Australian Pretty Little Liars star Claire Holt welcomed her first child, a baby boy named James, a little over three months ago.
A slow induction
She noted that the technique they used to encourage her cervix to dilate was not an experience she’d like to revisit.
“They insert the balloon,” Claire explained, “and blow it up once it’s inside and it’s obviously supposed to help you dilate.”
While the insertion part of this process was not painful – “it just felt like a regular pelvic exam” – the pressure that followed was really uncomfortable.
“It was so unbelievably painful for me and I feel like I have a pretty high pain threshold, in general … It was really tough for me.”
Noting that she’d had no pain medication at this point, Claire said she started to have second thoughts about managing her labour.
It’s a situation many mums will be familiar with, because birth doesn’t always go according to plan.
“At that point I was like, ‘Okay, I’m just going to white-knuckle it and I’ll be okay but this is crazy, like this is so painful for me.”
“They told me it could take up to six hours to dilate me to 4 centimeters and after two hours of it, I remember the nurse coming in to check how it was going and I was like, ‘I can’t take this much more. This is unbearable. Like, maybe I’m just going to cancel the induction.'”
Seven hours after she’d arrived at the hospital, Claire reached that 4cm dilation point and her birth team decided that the balloon could be removed and she’d be able to progress on her own.
Less pain, more gain?
This was brilliant news for Claire who was really struggling at this point.
“I was like, ‘Okay, I’m ready!’ I was just gripping the edge of the hospital bed and she yanked and I yelled. I’m not really a yeller, but that warranted a squeal. But when it came out, I felt such relief.”
As she dealt with contractions, her nurse advised her to hop in the shower to ease the pain of contractions.
The warm water provided some relief, but it was short lived and Claire says at this point she was finding the whole process of birth overwhelming and was pretty distressed.
“I got out of the shower and I remember just leaning on the bed and tears were streaming down my face. I couldn’t control it … I was suffering.”
“I was thrilled with my decision”
At this point, Claire asked for an epidural and things began to turn around from the moment it was administered.
“I was thrilled with my decision at that point. I really was. I could still move around, which was great,” she explained, noting that she felt more in control of the process and was able to take a more active role.
“I felt like I had the ability to try and progress my labour that way, by rocking and bouncing, but it just took the edge off the pain.”
James arrived several hours later and his mum could not have been more pleased and relieved.
“Everything they say is true,” Claire posted on Instagram. “There is no love like it.”