My due date was 8th May. As I suspected it might, the day came and passed. As did the next day, and the next!
At 11 days overdue, I was booked in for induction. I never actually thought I’d get to the stage of being induced, and had completely dismissed that it might actually happen. Yet, at 12pm on Tuesday 19th May, myself and Sean were in Tesco down the road from the hospital stocking up on supplies to get us through the process. I walked round Tesco like a zombie, not quite getting my head round that I was heading in to be induced.
We were due on the ward at 1pm, and it was 2pm before someone came to chat to us. I broke down. I didn’t want to be induced, yet I wanted the baby out. It was a strange quandary to be in! I didn’t really know anything about the induction process, and I’m just not keen on hospitals and didn’t like the idea of staying in.
Once all was explained, I felt a little calmer and decided to go ahead with the induction process. We were told that it could take up to 3 days. I was still convinced I’d go in to labour naturally before they had chance to do anything!
The first stage would be the use of something called Propress. This is designed to soften the cervix, to increase the chances of them popping the waters 24 hours later and progressing labour. If this didn’t do enough to soften the cervix, we’d be moving on to the gel stage.
The midwife examined me and explained my cervix was still posterior and she could only get a fingertip in, and thought I was a while off going in to labour naturally. Damn!! I readied myself for a few days in hospital, and the fact my baby wouldn’t be here as soon as I had hoped.
Once the Propress was inserted at 3pm, me and Sean went for a wander round the hospital. We headed back to the ward and Sean headed off home, as there was little he could do.
At 9pm that night, I started to feel regular tightenings. They weren’t painful, just slightly uncomfortable. At 10pm, the midwife put me on the monitor. It picked up the tightenings, though she explained that can sometimes just be the cervix softening. I text Sean to let him know what was happening, but still felt we were a while off me being in labour.
I drifted off to sleep at about 11pm. At 1.30am, I woke to more painful tightenings. They were around 5 minutes apart, and were definitely contractions! I felt so excited that something was actually happening! I lay there for a little while, then at around 2am I felt that if I moved, there’d be a gush. So, I stood up out of the bed, and sure enough very quickly had a puddle at my feet! I buzzed the midwife and she fetched towels, while I stood there in my puddle! The waters carried on coming out for the next 20 minutes, while I just stood at the side of the bed!
After that, the contractions started to increase in intensity. I didn’t buzz the midwife again for a while and just went in to my own headspace for the next couple of hours. I had been doing The Calm Birth School online course to help prepare me for a calm hypnobirthing labour. And so, I used the techniques I had learnt to breath through the surges I was getting. There were 3 other women in the room with me, all snoring! Their snores started to have a real calming effect on me! I was coping fine at that point, but could feel them getting more and more intense.
At 5am, I buzzed the midwife to update her on progress and to ask when I should ring Sean. She examined me, and I was 3cm dilated, and she suggested that I should let Sean know to get in, just in case things progressed quickly.
Sean arrived at 6am. At this stage, I was starting to get a really painful back and pains down my legs with each contraction – another back-to-back labour! I was definitely ready for some gas and air, though was still using my breathing techniques to get me through. I was rocking and swaying through them too, and Sean thought I must have been given something as I seemed out of it!!
At 7am, we were taken to the delivery suite. We were put under the care of a student midwife and a qualified midwife, who were both brilliant. They were in the room throughout but also left me to it.
As with Ella, I couldn’t lie down during labour. I was naturally moving around, doing squats and rotating my hips, naturally trying to move the baby down and rotate it. The pain was getting more and more intense and I started to find myself naturally groaning more. I could feel more and more pressure, and was sure I wasn’t far away from pushing.
As I was moving so much, the monitor kept losing the baby’s heartbeat, so they had to screw a sensor to the baby’s head. While the midwife was there, she examined me, and I was 6cm dilated. At first I felt pretty downcast (my reaction was a one word one. F**K!). Then I focused on the fact I could still be pushing very soon. There was only an hour from 5cm to 10cm with Ella. So knowing that lifted me back to a more positive place. I think this was at around 8.30am.
At about 9.15am, I suddenly found myself pushing. I couldn’t help it. The urge is so great to push when you are in labour! I’ve no idea how anyone couldn’t go with that urge! The midwife asked if I wanted to be examined, but I couldn’t bear the thought of lying on the bed, so just carried on pushing with the hope that I was fully dilated. I remained squatting on the floor, and then decided to kneel on the bed. I decided in the last 5 minutes of pushing to lie on my back.
I can’t remember experiencing the disorientation of transition with Ella. This time, there was a definite transition moment of me shouting that I couldn’t do it!!!
With Ella, her heart rate dropped and the room filled quickly with midwives who were very keen to get her out. I was given a local anaesthetic for an episiotomy, so didn’t feel her coming out. This time, I felt everything! It was so strange, literally feeling the baby moving down. And then there was the burning sensation, and being told to pant, and I knew the baby’s head was out. And then the rest followed.
Sienna Rose Flynn was born at 9.44am on Wednesday 20th May. Her birth weight was 8lbs15ozs and, just like Ella, she is a very long baby!
They took her over to the cot to help her clear her mucus, and Sean went over to check out what we had. Another girl!!
The feeling of elation after birth is just immense. I was so happy to have another girl. And that everything had gone much better than last time. There was no emergency pushing. No meconium. And no being rushed off to special care. The room just seemed peaceful and euphoric.
And I got the skin-to-skin I really wanted, having missed out on it last time. Me and Sienna lay in bed naked together for about an hour. It was amazing! There was no signal in the hospital, so Sean went outside to make a few phone calls. And I lay in bed, bonding with my daughter. I was so so happy!
After a couple of hours, I felt ready to get up, and needed a wee anyway after drinking lots of water during the labour. So, I went for a shower and it felt good to be strong enough to stand in it. I felt so much better after labour this time than after Ella. After my shower, I sat and tried to give Sienna her first feed. While we were skin-to-skin, she had had no interest, but she now latched on and started sucking. Another euphoric moment!
The midwife at first said there should be no reason why we couldn’t go home that day, but then having looked at my notes, realised a paediatric doctor had to do Sienna’s checks, rather than the midwife, so she thought this may mean us going home the following day.
We were moved on to the ward, and the paediatric doctor came round about an hour later, and said we were fine to go home!
We were home for 7pm the same day, and I’m so so glad I didn’t have to stay in. Being home with my two beautiful daughters was the best!
I’m not sure if time has allowed me to forget, but I would say this labour felt a bit more difficult than Ella’s. At the time, I thought it was really hard. Now, I already feel empowered to do it again! Though I’d love to experience a labour that isn’t back-to-back and see how it compares (with hopefully a lot less pain!)! I’m glad I only had gas and air. I like to feel in control, and knew that stronger drugs wouldn’t allow that. Plus the recovery is so much quicker.
And there were a few upsides to going in to be induced. I didn’t have to worry about when was the right time to go to hospital. And, I didn’t have to have that awful journey in the car. Cars aren’t designed for someone who likes to be on their feet when labouring!
And Sienna has been a dream ever since. She’s a very content baby, and I’m a very content mum of two gorgeous girls. Right now, life feels great!
You can read Ella’s birth story here!