My birth story of my second boy starts with my first birth experience. It was supposed to be a beautiful homebirth in water but after I wasn’t progressing from 5cm after 24 hours, I transferred to hospital and it ended up with numerous interventions, was traumatic, and violent with assisted forceps.
This time around I wanted to take charge of my birth from day one and deep down in my heart I wanted a peaceful homebirth in water. We hired Belinda Henkel to be our private midwife after many recommendations as I didn’t want the first birth and my first midwives (who were excellent) to bring back memories and stall this experience.
Throughout the pregnancy I just had these awful feelings that something would go wrong as if God was telling me maybe prepare yourself for a hospital birth. Belinda agreed to support me whichever way I decided. I kept going to my prenatal hospital appointments and got really upset and anxious before them everytime because of my treatment for declining a lot of tests and decided to stamp my foot down finally and tell them that my first experience was so traumatic that I didn’t want them bullying me or touching me just assisting me when necessary. Finally the Dr listened and was ok with my requests.
My husband and I then discussed possibly reverting to a homebirth just in case all the past memories come back while birthing at the hospital. So we agreed at 36 weeks to opt for a homebirth!
That weekend I developed a bizarre itch on the palms of my hands and soles of my feet including random spots on my body. We put our toddler to bed that Saturday night and I decided to text Belinda my symptoms rather than google them first. She rang me back and told me to meet her at the hospital. It might be that I have a rare pregnancy condition called Obstetric Cholestasis. I was in and out until Monday doing blood tests untill I got the phone call to come back that afternoon with a diagnosis of Cholestasis.
I was upset and fearful of what the next steps would be. I prayed that God would lead the next steps for us. That afternoon a lovely Dr spent 2 hrs chatting to me about all the risks associated with the diagnosis including that by 38 weeks babies have a higher risk of stillbirth. They don’t know why but they think that the condition brings bile acid into their hearts and causes it to stop. The recommendation is induction at 36 weeks!
I carry my babies long (41+ weeks) so this is the last thing I wanted to do however I knew that even with a small risk, I wasn’t willing to take it purely for the fact that I had this off feeling throughout my pregnancy. I told the Dr my hospital birth plan and that I wished to be taken care of this time after my horrific first experience. She took all my requests seriously and went and looked up which Doctors were on for the week to ensure I had a better experience this time around. I wanted to leave the induction closer to 37 weeks than 36 so we decided I would call and book at the end of the week to come in.
We discussed the balloon induction first overnight and then artificial-rupture-of-membranes (breaking my water) and syntocin. I also said I wasn’t confident birthing naturally so if the induction was dragging out I wanted a gentle ceasearean. They agreed upon all my wishes.
That night I went home and went to bed taking in the fact that my birth was going to be very medical and full of interventions but I had to own this one and it meant meeting our baby so soon. I woke up a couple hours later and went to the bathroom and thought it strange that my baby wasn’t moving. These were usually his hours of power. I started crying thinking the worst. My husband woke up and started massaging my belly and talking to the baby and I felt a small movement so we went back to sleep. I woke up at 5am then and realised I had slept for hours without feeling itchy and had not felt the baby move once in my sleep! I panicked and got up to have a shower to see if things would change. They didn’t. I woke my husband up to go to the hospital and called mum to come look after our boy. I cried the whole way thinking my baby was gone and finally after being put on monitors he started moving! We decided then and there I was getting induced that day and spoke with the Dr to come back in the evening for the balloon.
We prepared our hospital bags, had a nap, tidied the house while mum cooked us a nice meal and then left. That night the same Dr came to see me and she decided to put the balloon in herself as I was most comfortable with her. She encouraged me that I was already 2cm dilated and being my second birth I wouldn’t have issues birthing naturally. She read my birth plan and told me it wouldn’t be an issue and told me that a lovely female Dr will be inducing me in the morning.
My gorgeous friend Tamara came to drop off clary sage oil and her own breastmilk just in case I had issues feeding.
We went to sleep that night my husband on the floor and I on the hospital bed with peace in our hearts, our whole family was praying. I woke up a few times to go to the toilet and the balloon fell out within hours which was promising.
That morning my husband and I went outside the hospital to take a walk in the park while waiting for the Doctors. We sat in the morning sun and chatted. We got back to the hospital with my private midwife waiting.
The Dr finally came in and introduced herself and before breaking my waters I got to see my beautiful son and give him kisses and my heart was ready for labour full of love hormones. My waters were broken and I asked for an hour to see if anything would progress naturally. It didn’t. They started the induction IV drip and monitors placed on me. The room was darkened, the clary sage oil put on and I had a nice laugh and cry with my husband and private midwife.
I had 3 changes of hospital midwives within a few hours. The last two came in and one went to feel the baby’s position. She thought he was breech and said that they would have to do an ultrasound even though the Dr had felt a head a couple of hrs back breaking my waters. I wasn’t really happy about that but thought in the light of things it wasn’t the worst thing.
My contractions were now coming in regular waves I was breathing through them and just wondering how much stronger they would get and whether I would be strong enough to last through this artificial stimulation without pain relief.
As they got stronger I got onto a ball and leant over the bed and pillows. My midwife massaging my back. I was moaning through contractions and they were getting stronger. The IV machine and tubes hanging off me including the monitors on my belly were driving me crazy. If only I was free to be in a bath!
As the contractions ramped up I went onto the floor hanging off my husbands neck trying to almost stretch through my contraction. I just kept thinking in my mind if this keeps going I really want to ask for pain relief but I didn’t want an epidural as it destroyed my first birth experience.
Then suddenly I just wanted to feel inside myself..I wasn’t sure whether the baby was coming. The feelings were intense. I felt like vomiting and rushes came over me. I needed to pee but couldn’t get up to go to the toilet so I asked for the paper tray.
I then squatted on the floor almost uncertain whether I could do this anymore.
There was suddenly a mad rush to my side as I started moaning loudly, both hospital midwives running to my side.
My private midwife Belinda had already told my husband I was fully dilated by looking at my back line and my husband was just in awe staring. The hospital midwives were not expecting this as they were busy on their computer!
The Dr then came in with the ultrasound machine. No one was expecting me to be pushing already. She asked me to lay back on the floor and whether I wanted an ultrasound or vaginal examination (VE). My private midwife started yelling and telling her it’s a head you see coming down! I consented to a VE and at the same time they lost the baby’s heart beat so she decided to put a clip on.
At that moment I literally roared and started pushing with eyes closed. I could feel the head emerging! What a sensation!! I then heard my baby making noises already half out! My heart was filled with a rush of love. Another roar and I had my baby in my arms.
I will never forget that moment lying on the floor 3 midwives, a Doctor, and my husband looking at me while I cried and held my baby boy and thanked God for his guidance. My birth was 4hours and 20 mins. Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think I could go through a hospital birth with an induction, and no pain relieving drugs, and no other interventions. It was the best feeling ever and a healing experience that broke to pieces all my fears and anxieties from my first experience.
I held my baby thankful that he is alive and healthy. He was a nice 3.3kg and 50cm at 36 weeks!