• Nicole Jackson

Harriet's Positive Induction

I feel so privileged to be able to share this amazing birth story with you. A positive induction story and one of my dear colleagues. Erin and Ben did such an amazing job bringing beautiful Harriet into the world, full of positive informed choices, calmly meeting all the turns their birth took. Enjoy this one, it truely had me sobbing, absolute hypnobirth superstars!! - Nic



HARRIET’S BIRTH STORY

Well its been two weeks since our beautiful daughter, Harriet Ann Higgins joined

our family and I feel like already I am forgetting the details about my birth so

wanted to sit and purge all my memories and emotions before they become too

hazy.

I always knew, as soon as we fell pregnant, that I wanted to complete the

Hypnobirthing Australia course with Nicole Jackson. Nicole is a fellow midwifery

colleague and while we had not worked closely together, her work with women

spoke for itself. Being a junior midwife I have been lucky enough to work with

women hypnobirthing and have been truly impressed at their level of calm and

composure, regardless of how their birth transpired. I knew I wanted to have

what they were having…so to speak!!

I also had the feeling that working on my mental strength and coping strategies

would assist me in switching off my “midwife” brain and just be a woman,

through pregnancy, birth and beyond.

Birthing at my place of work was a constant source of anxiety for me through the

pregnancy. My partner Ben and I strongly valued our privacy and wanted to keep

our birth as personal and intimate as possible. We were lucky enough to receive

care through the phenomenal MGP Orange Team and could not have been more

impressed and humbled by the level of care we received throughout my

fortunate normal risk pregnancy. We were excited and felt as prepared as we

could be as we worked towards our low intervention birth centre birth.

At 39+6 weeks I broke my waters but did not labour. Needless to say I was pretty

devastated. Knowing the current guidelines of my care providers I knew I would

be advised that an induction would be recommended if I did not spontaneously

labour after 18 hours. This did not sit well with me. I just didn’t feel like I was

heading towards labour yet coupled with the fact that my cheeky baby had

decided to nestle into a cosy posterior position, less than optimal to commence a

primip induction!

I talked this over with my incredibly supportive midwife and personally used the

BRAIN technique, learned in Hyponobirthing to determine what felt right for me,

my partner and baby as we navigated the next steps. I truly felt, instinctively and

intuitively that my body and more so my mind, needed more time than the

allocated 18 hours. I also felt that my baby and body were safe and healthy, and

that I was a common sense and practical person, and if my clinical signs and

symptoms changed, or I simply felt it was no longer safe to wait, I would not

hesitate to escalate intervention.

Armed with this knowledge, my midwife and I negotiated with the obstetric team

for more time to await labour.

And boy did I use that time wisely. I did the Spinning Babies inversions, the Miles

circuit, soft sand walking, sideways stair walking, curb walking, lunges and

Rebozo.


I had two chiropractic adjustments with the amazing Tony Rudd at Freebeing

Chiropractic who was also incredible for my mindset, reminding me to surrender

to the process whatever may come. I saw Dione Aland at Well and Good

Acupuncture and had an opening and ripening treatment and learned

acupressure to assist with fetal positioning and labour.

Finally, I went and saw Nicole again at Mind, Bump and Birth and had a Fear

Release. This was really integral in assisting me to package up what I truly was

most apprehensive about facing the induction, and eliminate it from my

immediate thoughts. This allowed me to focus on what was real and present, that

in a matter of days we were going to meet our baby, and that was something to

be so excited about.

After the agreed time had lapsed and I had still not spontaneously laboured, my

partner Ben and I met with our midwifery team and overseeing obstetrician and

consented to an induction of labour that night.

Again, I was able to employ the BRAIN tool to negotiate what type of induction I

wanted. After my initial assessment I discussed with my midwife and

obstetrician and had prostaglandin gels inserted to assist with further cervical

ripening before planning to commence oxytocin later that evening.

The lovely delivery suite midwives moved us down to one of the big rooms to

allow Ben and I to chill out and await reassessment in six hours.

From the moment the gels went in I was uncomfortable. Ben and I played cards

while I bounced on the birth ball. We went for a couple of walks, talked to family

on the phone, ate some light snacks and listened to music. I was having a lot of

intermittent back pain and tightening at the same time but was happy using the

heat packs and the TENS machine – which I really liked.

The midwives left us to our own devices. The atmosphere was dark, relaxed and

intimate. I stuck some of my favourite Hypnobirthing and personalised

affirmations I had made on the walls, used flameless candles and aromatherapy

to make the room as homely as possible.

With a few hours before we were due to be reassessed we were advised to get

some rest. Ben settled into the recliner and I tried laying on the bed for a nap.

Nope – that wasn’t gonna happen. As soon as I lay down the back pain became

very intense, so much so I hadn’t realised that my tightenings were also

increasing in intensity and frequency!

Ben suggested I kneel on the bed and drape myself over one of the inflatable

birth stools which really helped take the pressure off my back. I stayed in this

position for maybe 30 minutes while my contractions continued to ramp up and

I really needed to concentrate to breathe through. I kept thinking to myself “Man,

if this is early labour, I am a real pussy!” Little did I know I was really cracking on

into established, active labour.


After a particularly intense contraction, I spontaneously ruptured my forewaters

and lost lots of light pink liquor and mucous and from there things really

escalated. Ben was reminding me to breathe as we had been taught and kept

repeating to just tell him when I wanted him to go and get some help. I just kept

thinking that this must still be early labour and that I had to keep being strong

and breathing through.

At this stage I had basically lost all sense of time but it can’t have been long when

the delivery suite team leader, who happened to be a personal friend on mine,

came in to check we were ok. She took one look at me bent over the resuscitaire

groaning and said “You’re in labour – we better monitor the baby!”

Listening with the doppler through a contraction, it sounded like the fetal heart

had a deceleration so I was encouraged to have the CTG put on as per the

induction guideline. Knowing that being on continuous monitoring can restrict

your ability to move depending on how well the external contact trace is I

requested that a fetal scalp electrode be placed.

When the midwife did the vaginal exam to site the FSE I remember hearing the

magic words, “I can’t feel any cervix except for an anterior lip.” I remember being

thrilled – after letting out a few expletives!! It all made sense why I was so

uncomfortable…and so confused!! To be honest I had been thinking if this was

early labour, there was no way I was going to be able to do it without an epidural

– turns out, I was probably in transition!

While the team leader left to call my MGP midwife in, I knew I wanted to be in

water. Off came the TENs and into the shower I went. I was on my knees, draped

over a birth ball with Ben seated behind me, in the dark, using the shower nozzle

to spray hot water over my lower back.

I vaguely remember my MGP midwife arriving and recall someone saying

something like “still OP”, so I knew I had to remain upright and forward to try

and spin my baby. I was getting pretty vocal with the contractions and had

started to involuntary push with some of them. I was determined to try and stay

calm and listen to my body. I had lost my hypnobirthing breathing completely

and was feeling more comfortable groaning through the contractions but I do

remember repeating some of my affirmations in the shower, at least in my head

and I know Ben was using some of them as words of encouragement for me.

At some stage I no longer felt comfortable in the shower and asked my midwife

for direction as to the best position to try and spin my baby. She cleverly

suggested standing out of the shower, with Ben behind me and performing the

abdominal lift and tuck during my contractions. This was so effective. As soon as

he lifted me I felt the most intense involuntary urge to bear down and started

actively pushing. Unfortunately, I only lasted in this position for a short while as I

was shaking so badly my legs could hardly hold myself up!!

I made my way back to the bed and resumed kneeling with my upper body

draped over the back of the bed. I was looking directly at some of affirmations

above the bed and just did what my body was telling me to do, and that was to

bear down and birth my baby.


While I had practised my birth breathing antenatally, active pushing just felt so good and to be honest, I couldn’t stop it even if I tried. My midwife talked me through birthing the head and I felt like I was in complete control slowly breathing it out in the perfect OA position – baby had turned! And it wasn’t done turning yet! After I had birthed the head, baby

turned to face one way to prepare to birth the shoulders, then decided to keep

turning to face the other way – now that was a strange sensation ha!

Just prior to this I remember the midwife asking if Ben wanted to receive the

baby and they had given him gloves. I thought, “Nope, I’ve done all the work, I

want to receive our baby!” Telling the midwives this, I moved one leg forward

into more of a lunge position, reached down and birthed our baby.

What an incredible, indescribable feeling! I thought I would be a blubbering mess

but instead I was on such an adrenaline high I think I just kept saying, “This is

our baby! We had a baby!” It was so surreal.

Straight to my chest for skin to skin and already vigorously looking for a breast

we looked to see who had joined our family. And there she was, a little girl we

named Harriet.


With no post-partum complications we elected for early discharge and 4 hours

later, we left the delivery suite to the comfort of our own home to get to know

our new perfect little baby.

I reflect now on the birth of our daughter and just feel so incredibly grateful. I

truly believe the tools we learned in Hypnobirthing enabled both Ben and I to

work through the options for labour and birth and feel satisfied and empowered

in our decisions. We consented to intervention on our own terms guided by what

intuitively felt safe and right and were ultimately rewarded with the most

incredible outcome, not only a healthy daughter, but a strong, satisfied and

empowered family.

We cannot thank Nicole enough for her guidance, knowledge, teachings and

genuine care in our pregnancy, birth and beyond. I would strongly recommend

Hypnobirthing to any family embarking on their pregnancy and birth journey.

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