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A perfect induction at 42+1

I have some amazing news to share that we welcomed our son, Cassian Lucca Raymond into the world on Sunday 22nd April at 2.41am weighing a healthy 8lb1oz! He was born by candlelight during a furious thunder and lightning storm and I birthed him in 5hours. I haven’t been able to complete my birth story until now because of the overwhelming sense of emotion I felt about my incredible birth experience – something I would not have been able to do without my husband, Shaya and our midwife, Sophia.

My birth story below:

Week 41 of my pregnancy brought a lot of sunshine and a few tricky decisions I didn’t think we were going to have to make but this baby was so comfy he just didn’t want to make his appearance! On the Monday at 41+3wks I went for the regular monitoring check up at the hospital which went well aside from my blood pressure reading which was slightly high for the first time in my whole pregnancy. I had my first examination to assess whether the sweep could be performed to encourage baby along in as natural a way as possible however my cervix was only 2cm dilated at the base and 1cm at the top so we discussed other induction options for later in the week. I was randomised for my hospital’s trial of the cervical balloon (the aim of which is to encourage dilation of the cervix to either allow your body to naturally release the labour hormones or enable your waters to be artificially broken) and provisionally booked in for the Thursday – the last possible day they would allow us to go home following the insertion. We went ahead with this on the Thursday despite feeling adamant the baby would make his appearance before and returned the next day to have it removed.

I finally had my waters broken on Saturday afternoon at 3pm as the labour ward was too busy on the Friday to accommodate us and tried to get things moving naturally by walking around the hospital. By 6pm things were on the move however we discovered that the sneaky baby had passed meconium so they were keen to start me on the syntocinon drip to encourage his arrival more speedily. I had been apprehensive about the drip having heard how intense the artificially created surges could feel and the fact it also ruled us out from using the birth centre with the pools (which was my dream!) We used our BRAIN and decided to go with the doctor’s suggestion and Shaya took some time to create the perfect space in which to birth our baby; candles, pictures, room fragrance, ensuring the hospital could provide the birthing ball, mat and bean bag that were all offered in the birth centre etc.

The syntocinon drip was started at 8pm and by 10pm the surges were coming in fast and furiously. So fast in fact that I didn’t feel I was getting any relief between them however our midwife, Sophia explained that they needed to keep the drip at this level for 4hours to ensure it was doing its job. I had a bit of a panic at this stage that I wouldn’t be able to cope with the pain so tried the gas and air which successfully took some of the edge off and continued with my up breathing techniques; Shaya was right there with me for every surge, massaging my back and the sharing positive affirmations. I found comfort being on my knees on the yoga mat, with my body resting either on the bean bag or using the end of the bed as a support.

Messages of support began flowing through from our special friends and family who had all created their own beautiful tealight holders at my baby shower, accompanied by photos of their illuminated candles – lighting the way for the baby to journey safely into this world. This gave me a huge amount of strength (although I found it difficult to repress the emotion when I realised how much love was around us).

An hour and a bit later after an intense surge, I had a ‘bloody show’ (although I believed I had already lost this that morning) and Sophia decided to examine me just over 2.5hrs early. We were gobsmacked beyond belief that I had gone from 2 to 8cm in that short time!! At this point my mindset completely changed and the support of Sophia and my incredible husband gave me the strength to persevere.

There was a point when my body suddenly transitioned to pushing and the intensity of the pressure that followed truly made me believe the baby was near. Sophia helped me to get on track with the down breathing and regain control which ensued for another hour or so. It was difficult to maintain the down breathing technique with the gas and air but I used it at every moment I could with my visualisations as a guide and Shaya’s words of encouragement in my ear.

Not much longer later, Sophia suggested I switch positions to help deliver the baby’s head which involved reclining into Shaya’s arms on the bean bag to one side with my foot pressing into Sophia’s shoulder. Having that closeness with Shaya and getting to experience the next few moments together is something I will never be able to erase from my mind! Laughter and happy tears were shed as he held me tightly and told me how close we were to meeting our baby and we watched as our baby’s head was delivered. As we were awaiting the final surge to deliver the rest of the body, the baby did an incredible mermaid kick and delivered himself!! Sophia gave him a good rub to ensure he could breathe with the chance he could have inhaled meconium and a few seconds later his voice appeared and he was placed straight onto my chest. I can’t describe the overwhelming sense of achievement – of our partnership, our strength and now we had our little person in our arms.

We were safely home the same evening and are enjoying every single moment getting to know each other – I think it’s safe to say we are head over heels in love with him and once I have had a few more days to get used to the fact that this all happened a few short days ago, I will be able to tell the story without crying!!

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