The Birth of Sophie

15 Mar, 2022

Sophie was born at 38+2 following an induction for a large gestational age.Whilst Induction was never part of my original birth plan, it was an incredibly positive experience and one that I will forever look back on with such fond memories and a journey that I wouldn’t hesitate to do again. My pregnancy was a fairly easy pregnancy. I was lucky in that I didn’t suffer with morning sickness and any nausea I did have was cured by eating toast or tuc biscuits (they became a staple part of my diet!). I stayed active right up until being induced (I did a peloton ride 48 hours before going into hospital) and lots of lunch time dog walks around the village. However as we got into the third trimester, our little bundle of joy started to keep us on our toes…. From when they started measuring my bump at 28 weeks, it was always tracking on the 90th percentile, but was consistent so we weren’t worried and made peace with us potentially having a big baby. We had a scan at 32 weeks, as my 20 week scan had picked up that I had a low lying placenta. The scan showed it had moved up (hooray!) but confirmed she was tracking on the larger side. We were booked back in for another scan at 34 weeks, which still said she was tracking at the 90th percentile but she was growing consistently so we were discharged back to the midwife.I was also referred to have a gestational diabetes test which came back as normal – turns out I just grow big babies! However, at the 36 week midwife appt, my bump hadn’t grown as much as they would like, so we were sent off for another growth scan (we were getting fairly good at these by this point!). This scan picked up the opposite and that she had suddenly had a growth spurt and was now above the 97th percentile – eeek! This was turning into an eventful day! We were asked to wait to see the consultant to chat through our options – the biggest concern being if the scans were correct and we waited to go to term or overdue she could be a 10lbs+ baby and the risks that come with that – shoulder dysplasia, getting stuck, increased risk of intervention/emergency c-section. The staff at Frimley were brilliant and explained everything to us, what our options were and using the BRAIN analogy we decided that we would opt to be induced at 38 weeks. We went home slightly stunned at how the day’s events had unfolded, but happy with our decision and excited that we now had a window of when we would meet our baby! The next 10 days were spent getting final bits ready, finishing up work for me, and trying to get into a positive midset. The day before we went in to be induced we went for lunch just the two of us which is one of the best things we did in the run up, it really helped build up the Oxytocin and we went to sleep that night a mixture of nervous and excited about what the next few days would bring. Needless to say, I didn’t get a huge amount of sleep and was awake at the crack of dawn (we had to be at the hospital for 8am). We got up, had some breakfast, a long shower, said goodbye to the dog (cue me sobbing on his head) and headed down to Frimley. We were met by Sophie, the midwife who would be inducing me and shown to our bay on the antenatal ward. From the moment we walked through the doors we felt really at ease. Jade, one of the student midwives explained what would happen that day, how the ward worked, where everything was etc. Whilst the bays on the antenatal ward are not huge, I felt really safe there and I think this definitely helped keep the Oxytocin flowing. Sophie confirmed on examination that my cervix was already slightly shortened and so we weren’t starting from zero and the CTG machine was picking up that I was already having some very mild contraction – all the bouncing on the ball and walking the dog in the weeks leading up to this had obviously helped! The pessary was inserted and we were off! Needless to say the rest of the day was uneventful – I spent it relaxing and napping and listening to podcasts/watching films downloaded to my iPad. Nick popped home every so often to get some rest/food/check in on the dog until my brother arrived whilst I was napping. Monday morning and 24 hours later, the pessary was removed and I was rechecked – my cervix had shortened slightly but not enough, so we then tried the prostaglandin gel, which I have to admit I was a little nervous about as once its on, you can’t then take it out! This did ramp up contractions slightly, but nothing unmanageable and again we were left for 6 hours for the gel to work its magic. Nick and I spent Monday, walking around the car park, the hospital, we even walked to Waitrose to get Nick some lunch! Contractions were coming but they weren’t unmanageable and I was able to keep walking through them. 4.30pm came and I was nervous that if the gel hadn’t worked I was going to be disheartened and not sure how I would cope with that. However, on examination they confirmed it had done its job and they were in a position where they could break my waters – I just needed to wait for a bed on the labour ward. I was over the moon and all the walking around Frimley had done its job! I knew there could be a wait so I kept myself positive – going for a further walk around the hospital after dinner and bouncing on the ball to keep things progressing. Nick left at 9pm with strict instructions to have his phone on loud in case something happened and I got into bed to try and get some sleep. That night turned out to be a busy night on the ward, with a couple of people being transferred over to the labour ward and my obs having to be done at midnight, which meant I didn’t get much sleep! 3am came and I was trying to weigh up whether I need to go for a wee again, decided I did, sat up and my waters broke! There was no tricking of waters as I had been warned may happen, it went with quite the gush!! I buzzed for the midwife, who confirmed they had gone, got the bed cleaned up whilst I waddled off to the toilet and then arranged to get me transferred to the labour ward! Time seemed to move quite quickly at this point, we got to the labour ward about 3.30am and I was met by Charlotte, the midwife who would be looking after me. My waters breaking had ramped up my contractions a little bit so I focused on breathing through them and trying not to leave puddles on the floor wherever I went as my waters continued to go. Nick arrived about 4am. The next hour was spent focusing on my contractions and using the techniques we had learnt in hypnobirthing and yoga. What really surprised me was the feeling of being really hot as the contraction came on and then being really cold as it passed and this threw me slightly on how to cope with it – in hindsight, it was my body’s way of telling me I needed some rest and fuel. 5am came and they wanted to examine me as it had been 2 hours since my waters had gone and the baby’s heart beat was a little higher than it had been on the antenatal ward (averaging 155 vs 135). I was still at 3cm dilated so hadn’t progressed any further and because of the baby’s heart beat they asked the doctor to come in.There was also talk of potential sepsis as the heart beat was raised – I immediately blocked this conversation out and tried to focus on my breathing. I was feeling pretty tired at this point, having not had a lot of sleep for the past couple of nights and also slightly overwhelmed with a sudden onslaught of people in the room. However I used the BRAIN analogy again and remembered that it was my birth and to question what I thought wasn’t right. The Doctor immediately wanted to put me on the Oxytocin drip, which I questioned. I knew that I wasn’t ready for that, and actually what I really needed was to try and get some rest so I pushed back and had to argue my case but it was agreed I could have 4 hours to see how I progressed on my own. It was suggested I was given IV fluids, which I agreed to, and I was hooked up to that, got into bed and focused on getting some sleep for a couple of hours. This was the best decision I made, and really helped get me in the right frame of mind to get through labour. At some point I woke up and the midwives were doing their change over and I was over the moon to see Sophie who had started my induction on Sunday! Once they had handed over and my IV drip was finished, Sophie got me some toast to keep my energy levels up, and talked through everything that had happened. We were also at the point where I was due to be examined again and it confirmed I hadn’t progressed. Rather than focus on the negative side of this, I focused on what we could do – Sophie recommended that we had given it ample time and that the Oxytocin drip would be the best thing to do now and I agreed with her. At 9.45am the drip was started. We did have a period where my contractions slowed down a bit, as the drip took hold they then started to come much more reguarly. Nick kept me focused on my breathing and I kept thinking back to yoga and to keep my jaw relaxed and not tense up. The baby had moved and was up against my back at this point which was making it hard to find a comfortable position, I had been standing up, I then spent some time on the birthing ball. After a while, I then tried kneeling on the floor and leaning on the bed – this was a huge mistake as it caused 4 contractions to come painfully back to back and at this point I totally lost my focus and went into a panic that I wouldn’t be able to get off the floor. Nick and Sophie managed to get me off the floor and I decided at this point to stay on my feet holding onto Nick for support and I opted to have some paracetamol and codeine and to try the gas and air. I lose track of time at this point and I have no idea how long we were in this position for, and I almost went into a trance like state of completely zoning out after each contraction and almost falling asleep. At some point I remember starting to feel pressure building and a sensation of wanting to bear down. It all goes a bit hazy at this point, but apparently I started talking absolute rubbish and Nick recognised this as the transition stage. Sophie asked me to get onto the bed to examine me and I think everyone was surprised that I was just about fully dilated – there was a tiny bit of cervix left but otherwise we were there! I decided to stay on the bed but move on to all fours and leant over the head of the bed. This was the toughest bit, and I was surprised at how hard it was to push her head down. It felt like I was pushing forever and she wasn’t moving. Nick kept me focused on my breathing, and whilst I am not sure the gas and air did much to help, having something to bite on definitely did (I am also told i missed the gas and air and bit Nicks arm at one point!)! I also started being sick at this point so had my head firmly in a sick bowl with Nick holding up a cold wet flannel to my head. I kept focused that each contraction was a step closer to meeting our baby. The midwives were amazing at keeping me motivated when I felt like I wasn’t getting anywhere. Towards the end, I lost my strength to push in that position and I was moved on to my left hand side and with a bit of a pep talk from Nick and the midwives, Baby Sophie was born at 14:13 weighing 7lbs8oz! She came out with the cord around her neck, but with a bit of a rub down from the midwives she was gurgling away and handed to me for skin to skin. Nick cut the cord after 5 minutes or so and I opted to have the assisted placenta delivery as I was feeling pretty exhausted at this point. Sophie was passed to Nick as I had a second degree tear that needed to be stitched up and had lost a substantial amount of blood. However once that was all sorted, we were left to have some time together just the 3 of us, before being moved over to the postnatal ward later that night. Whilst I had never envisaged that an induction would be how my labour would go, it was the most positive experience. From arriving on Sunday morning, to leaving on Wednesday afternoon, I have nothing but positive memories from the experience. We went into it with very open minds and a clear focus on what we had learnt as part of our hypnobirthing course which I truly believe led to it being such a positive experience.

Posted by Little Birth Company Trained Instructor: Claire Russell