Hi Kate,


This email is very long…. 

it has taken me a little while to write. 


I  arrived home from Fiona Stanley Hospital after giving birth to our third baby on Thursday morning on the 18th.

My previous traumatic experiences 

I thought I would share with you our very different experience this third time around. As you may remember, I had our first two babies at King Edward Birth Centre. I had done hypnobirthing in preparation and thought I was “ready”/prepared for what was to come. Despite feeling so prepared, and everything “objectively” going very well, the feeling of being so out of control sent signals to my brain telling me that I would die (there was just no way you could survive something that excruciating – and why is no one saving me?). I left both those “perfect deliveries” feeling emotionally traumatised and like an absolute failure that still made me cry thinking about it years later.

Rationally I knew there was no failure about how my first two babies were born (or how any babies are born for that matter) but emotionally I couldn’t let go of that feeling, and this time around I was determined to not feel like that again. 

I did the hypnobirthing course with you and dedicated several psychologist appointments to discuss the previous births and attempt to change the mindset in preparation for this third labour. I came to the acceptance that no matter how much I prepared there would most likely be a point during transition where I would feel like I would die, as it could be an unavoidable trigger that just happens for me – but I focused on disconnecting the feelings of being out control and the intense fear of death with having failed. So I worked on that. For me, this third time around was an opportunity to leave the birthing experience with a feeling of accomplishment rather than a forever haunting sense of failure.

My labour begins

This third labour started in a way on Monday morning (15th) last week by attending the routine appointment (39+1). I had some fluid loss that needed to be checked but it also turned out that my blood pressure had gone up too high. I ended up having blood tests done to check for signs of preeclampsia. Unfortunately, there were some signs in the blood that things were starting to take a negative turn but nothing too alarming just yet. And the fluid loss was checked and came back negative for amniotic fluid. However, to try and make a long story slightly less long…8 hours later, and several doctors’ different opinions and stating “facts” that they had no evidence for, ultrasounds of “big baby”, I was advised to stay and be admitted. By that point, my membranes had actually started leaking and my blood pressure had gotten increasingly higher (surprise surprise after spending all day in hospital getting different advice and being lectured by people with no uterus nor compassion…).

I ended up signing a “we are going home despite medical advice” form knowing that having a restful night at home was my chance at going in to labour sooner rather than later. As the membranes were leaking, I agreed to come back 18 hours later (if labour hadn’t started) to receive intravenous antibiotics. Little did I know, they were expecting me to be induced after 24 hours since the membranes started leaking, but there was no way I was ready for that. I felt strongly that my body was getting close to starting on its own so I advocated for an alternative treatment plan that gave me more time despite it meaning spending more time in hospital. I did everything I could think of to get things started, and I felt hopeful and convinced I would get there. I even had 5 hours on the night before Wednesday of somewhat regular contractions, endorphins flowing, and I was in an awesome headspace ready to get this baby out feeling sure “this is it”. But then it just stopped. I advocated for more time. But at the 48 hour mark (Wednesday afternoon at 3pm) since the membranes had started leaking and no further signs of labour progressing at any pace faster than incredibly slow, I had a conversation with a doctor who was there to encourage induction, and I told her my fears of induction with tears running down my face. I realised that I had not prepared for such a scenario, thinking “there’s no way I would ever need to be induced – my body has done this twice before, it knows what to do”, and I was completely overwhelmed as an induction was looking more and more like the choice that needed to be made. I knew that eventually my body and baby would fully kick into gear but they weren’t there yet. But being on antibiotics in hospital indefinitely with 2 kids at home, increased risk of infection and not knowing why things weren’t moving further along after 48 hours…I agreed to be induced. It felt like the right choice. But nothing I knew of induction had been positive. I was terrified of the unknown pain, the expected increased pain, and that women rarely cope without an epidural. It felt like the worst thing in the world at that point, and I was so terrified that being in that amount of pain for who knows how long would send me on an uncontrollable unbearable journey where I would possibly feel like I was actually dying for a lot longer than the transition phase. Maybe hours of pure horror. But despite this, I didn’t want an epidural. I wanted to give my body the best chance at “kicking into gear” and taking over the birthing process, and an epidural would work against that. I could feel the hormones doing their thing in my body and brain despite only being somewhere in early labour. There was still hope that an induction would be needed only to kick start things but there was no guarantee. The doctor clearly thought it was insanity to consider induction without an epidural (which obviously didn’t ease my fears). 

It’s time for the induction

The hospital got busy… it felt like everyone was giving birth but me. I was meant to be induced a few hours later (early evening),  and I spent the time getting myself in a decent headspace. I had spoken to the doctor about starting the syntocin drip at a lower dose to allow my body to take control, and to allow me to be eased into it a little so it felt less scary. Phil and I continued to discuss the decision, and we both felt it was the right one for us at that point. Unfortunately, time kept passing….. at midnight I was shuffled to the birthing suits to be induced… At that point, there was no good headspace left…only pure exhaustion, feelings of absolute defeat and terror. I walked into the birthing suite and it felt like I was walking into a torture chamber to go through the worst experience of my life too tired to have any chance of coping. I sat on a chair, hugged my pillow and just cried.

Moving to the birth suites

The two midwives there asked me questions on how I was feeling, why I was feeling like that, and they listened to me. I was once again given a face of “you’re crazy”, when I said I wanted to do it without an epidural but they were supportive of me and understanding of wanting my body to have the best chance at contributing to the process as much as possible despite artificial measures being taken. After lots of questions I agreed to a VE with the hope they would be able to find a sack of water in front of baby’s head and releasing that could get labour going on it’s own. Unfortunately, this wasn’t the case. I was happy to find out though that baby was in a perfect position and the cervix was very soft so I was starting to feel more positive again. I felt in control asking questions and only giving informed consent to everything happening.  

At 2am the induction started. I started at a lower dose and I had the TENS machine (first time trying that). The contractions were happening but they were no problem to manage, and the TENS was awesome. I was in control of when to up the syntocin until we got to 4 contractions per 10min when they no longer up it. But suddenly after that point, it got TOO much. Too frequent and crazy intense. I knew if that was the level it was going to stay at for who knows how long, I would run out of steam. And it just felt wrong. I asked to have the dose lowered, and it got down to a manageable level again. After a little while, I was told that the contractions had gone down to 2/3 in 10 minutes but everyone agreed to wait and see what my body would do.

I was so pleased that my body started filling in the “gaps” and I had a mix of syntocin contractions and natural contractions. It was an interesting experience to feel to difference between the two. The natural contractions felt like a break despite also being very intense – it was nothing like the intensity of the syntocin ones. 

I had my TENS and I had gas at that point. I was mainly sitting on a mat on the floor. Our student midwife was holding the baby monitor thingy on my belly as it kept falling off. That became her role. That and telling me encouraging things. I was 110% at my limit for coping but I found an amazing rhythm with the TENS and gas and moving my body with the support of Phil. I could feel the hormones in my brain working with me, and I felt so incredibly strong and proud of my body and mind.

It’s almost time

I had been very worried that I wouldn’t be able to tell what was happening in my body with the syntocin but this wasn’t the case. I knew when it was getting close and I expressed that, and the midwife got ready. I felt trusted and no one tried giving me any further exams. With great difficulty, I had a wee and leaned over a ball when I got back. I had a pause in contractions for a few minutes. I wanted the TENS off, and I remembered that probably meant I was right that baby was about to come out. I felt calm. I did not feel like I was dying.

Despite being out of control I was so aware of what was happening in my body, and the way I could feel him coming out and I could control my breathing without any panic – in 3 contractions he was out – 7 hours since the induction had started. There were no feelings of failure. I felt like an absolute hero.

And the way Phil had been involved the whole way through – at no point did I feel alone. He did exactly what I needed him to do, and he too was amazed at how we got through that together. 

Despite the challenges leading up to his birth, the roller coaster of emotions and being confronted with so many doctors and opinions, the exhaustion and guilt for leaving our other children for what felt like an eternity – and trying to listen to what felt right for us amongst all the noise… I regret nothing. We made the best of an unfamiliar and not ideal situation, and I have literally never felt prouder of anything in my life. 

I feel that this experience has washed away any past feelings of birth failure, and I am left with a feeling of pure strength and empowerment.

Thank you for the role you played in preparing us this time around. I know the course supported us to ask the right questions and knowing our rights. And it made all the difference. 


Thank you for reading my long email. This experience has been too important for me to shorten it too much – all of it mattered 🙂