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
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
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
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
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
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.