We had a real sloooooow start (5-6 days of stop/start), but then a super fast finish, so prodromal labour might just be useful after all!
I was checked at 40+2 and was 1-2cm dilated, cervix thin and soft. Sounded good. 2 days of niggling then 5-6 days of on & off contractions (and definite ones, not BH, manageable but getting more powerful day by day), including 3 nights of little sleep as they were waking me, were pretty tiring for me, despite the hypnobabies tracks and techniques working really well. By Tuesday 17th I was sure I wasn’t ready but worried because my son was fighting the contractions and I thought he might be getting tired out too! So I felt I needed him monitoring for my own peace of mind – I called in and they agreed, despite my having an appt about induction for the next day. We got ready and went in, the contractions every 9-12mins but still not “regular”.
I was then 40+9.
I was checked at 9.50am – 4cm dilated, cervix thin but not fully anterior. Baby was absolutely fine! They admitted me to a room on delivery suite, we had a great couple of midwives, used Hypnobabies and coped fine with the contractions I was having, but they were still “irregular”. I felt like things were moving along though and decided to spend the hour before the next check going into really deep hypnosis on the bed, getting totally ready for birthing. That went brilliantly – maybe too brilliantly! Externally I looked like nothing was happening, though I felt it was and was so relaxed I was unable to describe how many, how often or how strong the contractions were. They just felt very natural.
Checked again at 1.50pm – still only 4cm (though different midwife checking). I was utterly miserable at this as they wanted to send me home, saying it wasn’t really active labour. I had to agree – it could have gone on for days longer – but we’d had my boy picked up by my sil already, my parents were travelling down and I had really believed this was it. I think the hypnosis went out of the window at that point as I was so crushed that it didn’t seem I knew my own body after all – and so, so tired. (editors note: it is a shame that care providers don’t trust a mom’s intuition!!!)
I got off the bed and went to the toilet. There was an immediate increase in frequency and power of contractions (3 in 5-6 mins), but I no longer trusted my body. As we left the room I told the midwife I was feeling so hot and trembling with the disappointment of it all. Discharged at 2.15pm.
We walked from delivery suite but by the time we got to the door I felt as if I was totally trembling and couldn’t imagine how I’d get to the car. We stopped just outside delivery suite in the hospital cafe for me to get myself together. I put it down to panic that my body was again going to fail me and I’d need the full induction and so on, but I was so hot and trembly. Dh said I looked totally calm and together and didn’t feel hot and I just wanted to whack him. The pressure waves were powerful and frequent and because I had just dropped totally out of calm hypnosis I was really struggling to manage. I used the breathing techniques that work well with stress and panic and got through it but I felt more and more fixated on getting a grip of myself rather than analysing what was really happening.
Eventually I told dh that I didn’t want to go home, I didn’t know what was happening, but I wanted the safety of the delivery suite and to use some gas & air till I’d got a hold of my emotions. We made our way back super slowly and were readmitted via triage at 4pm. In the triage waiting room, despite it being quite busy, I just did what I had to with each contraction – should have been a clue that this was real! I’m not the most uninhibited person so to drop to my hands and knees in a waiting room in front of lots of strangers was quite unexpected! Looking back, all the signs were that this was transition, but I couldn’t believe it at only 4cm dilated! I just wanted gas & air to get some calm – the “release” and “peace” cues worked but I had to fight them into my consciousness. And dh kept saying “relax” which was really bugging me as I was expecting him to say “release”!
With teeth gritted, I waddled back to the same room we’d just left and met the 2 new midwives. By this time I was totally focused on my body’s needs and quickly got into a rhythm with gas&air, and still used the Hypnobabies stuff once the gas & air had restored a little voice of calm! I realised afterwards that I had barely opened my eyes since getting back into the room, and can’t remember much about when I was on the bed, ball – anything! I vocalised a LOT with every pressure wave – again, really out of character for me, but it felt so freeing and right. It wasn’t any shouting or anger though – so glad I didn’t experience that.
They didn’t check me again at that stage – didn’t feel it would be helpful or comfortable and the policy was to check no more often than 4 hourly – but it was clear my body had taken over and was going FAST! We think we were readmitted about 3.30-3.45pm. Apparently they first saw the head at 4.45pm.
I soon had an overwhelming urge to push but no idea if it was too early. I resisted for a while then asked to know how far I was gone – 9.5cm with just a lip of cervix to sort out! I tried so hard to NOT push, but I couldn’t believe (epidural last time) how much my body took over. Once that stage started I didn’t need the gas&air except for a quick couple of puffs to get my strength together in a lull. I got to an impasse with pushing on my back which was where I’d felt I wanted to be till then. When I turned over and knelt up on the bed, it wasn’t long before baby came out. The pushing came very naturally but wasn’t like the “breathing out” I’d been expecting to use. It was a gutteral, whole-body power-high experience and worked alongside the “peace” cue brilliantly. There was a point where I thought I couldn’t continue, but because my muscles were so tired I couldn’t find them, not because of any p**n.
Isaac John was born at 6.34pm – 9lb 6oz (8lb 15oz at 5 days old). I delivered the placenta naturally but that took about 45mins and was very hard work. One minor internal tear and lots of bruising but that has gone down pretty quickly really.
We are all fine. He is a real chunky monkey but has lost the fluidy swelling in his face and neck and I am just still shell-shocked by the turns and turnabouts of yesterday and that we are now a 2 child family. Wow! He is a vigorous breast-feeder and I have forgotten everything I learned first time, including about meconium and burping and blisters!
But most of all, I just can’t believe how NOISY I was – I am usually so self-contained but that went out of the window (and I quite enjoyed it!).
So thank you Hypnobabies home study! You helped enormously, even though in the end, I did it my way!