came out and then another hour of breathing/pushing hard into my bottom and out he popped, a beautiful 8lb 3oz baby boy.  He’s certainly been keeping us busy since then, but we are over the moon with him, and he is generally a very relaxed and calm baby.

Despite the fact that his birth was pretty far from the totally natural birth I had imagined I still had an amazingly positive experience and a huge part of that was down to hypnobirthing.  I felt very in control and empowered to make the best choices for me and Sam.

Thank you!

Anna, Jeremy and Sam xx

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