On May 8th 2018 we welcomed our beautiful baby boy Oliver into the world weighing 6lb 12oz, and 4 days before my due date after being induced.

Since he first started kicking lots at around 19 weeks, Oliver was a very active baby, often doing what felt like morris dancing when I was trying to sleep. I regularly struggled to lie in a comfy position without him kicking away like mad, asking me in his own way to turn over. When I woke during the night he would greet me with his mad movements.

At 39+1 I was anxiously awaiting any signs of labour. It was a stunning summers day, the day before May bank holiday, and we decided to go for a nice walk around the country park. I’d felt Oliver move briefly at around 9am but for the rest of the day I felt nothing. At 5pm I called my Maternity Assessment Unit and was told to come in so they could check us both over.

When we arrived I was hooked up to a monitor and given lots of water to drink. Oliver’s heart rate was monitored for around 45 minutes and the midwife wasn’t happy with his baseline heart rate. She asked me to go for a walk, have a sugary drink and return in 15/20 minutes. After that, I was put on the monitor again for another 30-40 minutes. This time she was happier with the result, after being reviewed by a doctor they agreed to send me home, but I had to return the next morning if I still wasn’t feeling any movement. We got home that evening; by the time I went to bed I had felt a couple of small movements but still nothing like usual.

We got up the next morning and pottered around for a while. As the baby had still been quiet overnight, we decided to head to the hospital again. I was monitored again and the baby’s heart rate was fine, despite me still feeling no movement. They scanned me to check the baby’s position and examined me. Though they were generally happy, as my cervix was softening, they decided to induce me there and then. I felt very calm which was strange as I’d previously been so scared of labour. I feel that limiting the unknown of when will labour start and how will I know helped me to feel calmer.

I was told to have some lunch and then return to my room to have the pessary inserted. This was done at 4:30pm and within 50 minutes the baby’s heart rate had dropped dramatically from around 140 to 60. The midwife popped me onto my side and expected to see the heart rate rise. It didn't. She pushed the emergency buzzer and the room was flooded with people all jumping into action. I was wheeled into a delivery suite, panicking and having no idea what was happening. 

I thought I was going to be rushed to theatre, but in the delivery suite I was put on an IV and had the pessary removed. The baby’s heartbeat returned to normal. It had been low for over 2 and a half minutes. The next 5 hours were spent being monitored with people coming to discuss next steps with me. I was advised they would break my waters and put me on a hormone drip. When I queried how the hormone drip would affect the baby they said they didn’t know but if I was to refuse further induction then I would be put onto an elective c section list for the following day.

My head and heart just didn’t know what to do for the best. I was back to being terrified of labour and I wanted to say yes to a c section but knowing my baby would then remain inside me with no way of knowing if he was ok for the next 12-24 hours seemed like the wrong choice. I finally agreed to the next induction steps. At midnight my waters were broken. It turned out there was no need for a hormone drip as my labour started immediately. My contractions were intense from the get-go and after 2 hours I had an epidural. Just before this happened I could feel my body pushing. The epidural slowed my labour down but throughout the next 7 hours my baby remained perfectly happy with a great heart rate.

At 9:51am that morning Oliver entered the world. It was mentioned that the cord was around his neck but he came out red and crying needing no help at all. Every time I think about this day I am so grateful that the midwife that I had seen through all of my appointments had drummed into me to call the hospital as soon as I felt any change in movement. I am so glad that I did this and that the hospital acted on it. We have no idea what caused my boy to stop moving but I want to encourage anyone who feels a change in movement to get checked straight away.

Oliver is the absolute light of my life and I will forever be grateful to all of the maternity team who played a part in bringing him into this world.