I wanted to share a secret with you! That induced birth don’t have to be traumatic and scary, in fact it can be positive and calm. Birth can take an unexpected turn at any point and therefore it is so important that in pregnancy you gather skills to help you to relax quickly in all circumstances, so if the unexpected happens you are prepared. I wanted to share a selection of induced birth stories to inspire you as so often I find we only hear negativity about induction of labour. With such a high proportion of women’s labours being induced these days I believe it is vitally important that all women and their birth partners are given skill to deal with such intervention, so birth can be positive regardless of how or where it happens.
As an older 1st time Mum, pregnant after a long period of invasive infertility, I was desperate for normality and to regain some control.Attending Gemma’s workshop my husband and I felt empowered to ask for a home birth, confident in our ability in managing our emotions during labour and birth. My husband and I are shy and would normally avoid workshop situations but Gemma’s enthusiasm was infectious.
As the pregnancy continued, the skills we learned helped us adapt our our wishes as the situation changed (my blood pressure increased at the end). In the end we couldn’t even use the birthing centre and I was induced – the opposite of my image of labour! My successful labour and delivery was all down to Gemma’s workshop and the hours of preparation I’d put into listening to the various Natal Hypnotherapy CDs.
The midwives didn’t believe I was in labour as I was so calm so I laboured on my own in a dark ward whilst everyone slept and took it in my stride. After 4 hrs they realised I was in active labour. After a further hour and 3/4 my calm and contented baby arrived. No pain relief needed! I am utterly confident I wouldn’t have coped as well due to the speed and intensity of the contractions. There was even time for humour between contractions.I specifically recommend the labour companion CD which refocused my attention on the job in hand.
Tell your pregnant friends about Positive Birth Scotland. “3-2-1-relax”!!
I was recommended by my Midwife to contact Gemma when I mentioned I was intrigued by hypnobirthing, I didn’t know a great deal about it but figured anything that could help me deal with the unknown of labour and birth was definitely something I wanted to explore.
Now a little about me… I’m 27 and have avoided hospitals my entire adult life. They terrify me! Doctors…medications…complications…machines the lot! So although I was delighted at the prospect of having a baby, the actual HAVING of the baby proved to be quite frightening. So, I booked on Gemma’s workshop for two reasons 1) I wanted a natural birth, my body is built for this and I wanted no interventions, no inductions, no medications and 2) as I knew it was going to be so important for me to be able to relax in a hospital environment, even though I planned to be there for as little time as possible, my plan was home labour, hospital birth… how wrong could I be?!
At 36+6 it was a Sunday, and we had gone to the Christmas panto that day (laughed all day, lots of oxytocin!) and that night 11.30pm my waters broke in the house. Cue excitement and a little adrenaline and Dougie and I holding hands and breathing together as we thought baby imminent! I phoned labour ward to let them know and because I was early they wanted to see me, uh oh this means hospital earlier than I thought. Okay, I’ll be home in a few hours to labour at home I’ll be fine… Get to hospital, consultant comes in, tells me they want to put me on a drip, give me an epidural, followed by horrible speculum exam followed by BP check and guess what, blood pressure is sky high. I try to explain I’m not good in hospitals and that it’s nothing to worry about, but of course I get kept in because of it and Dougie gets sent home. I managed to stop crying for long enough to explain to the consultant that I don’t want an epidural and I don’t want the drip, and so long as baby is ok, can they give me more time? Different consultants said different things but eventually they said they’d give me 36hours so till Tuesday morning, but I couldn’t go home. For me, this was my absolute worst nightmare. Every blood pressure check was sky high, 153/102 at one point! And the adrenaline was taking over, everything that I didn’t want! The whole time I was watching the clock and counting down these 36 hours knowing at the end of it was a drip and an epidural which I did not want. The only reason I got through those 36 hours of hospital, with 4 hourly checks on me and baby, was listening to my tapes, curtains shut, lavender oil sprinkled and fairy lights on. I had made my little bed my cocoon of safety, my baobab tree, and I breathed, and breathed and breathed.
Tuesday morning came, and at 6am I was woken by a consultant I hadnt yet seen, she explained that at 7am they’d get me my epidural and get me on the drip as we couldn’t wait for baby any longer. I burst into tears and begged was there no other option, shaking like a leaf. She asked my concerns and I explained that I was so hoping for a natural birth with
nothing false and I wanted to be relaxed and I knew that was all ruined now thanks to my hospital stay. She said that one other option was a pessary and they’d give that 12 hours to work and then that was it, drip and epidural. I agreed to the pessary as although it was a helping hand, to me it wasn’t as extreme and I did understand that it had been so long since my waters broke so I did need to hurry baby along. So 7am Tuesday morning, the Midwife popped in the pessary – even though my legs shook the whole time, it was easy. The Midwife shut my curtain whilst saying I’d feel nothing for a few hours and they’ll give it 12 hours to work.
By half 7 I had had 5 strong contractions, I was sure of it. Buzzed the Midwife, who told me nope, I wasn’t even 1cm when she put it in so it won’t be contractions yet. I listened, and thought oh dear, if that’s not a contraction then they must really hurt! So, every 7minutes, I used my breathing, closed my eyes and told myself my affirmation ‘every pain, every contraction gets me closer to meeting you’. 6minutes apart…5minutes apart…By half past 9, i was bent over the arm chair, pressing my head into the back of it, rocking on my tip toes and breathing into it. The contractions were coming on top of one another and I text my husband to say ‘ come now!’. I buzzed the Midwife and she said no, it’s not contractions yet, your next check is at 11am but let me bring you a paracetamol!
5minutes later, I buzzed again and demanded a cervical check, she tutted and said okay let’s take the pessary out, you’re not dealing with the pain very well. One part of my brain was saying the baby is coming, and the other part was saying the Midwife must be right, how can I do this for the next ten or so hours! I managed to climb on the bed and then everything happened very fast! The Midwife in surprise said oh! Baby is coming, your 8cm we need to get you down to labour ward! And I was frantically wheeled down through the hospital corridors, in and out of lifts, and into the labour ward. Thankfully, Dougie got there just as I was coming into labour ward, so this was about 10.30am, and another 30 odd minutes of contractions and then I could start pushing. Wow! I can honestly say I enjoyed this stage, the satisfaction, the relief, and the amazement of my body completely taking over and pushing this baby out. I almost felt like I was catching up with my body and it really did do all the work for me. Dougie was amazing, between pushes he was in my ear doing 3.2.1 relax, our special touch and had a cold cloth on my head, we were so in sync it was incredible. Just as she was about to be born, they realised she was coming face up, so told me it was going to be harder to push her out, I took some gas and air and was given a little cut and two pushes later my little baby girl was in my arms at 11.51am. Only at that point did I realise I hadn’t opened my eyes since being in the ward.
My labour experience was everything I feared, did so not go to plan, and yet I still managed a natural, minimal pain birth! I cannot explain enough, how I couldn’t have managed this, my hospital stay and the discussions around induction without this course and the techniques I learned. Not only did it help me relax, it helped me have the confidence to ask what my other options were, not simply accepting what the first consultant said, and to listen to my body.
Gemma is simply put – amazing. There is no thank you big enough, she helped me bring me baby girl into the world safely, naturally and made me feel like an absolute superstar in doing so! Gemma, we love you
Maria Solarin 1st baby, Induction/physiological birth.
Following Gemma’s excellent course, I was all ready for a natural, pool birth, but it was not meant to be. This is because our beautiful daughter decided to arrive nearly four weeks early. My waters broke unexpectedly on Saturday night. At this stage I could have panicked but instead I breathed deeply and put the birth preparation Natal Hypnotherapy CD on to try and calm me down and manage the adrenaline spike. I was actually quite excited with the prospect of finally meeting our baby.
Off to the hospital we went. Again I listened to my CD in the waiting room. Even though my waters had gone, my contractions hadn’t actually started so after monitoring the baby and I to ensure we were both well they let us go home for 24 hours to see if my labour would start naturally. Nothing happened and in the end I had to be induced to have the baby out within 72 hours from the waters due to risk of infection. I really did not want to be induced but I tried to be as calm and pragmatic about it as possible. I was first induced with a pessary. My contractions started but not strong enough (they stayed constant at only 10 minutes apart). When I finally got a bed at the labour ward Tuesday morning I was exhausted and ready for the labour to be over. I had to be put on the oxytocin drip to move things along. Waiting for the drip to take effect, I listened to the relaxing birth music. After this the birth was fast (only 3hrs and 20mins).
Due to the speed and also with my body not producing endorphins acting as nature’s pain relief (due to the artificial oxytocin), the pain was intense, but I managed to cope with it by deep breathing and gas and air. I could not go for a water birth because my waters had broken and I was constantly monitored due to the drip. However, considering the circumstances I think I managed to get as natural a birth as possible, including no epidural, opiates, c-section, forceps/suction, episiotomy or major complications. When our daughter arrived to the world, she was a little unresponsive at first so we could not delay the cord clamping, but again her safety came first. Ultimately, even though things did not go to plan, I definitely did not have a bad birthing experience. Natal hypnotherapy helped to calm me down and take things as they come without negative thoughts working against the process.
I would thoroughly recommend the course to everyone especially with Gemma being a practicing midwife (and mum!) allowing her to explain how natal hypnotherapy can be used in your birthing process in a very practical and real way.
Due to my age of 42 and being a first time mother, my consultant was very keen for me to be induced at 40 weeks. I had initially agreed to it at one of my first appointments with the midwifes without really knowing much about it. In doing Gemma’s Natal Hypnotherapy weekend workshop I learned more about induction and what was involved in it, as well as learning a lot about what to expect and how to deal with all kinds of scenarios that come up in labour, and how labour really works. After learning more I wasnt keen to be induced, however I reluctantly agreed to go in a day after the 40 weeks. Once in hospital, I postponed my induction for a few days to give my body a chance. Instead they monitored my and the baby’s heart rate. A few days later i went in again and this time agreed to be induced.
Thinking I would be in for a few days I rocked up to the ward with lots of bags – yoga mat, birthing ball, magazines etc. And the natal hypnotherapy cd to listen to along with a long playlist of favourite tunes. After being given the pessary, myself and my partner hung out, went and got coffee, read, had a laugh and just relaxed. It was exciting but what I didnt realise that, as i was being chilled out about it all (well I was still nervous but kept thinking positive thoughts), I was actually in the first stages of labour, in the excitement phase. To cut a long story short, late that evening the midwife didnt think I was in labour when i wandered along the ward to tell her that I was experiencing what felt like period pains every couple of minutes. I went back to bed, lying on my side and breathing through what they thought was my cervix effacing. It wasnt, and after 3 and a half hours of breathing, 321 relax, and increasing contractions, I was taken through to the labour room. Fifteen minutes later I gave birth to a healthy wee boy, Brodie.
It was amazing to just let your body take over – there was just this bearing down and an excitement when my waters broke that it was nearly over and i was going to meet my new baby. The only pain relief i had was gas and air. And no need for the yoga mat, the birthing ball, all those bags of things!
Natal Hypnotherapy really helped take away a lot of the fear and gave me lots of tools to pull from. It kept me calm to the point that they thought I wasnt in labour until just before Brodie was born. Most importantly it made me realise what a natural process giving birth is, no matter how it is started and to keep as relaxed as possible.
1st baby, labour ward (induction/physiological birth)
I just wanted to let you know that I gave birth on Thursday afternoon to a wee boy.
I was induced at 38 weeks because of the Gestational Diabetes. The induction started on Tuesday afternoon and went through every stage, pessary, gel, lots of walking and ultimately hormone drip. So basically the opposite of what we we wanted but it was a really positive experience and I’m so proud of us both. I managed to deliver Mathew who was 9lb 2oz with only a few pushes and no stitches needed! I really don’t think this would have been possible without the course. I listened to the tracks loads while I was being induced. We took our own pillows, blankets, etc; kept the lights low; went in the water which really helped; had oils burning. It was really tough with the hormone drip and I had loads of gas and air but it was amazing and Andy helped me so much as he knew what his role was. We challenge a lot of things along the way with the medical staff and felt really well informed and empowered. If it hadn’t been for the course I think I would have elected for a section as an induction at 38 weeks was my worst nightmare but I’m so glad I didn’t as I’m up and about and feeling great.
Having struggled through a long and very painful labour first time round, I was keen to find ways to cope better both during the pregnancy and when the time came to meet our new baby. As a GP, through my previous experiences, I had a very medical view of labour however I did some research and became interested in natal hypnotherapy and was recommended Gemma.
As soon as we met Gemma, both my husband and I felt we could really relate to everything she said in terms of explaining the physiology occurring during labour and the effect our emotions have on this. From Gemma, we learned not only the theory but methods to employ during labour to help cope better & to encourage things to progress.
Thank you Gemma once again for all your compassion & advice. It truly was a wonderfully positive and unforgettable experience. In the end, our experience this time round was so much more positive and incredibly special. Despite requiring augmentation due to my waters rupturing but no associated contractions, we remained calm and happy to accept whatever was required. Once my contractions began, they did get very painful but I felt empowered to cope much better and my husband, who was an active participant in the preparation antenatally, was a huge support and undoubtedly kept me going through the self doubt. Our daughter was born normally which was one of the proudest and most unforgettable moments of my life and I absolutely think that the work we did with Gemma made this possible. We are hugely grateful to Gemma and would have no hesitation in recommending her to anyone considering ways to make their labour or delivery experience more positive.
Our first experience of child birth was a traumatic one for both of us that lasted nearly 72 hours and resulted in a difficult forceps delivery. We were looking for some help second time round and found exactly that with Gemma. I didn’t know it was possible to prepare for a labour and was fairly sceptical before the course. I now realise that there is more than just anecdotal evidence to support natal hypnotherapy and I would encourage everyone to invest the time in trying it out as it really helped us. I felt much more relaxed and was able to be an active birth partner rather than anxious bystander. Gemma really took a lot of the fear out of childbirth for both of us. Thank you Gemma once again for all your compassion & advice. It truly was a wonderfully positive and unforgettable experience!
Gemma Nealon is a practicing NHS midwife based in Edinburgh who teaches Hypnobirthing and birth preparation classes nationally and internationally. She is passionate about dramatically increasing a couples chance of having a natural birth, but most of all a peaceful birth and that means preparing couples for birth in all eventualities. To read more about how Gemma can help you, visit www.positivebirthscotland.com