Katherine and Callum

Lilian’s birth story. A hospital birth after waters broken.

My pregnancy had been progressing beautifully until 33weeks when I began to show signs of pre-eclampsia. Fast forward to a scan and consultant appointment at 38weeks and the decision was made to proceed with an induction the following week. This was a difficult decision for me and my partner to make. I had been low risk and had wanted a home birth or water birth in the Maternity Led Unit at RBH – all of which I had planned and prepared for. But alas, it wasn’t meant to be. I was now high risk and my baby’s growth rate had dropped.

We booked in for an induction, using a cervical ripening ballon (CRB). This method appealed to me greatly as it felt like a very natural alternative to the pessary or gels.

We arrived at RBH at 8pm, expecting to start the 12 hour induction process straight away. Sadly my body had other plans. My blood pressure was too high for us to proceed. The midwife explained I would have to be moved for increased observations and that I would not be induced until I was back within a safe range. This was the first time I had felt any fear about the labour, for the health of my baby and for myself. We were moved and were left alone for a number of hours. The room was freezing (we had asked about the heating but were told it was just a cold part of the hospital) so it was impossible to relax. We tried to keep our spirits up, stay positive and keep warm. At 1am we decided it would be best for my partner to head home to try to get some sleep, and I would listen to my relax with nature track and try to get some sleep as well. At 1:30 a midwife came in, took my blood pressure and confirmed that it was time for the CRB to be inserted. This greatly improved my mood as I finally felt we were back on track. I would be able to get some rest and begin the next stage of the induction refreshed – or so I thought.

At my examination I was told that my cervix was 2cm dilated and that my waters could be broken – no need for the CRB. I asked if we could postpone until morning so I could rest, recoup and re-energise but the doctors discouraged me and instead wanted to move forward with the breaking of my waters immediately. Alone and already exhausted I felt as though my only option was to say yes.

I called my partner who came rushing back to hospital just in time to join me for the breaking of my waters. This was a simple process and my surges came swiftly afterwards – they were intense but manageable. The cannula was very uncomfortable and prohibited me from any movement I wanted to undertake – I was unable to bend my wrist so could not even wrap my arms around my partner or bounce on a ball. In the end I asked for pain relief, which I really had not wanted to do, as the discomfort from the cannula was so great.

4 and a bit hours later I was in great discomfort and was offered an epidural. This was something I really did not want but agreed to be examined by the midwife. Thankfully, at the same time the diamorphine began to wear off it was declared that my cervix had dilated to 10cm and that I could begin pushing. After a few minutes of fruitless pushing I remembered my breathing, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, and with great joy remembered the session on pooing your baby out! This was the greatest revelation as my body began to take over and I was able to breathe my baby out. I was fully aware of her birth at that crucial moment and after a little cry she settled immediately on my chest.

Lilian was born 5 hours after my waters were broken – happy, healthy and content.

It may not have been the birth we planned for by any means but I am now able to look back fondly on our birth experience with thanks to Sarah.