I absolutely love reading birth stories as every experience is so unique, and after sharing my own two very different birth experiences [emergency c-section and natural VBAC] I decided to ask other mums and dads to share their beautiful birth stories with me, too. If you’d like to share your birth story, send me an email or get in touch via Twitter or Facebook.
Ana from Ana Goes Green is someone I have known through the blogosphere for a good few years now and it is an honour to share her birth story with you. It is always lovely to read about someone getting a positive birth experience after a previous difficult birth, and Ana's story is really empowering and inspiring.
After having a difficult birth with my first child I didn’t feel ready to try for the second for seven years. Conscious of the fact that the age gap was getting quite big we were delighted that we didn’t have to try for long before we had a positive pregnancy test.
During the pregnancy I was anxious about the thought of giving birth again, I cried at my Midwife appointments and having heard my history I was referred to a consultant to support me in making choices the second time around. After an initial session and the examination with the consultant she said that I could birth however I chose, a few of the professionals I saw during pregnancy recommended an elective Caesarean section including my Midwife but I felt torn about the decision.
Even though the thought of another very long and complicated labour and the physical problems it caused me previously scared me, I couldn’t let go of the thought that if I didn’t try to give birth vaginally I would be robbing myself of the opportunity to have a better experience this time around.
The pregnancy was going well until I went for a routine glucose tolerance test and tested positive for gestational diabetes. Suddenly my birth choices were severely restricted, my consultant told me that the Midwife unit was no longer an option, I couldn’t birth in the water and I would most likely need a sliding scale of glucose and insulin to keep my blood sugars stable and to top it off she was adamant I shouldn’t go past 38 weeks without being induced. I went home and cried, I had read so many induction horror stories resulting in assisted births, emergency C-sections and all the things I was trying to avoid, suddenly the idea of an elective section was sounding like a sensible option.
I went away and did my research and practised hypnobirthing techniques to try and calm my constant nerves. The gestational diabetes meant I had a very strict diet and had to inject insulin at night to lower my fasting blood sugars, it wasn’t the glowing pregnancy I had imagined but I did everything I could to ensure the baby was as healthy as possible.
When it came to my 36-week appointment I went to see the consultant and she offered to book me in for the caesarean, but I just couldn’t do it. Despite not being happy about it I decided to go with the induction and my instincts were telling me I had made the best choice. For a few days before I was due in Hospital I was having contractions, I dismissed them as Braxton hicks but the night before they started to get stronger and come quite regularly. I got really excited, despite being a couple of weeks early the baby was ready and so was I. I had everything ready but I couldn’t sleep, then around one o’clock the contractions stopped which left me feeling a little deflated but at least allowed me to sleep.
The next morning, we dropped off my son with his Uncle and Aunty and headed to the hospital, even though he was older, saying goodbye was really hard. Upon arrival at the hospital they sent us off for a coffee and told to us to return to the ward later. When we returned they started to monitor the baby and there was a fair amount of waiting around. Finally, after a few hours a Midwife came to examine me, to my utter delight she told me I was already two centimetres dilated and I could skip the pessary stage and go straight to delivery to have my waters broken. By this point my contractions had started again and were getting stronger but still only felt very mild. They sent us off again and we went for lunch and pottered around the hospital. At around six pm a bed became available on delivery and so down we went. The Midwife was lovely and after monitoring me for a while she confirmed that I was already contracting. She then went on to break my waters, this was quite uncomfortable as it took a few goes to actually break the membranes.
At this point she went off to talk to the other midwives about what to do with me, because I was after all I was scheduled for an induction but already in labour. Because my blood sugars were rising they decided to start me on the syntocinon drip to speed up the labour. This was probably the worst bit, because they couldn’t get the drip in and they had to call the Doctor, after about 45 minutes I ended up with a needle in each arm one side for the syntocinon and one for the sliding scale with insulin and glucose. The contractions started to pick up but I was still breathing through them with ease, the change of shift had come and gone and my new Midwife was on the night shift. I kept breathing through the contractions and turning to my husband to say “I can do this” after every one.
Despite the drips I managed to sit comfortably on the birthing ball and even use the bathroom with some help, my husband was rubbing my back and I felt really in control. At around 10 pm the pain started to feel much more intense and I moved to the bed on my side for a bit of a rest. The Doctor came around for her rounds and started to talk about pain relief, I asked for the Entonox and we discussed the Epidural, she then said she would come and see me in four hours and for the first time I started to doubt myself. I remember saying “I can’t do another four hours” and the midwife said, that I needed to get in to established labour and that she would call the anaesthetist who would be around 45 minutes.
I started to feel like my pelvis would break, the contractions were very close together and I didn’t feel like a had a chance to recover from each one. Despite the fact that only a few minutes before they didn’t believe I was in established labour, my Midwife now was watching the monitor with interest. I was struggling to breath in the Entonox, I became vocal and started to complain about the fact that I wasn’t getting enough pain relief. At that point the Midwife offered to examine me and to everyone’s surprise I was nine centimetres and in transition.
Everything started to move really quickly, a second senior midwife was called as requested by my consultant and I started to push. The worst part was that the doubt that had crept in, I was so pleased I had done the Hypnobirthing preparation as I was sure I wouldn’t have made it that far without it. After just a few pushes my little girls head was out, I remember saying “I can’t do this” a few times and my husband said “Honey, you are doing it”. With the next contraction she was born and as I cried “I want my baby” popped straight on to my chest, all 7lbs 9 ounces of her at 10.47 pm.
After the cord was cut and I delivered the placenta we were left for some quiet just the three of us, she latched on straight away and fed for a whole hour. Both midwives returned and the senior Midwife stitched me up whilst the other Midwife weighed her and dressed her. Despite everything, the induction, the gestational diabetes and fear I had a positive experience, I felt so empowered, I had done it!
I love that Ana listened to her instincts and turned out to have such a positive birth experience, especially having coped with gestational diabetes and an induction, too! Thank you for sharing with us, Ana.
You can read more beautiful birth stories here.