Leigh and her partner Nick gave birth to their first child in March 2021. A powerful hypnobirthing induction birth story whereby Leigh advocated for herself and her baby. Leigh's account highlights the the importance of being informed and educated in all aspects of birth. She made confident decisions which enabled her to have an immensely positive and healthy birth.
After many appointments during pregnancy, I declined to listen any further about an induction of labour based on my BMI. All of this talk began earlier in the pregnancy. I was fed up. I also explained I did not want my blood pressure to be checked either.
Fast forward to 34 weeks:
I had my hospital appointment and declined a third trimester scan. I was sure they were trying to find reasons to induce my labour.
Then I began to get itchy feet. I was able to continue working but of a night the itching began. I didn't think much of it. It wasn't unbearable.
I commenced maternity leave at 37 weeks and that's when the itching had peaked. Nothing relieved my symptoms. I knew this was cholestasis. I knew it was severe. I knew I was going to have an induction. I was scared.
I had my scheduled appointment and I mentioned how itchy I was. Immediately I was given the pathology forms and the probability of an IOL.
The doctor was incredible. Knowing how much I didn’t want an induction, she promised I wouldn’t have an induction if my bloods came back okay.
I received a phone call saying that my liver was compromised and that meant my baby was compromised. With all the research I had done leading up to this point, I knew my baby was better out than in. I was only 37+3.
The doctor felt it to be urgent enough to book me in for the next day. I declined. I needed more time. I suggested to go in for a CTG the next day and have the IOL commenced the day after.
All agreeable I received another phone call from the midwife saying I was booked for an ARM in the morning.
I didn’t believe as a first time mum my cervix would be ready enough. I insisted on having further cervical ripening. I was therefore booked for that evening.
I had my birth plan ready to go.
I had Cervidil overnight. I was still getting the same tightness that I had been getting for the past week.
The next day 0900 I had my ARM.
My room was set up by my midwife; dimly lit, a diffuser on and the computer playing calming music. I was contracting on my own 3:10 mod/strong, lasting 45s.
Boy oh boy, there was a lot of amniotic fluid.
As per my birth plan, I had intermittent CTG monitoring as I wanted to be in the shower. They had telemetry monitoring but the signal was always getting interference so I declined having it on all the time.
The shower was amazing.
A little over 4 hours later, 1330 I had my first VE.
Suggestion from doctor- epidural and Synt.
Decline. Continued contracting on my own, using the shower, intermittent CTG. Nick was incredible. Light touch, dim room, reminding me to drink and agreed with my wishes.
1530 our birth photographer, Shalea arrives.
Suggestion from doctor-epidural and synt “to relax you” (apparently I wasn’t relaxed enough).
Decline epidural. Accept Synt. Accepted gas and air.
Call to anaesthetist for IV. Anaesthetist came in and introduced themselves and went over medical history, continually suggesting “if I didn’t have an epidural prior to emLSCS then I would only be given a general and would be taken to ICU.”
Holy cow! Not only am I in the middle of labouring, and receiving multiple IV sticks, I have to endure this news too. This played on my mind. My risk of LSCS is so high, and I wanted to avoid an epidural.
I was on the bed for many attempts at an IV, Synt finally commenced 1945. I was ensured the time waiting for IV and Synt to start would not count against me.
Continued using gas and air with intermittent CTG monitoring.
Synt going up and down, up and down depending on contraction pattern.
Nick continually supporting me. He never left my side. Rubbing my back, light touch on my shoulders or thigh and when a big contraction started and I became more vocal, a grounding touch reminded me to not lose focus.
It was everything I needed. I felt transitional. I had pressure. Every contraction was pressure. I told anyone who listened how much pressure I had.
Overnight was a blur. I do remember Shalea coming and taking photos and going back to the car park to sleep in her car. She did not want to miss any action. I remember doctors continually trying to come into my space. I don’t want them. I don’t need them. They were asked to leave.
I had my next VE at 0200. By golly you wouldn’t believe it to be true; my cervix, was the same!
No way, no how. I have all this pressure. I lost focus. I was broken.
17 hours after the ARM and I’m still the same.
5 hours after Synt started and I’m still the same? Okay, well, knowing what the next steps might look like, I want the epidural.
I don’t want it because I’m in pain. The gas and air was fantastic. The shower was fantastic. The pressure I was feeling made no sense considering my cervix was the same. I got the epidural because I wanted to be awake, I wanted to see my baby be born. Surely the doctors aren't going to take that from me.
The anaesthetist comes in and explains the procedure. I explain I don’t want any medication through the epidural, but I want it in just in case But if they don’t give the meds they wouldn’t know if it was placed correctly. So I agreed to the medication but not a continuous one. I want one I can control with the button.
Anaesthetist swiftly placed the epidural. The CTG is now continuous and IDC is in. I’m on my back on the bed. My mind is broken. My body now numb. I sleep for 4 hours.
0600 epidural wearing off. All the pressure returns with every contraction. I request a VE. Doctor comes in, VE performed, you guessed it, it’s the same!
My future is made up I thought to myself.
My midwife from the night before returns for the morning, Claire. An angel sent from the heavens.
I asked Claire if the baby’s heart rate was okay?
“Yep, everything is normal” she quickly responded.
I said to Claire, if that trace is normal, I will not be going for a LSCS. Claire backs me. Nick backs me. I’ve got this, I thought.
The doctor says next VE at 1100. This is the decider.
My legs were still so heavy and I thought to have the best chance I needed to move off my back.
I got help to roll to my side. With the epidural still wearing off more and more I have the gas back. The pressure is still so intense. I can’t move myself but my back is aching and I can’t get comfortable. Rolling to the left, rolling to the right, moving up in the bed, I can’t bare it anymore. I beg Claire for another VE. This time I said no doctor is doing it. They’ve not given me any good news. I want Claire to perform it.
Claire reiterates that the doctors request to do it as they will decide this time what needs to happen moving forward.
I absolutely refuse. I do not consent to a doctor performing my VE. I beg Claire. Claire agrees after consulting with the doctors.
1030 Fully dilated. You beauty! How did this happen? I don’t care, I’m fully.
I want more movement to be able to birth my own baby. I want more time. I request for passive decent. I need more time for the epidural to wear off more. It’s agreed to have an hour of passive decent.
Claire leaves the room to update the doctors. Shalea has commenced practice shots to ensure lighting okay for the photos. The room is quite. I only concentrate on breathing. In and out.
I think to myself I needed to adjust my hips. As soon as I do, I couldn't help what happened next.
Everything is calm. Everything is quiet.
I can’t help but push. No body knows this is happening. Claire isn’t here. Nick is by my side. Push after push. Shalea notices! She alerts Nick. Shalea gets Claire.
Baby’s head is out.
Baby is born. 2nd degree labial tear.
We have a boy!
We have a whole 4.2kgs worth of baby to love.
A moment to remember forever, Shalea and Rohan now share a birthday. Shalea gave up time with her family to celebrate her birthday to be there for the moment Rohan was born.
Rosie, you taught us to speak up. Granted I’ve gone against the grain of normal. But It felt so right. We listened to the risks. Together Nick and I decided our plan. And in the end, I had a gorgeous space to labour, the most respecting midwives and I got my vaginal birth.
Words can not express how much your words during your class encouraged us to ask questions and decide our own path.
We had an early discharge. We declined baby BSL monitoring.
Rosie Fitzclarence is a Registered Midwife, Registered Nurse, Childbirth Educator (Geelong Born) and a Hypnobirthing Australia™ Certified Practitioner.
Rosie is based in Geelong and can be contacted by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 0419170783.
To find out more about her Hypnobirthing Australia™ classes CLICK HERE