Natural Labour After Induction
Birth Story: Natural Labour After Induction
Emma Witten, ecocobox Founder
If you're sick of hearing scare stories about inductions, then you're in the right place. This story shows some truths about induction that are often ignored. Can induction be quick? Yes. Can you have an induction without an epidural? Yes. Can an induction for labour lead to a good natural birth? Yes. Read on to hear a POSITIVE induction birth story.
I hate due dates! I’ve had two babies and gone over with both. First time around I woke up every morning and cried that I’d not gone into labour that night. It seems crazy because obviously I wasn’t going to be pregnant forever, but the anticipation was more than I could take. I thought about when it would happen constantly. I think it was a mix of anxiety and excitement, and I think it was probably the reason he stayed put; all that adrenaline probably had him scared of making his entrance!
We considered refusing an induction because all I’d heard were horror stories, but after talking to the Drs we decided to go ahead with a pessary and cross our fingers it would work. We left it as long as they'd let us in hopes that I'd go into labour naturally in the meantime (plus the midwife said the longer you leave it the more chance it'll work) so at 40 weeks +12 days we headed into the hospital.
I wasn't nervous as I’d already had a couple of membrane sweeps, so had an idea of what to expect. The insertion was similar to the sweep, but a little more uncomfortable, and I felt crampy right away although it faded and I started to doubt it would work. But at 10pm, 7 hours after having it put in, I started with contractions. The NCT teacher had said to contact the hospital when there were 3 contractions in 10 minutes, which confused me because I had that pretty much from the get go (turns out it’s how I labour as it happened like that with baby 2 as well!). The hospital calmly told me to call back when they were more intense.
I told my husband I was in labour and we decided he should get some sleep until I needed him - “it’ll probably take ages anyway”. I had a go with a tens machine (hated it) bounced on my birthing ball (hated it) and finally found my happy place in the bath. It was strange seeing the contractions - I could literally see the whole bump move upwards and could make out a sort of outline of my baby. I’m not sure what time I got my husband, but it was the point where I really couldn’t be faffing around with timing my own contractions; things were getting intense. I felt pretty calm and was finding myself in my zone, mooing through the surges.
Finally I suggested we go to hospital and my husband said ‘why? What do they have that we don’t?’ GAS AND AIR! I’m glad I suggested we leave then, because it took an hour to get to the car because I was contracting so frequently, and only had a minute between contractions in which to do anything. So getting clothes on and making our way down to the car was a long process!
We arrived at the hospital about 4am, and Neil ran to find someone while I contracted against a Costa coffee machine. They brought a wheelchair but sitting down was really uncomfortable and I absolutely couldn’t sit when I had a contraction, so it took ages to get to the triage area. The staff were amazing though and would stop the wheelchair when I had a contraction and support me while I stood and breathed through it. When they checked me I was 4cm, and they dimmed the lights and I stood looking out over the Brighton coast, which was all lit up in the nighttime.
I remember suddenly feeling a gush down my legs and thinking it was my waters and freaking out when I saw dark streaks of blood instead. Don’t worry they said, you can sometimes bleed when you’re cervix opens quickly. And it did - 4cm to 10cm in an hour!
It was weird because I thought someone would tell me to push, but I got to a point where it was this absolute undeniable urge to bear down. They asked me not to as they wanted to examine me, but to try not to was like fighting a war with every fibre of my being! There was a tiny lip of cervix that wasn’t out of the way the midwife said and I mustn’t push until it was moved or it could swell and cause issues; but thankfully it moved with my next contraction (and a little help from the midwife).
I pushed for 20 minutes and they could see a head but they were worried he was getting a little distressed and gave me an episiotomy, and he came out super fast then! And there he was, Ben, all 7lb 3oz of him, screaming like you see in the movies with a mouth like a cave and a mop of dark hair. They put him on me and within just a few minutes he was bobbing his head around, and he latched and fed like textbook.
I felt like a superhero. People were coming in and out of the room while I was being stitched up and I didn’t care at all. It is the most confident I have felt in my own skin, ever. I remember turning to my husband and saying I could do it all again.
We didn’t make it to the ward. No one was arriving in the labour unit so they left us in the delivery suite. Ben was feeding well so we went home that evening. My labour was 8.5 hours from start to finish, and it was really empowering. I’m so glad I read a hypnobirthing book as I think it helped me listen to my body and trust it, and I felt pretty calm overall. I’d have liked a water birth but aside from that I was just thrilled that I’d done it, was okay, and had a healthy little boy. Ignore all the horror stories about induction, because they’re someone else’s story, not yours, and it’s totally possible to have a great natural labour after induction.