Our appointment was 8am but until we got there we didn’t know that they do not induce you until at least 24 hours after your waters break, just in case you do go into labour naturally. I am sure there are other reasons for this, but I am not 100% what they are! Hinchingbrooke have a policy now where if your waters break you are left no longer than 24 hours before they induce you, due to risk of infection, I was told this has very recently changed from 48 hours. My midwife said that it was new to them seeing someone like me in hospital as usually mums go into labour naturally.
So there we were, ready to be induced, little did we know that we would have a long wait on our hands that morning. The first thing our midwife, Sharon, wanted to do was to check the baby’s heartbeat for an hour. So we were hooked up to the baby heart monitor machine and left for an hour, you could also see on the machine my braxton hicks. They were coming every 15mins, they weren’t painful as such, more uncomfortable, so Sharon was confident they weren’t contractions! After an hour, Sharon said she wanted to leave me on the monitor for another 30 mins because baby had gone to sleep and she wanted to get at least half hour of activity, it also meant a little more time for things to progress naturally…which they didn’t! At 11am, Sharon told us to go and grab some lunch and go for a walk t see if it starts things off, so off we went to KFC and a little walk and back to the hospital for midday, 12 hours after my waters broke.
When we returned to hospital Sharon had to do an internal examination to see how ready my body was for labour, I had no signs of going into labour on my own, so it looked like being induced was the only option. Sharon told us my body was showing absolutely no signs of labour, my cervix was still long which meant no dilating or anything had been happening all this time! I was feeling really deflated by this to be honest, what with the contractions in the week and all the braxton hicks I was certain it must have been doing something! My only option was “gel” which is put behind the cervix, which can hopefully start labour off, I was advised that some women do not react to it and if I am one of those women they just put more on in 6 hours time. I was ready for another 6 hours of waiting… It was about 12:45pm by now and we were lying there with the heart monitor on waiting to see how my body would react to the gel.
Within 5 mins my braxton hicks felt more powerful, I had a burning period pain too, which came on as soon as the gel had been applied. I would say that over 20 mins or so the braxton hicks were no longer and they were definitely contractions. I could feel them coming on, and that Chinese burn feeling at their height and then wearing off again. I was dealing with the pain by squeezing very tightly to the bedside rail and pillow (hubby’s hand had a break this time) and Sharon gave me 2 paracetamol and codeine. She wasn’t totally convinced they were contractions for labour because some people react to the gel in this way and when she told me this my heart sank! The pains were stronger each time, I was lying there trying to deal with them, telling hubby that it WAS hurting so surely it isn’t just a reaction and then I was told it might not actually be labour!
It got to 2pm and Jane, the student midwife who was with sharon for the day, came in and she said that my contractions were very short, they were frequent though and blinking painful by this point. I was sweating, I’d pulled every muscle in my back where I’d been tensing up to deal with the pain and I needed a wee, ha ha. The midwives decided that maybe it was time to go to the delivery suite, so they put my nightie over me (I’d taken layers off as I was sweating you see) and I had to walk to the delivery suite. Now it was only 3 doors down but it took me 5 minutes to get there because with every contraction I had to stop, but now I was standing up the pain changed – it was much lower down now. It felt like the Chinese burn feeling had travelled deep into my pelvis area now. I reached the delivery suite and managed a wee in between contractions, it was about 2:10pm now…
Sharon had the birthing ball ready for me and the gas and air, which I really felt like I needed now! I had 2 contractions on the ball, with each of them I used the ball to dig my bum into, bounce and squeeze it hard between my knees, which really helped with my pain control and also my posture – my back was really hurting at this point from the tensing I had been doing. I used the gas and air on these 2 contractions too, which I’m sure helped but on the 3rd contraction it all changed….
I dug my bum into the ball and bounced like I had been doing, but as I hit the ball an uncontrollable urge to dive right back up again came over me, it was like baby had punched it to say “I’m here, hello”… I lept on to the bed like lightening and gave out an almighty scream as it was hurting, something was different now, very different. I felt a very deep burning sensation as far down my pelvis as you could possibly reach, the contraction pain was right to the back of my mind at this point because of the burning sensation and overwhelming need to push! Surely not, surely it was not that time already, 10 minutes ago I was being told it might be a reaction to the gel and now I’m on the bed wanting to push out my baby.
The midwives spun me into a sideway position as they needed to assess me and as they spun me around they said they could see some mucus, the next contraction came and the burning sensation got worse and all I could hear was the baby’s head is here and hubby disappeared, he had gone to see that it was real, he came back to my face and said the same, “the baby’s head is out Sonia come on you’re nearly there”.
The feeling of the head coming out was totally surreal, the water gushing out with it makes it almost feel like a “fish” flopping out, as gross as that sounds! The pressure of the water was now released and Jane was saying to me “Don’t push Sonia until we tell you…..” my next contraction came and Jane said to push now, I did, with an almighty scream and out she came, our daughter.
The next hour was amazing, Isla Rae Constant was not only perfect, she was tiny and breastfed straight away. Something that I didn’t get the chance to do with Noah and I really wanted with Isla, was to have that skin to skin moment when she was first born and we did get that moment. Isla was feeding and daddy cut her cord, it was a magical moment and I am so glad we got that chance to bond with her.
At about 3:30pm Jane came back in the room with some information that completely changed my amazing birthing story into a bit of a nightmare…