How to Negotiate not being induced after your Waters have Broken for more than 24 Hours
I hope you are well and apologies it has taken me so long to write this email….I had totally forgotten the all consuming newborn days! Well, little Alexandra is 4 weeks old now and so I thought I should send you our birth story before I forget!
So it all began on the evening of Friday 29th Feb. My waters began to trickle at 5pm and so we made our way to the local Midwifery Unit and they confirmed this was the case and to go home and get some rest and come back when I started to contract. Nothing happened all evening and as you can imagine I didn’t get much sleep waiting for things to happen.
We had been told by the midwife that I would need to go to the main Obstetric Hospital to be induced if I wasn’t in established labour by 5pm the following day. Still nothing happened all day Tuesday and so by this point I was starting to get a little anxious but was determined to keep positive and relaxed and so I ate well, rested, went for a lovely long walk with David and did lots of yoga practice and deep breathing. We also did the pressure point massage and I had numerous baths with the labour oils….I was even sniffing the oil out of the bottle at this point….anything not to be induced!
We then made our way to the hospital Tuesday evening to be assessed. Upon arrival the midwives were lovely and told me of the plan to induce me that evening. I straight away said I really didn’t want to be induced having birthed naturally with my first child and wanted to do the same with my second.
The doctor and midwives on duty respected our decision and after signing a disclaimer accepting the risk of infection to myself and baby we were discharged. This was only after they checked for any signs of infection, I also kept a close eye on my temperature at home and signs for any change with baby i.e. reduced movements etc. The doctor also called ahead to the Midwifery Unit for us and explained the situation and arranged for us to deliver there if I had started contracting naturally by 8am Wednesday morning: but if still nothing had happened we agreed to return to the hospital that morning.
Following a lovely evening with a delicious meal (on my ball!) and relaxing bath and a good night’s sleep I was woken at 4.30am by my first proper contraction but then nothing by the time we were ready to leave the house and so we made our way to the hospital. I was still feeling really relaxed and positive at this pointed and kept up my breathing and positive thoughts taking reassurance from the fact I had given birth naturally with Benjamin.
As we arrived on the hospital car park I started contracting again. The midwives again were lovely upon arrival, but were ready to take me straight to the delivery suite to be induced. Once again David and I said we wanted to see how things progressed naturally. The doctor agreed to our wish to let things progress naturally.
Throughout the course of the next 12 hours I was on the ward contacting and with waters intermittently trickling. I was still very positive, David was even doing some work emails whilst I was eating chocolate and reading magazines. But, I did have a feeling that things were not progressing like how I knew they should, the experience was entirely different to my labour with Benjamin. I knew it was strange that I only had a contraction when sitting on the bed and they were all in my tummy and nothing in my back.
By 7pm that night I was shattered and very frustrated. I resisted being examined as the midwives had said I would then have to be induced due to the rest real risk of infection once they had performed a VE. However by this stage I just really needed to know what was going on.
The lovely midwife looking after me understood our wishes entirely and was very understanding and suggested she examine me and then give me a pessary which could buy us another 24 hours before receiving the hormone drip. I agreed and when they examined me, they realised I had a huge amount of water in front of baby’s head and they said they were confident if they broke my waters our baby would be out by that evening. So we were moved into a delivery suite.
The midwife who greeted us then said I had an hour after my waters had been broken to be in established labour and if not they would put me on the hormone drip, which was different to what the midwife on the ward had said. Only at this stage, having felt I had been on the clock since Monday evening, did I begin to break and get a little teary…but then there was a shift change and we were greeted by the most lovely and kindest of midwives and student nurse who reassured us and told me to remain calm and she would break my waters and we would just take it from there.
My waters were broken at 8.30pm. The midwife said she had never seen so much fluid. About a 1 litre and a half soaked the bed and that was even after losing water all day! I had a few contractions but was still perfectly happy chatting to the midwives. David was a superstar, like last time, and set up our room with my reiki music, low lighting, yoga mat and birthing ball.
By 11.30pm the contractions starting thick and fast and Alexandra came out after a few pushes at 00.53am Thursday morning! All in all my established labour was less than 90 minutes. I used gas and air, lots of straw and ocean breath. My hypno-birthing practice really helped as well. It was a more intense experience than with Benjamin, and I was absolutely shattered afterwards but holding our baby girl in our arms made it all worth it.
Our midwife and student nurse stayed with us all evening and were so wonderfully supportive from start to finish and even thanked me for having the privilege of witnessing a natural labour as they are no longer common place. The build up to my actual labour was stressful but I must say Julie, it is down to you and your guidance that we resisted induction so strongly – since meeting you, you have instilled a quiet confidence in me and to trust my own body and motherly instincts when birthing and so I am both relieved and proud to say I have had another natural delivery.
The medical staff at the hospital were very accommodating of our wishes and always put the health of myself and baby first. We are all doing really well and Alexandra is blossoming. Benjamin is being adorable and we are just settling into being a family of 4 and the mayhem of newborn days!
Hope to see you again soon for yoga / baby classes.
It is normal practice in the UK for Mums to be induced if the waters have broken for more than 24 hours. However, with the known rate of intervention, often ending with a C-Section, some Mums prefer to avoid being induced if at all possible. The reason for the induction is that there is a risk of infection, to Mum and/or Baby, once the waters have broken. However, in Rachel’s case, she was carefully monitoring her temperature, and baby’s movement, for any sign of infection. If any sign of infection had presented itself, Rachel would have immediately, and gladly, opted for the induction.
I love this Birth Story, as it is a really good example of how you can negotiate with your Midwifery Team, with intelligent solutions and calm discussions, coming to a mutually agreed and most importantly, safe, compromise.