41 weeks + 2 days – Booked for an induction

I was 41 weeks + 2 days and was scheduled for an induction the following day at 2pm at Fiona Stanley Hospital (FSH).  From 36 weeks up until this point I had tried everything to go into labour spontaneously – 6 dates a day, raspberry leaf tea, walks, bouncing on the fit ball, clary sage oil, acupressure, acupuncture, nipple stimulation, expressing/pumping multiple times a day and 4 stretch and sweeps.  I knew from the stretch and sweeps that my cervix was ready, I was 2 – 3cm and it was super soft and stretchy, but I had bulging membranes that just didn’t want to pop on their own and that was what was probably stopping baby putting the pressure on my cervix needed to start my labour.

I had finally given up on the idea of a water birth at being able to labour and birth in the family birthing centre (FBC).  I had cried everyday for the past week about the idea of having to get induced, I was terrified that if I started on the road of medical intervention that it would not stop, and I wouldn’t get the birth I had envisioned for myself.  I was getting tired of the endless messages from people asking if baby had arrived yet.  I had completely drained myself emotionally and had given up.
It was 4:10pm on Saturday 23rd July 2022.  I was sitting on my couch at home watching bad reality TV, pumping out some colostrum when just like the movies I felt a POP and next minute I was sitting in a pool of waters.  I screamed for Christopher (my partner), and I don’t think either of us have been so excited, particularly when we realised that the waters were clear.  I called my midwife straight away to tell her the good news as well as letting our student midwife know.  At this point I still expected it to be a while before my labour began, and even longer until I was in active labour – I was very wrong.

Labour begins

By 4.30pm I started having some back pain and decided to put on the TENS machine as we hadn’t even tried it out yet.  I could pretty much ignore the surges at this point.  We realised we didn’t have any spare batteries so called my mum to bring over some as I was worried the battery would run out.  My mum was also our lift to the hospital and thankfully she decided to hang around a while as things moved quickly from this point.  
At about 5.30pm contractions ramped up almost instantly.  They were a bit inconsistent, but I was having approximately 3 contractions every 10 minutes lasting about 1 minute each.  I continued with the TENS machine but was struggling with the back pain, feeling like I didn’t get much of a break in between contractions.  I tried through all of this to continue watching TV and relaxing, but it got very difficult very quickly.  
At about 6.30pm I decided to hop in the shower.  This was so relieving but standing up really made the pain of the surges increase.  They seemed to be coming so hard and so fast with minimal relief in the minimal due to the intense back pain – the midwife later told me baby was direct OP.  I was adamant about staying home as long as possible as the idea of being turned away from the hospital and have to go home made me very unsettled.  
At 7.30pm my partner messaged our student midwife explaining how close the contractions were together, and that I couldn’t speak through them at all.  She suggested we let our midwife know how close they were together as I was having about 4 contractions every 10 minutes lasting about 50 seconds each but still not the most consistent.  
Chris called our midwife at about 7.50pm and it went to voicemail.  Another midwife called back less than 5 minutes later.  He relayed to her how close the contractions were but that I didn’t want to go to hospital too soon.  Whilst he was on the phone I had the worst contraction so far, vomiting all in the shower and losing control of my bowels – this had to be the most awful feeling.  I said to Chris at that point I have to go in, and the midwife on the phone who had heard this and the previous couple of contractions agreed it sounded like I was in established labour, and I should come into the hospital.  

It’s time to head to the birth centre

Just after 8pm I got the motivation to get out of the shower.  My mother at this point was running bags down to the car while Chris helped me get out.  I was dreading this car ride as all I wanted was to be in water.  I could not even get my seatbelt on.  My mum thankfully was there to drive so Chris could sit in the back seat with me and support me through the contractions.  20 minutes later and we arrived at FSH.
We got up to MFAU just before 9pm where a lovely midwife put me into a room and checked my dilation.  I told Chris that if I hadn’t dilated past the 2 – 3cm I was getting an epidural.  I originally had in my birth plan that I did not want to know how dilated I was but at this moment I needed some evidence that my body was doing something.  I was 5cm, baby was happy and I felt instant relief that I was in active labour and baby was doing well.  The midwife got me up and into the shower as my midwife had not arrived yet.  I didn’t know then but the lovely midwife in MFAU had already started running the bath and setting up the room in the FBC prior to my arrival as she had a feeling I was going to deliver quickly – she was right.  I spent the next 30 minutes in the shower, tried the gas and air which I really didn’t like so gave up on it pretty quickly.  The midwife held a heat pack to my back as it was in so much pain and got me to eat a hydrolyte popsicle as my heart rate was sitting at about 140bpm.  
At around 9.30pm my midwife arrived, and we went to the FBC.  My student midwife arrived at this point also.  I hopped in the bath and felt enough relief to give me some motivation to keep going.  Everything was going so quickly and I felt like I was getting no break between contractions due to the intense back pain still continuing.  I retried the gas and air whilst in the tub but still didn’t like it, I found it didn’t help my pain and didn’t allow me to vocalise as much as my body needed to.  
After some time in the bath my midwife got me to get out to try some different positions to try and get baby to flip to OA.  She tried to get me on my side which I refused completely as it caused even worse pain, so I got on all fours and it was so much better.  At about 10pm I demanded my midwife check my cervical dilation as I felt I needed to push but didn’t want to cause any swelling to my cervix if I wasn’t fully dilated.  She didn’t want to at first as I had only been checked less than 1.5 hours prior and she later told me she didn’t think she would be able to talk me down from an epidural had I not progressed.  In my head all I could think was I better be at least 8cm or more otherwise I’m not going to be able to do this – at this point I felt I was losing complete control.  

It’s almost time 

She checked my cervix at my request, and I thought she was going to tell me I hadn’t dilated much as she seemed to check me for a while.  She then told me she couldn’t feel any cervix and I was 10cm – we all couldn’t believe it.  
It was just after 10pm and at this point she asked me if I wanted to go back into the bath and I got up and went back in.  Those initial few seconds of getting into the water was the most relieving moments.  The involuntary pushing and bearing down began at this point.  I felt a lot more control at this point as I knew I was getting close to meeting my baby and I felt more empowered that I could do this.
Not long after being in the water she told me to reach down.  I could feel the top of my baby’s head, and this was exactly what I needed to get through the rest of my labour.  I couldn’t believe that I could touch my baby.  After some more contractions my midwife told me to hold onto baby’s head and that I could help by controlling the speed of baby coming out – this made me feel so empowered in the moment.  The rest happened so quickly and I felt more in control then than I had the entire labour.  Right at the very end I felt baby turn, this was the weirdest feeling I could have imagined.  Straight after, baby’s head came out followed quickly by the shoulders and I was able to deliver my own baby, grabbing baby under the water and bringing it up to my chest.  The cord was short so baby sat more at my belly.  I blew on baby’s face and rubbed his back to stimulate him to cry.  When I held him I knew he was a boy and shared this with Chris – we knew straight away he was Leo.  
For the days after it felt like piecing together a drunken night.  I was so overwhelmed by my precipitous labour I found it vital to talk to my partner about it and debrief with my midwife about a week later.  I found this so beneficial and would recommend these kinds of conversations to anyone as it let me get a grip on what I’d just experienced.  Although I am ready to have a little break, I can’t wait to experience it again in the future – it was one of a kind.    

Kate Vivian is a self-professed pregnancy and birth geek who is finally learning to embrace the chaos of having 3 kids. It was the birth and ‘bringing baby home’ experience of her first baby, and the overwhelming guilt that went with it, that led her to start Bright Mums – and create a world where Mums matter.

 A Certified Hypnobirthing Australia Practitioner, childbirth educator and postpartum doula, Kate works with Mums-to-be not only supporting them through pregnancy, and birth but also teaching them to honour themselves at a time when the world is telling them their baby is the most important thing.

With almost 2 decades in adult education, Kate has the ability to create a safe space, a non-judgey space. A place where Mums can relax and feel supported regardless of what their journey looks like. 

A keen traveller in a former (pre-kids) life, Kate dreams of the day her kids are big enough to take skiing and they can completely show her up while she is busy falling down mountains.

You can find out more about Kate or how Hypnobirthing Australia classes by clicking below.