Induction is not something to be chosen lightly. I have personally had two births, a long, slow, natural, completely intervention free birth and a medically induced quick birth. I urge all mum’s thinking of saying yes to induction to make sure the choice is one that is informed and based on necessity.
December 2016 I was waiting for my Christmas baby to arrive, her ‘due date’ was the 24th December. Given her brother was 6 days overdue, I never thought that my Christmas baby would come early, in fact I thought she would come around New Year’s Eve.
True to her nature, Sienna had other ideas. My membranes started releasing on the 12th Dec at 5pm. I had tested positive for Group B Strep 1 week prior; which meant I was high risk for the hospital I was birthing in. My obstetrician wanted to induce me immediately, however I negotiated for 24 hours to go home, sleep in my own bed and wait for labour to start naturally.
I struggled to surrender to the change of direction and spent the night listening to my hypnobirthing tracks, while tossing and turning. I got up early the next day and with my mum and fiancé, we walked my son to daycare, said goodbye, knowing that I wouldn’t see Aston again until his sister was earth side.
We walked the long way home, walking some big hills in hope of kicking things off. Half way home my obstetrician called to say they were no longer comfortable with me being at home and they wanted me to come into the hospital to be monitored and would induce me at 5pm. I tried to protest and was told that if I didn’t come in, the hospital would terminate their care. I was shocked, but what options did I have? I did not want to change hospitals the day of my birth.
Truth be told, I was struggling, the natural birth I had planned and prepared for was slipping away and I was scared and could feel the anxiety creeping in. My birth was changing course quickly and turning into everything I didn’t want.
I had acupuncture before arriving at the hospital and then spent hours walking the streets around the hospital on a scorching hot summers day, but there was no sign of labour, so I had no choice but to let the Induction start at 5pm.
Care providers normalize induction, claiming you can move freely, just like you can with an intervention free birth. I beg to differ, I was hooked up to an IV Drip and stand and would have to drag it around with me everywhere I went. Constant fetal monitoring strapped to my belly that moved out of place every time I moved and the constant beeping of the monitor mixed up my baby’s heart rate with mine. The midwives were so fixated on adjusting the fetal monitoring belts and making sure everything that I was hooked up to was working, it was like I was invisible and I felt like I was just a vessel that needed monitoring and recorded.
It took some time for the induction to take effect, which allowed me time to finally surrender to the process. It was such a different birth to my first and once labour started it was intense. There was no rest between the artificially induced surges, I felt out of body and doubted my ability to go the distance.
My birth team worked tirelessly to get my mindset on track, we had planned and prepared for birth together and everyone knew how important minimal intervention was to me. We named the IV stand Betty. I swore at Betty a lot! (swearing helped). I hated dragging Betty and all the wires around when I wanted to go to the toilet or change positions. The canular in my hand hurt every time I clenched my fist or moved the wrong way.
Slowly as the labour intensified I drew inward, knowing that if I wanted to resist further interventions I needed to trust in my body and my baby. I knew that stress and resistance was only going to inhibit labour. Luckily for me, this labour was quick. Once things kicked off at 7pm it was like a sprint to the finish line and Sienna Adele was born at 11.47pm.
It wasn’t the beautiful, calm, peaceful and gradual experience I had with Aston but it was a powerful and life changing birth. It taught me that we cannot control everything in life and sometimes we have to trust in the process and surrender.
It took me a long time to process, and when I looked back on the birth I felt that I was out of control and failed as a woman to have a peaceful birth. It wasn’t until the day I sat with my beautiful birth photographer two months later to watch the video she put together that I saw the beauty in my birth. Truth be told, I was worried that I wouldn’t like the photos, being hooked up to Betty was everything that I didn’t want. But as I sat there watching it, I saw strength, power and beauty. I had given my baby the best birth experience I could with the situation that presented itself and that is what Hypnobirthing is all about. My fiancé, my mum and my birth photographer were by my side every step of the way, supporting me in exactly the right way.
The midwives did the best that they could, but truth be told I was a minority, the young midwife that attended most of my birth advised me several days later that she had never seen someone go through an induction without an epidural, it just wasn’t what they saw in the private hospital I was in.
As I look back, I am so grateful for this experience, as it gave me the insight to the pressures that women experience from the hospital system. I am now able to support more mums as I truly understand how quickly birth can change direction and how important it is to be educated about your rights as a birthing mum.
So If you’re soon to give birth, and you stress about things like this happening, please know that you have a choice. And having the information is important to be able to advocate for yourself and your baby. If you have any questions, please reach out, I’m here to support you.
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