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"Trust your gut- you know your body best!"

Baby Zayn was born on Saturday 4 June at 11:53am at 41 weeks!

From 39 weeks I was pressured by doctors to have an induction as my fundal height had not increased since 35 weeks and there were concerns that my baby would be small. I initially refused but caved and arrived to be induced on Wednesday night. A midwife sensed my reluctance about being there and she explained that the hospital’s new policy states that static growth is not justification alone for induction. I asked why none of the doctors had told me about this policy and she said that many of the doctors are ‘set in their ways’. Thanks to this lovely midwife and what I learned about advocating for yourself from Shari’s Hypnobirthing course, I backed out of the induction at the very last minute against the advice of the attending doctor. I trusted my instincts that baby was still growing as I could feel simultaneous movements on opposite sides of my abdomen and in weekly Pilates sessions at week 36 I could lift baby with my abs, at week 37 I was struggling to do this and at week 38 I couldn’t suck him in at all. His movements were very strong and consistent and during monitoring every 2 days he had been perfect so I felt it was safe to continue.

We rescheduled to Saturday night to satisfy the attending doctor but after a very spicy curry on Thursday night, I woke up on Friday 1:30am with a soaked liner. We went to hospital to confirm SROM and as I approached the hospital entrance, my waters gushed out over my grey tracksuit (poor choice of colour).

I laboured at home all day Friday with period like cramps all day that became more painful in the evening. The pain then migrated to my back husband attached the TENS machine to my back and I adopted forward leaning positions during surges that helped. My contractions were 4 mins apart at 11:30pm so we went to the hospital. Unfortunately this slowed down my labour and we were sent home with some panadeine forte. This had no effect and at 1:15am I called the hospital and said I wanted to come back. After a couple more contractions I called back and told them I think I could stay longer at home. I was in and out of the shower which was the most effective pain relief.

By about 3am I decided to call it and was admitted to hospital 3:15am Saturday at 5cm. The back pain was unbearable and I was exhausted not having slept for 26 hours. At around 5am I had an epidural which was very light- I had full feeling in my legs and could move around the bed and change positions as needed. The midwife told me they’d check me in a couple hours and if I didn’t progress they’d give me Pitocin. I slept for 2 hours they checked me 7am Saturday I was fully dilated with baby’s head able to be felt in the OP position. Listening to my instincts I moved onto all fours on the bed and pushed for about an hour. Unfortunately as I was feeling a lot of pain and about to push the epidural button for the first time in hours, I pulled out the epidural line!! I moved onto my back and they checked me. Fortunately baby had completely rotated and was in the ideal position to be pushed out.

I pushed for another 1.5 hours. During this time, baby’s heart rate started to drop and the doctor asked for my consent to do an episiotomy and use instruments. I yelled out no way, only if it’s an emergency (I could see on the monitor that baby’s heartbeat was still 119bpm (only 7bpm lower than it had been). The doctor was very frustrated with me and said fine you’ve got two contractions to get him out. I pushed him out in the next contraction as soon as he was out, all the pain disappeared!

I had the most mild type of 2nd degree tear that was stitched up while baby was on my chest. We got around 2-3 hours of uninterrupted skin to skin time. He latched briefly but was a bit uncoordinated so a midwife expressed some colostrum and fed him with a syringe. We then left the hospital 6.5 hours after the birth and were able to relax at home and establish breastfeeding in a calm space. The hospital staff were shocked I wanted to leave so soon but the Hypnobirthing course gave me confidence to trust myself and my maternal instincts.

Turns out I was right- baby Zayn was 8lb and 51cm- not small like the doctors suspected!! I’m so happy with how everything went and I’m really proud of how I advocated for myself along the way! Also shoutout to my husband who was the most amazing birth partner supporting all of my decisions and encouraging me the whole way through. I’m surprised he still has feeling in his left arm after how hard I was squeezing it!

Moral of the story: trust your gut- you know your body best!


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