Birth Diaries: 'I Was In Labour For Three Days Before I Totally Lost It'

"It was the most unrelaxing relaxing state I’d ever been in."

In HuffPost Birth Diaries we hear the extraordinary stories of the everyday miracle of birth. This week, Tahnee Knowles, 27, shares her story. If you’d like to share yours, email amy.packham@huffpost.com.

My birth was long. Really, really, long. I’d planned and prepared for a home birth for months – and that was all I really wanted. So one morning at 9am, when I saw a wet patch on my grey jeans, I thought I all set for my dream birth (even if I initially thought I’d wet myself without realising).

The midwife arrived at my home a few hours later and checked to see if I was dilated but alas, nothing. Little did I know this would continue for the next few hours. And days.

I stayed at home with my partner, and we just waited. We carried on as normal. We ate and waited. We watched TV and waited. I was told that if 24 hours passed and nothing was moving along, I should call the hospital for a check-up so they could monitor me. What I didn’t realise at the time was that, if it came to this, my birth plan would be going out the window.

I tried exercises, rest, breathing patterns, bouncing, but nothing seemed to budge. I called the hospital and was told to get my bags ready to head in. Just for a check-up, I thought. But actually I was saying goodbye to my home birth.

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When I arrived at hospital, I was so adamant I didn’t want my baby born there. I had prepared so much for my home birth and didn’t feel comfortable. I put off the induction for as long as I could – hoping I’d go into labour naturally and could be sent home – but talk kept coming back to me being induced.

At this point I started to get really upset – because I knew I had to stay in hospital. I asked for a water birth; they said no. I asked if I could wait and see if anything would happen naturally – but they weren’t budging.

My husband and I went for a walk to calm me down at this point, and he put things into perspective for me. This was about the baby, our baby, and making sure he was safe. That was what mattered.

We went back inside and started the induction. They gave me a suppository, but after eight hours, my cervix hadn’t responded. So we started the second part of the induction process and gave me synthetic oxytocin, called ‘syntocinon’.The contractions came on quite strong then, and I practised hypnobirthing like I had prepared.

It was the most unrelaxing relaxing state I’d ever been in but I tried to make the most of what I had in the room to make a calm space – I put LED candles on and had music playing. Still nothing. My body wasn’t progressing at all. I couldn’t sleep, but I stayed in my trance like state for hours.

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At 7am the next morning, they put the dosage of oxytocin up. I started to get contractions lasting a minute, every three minutes, but it stayed like that for five hours and still, I wasn’t even dilated 1cm. I lost it then. I got emotional. I didn’t feel supported. Was there a plan? Would my baby ever come out?

Then the staff shifts changed and I got a new midwife. She put my dosage down. A male consultant then sat down and read my birth plan. “You wanted a home birth,” he said to me. “I’m sorry you couldn’t have that.”

I still wasn’t dilated – there had been no response to my cervix. It could take another 12 hours, he said. I couldn’t do another 12 hours. He suggested a gentle C-section, but said it was my choice. And I took it.

We had dim lights, music, my husband was there – and Gus was delivered within the hour. The team were so supportive and even though it wasn’t the birth I wanted, it was still extremely empowering and I did feel in control, in the end.

And I got to make the decision myself.

My birth advice?

Apply hypnobirthing to any birth – mine didn’t go the way I wanted but by using that relaxation and breathing, I was able to make it a positive birth story regardless.

Tahnee is the founder of Bump And Mind Retreats.