If you had asked me what my “perfect birth” would have been as we eagerly awaited the arrival of our baby girl it would have went something like this; waters pop at home, arrive at hospital around 8cm dilated, hop (yeah right) into the birthing pool, breathe that baby out to the sound of a chilled out worship playlist on Spotify. Calm, relaxed and controlled; that would be the order of the day. So, you can imagine my dismay when it became clear that I would have to be induced, yet again, thanks to a very comfortable baby. I accepted my fate, got all my ducks in a row and set a reminder on my calendar for Tuesday 12 March, 7.30am; “call for induction slot”.
I didn’t need that calendar reminder at all as I woke full of nervous excitement at 5am. I tried my hardest to get back to sleep but it was no good. After a short while I rolled over to see Mark wide eyed too; we were like two kids on Christmas Day. Ten long days after our due date we were finally set to meet our second baby girl. Susanna wandered in an hour later and we snuggled up in bed, just the three of us, for the very last time. It occurred to me that morning that being induced when you already have a child at home is perhaps the most stress free way to go into labour. Having that date meant that my house was spotless, childcare was arranged and we knew exactly how much family time we could soak up before our newest member joined the team. Our morning was slow and then came the time to call the hospital for my induction slot. For a routine loving, organised mama like me this was actually working out very nicely. I had flash backs to my induction with Susanna; hospital at 8am, pessary in by 9am, contractions by noon, lots of corridor walking, a few episodes of New Girl, contractions got intense, baby born at 4.15am – it was swift and seamless and I just assumed this day would pan out much the same.
We are very lucky in that we have two incredible hospitals either side of where we live so I was able to choose which one I wanted this time round. Having heard nothing but wonderful things about the smaller hospital, Causeway, I opted to go there. This decision is responsible for both the greatest and the worst parts of my labour experience with baby number two. Now don’t panic; the ‘worst parts’ are all very trivial and pretty funny in hindsight but I wasn’t laughing at the time. My first phone call to find out my induction time was to set the tone for the rest of the day. The lovely midwife informed me that delivery was very busy so I should phone back in a couple of hours. Queue my first lesson in patience for the day. I happily put the morning in pottering around the house and soaking up precious time with Susanna before phoning the hospital again and being told that it was now even busier and to phone again at 2pm! I will admit I felt a little deflated by this, I was hoping to be well into labour by the afternoon and it looked like that was now very unlikely. I called my Mum to tell her Susanna wouldn’t be there any time soon and she suggested we drop her off anyway and use it as an opportunity to enjoy a lunch time date while waiting to hear from the hospital. We gathered ourselves together, said our goodbyes to our sweet girl and set off in the direction of the hospital, stopping off for lunch on the way. Mum was right, it was the perfect way to make lemonade out of lemons. As we finished lunch my phone rang; “I am so sorry, we are still very busy but we would like you to come on in so as we can start you as soon as things calmed down in delivery, hopefully within the next two hours”. It was go time and there was a chance our baby could still be born today, I was ecstatic!
I was taken straight to the induction bay, quickly hooked up to a monitor to see how baby was doing and taken through all the paperwork. There was a lot of lovely chat with the midwives and suggestions of another pessary since it worked so quickly last time. Then I was told to relax and wait for an internal which they would do when delivery suite calmed down. It was 3pm, there was a storm raging outside but all was very calm in the comfort of my little corner of the induction bay. Mark dozed, we watched New Girl (this seems to be a tradition now), I read magazines, replied to messages and the clock ticked by. Dinner time came along with a pounding headache but still no sign of an internal examination. As another few hours went by I could feel my mood dipping. It was 8pm, I was missing my girl and it was very clear by now that I would not be meeting my baby today. Feeling horrendously claustrophobic all of a sudden I asked if I could go for a walk to get some fresh air. Hormones and hanger arrived with gusto. As we sat in the little café eating bacon sandwiches I burst into tears, big fat tears, I was uncontrollably ugly crying while Mark simultaneously tried to comfort me and almost wet himself with laughter; I was sobbing but it didn’t stop me shovelling that bacon sandwich in…I must have looked completely mental!
By 9pm I had to make my way back to the ward for more monitoring. As I wandered in I caught sight of a midwife; “I was just wondering what the chances are of me being induced tonight?” I knew the answer but I thought I would ask anyway. I was given two options; stay and be induced at 8am or go home and come back for 8am. I jumped at the chance to go home. There were two reasons for this; I had a horrendous migrane and the ward was so warm, making me feel ten times worse and secondly, I had not had so much as a twinge all day. After weeks of Braxton hicks I felt further away from labour than I had done in a long time. The midwife asked to examine me before I left, just so as my day in hospital hadn’t been entirely in vain. I jumped at the chance! I was dying to know if I had progressed at all since my last sweep where I was 2cm dilated. The lovely midwife did a quick examination and determined that I was a measly 3cm and my cervix was still very long. There was little to no chance that I was in any danger of going into labour any time soon. I opted for a third sweep (because why not, eh?) before gathering my things and making my way home. By this time my head felt like it was going to explode and I could barely open my eyes, my big comfy bed was calling!