I naively thought my second pregnancy and labour would mirror that of my first, how wrong was I! Ruby was born at just over 37 weeks, my waters went first, contractions started a few hours later in the early hours and she was born at 10.37am that morning. I went through my second pregnancy gleefully expecting the same to happen, however it did not. From 36 weeks my midwife told me I was fully engaged and that she too expected the baby to come at a similar time to my first. Well 37 weeks came and went, 38 weeks passed us by and by 39 weeks I was so disappointed she wasn’t here yet and I was still not even full term. The one silver lining was starting maternity leave and getting extra weeks to spend with Ruby, one-on-one before the new arrival. This summer was one of the hottest I can remember and although it was uncomfortable being pregnant, I was glad the baby decided to stay put until it got slightly cooler.
At 39 weeks my bump was measuring big so my midwife started the sweeps. Having not got this far into pregnancy the first time around, I was blissfully unaware of what happens during the sweep, although I had heard some horror stories. To be totally honest, it wasn’t that bad, sure it was uncomfortable but so is being 39 weeks pregnant and it’s over very quickly. I had two sweeps during 39 weeks but unfortunately, neither got things moving. I had already lost the mucus plug and had a show, both times I got excited only for nothing to happen.
I made 40 weeks. I never thought I would! It was only then that I understood the true meaning of ‘full term’, I felt huge and heavy, I had stretch marks (and worse) and I was ready to meet my baby – who was still head down and fully engaged but yet to change the position of my cervix. I was measured again and as Ruby was big at 37 weeks, I was given the option of being induced at 40+1 and I took it.
On the morning of the 18th August, I was induced with a propess pessary at 9.30am. I had a lovely midwife on the labour ward who assessed my Bishops score as a 6 and said the induction was unlikely to work first time and it was very possible I would have to have the procedure done again the next morning. My cervix position was not favourable nor was it soft. Although as soon as the pessary was inserted (yes it did sting and was uncomfortable) I started to get mild contractions, I was sent home and told to call the ward that evening to give an update.
My husband and I took a walk around the Outlet where he treated himself to a new watch and pair of shorts (a putting in present apparently!), we had a spot of lunch and then decided to go home and wait it out. It was lovely to see Ruby at home and at this point I did have contractions but they were still pretty mild so I didn’t think much of it. My friend popped in and during this time the contractions got intense and I phoned the hospital, they advised me to run a bath, take some painkillers and manage the pain at home. Twenty minutes later I said to my husband I thought it would be best if we went to the hospital as I was in quite a bit of pain…lucky we did as Sienna was born 8 minutes after entering the birthing unit.
The contractions were certainly more intense with the pessary induction compared to my first labour. The labour itself was much much quicker and I’m glad I went with my gut and went to the hospital when we did or we could have had a motorway baby! I think if you are induced this way for your first labour they actually make you stay in hospital and I can understand why. I’m sad I didn’t get there in time for another water birth as that really helped with the pain last time, although to be honest, I was just happy we were both okay and I made it onto the bed!
Sienna was born at 5.27pm with no pain relief, 8 hours after the induction was started, weighing a healthy 8lb5.
Comparing my spontaneous labour with the induced labour, I think I would say the spontaneous labour was calmer and my body was able to produce natural pain relief as it went through the stages but it did last longer. The induced labour was far more intense, the pain of the contractions were stronger but it lasted for less than a quarter of the time. I was also in quite a bit of shock as it was so quick and Sienna was born a lot earlier than I expected she would be. The induction is certainly nothing to be afraid of, just be warned things can happen very quickly.