My waters broke at 37 weeks plus one. I was excited and a bit nervous too. David was there and my sister as well (both my birth partners). I thought to myself "in less than 24hrs, we will get to know our baby.” Mentally I was calm. Olivia's bag was ready and we were ready.
We went to the Birth Centre and when they checked my tummy they made comments about the position of the baby's head: not fully engaged and perhaps oblique. They recommended we go to the local hospital for a scan. They confirmed head was down, but not fully engaged. They disagreed with the idea of the baby’s head being oblique, although it is possible that it moved.
After hearing their assessment, they sent us home to wait for labour to start by itself. Once at home, I was positive that we could do it naturally. I was hoping for labour to start so I did my best to keep active and calm. We went for a walk, we watched a movie; I used the birthing ball and lit a candle too.
I only felt some sporadic contractions throughout the night and didn’t have much sleep because my mind was thinking a lot, anticipating the big day and being curious about how things were going to take place. The plan was ready and I was ‘prepared’.
Next morning we went back to hospital at 8am. They checked again and suggested to start with an induction. We discussed the possibility of waiting more, but I was reminded of the risk. At midday they introduced a gel. Six hours later they suggested another gel for another six hours because dilation was at 1cm. The contractions were happening, but they were sporadic. At the end of the second gel the dilation showed little progress. While this induction was happening, I kept positive and calm. I managed to walk around the hospital, take a shower, use the birthing ball, and practise different positions for dealing with contractions.
At midnight, they started with the hormone drip, controlling the amount by keeping an eye on the effects of it. As they increased it, the contractions became stronger. I dealt with contractions by breathing in and out. I was able to remember all those images and techniques I was taught during my yoga and hypnobirthing lessons. At the next assessment I was 3cm. To be honest I felt a bit disappointed with my body and the outcome. I wanted to hear that I was 6 or 7cms. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case and events were taking a different course.
They increased hormone dosage. Olivia was not 'happy'. The contractions were getting stronger. One of the midwives reminded me about pain relief options. Although I was reluctant to use any of them, at this point it felt alright to go for it. As things were happening, I was calm in my mind, but at this stage I was more aware that plans were gone and new ways had to be considered.
They increased hormone drip up to 40ml. Olivia's heartbeat kept dropping. There was pressure on time due to the waters breaking more than 48 hours earlier. My birth plan, my ideal image of giving birth naturally, my wish to feel my baby coming out, was slowly fading away.
They did another vaginal examination and found I was 3cm but the baby’s head was upwards (posterior position). It was recommended that we opt for an epidural. Those positive affirmations that help to focus on the arrival of the baby are very helpful when facing difficulties.
The epidural was sorted not long after we made the decision at around 9:30am. At 10:30am, the heartbeat of the baby dropped again and the emergency buzzer was activated, calling more staff in the room. They introduced a device (clip) to connect to the head of the baby and facilitate a more accurate monitoring. At 2:10pm the baby wasn't happy again. A doctor reviewed the situation; I was 4cm. Due to not progressing enough and baby’s health being compromised, a c-section was suggested. It was clearly not what I planned and personally I would have never chosen this option myself. However, it felt there was no way out. I was exhausted physically and energetically. We agreed. At 4:25pm our baby Olivia was born. She was assessed and everything was fine. This chapter had ended but a new one was clearly starting…parenthood.