“In half an hour we are going to repeat the test. If the (PH) value has decreased, it will mean that the baby will have to be born by c-section”. These were the words of the gynecologist that are still in my mind. A c-section wasn’t the way I wanted my baby to be born, but unfortunately sometimes there’s no other choice as the baby heartbeat was continually decreasing with each wave (or contraction for those not familiar with the hypnobirthing language). At that moment, I asked myself if I should have accepted an earlier labor induction, I mean, during last week’s check everything was fine and in one week almost all the amniotic fluid is gone, which was the reason for inducing my labor, but it seems it’s in many cases the reason for a c-section.
I was exactly 39+6 weeks during the last check, when my gynecologist said we’re going to admit you tonight and start to prepare you for inducing your labor, I even asked “can we wait until tomorrow?”. I wanted to have the time to get used to the idea of an induction, as the induction for Liam’s birth didn’t go so well. His answer was clear “what do you want to wait for?” and I knew I should trust him. He had let me wait for this long despite my medication for the blood pressure, while another gynecologist was already speaking of induction during the 37 weeks check. I was really hopping for a spontaneous start and as soon as I left his office I called my acupuncturist to make an appointment. Two hours later I was sitting down with 10 or 12 needles in different parts of my body. Afterwards there was some activity in the womb, but it wasn’t strong enough.
I spend the rest of the afternoon getting ready and packing the car with all our staff. Normally I’m a “travel light person”, but in this case I filled the car up to the roof 😀 well, mainly because of the birthing pool (two big bags with the pool and all accessories). We were in the hospital at 19:30 and it was quite a long evening/night. I had first a CTG, then they checked the cervix: one 1cm and “it feels soft” (better than nothing I thought). Next was the catheter for the ripening of the cervix and another CTG. The second CTG took much longer than planned as a couple of times Mika’s heartbeat decreased. I had almost to stay connected to the CTG the whole night, but at midnight I was moved into a room to sleep for a couple of hours.
Around 6:30 the nurse came for the checks and an hour later I was back in the delivery room. This time I had the room nr 2, this is the biggest and the only one where you can set up a pool. At least being induced had an advantage, I had the room reserved for me!! One hour later, the midwife was breaking my waters (even thought not much water came out if I compare it with Liam’s waters) and the oxytocin through an IV was started. At that moment, Nelleke, our doula, arrived and Paul started preparing the pool, which to my surprise was ready rather quick. I cannot really tell how long it took, because I didn’t check the clock and I started loosing the sense of time.
Soon came a nurse and told me that Mika’s heartbeat was decreasing with each surge. She suggested me to use the pool and so I did. Not much later (for my feeling) the midwife came in and told me that they have to take a ph-test (taking blood from Mika’s head). With this test they will know if he is getting enough oxygen. As soon as the sample was taken, I went back into the pool. I was feeling worried about the little one and I even feel I should be more relaxed. My head was having all kind of thoughts and I was trying to find a better position.
Next thing I know it’s that the gynecologist and the midwife were standing next to the pool. The ph- test was fine, but “in half an hour we are going to repeat the test. If the (PH) value has decreased, it will mean that the baby will have to be born by c-section”. C-section is the last thing I wanted, honestly I felt disappointed. All the work and the “fighting” to end up with a c-section. On the other hand, I accepted that if it has to be that way, it will be that way. What it really matters it’s to have a healthy baby and at that point I had only 4 cm, so it seemed still a long way to go. I asked Paul to stop the music and put the hypnobirthing affirmations. I stopped myself from getting worried and focused on breathing. And I really needed to focus on that, all of a sudden the waves were much stronger and coming with almost no break.
In the mean time Miranda, our birth photographer, arrived and I wasn’t even able to say hello. I was only telling Paul when he had to put some pressure on my lower back. That in addition with moving my hips (I was standing on my knees) and breathing in as long as I could were the only things that relieved the pain. Yes, at that point I was really feeling pain and I even asked myself for how long I would be able to hold on. At that moment, the midwife came in again.
I had forgotten the test, she asked me to lay on the water to check my progress. Before I could turn, I had the urge to poop. I told her so and apologized for not wanting to go out of the pool. Our hypnobirthing practitioner, who is also midwife, said once “midwifes don’t mind the poop because that means that the right afterwards the head will also come out”. So I was thinking that I needed to empty the way for the baby first. I just followed what my body was asking me to do while (for my feeling) I was turning and searching for another position. To my surprise there wasn’t any poop coming out and even thought the pressure was still there, it was already less.
During the following break, the midwife checked my progress and first I couldn’t believe her words “feel it yourself, the head is already there!!”. I mean, half an hour ago I had only 4 cm and now the head was already crowning. I reached with my hand and I felt his head already crowning. I felt so relieved, he was almost there!! The midwife told me to do my best to let him be born in the next surge (in my birthing plan I wrote I didn’t want to push but breath the baby out, so I guess she was gently asking me to push).
I waited until the next surge keeping my hand touching his head as I didn’t want to break the contact with him. The next surge came and I cannot tell whether I push or not. I just followed the lead of my body and his head came out easily and a second later his body was also born. No pain, not even having the feeling of the “ring of fire” and no sutures needed afterwards thanks to the warm water and being relaxed.
I picked him up immediately and realized how lucky I was. Half an hour before I was thinking I will have a c-section and at the end I was even able to give birth inside the pool, which has been my wish from the very beginning. I’m still amazed about how my body was able to take it over and in just half an hour going from 4cm to give birth. I also realized afterwards that it was ok to feel the pain, but that I should be proud of myself as I remained calm and (mostly) relaxed the entire time.
I really want to thank you everyone that was supporting me before, during and after the birth of Mika: Paul, Nelleke, Miranda, Anne, the hospital stuff and specially Marieke, our midwife, for being supportive and respecting my wishes.