Welcome to part two of our second birth story. Despite a textbook fast and spontaneous labour the first time around, this baby was in far less of a hurry to come out. If you’ve not read part one, you can find it here. Otherwise, if you’re all up to date, you’ll find us on our way to the hospital, ready to be induced.
Having arrived at the hospital with time to spare, we knew that this time our hospital experience was going to be vastly different. Last time, we’d walked in with me contracting every two minutes and finding it tricky to make it out of the hallway. We’d been shown to a birth room and less than two hours later, our son made his entrance to the world. This time, we arrived in complete calmness although I can still feel the butterflies of anticipation now just writing this! At twelve days over, it was an induction due to dates which pretty much put me at the bottom of the triage list for arrivals meaning we sat in the reception area for a good chunk of time before a midwife called us through. Deep breaths… things were about to start happening.
Despite my nerves, the whole induction process was fairly simple. My midwife explained that she’d monitor the baby for twenty minutes, then they’d do a quick check to make sure that the baby was the right way up and that I was eligible for a pessary induction. If I was, they’d insert the pessary, do a quick stretch and sweep and then monitor the baby for another hour just to make sure all was okay. Apparently the hormones can sometimes cause things to get over excited and that’s not ideal, hence the monitoring before and after.
With that, things began. We hooked up to the monitor, checked a couple of forms and were left to our own devices whilst the monitoring happened. During this time, the presentation scan was done and, as expected, baby was in a perfect position for being born. There’s one thing having a baby teaches you and that’s to lose all sorts of hang ups about being examined down below… I think by this point I was on my fifth person to have a rummage in there. Yay. I was told my cervix was nice and soft but still far back and only 3cm dilated. It meant I was a perfect candidate for pessary induction despite my hopes that they’d do a check and actually I’d be on the way myself!
By 2.30pm everything was in place. The pessary had been tucked up inside, the baby had been monitored and was doing well and they’d chucked another sweep in just for luck. We were shown to our room; a two bed ward purely used for those being induced and currently housing another woman before being told that we could now do what we wanted, just let them know if anything significant happened! How bizarre, to be left free to roam the hospital knowing that inside all of the hormones were setting to work. Dave and I decided to make our way to the hospital restaurant to enjoy potentially our last meal together for a little while; a date of sorts! We ate, chatted and spent the rest of the afternoon walking the hospital grounds with me stopping to do various bounces and walk on and off the curb as we went.
Having returned to the birthing centre, we stopped by the water cooler to fill up the jug and take back to the room. Mid-conversation I felt a rather odd sensation; my waters had gone! The first time around my waters went en-route to the hospital and in the midst of MANY contractions, to the point that I felt the change in pressure but wasn’t aware what had happened until we got out of the car. Finally, this was it, the progress we’d been waiting for! Convinced that this meant contractions were imminent we made our way back to the room and called the midwife.
As my waters went, the pessary fell out when I went to the bathroom to get changed. I was warned that the midwives would put it back in if it came out but they assured me that due to the waters breaking, that was it now, the pessary had done it’s job. They monitored the baby for a bit and then left us to it; another waiting game.
Sitting on the bed, it was hard not to hear the people behind the next curtain as they heard that there were a couple of concerns with their little one’s monitoring. Within minutes they were told a c-section was required and whisked out of the room. Just like that, we were left alone and the reality of how quickly things could change set in! Determined to get things going I paced the room, bounced on the ball and we attempted to watch TV shows on Dave’s phone – anything to get those oxytocin levels going.
Despite our best efforts, nothing happened. The odd twinge here and there quickly dwindled and I felt certain that my intense focus on wanting to get things going was what was holding us back. That was singularly the worst part of being induced; being stuck in the hospital when all I wanted was to hug the toddler, snuggle on my sofa or curl up under my own quilt. Instead, Dave and I had a restless night trying to balance between the chair, the bed and a birthing ball; both of us intently aware of the lack of sleep we were getting and the lack of progress that had happened.
The next day was much of the same; another roommate arrived and the awkwardness of being in such a small space together saw us take ourselves out into the hospital grounds again. From the word go we said that we wouldn’t text anyone but the long timescales meant we were being inundated with worried texts from our loved ones. Dave took on the role of sending out a blanket reply. We felt like complete frauds, all these people worrying about us and I was happily there without a contraction or even minor ache in the world!
It was at this point that I wished we’d had more contact with the midwives. Whilst their hands off approach suited us wonderfully most of the time it did mean we were met with quite the shock; at 5pm they came to do some monitoring with a passing comment about ‘just waiting for a bed on labour ward’. What?! No-one had mentioned that there was a time limit on things or given me any indication of what was happening. In reality I thought I’d have 48 hours after my waters went but we weren’t really sure. I told the midwife that that couldn’t happen as we wanted a water birth; ‘it’s been more than 24 hours since your waters went, it’s too risky for a water birth now…’ Fantastic.
I’m not ashamed to say that I cried as they left. I was terrified of being induced full stop, with my worst fear being the drip. Suddenly that was our reality and the water birth I’d so desperately wanted having experienced it the first time, had completely disappeared. I felt angry that nothing was progressing, that my body hadn’t kicked itself into labour alone and that I should have stood by my plans to delay induction a little longer. A good wallow and a hot shower later, I felt far more at peace with the plans. Labour ward was busy and as the baby was perfectly happy, we weren’t a priority.
Around 7pm we were monitored and the midwives asked if I was contracting. Could I feel that? On the monitor we could see baby’s heart rate was moving around and certain times and that was normally associated with contractions but they weren’t being picked up. Despite some back pain, I was perfectly comfortable. The monitors were removed and off they went only to return ten minutes later to re-apply them, they weren’t happy with the dips in the baby’s heart rate and wanted a doctor to come and check things out.
Dave and I sat worriedly as we waited for someone to come and take a look. The midwife had been due to end her shift but had come back after her handover to get the second lot of monitoring done and raise her concerns. Despite openly wanting to hate her earlier for delivering the news about labour ward, I could have happily hugged her for being so invested in our care. A doctor checked us, was fairly unconcerned but wanted the monitors left on. Then, just as we were settling in, there was a knock at the door. A room was ready for us, we were off to labour ward! Thirty three hours after arriving at the hospital, twenty eight hours after my waters breaking, we were definitely about to get some progress!
It’s such a long ol’ birth story, I thought I’d break it into more manageable chunks to read. That and my fingers would have dropped off from all the typing. If you didn’t read part one, you can find that here. As soon as the next part’s up, I’ll link it here!