As told to Babyology by Sandy Ducat.
My baby’s birth didn’t go to plan and wasn’t what I wanted at all. But I was determined to make it as positive as possible, and in the end it was amazing.
A calm preparation
My husband and I did a course called Calm Birth which we found really useful and helped us visualise the type of birth we really wanted. I was hoping to go into natural labour and do the early parts at home, and then as it progressed go into hospital. We wanted to keep it relaxed and not too stressful, and didn’t want to be at the hospital the whole time. Obviously everyone is different but that’s what we took out of the course and what we wanted. Unfortunately, it didn’t go like that at all.
A leaky situation
On the Saturday evening before my Monday due date I was standing in the kitchen and felt my waters break. I called out to my husband and said, ‘I think I’m going into labour’. We called my mum straight away as I intended to have her and my husband as my support people for the birth. We then called the labour ward at Shoalhaven Hospital and they told me to come in to check that everything was all right, so we got organised and headed in.
Am I in labour or not?
In the hospital, they listened to my baby’s heartbeat – everything was fine. I couldn’t feel any contractions but they told me I was actually having some, very close together but not painful. Then they did a swab test to check my waters had broken and it came back negative. The midwife thought it was weird and asked me to walk around the room to see if more fluid came out, and sure enough more fluid leaked. Another test later and it still came back negative. We didn’t know what was happening – was I in labour or not? What do we do? They wanted to keep me in hospital overnight in case something happened so I sent my husband home.
Alarms bells were going off
On Sunday morning, the doctor came to inform me he didn’t think my waters had broken, and a fourth test came back negative again. They sent me for an ultrasound around lunchtime and the doctor could see there wasn’t much fluid around the baby. That was scary! They took me back to my room and started telling me I may need to have an induction or caesarean. Straight away alarm bells began going off. This wasn’t what I wanted at all; panic started to set in. My mum and husband told me it would be okay, reminding me to stay positive and focus on doing the best thing for me and baby.
I was going to be induced
The lack of fluid around my baby meant he was unprotected, so they put me on a course of antibiotics and then decided they would need to induce me the next morning. I sent my husband home to get plenty of rest before the birth. I was so overwhelmed and spent a good chunk of the night crying because it was all so different from how I wanted it to be. I was also nervous. What would an induction be like? My mum got me up walking to try and bring on the labour and I started having regular contractions and tightenings but it didn’t build and bub remained where he was. At 5AM on Monday I sprung out of bed, panicking and desperate for my baby to be induced right away.
Trying to stay positive
The doctor arrived, put me on the drip and started the induction. I tried to focus on staying calm and used the relaxation tips we learned from the course – deep breathing, positive thoughts. As they increased the hormone dosage, my contractions became stronger and more frequent. I found the drip caused quite intense contractions, with no pattern to them, unlike I’ve heard contractions in natural births usually have. I had learned different techniques for standing and sitting, but with the drip in, it was really awkward to move around. Then the midwife had to break my waters and boy was that painful!
Still a long way to go
It felt like I’d been in labour forever when they told me I was only 3cm dilated. Everyone was being negative and the pain was getting really intense. Then I had a change of midwife, and as luck would have it, in walked the same lovely midwife who had delivered my niece two months prior. Soon after, they turned off my drip as my body’s natural birthing instincts kicked in and started to compete with the hormones, resulting in very long contractions that weren’t backing off. Then things really started to move along and I felt a lot of pain and pressure. The midwife uttered those magic words: “You’re fully dilated, start pushing because you’ll be meeting your baby soon.”
“It’s a little boy!”
The pushing was really hard going, the worst part by far. But suddenly they could see the head and my baby’s eyes were wide open and alert. Then he was here. My husband cried out, “It’s a little boy!” Meeting our son for the first time was such a beautiful moment and for my mum to be a part of it as well was just so special. We called him Caleb and he was born at 7.15PM on Monday 8 May.
I felt empowered
Although my birth didn’t go as planned, I still found it really empowering because I managed to stick to my plan to birth him without any pain relief – which made me feel really strong, like I could do just about anything! Just to have that small part of what I originally wanted was really good and contributed to it being a positive experience. Having the support of a great midwife and my husband and mum was important too – I couldn’t have done it without them both.
Every birth is amazing
My advice to others is to try and stay as relaxed as possible and understand that sometimes medical intervention is needed. Being induced was the best thing for my baby because of my fluid leak. Everyone’s different and there’s no point being too upset or anxious when things don’t go as planned. Natural delivery, caesarean … in the end it doesn’t matter how your baby gets here – just as long as they do.