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    Blogs — Labour

    My very honest account of Dorothea’s birth story*

    My very honest account of Dorothea’s birth story*

    My induction of labour was planned for the Friday of my due date; this was due to being classed a 'high risk' pregnancy due to many issues ( IVF pregnancy, family history of maternal hypertension, asthma and rheumatoid arthritis). 

    The first Induction pessary was given at 11.30 on the Friday and at this point I was 1cm dilated with a soft cervix! There wasn't much movement during the day; lots of walking the corridors, visiting the coffee shop and colouring in books. I must say I didn't realise how boring induction could be! There were several other women in the hospital bay with me and in the same boat. 

    Some mild practise contractions started in the evening; like mild tummy cramps that gripped the whole of my lower abdomen. Luckily I made a friend, ‘Katie', in the next bed who was on her fourth baby, being induced due to lower water levels. It was nice to share a chat and bounce on gym balls together. A lady in a nearby room was having a very very noisy labour (think stereotypical screaming!) so sleep was a stranger. 

    At midnight contractions started coming thick and fast (well I thought so at the time!), every two minutes lasting for a minute each, meaning very little break. I had some paracetamol and codeine for this which helped initially. I never managed to relax or be pain free enough to sleep at all; at 4am the contraction pain was really ramping up. The midwife offered more pain relief and suggested a warm bath. So I followed her advise and reclined in the hospital bath with a nice smelly bath bomb. THIS DID NOT HELP! I remember lying in the bath moaning and groaning, saying “oh my god, oh my god” and “ouch this hurts” over and over again.  Yes I was that woman! 

    At 5am the contractions were very painful - I mean VERY painful. I couldn't control my loud moans and the pain relief was doing nothing! The midwife examined me and broke my waters (at 3cm dilated) and moved me to a delivery room where I started using gas and air. Worringly the waters were slightly bloodied. My partner was called in when I was settled in the delivery room - I think he was shocked that I went from calm, cheerful and happy at 23.30 to a deranged crazy shouty woman by 06.30! 

    At 8am contractions were very intense; they examined me again and found I was only 3-4cm. It was at this point I requested an epidural, something I was quite determined not to have during pregnancy - for no other reason than fear! This was the best decision I'd made! 

    I then had a nice relaxed morning/afternoon and managed some naps. My partner and mum were present, mainly watching rugby and feeding me mints (I wasn't allowed to eat but was very hungry). I was still regularly getting strong contractions two mins apart still (only felt as mild tightenings due to epidural). My cervix was showing little progression so I was started in a syntocin drip to speed up labour. 

    Unfortunately, Little Miss had decelerations of heart rate (to 80-100bpm) when I was sitting/lying on bottom/back - so during the whole of labour I had to be on my side. This was very uncomfortable and gave me hip pain (something I suffer with anyway due to rheumatoid arthritis). 

    In the evening I started to show signs of sepsis - a high temperature, heart rate and breathing rate. Although I felt okay, I was started on antibiotics and told I would have to stay in hospital for at least 24 hours. I was really disappointed by this as wanted to get home with my baby ASAP. I reached fully dilated at about 10pm and by this point Dorothea was having increased heart rate decelerations so was told to be prepared for a c-section! They decided to give an hour for the head to descend and at 11pm request I started pushing in the hope of delivering vaginally. 

    The joy of the epidural I had was that it was a 'mobile epidural' so was actually able to move onto all fours etc to push which really helped - it was due to this I was able to have the birth I wanted. 

    I was told I was doing really well pushing, but Little Miss dropped her heart rate to 85, so the drs were called in to assist (by called in, I mean an emergency bell was sounded and my room suddenly filled). I was told we had 3-4 contractions to move her or would have to be a c-section - I  was super determined not to go to theatre! 

    We managed to get her out with the Drs assistance with a kiwi (suction cup device) and an episiotomy (also tore a little). I must say the pushing and actual birth was nowhere near as bad as I'd imagined - although the epidural must have helped loads! The pushing part went so quickly and afterwards I couldn't believe it was 65 minutes. 

    During the end stage of labour I was told that I would be unlikely to be able to hold the baby as due to decelerations she was going to be tired and would be whisked away! Fortunately this didn't happen- she came out screaming and was put on me immediately. It took about 35 minutes to stitch me up, but to be honest, at this point I was breast feeding my daughter so really didn't care. My partner got to cut the cord (we had delayed cord clamping) and we both had skin to skin for the first hour. She fed within a couple of minutes and Daddy had skin to skin too.

    My estimated blood loss was 600mls, but my partner said it looked like a horrifically gory horror movie - I guess we women don't see the worst of it. I was told afterwards that her cord gas showed her oxygen levels were really dropping and that we’d got her out just in time. Also my placenta was quite ‘gritty’ according to the midwife. I was so relieved that I didn't go too far overdue as this is a first sign of deterioration. 

    Top tip from me? Don't be brave - take the epidural! I would never have been able to push her out if it wasn't for the rest the epidural allowed me to have in the afternoon. Also, try not to worry; your body does so much naturally and you don't remember the bad bits afterward.

    (*Picture for reference only)

    Alternative ways to kick start labour

    Alternative ways to kick start labour

    Alternative ways to kick start labour

    Once you reach your 8-9 months of pregnancy, you have pretty much passed the ‘glowing’ stage of pregnancy and it’s no surprise that you will probably feel ready and want baby to arrive. The excitement of your new arrival, the planning and preparation over the last few months, you just want to meet your little bundle of joy. So when you reach the 40 week mark and there are no signs of baby arriving, you start to think about ways to help kick star labour and you are probably willing to try all the old wives tales. Alice and I consider ourselves lucky as all, except one at 40 weeks, of our children were early (between 36-38 weeks).

    We have heard of these alternative ways to bring on labour so if you are at that point in pregnancy when you want your baby to come out, maybe these are worth a try! I always believe your baby will make an appearance when they are ready (whether late or early) but there’s no harm in giving these a try, even if it’s to take your mind off the waiting game.

    Marathon walks - well not quite but go for long walks. This makes the baby’s head put pressure onto your cervix, potentially triggering labour. If anything, it’s always good to get exercise and we really believe that being on the move helps during labour.

    Eating pineapple - this will stimulate your stomach and help may help your contractions to start. Pineapple also contain enzymes that are meant to soften your cervix therefore triggering labour.

    Eat hot and spicy food - the hot spicy-ness in curries are meant to stimulate your stomach and are believed to bring on contractions. It is often recommended to eat hot curries.

    Raspberry leaf tea - a type of herbal tea containing high content of vitamins, minerals and tannins. It is thought drinking raspberry leaf tea can help to strengthen the uterus wall and therefore potentially speeding up labour.

    Nipple stimulation - massaging your nipples is believed to help trigger labour as it tricks your body into thinking that your baby is suckling, releasing the hormone oxytocin causing your uterus to contract.

    Sex! - it is probably the last thing you want to do being 9 months pregnant but the hormone oxytocin is released during sex which potentially triggers labour.


    Have these worked for you? What did you do to bring on your labour?

    What to pack in your hospital bag

    What to pack in your hospital bag

    By week 35 you should pack your hospital bag.  Use a carrier that works best for you - either a holdall, backpack or even a mini suitcase like we did. It’s a good idea to pack for you, baby and birth partner separately so you can find things easily in the moments of labour and then when your baby is born.

    For you

    •  Birth plan and hospital notes (you will need this for your antenatal appointments so keep them on top)
    •  Mobile phone and a charger
    • Clothes for labour
    •  It will get messy so an old nightie or long t-shirt will do
    •  Dark lightweight dressing gown – in case you’re wandering the corridors
    •  Slipper socks or slippers
    •  Nightie for post labour – something with buttons at the front if you are planning on breastfeeding
    •  Breast pads – 1 box
    •  Nursing bras – 2-3
    •  Nipple cream
    •  Maternity sanitary pads – or long thick sanitary towels (not the thin ones)
    •  Old or disposable knickers - 3
    • Going home clothes – loose and comfortable
    •  Clothes you wore when you were around 6 months pregnant should be fine (make sure the top is accessible if you plan to breastfeed)
    • Toiletries
    •  Toothpaste and Toothbrush, deodorant, flannel and shower stuff
    •  Towel
    •  Make up 
    •  Lip balm
    •  Hairbrush and ties/clips for long hair
    • Other 
    •  Snacks/sports drinks or glucose tablets/bottled water with sports top
    •  Laundry bag for dirty clothes
    •  Eye mask – to get as much sleep as you can post labour on the ward
    •  Drink straw - so that you can easily keep yourself hydrated in all birthing positions


    •  TENS machine – if you plan to use one
    •  Music/magazines/entertainment
    •  Comfy pillow
    •  Pen and paper/notebook – to write any questions you may want to ask
    •  Mini fan
    •  Massage oil – if you like to be massaged during labour
    •  Birth ball and pump if your hospital doesn’t have one

    For baby

    •  Baby vests x 5
    •  Sleep suits x 3
    •  Nappies small pack unopened as they take up less space unopened
    •  Baby blanket
    •  hat - hospital usually provide one
    •  Baby jacket/snow suit depending on weather
    •  Cotton wool or baby wipes
    •  Muslin cloths x 5
    •  Nappy ointment


    •  Scratch mittens
    •  Socks or booties
    •  Car seat – if you plan to bring your baby home in a car (even by taxi)

    For birth partner

    •  Clothes/underwear and comfortable shoes
    •  Mobile and charger
    •  Camera and charger
    •  Snacks/food and drinks
    •  Change for parking
    •  Toiletries and towel
    •  List of phone numbers to call


    •  Entertainment
    •  Painkillers – for their headaches!
    •  Pillow/blanket
    •  Swimwear if they want to join you in the birth pool