"Can this be transition already? Labor's only been on for 3 hours!"

induction natural birth

Hello Melissa,

When I got home after the birth of my little hypnobub, I really wanted to thank you and share my story. But I got so caught up with my busy life and put my email aside.
She turned one this weekend. It's about time I send it!
We chose to prepare ourselves for the birth of our second baby through your online course for two main reasons: the first was I wanting to achieve a natural birth (I had a good yet not drug free first birthing experience, and I realised afterwards that a lot could have... should have been different because I hadn't been properly informed and prepared), the second was for my husband to feel empowered as a birth partner with tools in his pocket (he didn't really know what to do the first time). We really enjoyed the course. That bit about how our brain works is a good piece knowledge even beyond birth preparation.
At 40 weeks+3 days I met with my obstetrician who, after examining me, was sorry to let me know that my cervix was still tightly shut. I had been experiencing a few Braxton Hicks for about a week but nothing really serious. In my mind, I was so ready to give birth though. My mother had made the trip from overseas to be with us and our toddler during my stay at the hospital and the first few weeks with bub. I was beginning to fear she would only see her for a very short time. And I had tried everything for the past week: intercourse, long walks, spicy food, massage with clary sage, acupressure... None of it had worked!
My obstetrician then asked us if we wanted to help our little girl come a bit quicker. It was probably the exact opposite of our initial birth preferences we had shared with her. But we decided to take the following steps, hoping each of them would get labour started without having to move to the next: a stretch and sweep of the membranes (which was unlikely to work given the state of my cervix), then a gel to ripen the cervix, then rupturing the membranes and finally syntocinon. We had to go through all of them. but I have no regrets. The obstetrician was so sorry to bring those options on the table because she really wanted to support us in our choices. But we felt fully informed about all of them and that was the most important thing for us. Feeling empowered taking those decisions, feeling calm, confident and supported.
In that state of mind I entered the hospital on Wednesday evening. We spent the night waiting for the gel to operate. Then around 9am we went into birth suite. We had asked for a midwife who supported hypnobirthing and were accompanied by beautiful Tess all the way. When the drip was set up (about 10:30am) and my surges began to follow a regular pattern, I used the relaxation techniques I had been practicing during the last weeks of pregnancy. Visualising the muscles of my uterus drawing up and my cervix opening was very helpful at that moment. Constant EFM was needed because of the induction but they used a wireless device that enabled me to move freely which was great. We put on music, I ate some snacks and got a massage with birthing oil.
My obstetrician visited me at about 1pm. She asked Tess to lower the syntocinon dose because my surges were getting too close together (oh, really? I felt like I was dealing with them okay), and she offered to check how far I was dilated around 2:30pm. She didn't get a chance to do that! Very soon after her visit, thing started to really intensify. I managed to relax another 20 minutes listening to "Surge of the sea". Then I had to go to the toilet, and I remember saying to my husband: "when she comes back to check on me, if I'm less than 6cm I'll ask for pain killers, this is getting too intense for me!". Then on my way back from the toilet, I felt things changing again. I was out of my relaxation trance and couldn't find a way back in, got very hot, heard myself grunting as I breathed out and asked my husband: "Can this be transition already? Labor's only been on for 3 hours!"
It definitely was. And I felt so grateful that I knew about it! Because at that point I knew it wasn't going to be very long before I met my baby. Tess helped me hop on the bed and checked my cervix: I was only 8cm but already feeling pushy. Without really thinking about it, I settled laying on my side (I had been picturing me giving birth on all fours but that position didn't feel right at that moment). My husband was standing on the side of the bed and holding me in his arms the whole time. I was a bit out of myself at that point and it is hard to remember exactly what I did. But he told me afterwards that he could sense me breathing/bearing down. Even though I felt like I was kind of loud! I even cried out right into his ear during one of the last surges and almost made him deaf, poor thing.
And then... she was in my arms. All purple but very healthy, with her dark hair and 3.6kg. I was feeling a bit cold and shaky and the room was so busy. I couldn't wait for it to be all over. Placenta delivered and everything back to calm. That half an hour was probably the least pleasant of the whole journey. But at last it was just the three of us in my own room and I have been able to enjoy a nice and restful stay at the hospital. When I got back home, I had two full weeks with my mother ahead of me. And for that I don't regret the induction. It didn't keep me from reaching our goals: a positive birth without the need of an epidural and being a terrific supportive birth partner.
So, thank you for helping us being prepared for this very special moment.