Davina here - I didn't expect to have time to write a blog post now - I thought I'd be too busy nursing and caring for baby number 2 but she has decided to take her time in coming out (clearly too cosy in my womb) and I am now 10 days overdue waiting for her to make her entrance into the world. I am trying to keep myself calm and occupied, which the latter is easy since we are still having building works done and advent is round the corner so always lots to do at this time.
Keeping calm on the other hand has not been so easy. Elfie was born by caesarian section because she was breech (after a planned and very much wanted home birth) so this birth is a VBAC (vaginal birth after C-section) and it brings with it more complications. The main issue being the risk of rupture of the scar during labour. Its a small risk -about 1 in 400 but of course it is still taken into account by medical staff so much so that my first choice hospital (my local one Lewisham Hospital) would not allow me to have a water birth because they can’t monitor a mother in the pool - monitoring the baby’s heart beat is one way they can detect rupture. I changed hospitals to Kings College Hospital when I was 20 weeks pregnant as they regularly facilitate VBAC water births there and was really happy with that decision despite the distance and time it was taking going to all my appointments. However, at 39 weeks I had a call from their amazing VBAC consultant midwife at Kings saying that the pools were down and that she had negotiated with Lewisham for me to go back there and have a water birth. This felt a bit strange as I had already invested so much into Kings but since I couldn’t have a home birth water was really important to me and it seemed silly to turn the option down. It then got more complicated because after a long positive meeting at Lewisham it turned out that their Trust’s solicitors would not give the go ahead for a VBAC water birth and instead they would offer me one at their partner hospital Queen Elizabeth in Woolwich. So I changed hospital for the fourth time at 40 weeks pregnant and have had an amazingly supportive team of midwifes to greet me at QE. However, now I am very over due we are having to have conversations about inductions. Kings were very firm that they do not like to induce VBAC mothers with chemicals because it increases the chance of rupture so instead they offer a technique called balloon induction - in which they inflate your cervix. QE don’t seem to have the expertise to offer this to me and instead want me to try a gentle chemical induction,which apparently they do all the time for VBAC mums but of course makes me feel anxious after Kings choosing not to offer it. So now I have a decision to make - do I try the chemical induction or go straight for C-section? Luckily they have given me as long as possible to make the decision. They are letting me go to 42 weeks for induction and 42.2 for c-section. So fingers crossed I will go into labour spontaneously by then.
If you have had to make this decision or have experience with inductions I’d love to hear your story.
Trying to self induce labour
I was advised to start trying to encourage labour at 39 weeks to avoid induction due to VBAC so I stupidly thought that I would have the baby early if not at least on time - how wrong was I. I started going to acupuncture and reflexology at 39 weeks and had my first sweep attempt then too. My cervix was completely closed then so I was clearly not ready yet so the acupuncturist and reflexologist didn’t try to induce but instead helped to prepare my body for labour. Then at 40 weeks I went back and had induction sessions and more sweeps. In total I have had 4 sweeps and for the last three my cervix has began to open and soften but is still closed at the top. The baby really responded to the acupuncture induction sessions but obviously no luck in inducing labour. I have also taken three rounds of homeopathic treatments to soften my cervix and done all the old wife tales - curry, walking, sex, bouncing on birth ball, watching good feel movies etc.
Acceptance and staying calm
My emotions have been all over the place and there has been a strong sense of anti-climax post due date. I started to feel very anxious about it and developed a strong belief that it would never happen - you start to think the baby will never come out! I then started to feel very down about the possibility of having to have surgery again and not being at Kings, where I had such trust in the medical staff. However, yesterday after a seriously low day on Monday I had a change of heart and began to feel calm and accepting of the situation. I don't know what brought on the change but I now feel more positive that I could still do it and go into labour spontaneously before Sunday and if not never mind - it will be what it will be. I know one way or another she will be here with me a week today so thats all that matters ultimately.
So next time I post really will be with an introduction post of our new daughter and until then please do share your births stories with me - especially if you went overdue - I find it really helpful to hear how common it is to go so overdue…