A big belated thank you for your advice on sweeps. Freya was born on the full moon of Tuesday 16th (3.825kg, 53cm). Though 12 days past her due date she zoomed out when she decided it was time. I had 2 sweeps in the end. The labour was quick and easy.
I gave birth under the wonderful care of Homerton Hospital midwives as there was some concern over reduced foetal movement. After I’d been monitored for 30 minutes and waited around a bit, a doctor came to see me to discuss induction. I’d been in labour for 4 hours at this point but had been carefully breathing through surges so was very calm, though dehydrated from vomiting. I had been expecting to vomit as contractions during my period also made me vomit most months. As the doctor talked to me about induction, I asked if I could just stay on the ward now that I was there. He regretfully informed me they had no beds for observation, only if I had an induction. I assumed he meant to induce the labour further, or maybe I was in some kind of pre-labour? I think we were both quite baffled by the situation.
Luckily a midwife examined me and said that the message that I was in labour had gotten lost between the front desk and the assessment room. She ran to speak to the doctor when she saw I was dilated and my waters were broken, then got me the best room in the birth centre (it was quite quiet that morning luckily for us!). I then snoozed through contractions for about 4 hours, along with my best friend and mum. Unexpectedly I wanted to be sat absolutely still and silent through labour, so I gave the bed to my mum for a nap. The TENS machine was very very good for me. I later found out that, presumably because only the hindwaters had broken, I was feeling a lot of pressure in my abdomen when I was in any position other than sat bolt upright like a statue of a king in a crypt.
After those 4 hours, the midwives explained that my dilation hadn’t changed but they could feel the pouch of water below the baby’s head and offered to break that, which I accepted. I was delighted when my waters broke properly – I actually got up and ran across the room saying that I could dance, finally I could move my middle again! After that labour progressed extremely quickly. The midwives planned to re-examine me 2 hours later but very soon after the waters broke I got quite teary and thought “I can’t do this” immediately followed by “that sounds like transition” followed by “can’t be I was only 3cm dilated 30 mins ago”. So I kept breathing and enjoyed the gas and air, weirdly as much for the sound it makes when you breathe out as for the drug. Maybe a birth kazoo/megaphone with a nice low pitch could be a good product idea!
I kept asking to get in the pool and being told it was too soon but when I explained that my body had started pushing they examined me to find I was 9cm and the pool was filled sharpish. And yes: the midwife left the room and came back to find me gone to have a poo. She shouted through the door “that’s your baby, come out or you’ll have it on the toilet”. Luckily I got to get into the pool, which was blissful, and Freya emerged soon after. We were discharged later that day. I attach some images of Freya’s birthday for you.
All through labour I had snippets of the birth preparation audio floating through my head like an auditory hallucination from heaven. That and the wonderful assessment midwife’s words of “you have a high pain threshold, sweetie” before she got me into the delivery suite echoed in my head like a mantra.
Giving birth was an incredible experience and I can’t thank you enough for the tools and support you provided throughout the preparation. None of the changes to the plan phased me and I think that is a credit to the groundedness you helped instill.
Thanks so much! Freya says thank you, too. She was very relaxed when she came out and still is.